Smedshammer: My horse deserves respect
May 15, 2011
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Norwegian-born Trond Smedshammer finally got a win in his country's biggest race, but he had to enjoy it while standing on American soil. Because of paperwork delays for his visa, he stayed at home in New Jersey and watched his pupil Arch Madness easily capture the Oslo Grand Prix on Sunday in the capital city.
Back in 2002 Trond Smedshammer took HP Paque to Scandinavia and finished second in the Oslo Grand Prix, beaten a nose by Brad's Phot, after driving HP Paque to a victory in the Finlandia in Helsinki.
Smedshammer selected top driver Bjorn Goop to drive Arch Madness and he gave him his take on the race prior to the post parade Sunday. "I talked to him and told him I didn't think Paul MacDonell would want to sit in front at that distance, and I thought he would let us go if we left," said Smedshammer. "I thought the French horse (Rapide Lebel) would come, and the only thing that was different is the Norwegian horse (Yarrah Boko) came too, which just made it better for us."
Smedshammer said Arch Madness, a 7-year-old gelded son of Balanced Image, is obviously in great form this year, now with four wins in four starts, including his 1:52.3 score at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on April 22.
Smedshammer said he was especially pleased to see Arch Madness relaxed behind the starting gate and race in the hole. He confirmed that after the race, as the crowd cheered, Arch Madness showed a bit of his spirit when he did an "adrenaline dance," pawing and throwing his head while standing in the winner's circle.
As his performance showed, Arch Madness recovered well after his trip to Oslo. "For Arch, it's very important for him to stay quiet and rest," said Smedshammer. "He's been at my old farm in Norway, and he'll stay there until the day before the Elitlopp. He'll just do some light jogging, and be ridden through the woods. It's a beautiful place and he won't be doing any work on a round track there."
Smedshammer said he believes Arch Madness is now one of the horses to beat in the upcoming Elitlopp. "For me, this is a tough horse to beat if he's good," he said. "This horse does it year after year. He's got to be a favorite in the Elitlopp. Before this race he had no respect. They were talking about five to six other horses."
Arch Madness now has 23 wins in 62 career starts and approximately $2.7 million in earnings.--By Kathy Parker