Papagayo E and Ulf Ohlsson snuck up the rail to overtake Creatine in the final strides of the $1 million Yonkers International Trot at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday afternoon in a time of 2:26 for the 1 1/4-mile race. The margin of victory was a half-length.
The Norwegian flags were flying and a robust contingent of Norwegian fans cheered the victory by trainer Jan Waaler and owners Tom Andersen and Claes Sjolin.
Timoko, representing France and driven by Bjorn Goop, was second and Creatine of the United States (with Johnny Takter up ) was third. Oasis Bi of Sweden and driver Orjan Kihlstrom was fourth and the final check went to BBS Sugarlight, also of Norway, and his driver Johan Untersteiner.
Creatine and driver Johnny Takter, brother of trainer Jimmy Takter, had the rail position and with no serious challengers got off the gate first and stayed there though fractions of :28.4 for the quarter with Papagayo N in behind him. On Track Piraten and Erik Adielsson made a three wide bid for the lead at about the :58.4 half and briefly got a nose in front of Creatine. But Takter and Creatine held fast to the lead at the 1:28.1 three-quarters.
Bee A Magician and driver Brian Sears unleashed a furious rush at the lead, from about six wide, heading into the final turn at about the 1:57.2 mile mark, but could not make up ground on the leaders.
Creatine and Takter worked to hold off the advancing Timoko, while Ohlsson had Papgayo E on the move up the inside.
"He came with great power,” said Ohlsson. "I saw Timoko on the outside coming with power, but I knew that I had more. My only concern was Creatine going long enough that we would be able to get through on the rail. If he didn't last, we might have had a problem, but he lasted. I felt really good the whole way, the tempo in the race was perfect. The horse was feeling good and once we came down the stretch, I could really feel his power.”
The rest of the order of finish was 6. Bee A Magician, 7. On Track Piraten, 8. Rod Stewart, 9. Mosaique Face, 10. Natural Herbie.
Brian Sears, who drove Bee A Magician, the even money favorite and representative of Canada, was hoping for a stronger finish.
"I had hoped for a bit stronger finish, especially with our expectations. She just didn't have enough trot at the end. About three-quarters in the last turn, I felt that she was running out of gas at that point, so at that point I just wanted to finish for a check. There was some hop at the end when the other horse brushed, but they were able to pull away.” (HRC)