Muscle M Up Svanstedt's surprise
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Except for the surprise. The horse is Muscle M Up.
“He’s a surprise. He’s surprised me,” Svanstedt said with a laugh about the 4-year-old stallion, who has a win and a second in his two Graduate starts. “When he came to me, he did not train so good before he qualified. But when he qualified, he was a different horse. He was a real racehorse. He wants to race. He has a good heart, very good heart.”
Muscle M Up has won three of four races overall this season, earning $54,000. The stallion was purchased by Knutsson Trotting Inc. at last fall’s Standardbred Mixed Sale for $65,000 after campaigning for breeder-owner Fashion Farms and trainer Jim Campbell. As a 2-year-old, Muscle M Up won two of three races including a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. He was limited to eight starts, winning two, at age 3.
“I talked with Jim Campbell and he said he had a lot of problems when he was young,” Svanstedt said. “Maybe he is older now and stronger. I think the time has helped. He feels like a good horse.”
Muscle M Up, a son of Muscle Hill out of stakes-winner Fashion Athena, won his first Graduate start in a career-best 1:51.2 on May 18 at The Meadowlands. On June 9, he finished second to mare Custom Cantab in a Graduate division at Tioga Downs. Custom Cantab and gelding Crystal Fashion are tied with Muscle M Up with 60 points apiece in the series.
On Friday, Muscle M Up competes in the first of two $50,000 final preliminary rounds of the Graduate Series at the Meadowlands. He faces a challenging task, meeting a field that includes newly minted Canadian record holder Atlanta, Crystal Fashion, Custom Cantab, Plunge Blue Chip, and 2017 Dan Patch Award winner Manchego.
Atlanta, the 2018 Trotter of the Year, is unbeaten in four races this season and heads to Friday’s start off a 1:50.2 win in the Armbro Flight Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Ron Burke-trained mare is the even-money favorite on the morning line.
“This is a tougher race for him, but I think he can do a good race,” Svanstedt said about Muscle M Up, who will have Andy Miller in the sulky because Svanstedt will drive mare Plunge Blue Chip. “I think he is going to race good.”