Day At The Track

Lindstrom is Gaagaa for Captain Corey

06:42 AM 16 Oct 2020 NZDT
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Captain Corey, harness racing
Captain Corey and trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt
Curtis Salonick photo

When Robert Lindstrom saw the then-yearling Captain Corey in person for the first time, he quickly arrived at two conclusions. First, the harness racing colt was going to cost more than he originally anticipated. Second, he needed to be the one to buy him.

Lindstrom was correct about the first assumption and successful in accomplishing the second, purchasing Captain Corey for $150,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Sale. The trotter was the co-sales topper for the session.

"It was very exciting," Lindstrom said. "I had some idea how much I could spend for him. When I saw him, I understood it would be impossible. I was much over my limit to buy him, but I couldn't let him go. To me, he was the best horse in the sale at that time."

Captain Corey, who is undefeated in four races this year as he prepares for Friday's $61,500 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters at The Meadowlands, is by Googoo Gaagaa out of Luv U All. Googoo Gaagaa was a record-setting sensation at ages 2 and 3, with a career mark of 1:50.4 established at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 2012, best known for being the son of a pacing stallion, Cam's Rocket.

Lindstrom long admired Googoo Gaagaa and last year brokered a deal with Richard Hans, who was the horse's breeder, owner, and trainer, to buy the stallion and bring him to Sweden. Googoo Gaagaa, through frozen semen transport, had already sired a small group of successful horses in Sweden prior to the move. They include Group 1 winners Bythebook, Hail Mary, and Power.

"To pick a stallion, it's good if they have a good pedigree, but it's all about performance, that they are an exceptional horse," Lindstrom said. "Googoo had such a trotting technique, with the way he could go around turns, and he wanted to win. That is what I think you need for a great stallion.

"If you're really a nerd about pedigree, if you follow his maternal line way back, he comes from the same maternal line as Muscle Hill. It's there. Some people say that he doesn't have the pedigree, but I don't think his pedigree is bad."

Lindstrom's interest in Captain Corey, therefore, was not unexpected. The colt, named in honor of Googoo Gaagaa's driver Corey Callahan, was bred by Carter Duer and when Lindstrom visited the farm and saw Captain Corey in the paddock, he was immediately hooked.

"He was such a tremendous horse," Lindstrom said. "Just when you saw him, not only his body, but when you saw him in the eyes, he looked intelligent. He looked right through you. I got such a feeling from the horse."

Lindstrom partnered with S R F Stable and Knutsson Trotting Inc. on the purchase of Captain Corey and sent the horse to trainer Ake Svanstedt (who also became an ownership partner). Svanstedt, too, found it easy to admire Captain Corey.

"From day one when we hooked him to the jog cart he was like an old horse," Svanstedt said. "He is a very smart horse, never nervous for a race. His gait is very good, a long stride. I don't think he needs to use too much energy to do his job. He has a long stride, and I can never feel the speed of him because he has such a nice gait. It feels like it is easy for him. I'm impressed with everything he does."

Captain Corey's four wins this season all came in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, including a track-record 1:54.1 debut at The Meadows, a track-record-equaling 1:55 second start at Harrah's Philadelphia, and a 1:53.3 stakes-record score in the series championship at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

"He was so big, I didn't think he was going to be this good so early," Lindstrom said. "Ake has done a tremendous job to make him so good and develop him in the right way."

Captain Corey's start Friday will be his first since winning the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final Sept. 5. The colt battled a little sickness after the race and got an extended respite in preparation for the upcoming Breeders Crown.

"I think it was good for him to have a break," Svanstedt said. "He was training the whole time and has trained good."

Lindstrom said the plan was to limit Captain Corey to 10 or fewer races this season.

"The most important thing this year was not to race too much," Lindstrom said. "Next year is important. The 3-year-old season is where we thought he would shine. This season is just a bonus.

"We're very excited about what has happened so far, but even more for what could happen. It's very thrilling."

by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

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