Swandre The Giant steps up to Wellwood elims
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Swandre The Giant is a son of Swan For All, who sired 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover and 2017 Breeders Crown 2-year-old colt trotting champion Fiftydallarbill. Diamond Creek was among the owners of Swan For All during his racing career and remains part of the stallion's syndicate. The colt's dam, Adagio, was a Kentucky Sire Stakes champion in 2011.
"We've been a fan of Swan For All for a long time," Bowden said. "I think he's shown with the right horse he can compete outside of (Indiana). Hannelore is the best trotting mare in the last who-knows-how-many years and Fiftydallarbill has shown he's capable of beating the best everyone else has to offer.
"We hope he follows in those footsteps. There's no way to know until they actually do it, but he looked like he had done it relatively easily up to this point and Brandon had done a fantastic job with him. He was in great hands. We figured we might as well take a swing."
The Wellwood attracted 17 horses, which were divided into two eliminations. Yannick Gingras will drive Swandre The Giant, who starts from post No. 2 in his division. His elim also includes Pennsylvania Sire Stakes runner-up White Tiger and Define The World Series winner Royal Rob. The first elimination includes Champlain Stakes division winners Kings County, Hudson River and CT Conabra plus Peter Haughton Memorial runner-up Green Manalishi S.
The top-five finishers from each elimination advance to the final on Sept. 15 at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
"I think he's good enough to compete," Bowden said. "We'll find out how good over the next couple weeks. We feel like he belongs up there with that group and he's in the best hands between Jimmy and Yannick, so we're in good shape. You dream, but I've learned to take it one race at a time."
Swandre The Giant, who has earned $148,900 in purses, can follow the Wellwood with the remainder of the Indiana Sires Stakes season and is eligible to the Breeders Crown.
"He will tell us where he should go and how long he should go for," Bowden said. "Jimmy is a master at this. I can sit and play armchair quarterback from Lexington, Ky., but I'm not sure that I'm going to be the deciding factor. Jimmy and his staff will get to know the horse and do right by the horse." (Ken Weingartner/USTA)