CAMPBELLVILLE, Ont. — Resolve put last year's heartbreak to the side and came away with the victory on Saturday in the $632,000 Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Racetrack.
The five-year-old stallion went toe-to-toe with standout mare Hannelore Hanover for the final half of the race and ultimately wore down the powerhouse to score a length-and-a-half victory for Swedish native and trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. Resolve finished the race in one minute 51.40 seconds.
"He's a really great horse and it was difficult today," said Svanstedt.
"He (left) very fast and then he was first over the second-half, so he did a very good job."
Resolve, who finished second in last year's Maple Leaf Trot, left from the rail and got away third, while Hannelore Hanover released Musical Rhythm to the lead at the opening-quarter.
Driver Yannick Gingras wasted little time circling Hannelore Hanover back around to the front in the second-quarter and the trotting mare led the field by the half-way mark. Svanstedt started up Resolve nearing the half and immediately confronted the leader moving into the final turn.
Hannelore Hanover and Resolve duelled to three-quarters and continued their battle into the lane. The Svanstedt trainee had no quit and finally edged by the gutsy mare in deep stretch for the win.
A son of Muscle Hill, Resolve was last year's O'Brien Award winner for top older trotter in Canada. The Svanstedt trainee is well travelled this season, as he raced in Sweden's biggest race, the Elitlopp, back in May and finished second.
Owned by Hans Enggren of Abbottstown, Pa., Resolve now has 14 career victories and over $1.7 million in career earnings. It was his fourth victory of the season to bring his seasonal earnings to over $700,000.
Hannelore Hanover, a four-year-old mare, was a $45,000 supplemental entry to the Maple Leaf Trot. The Ron Burke trainee entered Saturday's rich final off an impressive elimination victory and had only one loss in 15 prior starts this season.
"She raced very good," said Svanstedt. "She's just a four-year-old and a mare. She's very good."
Saturday's clash was the first meeting between Resolve and Hannelore Hanover. Svanstedt noted that he isn't sure what is next for Resolve, but has an idea of where he hopes to race.
"We hope he'll be invited to the International Trot (at Yonkers Raceway)."
Five-year-old mare Shake It Cerry finished third in Saturday's event, while locally trained trotters Flanagan Memory and Lookslikeachpndale rounded out the top five finishers.
Swedish trotter Nahar, who is owned by Daniel and Henrik Sedin of the National Hockey League's Vancouver Canucks, broke stride on the final turn and finished tenth.
The wagering public was split between Resolve and Hannelore Hanover, as they went off as even-money co-favourites. Resolve returned $4.30, $2.50 and $2.20, while the $2 Exactor paid $8.40.