V75®/multi jackpot: Ready to make a mark in the elite

Last year he finally got his big win.
This year Makethemark will try to do just that - make a mark as one of the best trotters in the world.
The plan is to race him exclusively in the toughest races" says trainer Petri Salmela as he will make his seasonal debut this Sunday at Romme.

Sick as the giant favorite in his elimination to the Swedish Criterium and a missed entry to the Swedish Derby.
Makethemark never got the chance to complete his tasks as a three and four year old.
But as a five year old he got his revenge.
In August of last year Petri Salmela's jewel sprinted past the top of the crop to win a great edition of Jubileumspokalen at Solvalla.
His first seven figure check had been won.
This is the year when the horse with the strong finish will try to take a spot among the top trotters of the world.
There's no doubt that he's already has taken a spot in his trainer's heart.
"People think it's easy to say he's the best horse I've ever trained because he's made the most money. But he's so extraordinarily smart. If I've ever had a horse who could talk it would be him. That feeling has gotten stronger the last couple of years, he's awesome" says Petri Salmela who opted to choose Romme on the last day of Spring Race as the venue for Makethemark's seasonal debut.
Spring Race is ATG®'s name of the Easter holiday where there are four straight days of V75® starting on Good Thursday and ending in a multi jackpot finale at Romme on Easter Sunday.

Does not want to race in the Olympic Trot
Rommeheatet on Sunday is the last chance to qualify to the Olympic Trot, the first major race in Sweden for the older trotters.
But Petri Salmela has no interest in racing there.
"No, regardless of how he does on Sunday he won't race in the Olympic Trot. We have many nice races to choose between and this one comes a little bit too early in the season for him" says the trainer of the star of the North.
Even if Makethemark is trained in Boden on paper, he hasn't been there at all this past winter.
He is stabled at Petri Salmela's stable in the Stockholm area.
And the scheduled trip back home never happened.
"The plan was for him to make his seasonal debut on Boden's V75 day March 31, but we had some sick horses in that stable so we couldn't go through with that plan. Makethemark wasn't very sick himself, he just had a temperature for half a day and never had any mucus like many other horses. But since he has a long season ahead of him, we chose to wait" says Salmela who is pleased with how his star pupil trained this past winter.
"He got a couple of weeks off after his last start in November but since then he's been in full training except for the week after he was sick. He's gone two fast heats, three weeks ago at the farm where he felt very good and that's the fastest I've ever trained a horse on that farm. Then we took him to Solvalla last Thursday. He trained with a mare who had a 100 meter head start and the first kilometer he trotted around 1:15 to catch up to her and then they trotted the last kilometer around 1:15 together. That's when I felt that he's race ready".
Usually wins his seasonal debut
And Makethemark usually delivers right away after his winter training.
His seasonal debuts as a four and five year old were both victorious after tremendous rallies.
That has been Makethemark's trade mark, to come flying on the outside after a stalking trip in the two path off the pace.
That was also how he won Jubileumspokalen.
"If you look at all his previous races he hasn't seen the pylons very much, still he has delivered the way he has. But when you're in the toughest races where the pace in 1:10 speed the entire race they're usually won by horses at the pylons. I'm dreaming of the day when he gets the perfect trip" says Salmela who is planning on racing his horses in the toughest races possible this year.
"With a horse like him it all makes sense. It fits him being the underdog. On the flip side we're not scared of anyone. When you have a horse like this you have to believe in him and in our entire concept. The first big goal is Norrbottens Stora Pris at home in Boden in June. He was very good in that race last year where he finished second to Propulsion. The road there is still not decided, we've gotten offers from Copenhagen Cup and Finlandia Ajo. We'll worry about that after this start".

Barefoot and blinds can wait
Regarding the race this Sunday, Makethemark has the opportunity to showcase a feature he rarely uses, his ability to leave the gate.
"He can leave quickly too, I know he can. He showed that in his last start of last year, even if something wasn't right with him that day. I think post position one is perfect for him. But I don't know how hard Ulf (Ohlsson) wants to try to leave or how good his chances of holding up the lead are".
How would you like for him to be raced?
"As long as he doesn't go first up, Ulf can drive however he wants".
Equipment-wise Makethemark found another gear when he raced barefoot and in an American sulky the start before Jubileumspokalen. But he's never raced in any type of blind bridle.
"He's never had really good feet and even if they got better during this past winter, he's not a horse who can go barefoot very often. The shoes will stay on for this start, but I'll race him in the American sulky again".
"As far as the bridle goes, I don't think that would do anything for him. At least not in the end of a race. He's very honest and he can't trot any faster than 1:08 the last kilometer like he's done several times already. But it would probably get him out of the gate a little quicker, but that will have to wait. Maybe in Elitloppet 2020..."says Petri Salmela.