01/14/2016 4:42PM

Giwner: Takter gearing up for another big year

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Linscott Photo
Always B Miki never lost in four 2015 starts.

While he practically dominated the headlines from May through December last year and took home Trainer of the Year honors, you haven’t seen much written about trainer Jimmy Takter in recent weeks. The Hall of Fame trainer and most of his horses are on the sidelines preparing for what he hopes will be a strong 2016 campaign.

Just two weeks into the New Year, Takter has started only three horses. Last year the buzz surrounding the trainer lasted well into January as he sent Maven to the Prix D’Amerique in France. She wound up making a break that day and had mixed results during a European campaign that included the Elitlopp among other races.

There will be no Prix D’Amerique for Maven or any other Takter pupils, but we can expect to see the millionaire trotting mare in 2016. “I think she still has some juice left in her,” said Takter, who added that going to the Prix D’Amerique is something that takes careful planning. “You have to really prepare for it like I did with Moni Maker. I think I made a mistake going with Maven last year.”

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The list of top older trotters in the Takter barn includes another mare, Shake It Cerry, along with Pinkman, Creatine, and others. The trainer reports that Creatine, who raced in Europe for part of 2015, never returned overseas so he could work with the horse firsthand.

While trotters are Takter’s calling-card, the horse in his barn drawing the most anticipation for 2016 is clearly Always B Miki. Following bouts of disappointment due to injury, Always B Miki finally made it back to the races late last year and was perfect in four starts including a Breeders Crown win.

“He’s looking fantastic. I’m really excited about his return,” said Takter about the millionaire son of Always A Virgin. “I seriously believe he is the soundest he has been in his life. I’m so lucky I have this horse.”

With the official stakes schedule still yet to be released, Takter was unsure of when Always B Miki would make his return to the track. The beginning of the stakes year (March through May) for older pacers seems to be dominated by races on half-mile tracks. Takter would not rule out an appearance on a smaller track at some point.

“He is very athletic. I think he could probably handle the half even though he is a big horse” said Takter.

After a year in which his stable earned $12,945,377 to add to his career total of $102,947,693, Takter has the opportunity to top that lofty total. In addition to the stars above, he has the undefeated now 3-year-old pacing filly Pure Country and fellow Breeders Crown-winning trotting filly All The Time. And who know what Hambletonian prospects will pop up for the man who is looking for his third straight win in the most prestigious race in the sport?