Saturday, December 2, 2023

Rikard Skoglund’s name isn’t one that’s familiar to Meadowlands’ fans, but if the 34-year-old native of Sweden has his way, it will be in the not-too-distant future.

Skoglund, who has dreams of relocating to The Big M dancing in his head, guided Bonanza to an authoritative, first-over 1¼-length score Friday night, and in the process, Bonanza lifted his lifetime stats to seven wins from 10 lifetime starts for Skoglund’s friend, trainer Per Engblom.

The 4-year-old horse by Muscle Hill-Designed To Be stopped the clock in the low-end conditioned trot in 1:55.4 and returned $10.00 to win as the 4-1 second choice in the wagering.

“The racing is a little bit different in Sweden than here,” said Skoglund. “The plan was to leave, [but after having to go first-over] I kept him going without pushing him.”

Skoglund is a full-time driver in Sweden who has close to 1,500 career wins and has been in the top-10 in the standings there for the last five years. He’s hoping things fall into place for the 4,000-mile move to East Rutherford from Stockholm.

“I am here because I have been watching the races from the U.S. my entire life,” said Skoglund. “I wanted to try coming here because I like the way you race here.

“I will be here for three weeks this time, and then go back home before Christmas. I have a baby boy and need to speak with my fiancé. If I make some progress, I’m going to try and move here. I would like to relocate, that’s my dream. Per has told me that the market is big enough for me to not only drive his horses, but others as well.”

CARRY ON: For a second straight program, no winning tickets were sold on the 20-cent Pick-8 or 20-cent Pick-6, making things very interesting for Saturday’s card.

Both wagers will now have double carryovers for players to shoot for. The Pick-8, which returned $20.14 to those with five correct, will begin with $10,566 in the pool, while the Pick-6, which paid $2,154 for tickets with five winning selections, will have a hefty $37,839 in the hat.

A LITTLE MORE: Marcus Miller’s second of two winners on the night was Pull Me Through, who paid $106.20 to win in the 13th race, keying the giant Late 50-cent Pick-4 return of $42,763. … Joining Miller with two driving wins were Patrick Ryder, Yogi Sheridan, Brett Beckwith and Tyler Miller… All-source wagering on the 14-race card totaled $2,639,108. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Bonanza takes the ninth race at The Meadowlands Friday night with Rikard Skoglund doing the driving. Skoglund is hoping to move his tack to The Big M. (Credit: Lisa Photo)