Atlanta marches to world record victory in Graduate
By Kimberly French, Hoof Beats Editor
East Rutherford, NJ — Atlanta (Yannick Gingras) took the overland route to claim a world record triumph in 1:49.1 in the $250,000 Graduate final for 4-year-old trotters at The Meadowlands on Saturday (July 6). The daughter of Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip exploded in the lane to defeat world champion Six Pack (Åke Svenstadt) and Indiana champion Custom Cantab (David Miller) at the wire.
The time of 1:49.1 was the fastest ever for a trotting mare, besting the 1:49.2 mark put up in 2017 by Hannelore Hanover at Red Mile. It was also the fastest trotting mile ever at The Meadowlands.
Leaving from post position four Atlanta was unhurried as Manchego (Dexter Dunn) led the field of 10 through a swift opening quarter-mile of :26.2. That mare was overtaken by a first-over Six Pack shortly after that marker. Six Pack posted fractions of :54.1 and 1:22 as the field turned for home.
Driven confidently by Gingras, Atlanta commenced her march on the outside from third place at the top of the stretch to best Six Pack by a neck in a cavalry charge to the finish line.
“I can’t say I was not worried turning for home,” said Gingras. “His horse (Svanstedt with Six Pack) kicked clear and I know he’s a tremendous horse too but this mare is just unreal. She just kept on digging.
“Honestly I thought I was a winner at the eighth pole but his horse (Svanstedt’s) just kept on fighting and at that point I wasn’t so sure. When I tipped her off cover I really thought I was going to get him a little easier than I did but at the end of the day it was two great horses going at it and we came out on top.”
Owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor, the 4-year-old mare is trained by Ron Burke. The 2018 Hambletonian winner now has earned more than $1.48 million in her career and is a perfect six-for-six in her 2019 campaign.
Atlanta paid $2.60 to win as the 3-10 public choice. Six Pack paid $4.20 to place, while Custom Cantab provided her supporters with $7.40 to show.