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TAKTER TAKES HAMBLETONIAN & OAKS

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – August 2, 2014 – Jimmy Takter scored his first Hambletonian victory as a driver and third as a trainer – as well as became the second trainer two pull off the Hambletonian Oaks-Hambletonian double on Saturday, August 2, 2014 at the Meadowlands.

Trixton [$10.60], one of three Takter trainees in the $1,006,125 Hambletonian, the 13th race, finished a half-length ahead of stablemate Nuncio, with a mile in 1:50.3. It was 10 ¾ lengths to Harper Blue Chip in third.


Trixton with Jimmy Takter [Lisa Photo Inc]


The Takter-trained Lifetime Pursuit won the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for three-year-old trotting fillies a race earlier.

Jan Johnson pulled off the Oaks-Hambletonian double in 1988 with the colt Armbro Goal and the filly Nan’s Catch.

Despite dark clouds most of the day, the sun came out before the 89th edition of the Hambletonian field hit the track. A crowd of 20,764 turned out for the first Hambletonian raced out of the new grandstand. The Meadowlands has hosted the raced since 1981.

As soon as the gate released the field of 11, the spotlight shifted off of 2-5 Father Patrick, the most highly rated of Takter’s three entrants, who, along with Datsyuk and Doncango broke at the start.

Nuncio, in the hands of John Campbell, took the field down the backstretch and Takter followed a second-over trip with Trixton. The two battled in the stretch with 4-1 Trixton [$10.60] getting by 9-2 Nuncio in the final strides.

The final time of 1:50.3 was two-fifths of a second off the stakes record 1:50.1 clocking in 2009 by Muscle Hill, the sire of New Jersey-bred Trixton, a $360,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase for Brixton Medical AB of Sweden and Christina Takter of East Windsor, NJ.

Trixton won the New Jersey Sire Stakes Final, the Goodtimes and Reynolds this year for a record of seven wins in nine starts. Lifetime, he has finished on-the-board in 15 of 17 starts, including 11 wins.

“My game plans usually never work out,” said Takter. “I thought I had to pull a Ronnie [Ron Pierce] and try to leave but I backed up behind him [Pierce with Royal Ice]. I had no clue until after the race [that Father Patrick had broken stride].”

The stretch battle turned out to be between two Hall of Famer drivers, John Campbell with Nuncio and Takter with Trixton.

Campbell holds the record with six winning drives in the three-year-old trotting classic.

“Nuncio raced his heart out,” said Takter. “John wanted this race so bad. That’s natural. But he’s happy for me.”

“He raced great,” Campbell said of Nuncio. “He was pressured in the first half but when I asked him in the turn he took off. He just didn’t have enough to hold off Trixton. This horse had raced great all year long, never been worse than second.”

“I thought I had a shot,” Takter said. “To win the Hambletonian, how sweet that is.”

Takter harnessed 1997 winner Malabar Man, who was driven by Mal Burroughs, and 2010 winner Muscle Massive, who was driven by Pierce.

“I’m on Cloud 9,” Takter added. “I’m 53 so I don’t drive that much. I usually put the best drivers up.”

As happy as Takter was to finally add a winning Hambletonian drive to his long list of accomplishments, he said “if Father Patrick had stayed flat, he’d blow by us.”

Father Patrick, who won his first six starts of the year, finished last in the field of 11.

“I scored him down pretty hard because I’ve never left with him before,” said Yannick Gingras, the driver of Father Patrick. “I wanted him to pay attention and be ready for it. And then the gate opened, I just touched him on his butt with the whip, and he took off running.”

Gingras won five races on the card and topped the standings for the meet, which concluded with the Hambletonian Day card.

Takter was not sure of Trixton’s plans, but the trainer is taking a vacation.

“I was very excited,” said Takter’s wife, Christine, the co-owner of Trixton. “This is so much fun and everybody works so hard to get here and not everybody gets here. And today, being here with the whole family, all the kids and the grandkids and everything we’ve been through, day out and day in, this is just the icing on the cake.”

Lifetime Pursuit [$22.00], owned and bred by Brittany Farms, was driven to victory in the Hambletonian Oaks by Gingras, She was a two and a half-length winner over 6-5 favorite Designed To Be. It was two and three-quarters back to Take The Money in third.

“She’s been flying a little bit under the radar,” Takter said of the filly. “She’s a top horse. She’s been running second to Cerry {Shake IT Cerry] all last year. I felt good about it going into this race, because she’s been serious every race. We gambled a little bit with her and did a couple changes, and it worked out.”

Lifetime Pursuit now has three wins, a second and two thirds from eight starts. Overall she has nine wins and has finished in-the-money in 14 of 18 starts.


Lifetime Pursuit with Yannick Gingras [USTA Photo]


“It definitely was the perfect trip,” said Gingras. “She probably needed that to win, but she was awesome today. Jimmy pulled her shoes, and I think that was the difference right there. She’s always good gaited but she definitely had more speed in her today.”

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