Seven world-class trotters from six countries have accepted invitations to the 2017 $1 million Yonkers International Trot on Saturday, Oct. 14, at Empire City Casino.
Last year’s champion, Resolve, of the U.S., will be defending his title in the 1¼-mile classic. Trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt, who steered the American flag-carrier to last year’s world record victory in 2:23:4 over Yonkers Raceway’s historic strip, declared in on behalf of owner Hans Enggren, according to Yonkers’ racing secretary Steve Starr.
The star-studded Yonkers International card features a total of $3.3 million in purses buoyed by the $1.8 million New York Day of Champions, and a pair of $250,000 Invitationals, which will be announced in the coming days. Post time for the Yonkers International Trot is at 4 p.m. First post for the matinee card is at 1 p.m.
The elite Yonkers International field includes a pair of two-time participants: Italy’s Oasis Bi and On Track Piraten, of Sweden, with their connections hoping that “three’s the charm” this year. Oasis finished second last year, while Piraten was a fast-closing fourth.
The duo was fourth and seventh, respectively, in 2015 when the International returned after a 20-year hiatus.
France’s Dreammoko, the fastest from the first crop of standout Timoko, and a second Italian standout, Twister Bi, have also accepted invitations to participate in the 39th edition of the worldwide trotting affair.
Midnight Hour, of Finland, and Denmark’s Tripolini VP complete the first seven trotters whose connections have agreed to participate. The European trotters are tentatively expected to fly to New York on Tuesday, Oct. 3.
Back to Resolve, the millionaire six-year-old son of Muscle Hill, will attempt to become the first U.S. representative to win back to back Internationals since Delmonica Hanover (1973-1974).
Roquepine (1967-1968), Ideal du Gazeau, the only three-time champion (1982-1984) and Lutin d’Isigny, all of France, are the only other three to win consecutive Internationals.
Starr also reported that the connections of Euros Eagle, Lionel, Nuncio, Propulsion, Timoko, and Aubrion du Gersand, and Yonkers Trot champion Top Flight Angel have declined invitations for various reasons. Top Flight Angel’s team elected to race in the $225,000 final of the New York Sire Stakes on the same day.
Starr added that major trotting stakes in September and October that will help to determine the International field also include: The Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Raceway on Sept. 16, which was won by Hannelore Hanover, the Centaur Trotting Classic in Hoosier, Indiana, on Sept. 22, the Dayton Trotting Derby in Dayton, Ohio, on Sept. 29, and the Allerage Farms Open Trot in Lexington, Kentucky on Oct. 8.