10/22/2015 4:11PM

Breeders Crown: Everything ‘Breaking Good’ for Takter

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Derick Giwner
Trainer Jimmy Takter has horses in 9 of the 12 Breeders Crown races on Saturday and has 21 career Crown wins.

To say trainer Jimmy Takter is well represented in the dozen Breeders Crown races on Saturday night at Woodbine is an understatement. The Swedish native has been defining and redefining himself as a master craftsman throughout the years in the standardbred sport and he enters Saturday night with 17 starters from his powerful stable.

Leading the list of favorites to capture the Crowns are Pinkman in the sophomore male trot, Pure Country in the freshman filly pace, Always B Miki in the Open Pace and elimination winners All The Time and Haughty in the juvenile filly trot.

For Takter, the work of keeping his large finely-tuned stable running has had an impact on him personally, but the trainer just wanted to talk horses on Tuesday.

[DRF HARNESS LIVE: Real-time insights & Live Video for Saturday's Breeders Crown Finals at Woodbine--Starts at 6:15 p.m.]

"I'm going to train the horses that didn't race in eliminations last week tomorrow," Takter said.

As for those that raced this past weekend in Toronto and were successful, Always B Miki was the first to come to mind.

"He's a special horse," said Takter. "The owners have come a long way with this horse, from being the favorite and having to scratch from last year's Breeders Crown to this moment. For me it was difficult when he broke down. It was a week after I had bought into the horse and it was a terrible feeling."

While time may heal all wounds, it's rare that horses can spend so much time away from the races and return to form as quickly as Always Be Miki has. The 4-year-old by Always A Virgin manhandled a seasoned field that included State Treasurer in 1:49 4/5 in just his second race in 11 months. "Usually it takes four or five starts for a horse to be tight enough at this level," said Takter, still amazed at just how good Always B Miki has been thus far.

"He's fresh and he's as sound as he's been," Takter said.

Joining Always B Miki in the $400K US Open Pace is stablemate JK Endofanera. Like Always B Miki, this 4-year-old was moved to Takter's stable from another trainer. "Other people made these horses. I'm just babysitting," Takter said, deflecting some of the credit surely but not giving himself and his staff enough of it.

Takter has had more than his share of brilliant trotters including most recently Father Patrick. While Pinkman may not be able to match the flash and flare exhibited by last year's Crown winning sophomore, he has more than made up for it in grit and determination.

"He just knows what he has to do to win," said Takter. "I'd be following him with one of my other horses and looked like I could pass, but Yannick (driver Gingras) would just speak to him and Pinkman would hit another gear."

Pinkman, who is named after a character in the award winning television series Breaking Bad, will be seeking his second Breeders Crown trophy, having won the 2-year-old championship at The Meadowlands. He landed the pole position in the $500,000 sophomore trot, race eight of 13 on the Woodbine program. This year Pinkman has won 11 of his 15 starts and has come back impressively after faltering in late August and early September.

"That was my fault. I probably shouldn't have taken him to Yonkers and just left him to race in Pennsylvania," said Takter. "He didn't get around the turns and there was something bothering him. But you know, I think if he didn't hook wheels on the final turn in the Yonkers Trot he would have won."

It's been a remarkable year for Takter in the 3-year-old male trotting division. Joining Pinkman in the final are The Bank (post 5), French Laundry (post 6) and Uncle Lasse (post 9). Collectively the four have earned more than $3.3 million in 2015 alone.

There were some (including this writer) that thought Mission Brief would skip the Kentucky Futurity filly division and instead try her luck against the boys. When she did not it looked like easy pickings in the $262,500 contest at The Red Mile on October 10. The size and overall presence of Mission Brief made her a legitimate 1-20 favorite that afternoon, but it didn't make her a winner. Wild Honey stole the show with a 1:50 4/5 winning mile and she enters Saturday's race with a chance to do it again.

"She's really incredible that filly," Takter said of Wild Honey. "She's not much to look at but she wants to do well."

Wild Honey was a winner in 10 of 12 races last year but couldn't handle Mission Brief in last year's record-setting Breeders Crown juvenile filly trot. Whether she can get the measure of Mission Brief on Saturday is up for considerable debate. Wild Honey landed post three while Mission Brief starts from post seven. The two fillies last met in Ontario in the Elegantimage final on September 19 at Mohawk and though Mission Brief captured the event with room to spare, Wild Honey put in an incredible effort herself in gaining the place spot.

Pure Country, the likely odds-on favorite in the $600K US Breeders Crown juvenile filly pace, would be the Perfect 10 should she capture the event having won her first nine starts this year. Surprisingly, Takter hadn't put her ahead of two other pacing fillies that trained down with the Diamond Creek Farms homebred.

"Actually I had three fillies by Somebeachsomewhere that I liked a lot. Pure Country was one, but I really liked the filly out of American Jewel (her name is Long Beach and she was turned out before racing) and Ivy League," said Takter. Ivy League, the first foal from See You At Peelers, made $92,627 this year. "She had a good year but she got sick on me,"

Pure Country has gone the distance and Takter was most impressed by her effort at The Red Mile. "When the other horse came up to her she showed that she wanted to win," Takter said, referring to the second week of Grand Circuit action.

In total, Takter is represented in nine of the 12 Breeders Crown races on Saturday. He seems destined to add to his 21 Breeders Crown victories and could reach $10 million in career Crown earnings.

The Open Mare Trot, where Takter starts Shake It Cerry, will kick off the night’s action at 6:30 p.m.

[ BREEDERS CROWN: Watch the Championship finals + Video Analysis of every race--Live on DRF Saturday!]