Resolve, owned by 87-year-old Hans Enggren, heads a strong field for Saturday's $185,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic at Northfield Park.
by David Compa
By BOB ROBERTSSpecial to The Plain Dealer CLEVELAND, Ohio -- An 83-year-old's eye for a colt of promise, coupled with his persistence to close the deal, has developed into one of harness racing's most heartwarming stories. It will be on display at Northfield Park on Saturday night when Hans Enggren's Resolve heads the field for the $185,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic. Resolve, the 8-5 morning line favorite in a field of eight, has banked $2.3 million. The six-year-old son of 2009 Horse of the Year Muscle Hill won last year's $1 million International Trot at Yonkers in New York. He is also a world traveler, having twice raced in the prestigious Elitlopp in Sweden, finishing second last year and third in this year's renewal on May 28. After shipping home and catching his breath, Resolve won last Saturday's Open Handicap at Yonkers. Enggren, now 87, is as much a story as his horse. The native of Sweden came to the U.S. in 1952 and is best known for breeding and owning 1985 Hambletonian winner Prakas. Enggren spotted Resolve in the fall of 2013 at a training center in Florida. "I fell in love with him the first time I saw him," said Enggren. "He was such a beautiful animal. The more I saw him, the more I wanted to buy him." Resolve had won just two of 12 starts and $21,874 in his first year of trotting, but did match a track record at Tioga Downs with a 1:55 2/5 mile. "I tried several times," said Enggren, "But I didn't get a deal until July of the following year. I probably set a record going from my house to the bank to transfer the money." Enggren won't say how much he paid, but admits he's made a handsome profit on his investment. Resolve has earned all but $34,000 of his more than $2 million for the Swede. "I have options with him, too," said Enggren. "I can retire him to stud or race him for years. I will probably race him because he will keep me alive." Would he ever entertain selling Resolve? "At my age, you can't sell something like him," Enggren said. "It would be worse than divorcing 10 wives." Hot to trot: Dave Bianconi, Northfield's vice-president of racing, calls the Cleveland Trotting Classic lineup "the best field of trotters to ever race here."