Takter seeks rare Hambletonian repeatAugust 6, 2015,
by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications
Freehold, NJ — Jimmy Takter will try to become the sixth trainer in harness racing history to win the Hambletonian Stakes in back-to-back years when he sends five horses into Saturday’s 90th edition of the trotting classic for 3-year-olds at Meadowlands Racetrack.
Mission impossible? No. But standing in his way could be Mission Brief.
Takter’s Pinkman is the 8-5 morning line favorite in the first of two $100,000 Hambletonian eliminations Saturday at the Meadowlands. Mission Brief, who is trying to become the first female trotter to win the Hambletonian since Continentalvictory in 1996, is the 6-5 choice in the second division.
The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the $1 million final later in the day. Coverage of the Hambletonian will air from 4-5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
The last trainer to win the Hambletonian in consecutive years was Per Eriksson in 1991 and 1992. Takter, who won last year’s Hambletonian with Trixton and has captured the race three times, also has The Bank and Canepa Hanover in the first elimination and French Laundry and Uncle Lasse in the second division. Pinkman, who has won six of seven races this year and 12 of 15 in his career, will start his elimination from post No. 10, the most outside spot on the gate.
“I wasn’t happy of course getting the 10 post with Pinkman,” said Takter. “He’s my strongest contender, but it’s two heats. He’s in good form so maybe we have to do it the hard way. But it is what it is.”
The Bank, who is 8-1 on the morning line in the first elimination and will be driven by Takter’s brother Johnny, has a win and four second-place finishes in his five most recent races.
“Horses in great form are normally the horses that win this race and he’s by far the horse that improved the most out of all my horses the last month,” Takter said. “I see I have a very good spot there. He can leave the gate very good and he’s the kind of horse that he wants to dictate the pace.
“It’s a couple horses in this race that are definitely good. Last year I had the three best ones. This year, it’s a wide-open race but I got five good horses and they really deserve to be there.”
Prior to Mission Brief entering the Hambletonian, the most recent filly to attempt to beat the boys in the first leg of the Trotting Triple Crown was Pampered Princess, who happened to be trained by Takter, in 2007. She won her elimination division and finished sixth in the final, which was won by Donato Hanover.
Mission Brief was the 2014 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter and has won 12 of 17 career races and earned $791,417. She also holds the world record for the fastest time for any 2-year-old trotter in history, 1:50.3. This year, she has won three of four races while dealing with back woes, which have improved in recent weeks thanks to chiropractic work.
Yannick Gingras will drive the filly, who is bypassing the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, which is solely for female trotters, for a shot at history.
“Maybe financially it would have been better to go to the Hambletonian Oaks, but pride-wise and for the sport, it’s better to go to the Hambletonian,” said Ron Burke, who trains and co-owns the filly. “If we won the Hambletonian Oaks, we’d have been happy, but it’s not going to change anybody’s life. We’ve all done things like that before. We thought this for some of us would be a lifetime experience, so we said let’s go.
“If you don’t believe in your horse you might as well not even show up. I’ve always believed in her. She’s given me every reason to believe in her. Her best is as good as anybody’s best.”
Following are the fields for the Hambletonian eliminations in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line odds. The Hambletonian final is Race No. 13:
$1.2 million Hambletonian-$100,000 1st elim.-Race 8
1. Donatomite, Trond Smedshammer, Trond Smedshammer, 15-1
2. The Bank, Johnny Takter, Jimmy Takter, 8-1
3. Workout Wonder, Daniel Dube, Ake Svanstedt, 12-1
4. Habitat, Brian Sears, Ron Burke, 6-1
5. Total Darkness, Tim Tetrick, Jonas Czernyson, 20-1
6. Fashion Creditor, David Miller, Tom Fanning, 20-1
7. Jacksons Minion, Tom Jackson, Tom Jackson, 30-1
8. Centurion ATM, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 9-2
9. Canepa Hanover, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 3-1
10. Pinkman, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 8-5
$1.2 million Hambletonian-$100,000 2nd elim.-Race 9
1. Billy Flynn, Scott Zeron, Staffan Lind, 15-1
2. Mission Brief, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 6-5
3. Cruzado Dela Noche, Orjan Kihlstrom, Nancy Johansson, 20-1
4. Aldebaran Eagle, Corey Callahan, Jonas Czernyson, 20-1
5. Wings Of Royalty, Brian Sears, George Ducharme, 12-1
6. French Laundry, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 4-1
7. Uncle Lasse, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 5-2
8. Southwind Mozart, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1
9. Muscle Diamond, Tim Tetrick, Brett Bittle, 8-1
- Hambletonian draws 19 starters (Monday, August 03, 2015)
Pinkman will start from the outside post 10 in the first of two eliminations in Saturday’s $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes for 3-year-old trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack while the filly Mission Brief will leave from post two in the second elimination. The draws for the Hambletonian and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks were conducted Monday afternoon at the Meadowlands.
- Mission Brief to flex her “Muscle” in Hambletonian (Tuesday, August 04, 2015)
Mission Brief, a daughter of Muscle Hill, was nurtured in the New Jersey Sire Stakes program and proved herself against the best of her age, gait and gender to win divisional honors at two. Now she will tackle the best 3-year-old trotters in training in the $1.2 million Hambletonian on Saturday at the Meadowlands.
- Big Hambletonian Day card in Grand Circuit spotlight (Wednesday, August 05, 2015)
Grand Circuit action kicks off this Saturday (Aug. 8) at Meadowlands Racetrack with one of the biggest cards of the season. The afternoon program is led by the $1.2 million Hambletonian, the first leg of trotting’s Triple Crown for 3-year-olds.
- Blockbuster Hambo Day racing at The Meadowlands (Wednesday, August 5, 2015)
The 2015 Hambletonian Day card on Saturday, August 8 at The Meadowlands has all the elements necessary to be one of the great events in harness racing history.
- 90th Hambletonian to air live on CBS Sports Network (Wednesday, August 05, 2015)
CBS Sports Network will present a 90-minute live telecast of the first leg of the Trotting Triple Crown, the $1.2 million Hambletonian, from the Meadowlands Racetrack on Saturday (Aug. 8) from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT).
- Freshman stakes winners to duel in Hambletonian (Thursday, August 06, 2015)
Two horses enter Saturday’s $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes at Meadowlands Racetrack having already posted victories at the Big M on Hambletonian Day — colt Centurion ATM and filly Mission Brief. Centurion ATM won last year’s Peter Haughton Memorial while Mission Brief captured the Merrie Annabelle, both in world-record-equaling times.
- Fashion Creditor looks to step up in Hambletonian (Friday, August 07, 2015)
Fashion Creditor is heading to Saturday’s $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes for 3-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands off the fastest winning mile of his life and trainer Tom Fanning believes the colt could take another step forward on harness racing’s biggest stage.
- Yankeeland legacy leaves deep imprint on Hambletonian history (Friday, August 07, 2015)
The Hambletonian, to be raced for the 90th time on Saturday, has a rich family heritage. Page through the pedigrees of today’s finest horses and you can take a trip back in time and find the greatest trotters of the last century. Family means everything when it comes to equine pedigree and it means even more to those heavily invested in the sport.
- George Ducharme back for another try at Hambletonian glory (Saturday, August 08, 2015)
Trainer George Ducharme knows that Wings Of Royalty is not the same horse as 2013 Hambletonian champion Royalty For Life. The affable conditioner nonetheless is rather pleased with the progress the son of RC Royalty has made entering the 90th edition of the Hambletonian Saturday at the Meadowlands.