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Lorentzon dreaming of making Hambletonian history

June 12, 2009

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Anette Lorentzon’s bid to become the first female trainer to harness a Hambletonian winner begins Saturday night as she sends out her top contenders in the $200,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship for 3-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands.
Lorentzon’s entry of Vesuvio AS and Howthehaloareyou is rated at 7-2 in the third race, one of four stakes worth a combined $1.1 million for Jersey breds Saturday night. It shares the spotlight with the $500,000 SBOA/Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Pacing Classic, $175,000 SBOA/Thomas D’Altrui Miss New Jersey and $200,000 NJSS Championship for 3-year-old filly trotters. Post time is 7 p.m.
Lorentzon, a 26-year-old native of Vanjo, Sweden, is pointing the colts toward the $1.5 million Hambletonian on Aug. 8 at the Meadowlands. Vesuvio AS is the more accomplished half of the pair with $140,710 in earnings. In his first major stakes test, the son of Windsong’s Legacy finished second after cutting the mile in the Dexter Cup on May 9 at Freehold. Two weeks later, he set a mark of 1:54.4 with a 3 1/2-length romp in the first leg of the NJSS. Vesuvio AS will start from post four in the NJSS final with Tim Tetrick at the lines. He faces a formidable five-horse entry topped by Muscle Hill.
“Vesuvio AS raced well as a 2 year old and showed me speed, but he got lame and sick on me,” Lorentzon said. “We turned him out, he trained down really good in Florida, and we tried to get him ready for the Dexter Cup. I was very happy with his effort in that final. 
“Two weeks ago, in the sires stakes leg, he was as good as he could be,” she continued. “Everything seemed to be fine with him afterwards. I skipped (the second NJSS leg) last week so I could train him up to this final. We drew well, but Muscle Hill will be tough to beat. I’m going to be very happy if I can finish second to him. I’m hoping he’s my Hambletonian player.”
Although Howthehaloareyou has yet to find the winner’s circle, he has hit the board in four of 10 career starts. After closing in a swift :27.1 final panel to nab second in his 2009 debut, the son of Yankee Glide finished third behind Muscle Hill in the second leg of the NJSS on June 4. Howthehaloareyou will leave from post five in the final with driver Jim Meittinis.
“Howthehaloareyou is progressing,” Lorentzon said. “He was just unlucky last year. He was beaten by a neck at The Red Mile (in a Bluegrass division) and that’s why he’s a maiden. He finished very strongly in his first start back and I was surprised he could go in 1:54.2 already (in the second NJSS leg). I hadn’t trained him with any speed yet, he surprised me.”
Lorentzon trains Vesuvio AS and Howthehaloareyou for her parents, Ann-Christin Lorentzon and John Erik Magnusson, who race as Acl Stuteri Ab of Paris, Ky. 
“AS at the end of our horses’ names indicates they were bred by my parents’ farm, ACL Stuteri AB,” she explained. “AS is actually an A with a dot over it in Sweden. AS are the last two letters in the town where the farm is located, Bladingeas, Sweden. ACL is my mother’s initials. Stuteri basically means breeding farm and AB is a business abbreviation (aktiebolag).”   
Lorentzon first came to the United States 5 1/2 years ago and initially worked for trotting master Trond Smedshammer. She opened her own stable four years ago and now has 35 horses in training at Sterling Chase Farm in Wrightstown, N.J. More than half of her barn is comprised of 2 year olds. 
“That was a good education (working for Smedshammer),” she said. “I had a great time and learned a lot. I was in Canada for a few months with some of his 2 year olds. I use some of the same techniques used by Trond Smedshammer. I have a sand pit, I use the power cart and I love the straightaway. Back in Sweden, we trained only on a straightaway and also used this new treadmill called the Horse Gym 2000.
“I’ve been on my own for a couple of years,” she continued. “It seems like a lot (of horses to manage), but I have very good help and I have more owners now that people know I’m not just a private trainer for my parents. You need a lot of patience with trotters, but we’re aiming for the big races like the Hambletonian. That’s what we dream about.” (Meadowlands)
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