V75® (Sunday): Elitlopp joker with aces up his sleeve

14 years ago he finished second with the huge outsider Giant Superman.
On Sunday he's once again racing a joker in Elitloppet.
Fredrik B Larsson is back in the sprint showdown at Solvalla with two aces up his sleeves.

During the 2000's Fredrik B Larsson was enjoying a lot of success with Giant Superman. Together they raced in Elitloppet three times and 2005 they crossed the wire at second place behind Steinlager.
"I know he did one heck of an effort with a great sprint at the end and it was as if we won even though we finished second. He was ranked last in the race and even if I hate finishing second that was a very successful day" the Solvalla trainer remembers.
After the Giant Superman era, he's also participated in Elitloppet with Caballion and Reven d'Amour but hasn't reached the podium again. Maybe the time has come this year, when his new star Milliondollarrhyme (V75®-3) will measure up with the elite for the first time.
"You dream about things and especially during the winter when it's cold and nasty and then it's easy to start thinking about Elitloppet. I grew up at Solvalla. I've been running around there since I learned how to walk. It's my home track and for me Elitloppet is the biggest race. To have a horse racing there again is so much fun, almost unreal".

"He's ready"
Milliondollarrhyme is an incredibly fast horse. He has a great gait and he can switch gears in a way that makes his opponents look like they're standing still. Something that Hambletonian winner Perfect Spirit experienced when Fredrik B Larsson came flying in the last turn in Meadow Road's race last week at Solvalla. Even though last year's third place finisher of Elitloppet Nadal Broline caught him at the end, Milliondollarrhyme's effort as second in 1:09.2 earned him an invitation.
"It was pretty easy to say yes. I entered him to Meadow Road's race to get an answer to where he was at and I got that answer and then some" says Fredrik and explains:
"It's not just about the physical part of it, more so about the mental part. There's a lot of pressure on the horses in Elitloppet but the way he felt in the race and the day after, I knew he's ready".

Gears left
Something that makes Milliondollarrhyme even more interesting is the fact that Fredrik B Larsson has two more gears left to use. The five year old has raced all of his 23 starts in a regular style sulky and with all four shoes on. But last week Fredrik B Larsson tried an American sulky, in the warm up.
"He felt perfect in it, so he will race in it in the future. We'll see if it's already on Sunday or if it will be later. He can be a bit 'Ready Cash-shaky' and run in and stuff in the first turn and I want to be totally sure that he's ready for it once we try it on him. It might be already on Sunday but that's not decided yet".
American sulky or not, Fredrik B Larsson thinks that his horse will improve even more the day that his shoes are left in the stable.
"At least you can expect it to make an impact. My feeling is that it will fit him really well. I'm sure the sulky will matter too but pulling the shoes will be really exciting the day I do that on him...
Milliondollarrhyme is the only horse out of the 16 in Elitloppet who has never raced without shoes. If the Solvalla crowd will see him dance barefoot on Sunday remains to see.
"I've thought about pulling them but he's so quick even with them on. So I might race him with shoes in the elimination and then in a potential final, it's possible I'll pull them. But I'll stick to my instincts, so we'll have to see".

"Wicked fast out of the gate"
Which tactics to use is another thing Fredrik B Larsson has to think about. Milliondollarrhyme drew post six behind the gate, one notch outside of super star Propulsion.
"It's of course pretty far out there, but my horse is wicked fast if I fire him out of the gate, so I have something to think about there. I will decide on the day of the race what to do. He has a way of getting himself all fired up and Elitloppet is Elitloppet so I have to see how he feels and how he acts. But he's very quick in the start. These last two starts I haven't even asked him".
When you have the youngest and least experienced horse in the field it's understandable to lay somewhat low. But Fredrik B Larsson didn't say yes with Milliondollarrhyme just to participate.
"He's in against some darn good horses and he will be the underdog here, but he must be the one who's on the rise more than anyone else. He takes a giant leap ahead with every start he makes and there aren't many horses with the speed that he's got. We're going to come ready to battle and we'll see how far that can take us. It's gonna be a lot of fun".