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Smedshammer sends out strong pair in Su Mac Lad opener

March 27, 2009
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A new training regimen has helped Likeabatoutahell become the toast of the open trotting ranks this year. One of two entrants trained by Trond Smedshammer, the 6-year-old gelding bids for his fourth straight win in the $50,000 second leg of the Su Mac Lad series on Friday night at the Meadowlands.
 
Likeabatoutahell draws post two (program number three) in the sixth race feature. He has hit the board in eight of 10 starts and already earned more than $100,000 this season, outpacing his accomplishments for the previous season.

“I’m not quite sure why Likeabatoutahell has come around this year,” Smedshammer said. “We did change his routine and put him on a new treadmill, and it seems he really likes it. We have different training methods here and I added this new dimension. It has computer controlled programs, adjustable speeds and inclines, and an electric eye shock sensor that protects the horse by automatically stopping it if the horse stumbles. They’re like a Mercedes compared to the old ones. It’s made in Germany and a guy down in Wellington, Fla. imports them. Some of the big name trainers with hunters and jumpers use them a lot. Trainers in Denmark and Sweden had been using them quite a bit with a lot of success. I went to a veterinary conference in San Diego, and they had them on display out there. It’s called a Horse Gym 2000.”

Smedshammer added the program has been particularly beneficial because Likeabatoutahell spends little time on the track in between races. 

“We might just blow him out a slow trip on the Wednesday before (he races),” he said. “That’s the only time he gets hooked up to the jog cart.  Also, I put the different set of trotting hobbles back on him this year. They fit on him real loose and they don’t restrict him at all. It gives him a little confidence, but staying off the track has kept him much sounder. He always showed ability, but he’s been difficult to keep the same week after week. Now it seems we’ve found the key to him, and this horse has matured enough.”

While Brian Sears has the driving assignment for Likeaboutahell, Smedshammer will sit in the sulky behind Arch Madness, his other entrant in the Su Mac Lad. Arch Madness makes his 2009 debut from post nine (program number eight). The 5-year-old Balanced Image gelding, with $1.7 million on his card, capped his 2008 season with a decisive win in a career best of 1:52 over division champion Enough Talk in the $684,884 Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk.

“I thought Arch Madness had a nice 4-year-old transition year,” Smedshammer said.  “It’s always tough for them to make the adjustment, and I think he did very well.  He went some big miles even without winning some of them. He was second in the Titan Cup, the Trotting Classic, the Nat Ray, the Breeders Crown and the Allerage, and won the Maple Leaf Trot. He had a lot of bad posts and came first-up several times. I was just very proud of him throughout the year. The schedule allowed him to be done the first week of October. He didn’t get a whole lot of time off, but he didn’t have a lot of starts, and that’s why he’s back now.”

Smedshammer is considering taking Arch Madness to Sweden to race in the Elitlopp this May. The Norwegian native had success in Europe’s most prestigious event with HP Paque, who finished second to Varenne in 2002.

“The horse has to be super good to even consider it,” he said. “He travels very well and that’s not an issue, and neither is the five-eighths track. When he goes to Canada he doesn’t mind being away from home, but it’s a different racing style in Europe. We’ll take it one start at a time. This is also the year you would expect him to have a great season here. There’s a lot of money to be made here. You can expect him to step it up at the age five and he’ll be tough.”

In addition to his pair of Su Mac Lad stars, Smedshammer will send out millionaire mare Falls For You in the $27,500 Preferred Trot. With $1,162,181 in the bank, Falls For You makes her 2009 debut off a pair of sharp qualifiers.

“There were certainly discussions to retire Falls For You, but she made around $370,000 last year despite jumping offstride in the Breeders Crown,” he said. “There’s definitely some value there to keep her on the track, and her owners like to race. She’s been training back real well. I thinking she’s going to have another tremendous year. The Classic Series at Dover Downs is next for her.”

At the age of 42, Smedshammer has compiled an impressive resume, averaging $4 million in each of the past five seasons, producing a record seven trotting millionaires, five divisional champions, a trotting Triple Crown winner, a Trotter of the Year, and seven Breeders Crown winners. At this point, he is unsure whether he will have a shot at another victory in the $1.5 million Hambletonian this season.

“I have three that I like, but they didn’t do a whole lot last year,” he said. “It would be a big step up for them, and I think it’s going to be a tough group this year. Then again, it’s the same situation as 2004 when Windsong’s Legacy won.” (Meadowlands)
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