Svanstedt looks to "plunge" into Hambo Oaks
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Plunge Blue Chip is a daughter of Muscle Mass out of Dunk The Donato. She was purchased for $42,000 at the 2016 Standardbred Horse Sale and her family includes multiple Dan Patch Award-winner Mr. Muscleman.
Last year she competed primarily on the New York Sire Stakes circuit, where her only loss of the season came in the series championship. She followed the defeat with three consecutive wins, including the finals of the Matron Stakes and Goldsmith Maid.
"I liked what I saw (when buying her) and the pedigree is good," Svanstedt said. "She was a very good looking horse. Her conformation is perfect.
"She was very good last year. She had a long season, but she came out good from that long season. She rested for two months and then came back. She grew up a little, but all of them grow up a little."
Plunge Blue Chip began this season with back-to-back wins before finishing second twice to Atlanta. She rebounded with her world-record win in the Delvin Miller Memorial. Atlanta, trained and co-owned by Rick Zeron, is undefeated in five races this year and will bypass the Oaks in favor of taking on the boys in the Hambletonian.
"She raced good earlier this year, but I had not been satisfied with her," Svanstedt said about Plunge Blue Chip. "Her gait had not been good. We always think it is a joint or something when they are not so good, but then we found it was a muscle on the right side that was the problem. We found that out and after that she's been much better."
As for Plunge Blue Chip's world-record performance, Svanstedt said, "I thought she could race (1):50 at the Meadowlands, but then she went (1):49.4. It was a surprise that she could go so fast. But the issue with the muscle is gone now and she feels good always when we train.
"It was a tough stretch (drive) but I had a feeling I was going to beat Manchego," he continued about the race, adding with a laugh, "Then when I looked at the replay, it was tougher than it was in the race. Manchego was fighting until the wire. She is a tough horse."
Earlier on the July 14 card at the Meadowlands, Svanstedt's Hambletonian-bound male trotter Six Pack temporarily set the world record for a 3-year-old when he won his division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial in 1:50. Svanstedt-trained horses now hold the records for history's fastest mile by any trotter (Sebastian K, 1:49 in 2014) and fastest miles for 3-year-old female and male trotters (Plunge Blue Chip and Six Pack).
"I am happy to have such good horses," Svanstedt said.
Plunge Blue Chip's Oaks elimination includes Phaetosive, who also won a division of the Delvin Miller Memorial, and will start from post five with trainer-driver Trond Smedshammer. The filly has won six of 10 career races and earned $352,358 for owner Purple Haze Stables.
"I think it could be tough to beat Phaetosive from the outside," Svanstedt said. "I hope Plunge is good enough to be first or second. It is important to win it for the final draw. (Phaetosive) is a very good horse. She is as good a horse as Manchego or Plunge. She looks good. She has won easy every time." (USTA)