Takter trotters double up in Graduate at Big M again

East Rutherford, NJ – Apparently, the Nancy Takter barn has more good trotters in it than presumptive Hambletonian favorite Karl, as in Saturday night’s (June 22) third and final leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-olds, she sent out the winners of both trotting divisions for a second straight week.

Saturday’s card also had a pair of Graduate splits on the pace, as all four of the events went for a purse of $50,000. The $250,000 (est.) finals will take place on July 6, the night of the Meadowlands Pace eliminations.

Winner’s Bet and driver Dexter Dunn won the first of two divisions of the Graduate Series for trotters Saturday night at The Meadowlands. Lisa Photo.

In the first trot, Takter’s Winner’s Bet, who last week equaled the track record for a 4-year-old horse, apparently wasn’t happy with that, and went out and lowered that mark to 1:49.3 in an eye-popping front-end score with Dexter Dunn driving.

The time was the fastest of 2024 in the entire sport on the trot.

After winning last week in leg two from off the pace, Dunn put the son of Walner-Side Bet Hanover on the lead and cut out fractions of :27.1, :54.4 and 1:23, before sprinting home in :26.3 to record a 1-1/4 length score over Chapercraz. Ponda Jet was third.

Ponda Jet came at the eventual winner with a rush at three-quarters, but was shrugged off once they straightened away in the lane.

“That was pretty special,” said Takter. “It was nice to see him perform so well. He was perfect today. Dex said he had plenty left when horses came alongside him.”

Winner’s Bet has now won eight-of-22 lifetime outings, good for earnings of $627,967 for owners Lindy Farms of Connecticut and Robert A. Rudolph. He paid $2.60 to win as the 1-5 public choice.

Hasty Bid took the second division of the Graduate Series for trotters at The Meadowlands Saturday night, giving trainer Nancy Takter a sweep of the two trotting dashes. Yannick Gingras was in the sulky. Lisa Photo.

Takter hit paydirt again in the second trot with Hasty Bid, a horse who joined her barn just last week, as driver Yannick Gingras kept the gelding by My MVP-Sunshinenlollipops close to the action from the get-go before grabbing the lead while parked at the head of the stretch and holding sway to the wire to win by 1-1/4 lengths in a lifetime-best 1:50.2. Special Way finished second with 6-5 favorite Oh Well third.

Due to a canceled flight, driver James MacDonald, the three-time defending Canadian Driver of the Year, couldn’t make it to The Big M for the races, so his good friend Gingras wanted to let him know that there were no problems with him hopping in the bike.

“He sure raced good. Going into the race, I thought maybe I was two or three lengths better than James, but I guess I’m six lengths better,” said Gingras with a laugh. “He’s a nice horse to drive, two fingers. He likes to pass horses and he delivered.”

Hasty Bid recorded his sixth lifetime victory from 27 starts as he upped his lifetime bankroll to $470,000 for owners James MacDonald and Paige N. Austin. He returned $7.40 to win as the 5-2 third choice in the betting.

The pair of paces brought a pair of upsets, one major, one not so much.

Act Fast (Downbytheseaside-Act Like A Diva), no closer than fifth in any of his last four starts, worked out a brilliant cover trip and stormed home to record a 1:47.3 lifetime-best mile at odds of 23-1 for driver Todd McCarthy and trainer Ron Burke. It’s My Show was three-quarters-of-a-length back in second with Voukefalas third. Coach Stefanos, the 3-5 favorite, weakened to seventh and last, unable to endure after leading at the half in :53.3 and three-quarters in 1:21.

The winning time equaled the fastest mile of the year at The Meadowlands.

“It sort of panned out there, the horse raced super,” said McCarthy. “It was my first time behind the horse, and Ronnie said he’s been a little unlucky. He thought we had a shot if we got a trip. He did a great job to hang on.”

Owned by Burke Racing Stable, Knox Services Inc., Rich Lombardo Racing and Beasty LLC, Act Fast returned $49.60 to his joyous backers as the sixth choice. He now has 12 wins from 45 lifetime outings, good for earnings of $454,704.

Ken Hanover took control of the second pace with a swift move to the lead at the half in :54.3 before a back half in :53.1 resulted in a safe one-length win over even-money favorite Huntinthelastdolar. Redwood Hanover was third.

The final time of 1:47.4 was a lifetime best for the son of Captaintreacherous-K J’s Justine.

“He had a better post and everything worked his way tonight,” said winning driver Dave Miller of the Roland Mallar trainee.

“He’s a good horse who always gives 100 percent.”

After recording his 13th lifetime win from 35 attempts, Ken Hanover lifted his lifetime earnings to $638,093 for owners Roland D. Mallar, Patrick A. Leavitt, William R. Jordan and Dennis J. Osterholt. He returned $10.20 to his backers as the 4-1 third choice in the wagering.

A LITTLE MORE: One shrewd player scooped the pot in the 20-cent Pick-6. With a carryover of $3,440 leading to a total pool of just over $36,000, after a sequence that saw winner’s odds of 1-5, 12-1, 5-2, 9-5, 3-1 and 14-1, he or she cashed in for $31,337.96. … The 11th race 10-cent Hi-5 (or Pentafecta, if you prefer) saw a carryover of $15,253 lead to a total pool of just over $74,000. Those with tickets with the correct combination of 1-5-7-8-6 walked away with $1,837.83. … All-source handle on the 14-race card totaled $2,978,687. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

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