Almost immediately after Resolve crossed the finish line four lengths in front of runner-up Bee A Magician in the inaugural $150,000 Elitlopp Playoff at the Meadowlands, his number “4” began to blink on the infield tote board with the word “Inquiry.”
Resolve, driven and trained by two-time Elitloppet champion Ake Svanstedt, had just scorched a field of top-class trotters in 1:51.2, but had clearly gone inside three pylons turning into the stretch.
After a lengthy judges’ inquiry, Resolve was disqualified and placed ninth while Bee A Magician was elevated to the victory. Gural Hanover finished third and was placed second while long shot Obrigado was elevated to third. The winner paid $7.20 and keyed a $2 exacta worth $46.60. The $2 trifecta paid $882.80.
Svanstedt had the barefooted Resolve fired up off the starting gate, racing through the opening quarter-mile in :27.2. John Campbell had the favourite, JL Cruze, comfortably away in the pocket, but was not content to follow Resolve. Campbell aggressively moved JL Cruze to the outside and took the lead through a taxing :54.3 half-mile. At that point, Svanstedt pulled the pocket and re-took the lead through three-quarters in 1:23.1. JL Cruze offered no resistance, eventually finishing sixth, but placed ninth for his own pylon violation. Leaving the final turn and turning into the stretch, Resolve went inside three pylons before Svanstedt could straighten his course. Resolve finished four lengths in front of Bee A Magician, but ultimately was disqualified.
Following the race, Markus Myron, Christer Haggstrom, and Mats Lagerholm from Solvalla Racecourse in Sweden, home of The Elitloppet, presented the trophy and extended an invitation to the race to David McDuffee, co-owner of Bee A Magician.
“It is certainly a great honour to receive the invitation and I will speak with the other owners before we make a final decision,” said McDuffee during a winner’s circle interview.
“Resolve went a tremendous mile,” said winning driver Brian Sears. “I was very impressed with him. My mare raced well, but I thought she was still a little soft in only her second start of the season.”
Despite the disqualification, Resolve was also extended an invitation to The Elitloppet on May 29.