05/02/2013 10:21AM

Meadowlands: Jimmy Takter trio could make some noise in $100,000 Maturity

Derick Giwner
Uncle Peter suffered from some terrible allergy problems as a 2- and 3-year-old.

Trainer Jimmy Takter has three trotters entered in the inaugural Meadowlands Maturity this Saturday night. The $100,000 race is exclusively for four-year-olds and was added to the stakes schedule in part to compensate owners for not retiring their stakes horses after the age of three.

The always outspoken Takter applauds Meadowlands chief Jeff Gural for his attempt to keep top horses on the racetrack, but at the same time he believes horse owners will ultimately suffer.

“Uncle Peter could have stood stud in Ohio this year for a $5,000 fee, but his foals wouldn’t be eligible to some of the major races,” said Takter.

The trainer has a soft spot for Uncle Peter, who drew post eight on Saturday night. “This horse has suffered from some terrible allergy problems as a two and three-year-old,” Takter said. “He’s overcome an awful lot.”

Uncle Peter has yet to win in two starts this year yet the trainer is happy with the progress he’s made so far.

“He went two very fast miles at Pocono. It’s not easy when these horses have to return and have to go in 1:52 immediately,” said Takter.

David Miller will be in the sulky behind Uncle Peter on Saturday. Ron Pierce, who was in the bike last year when Uncle Peter was the beaten favorite in the Hambletonian, opted off the colt in favor of Harbor Point.

Takter will be driving Guccio (post one), the rapidly improving son of Yankee Glide. “He was invited to compete in the Elitlopp,” said Takter. “There’s no way I could take him over there now. You have to be able to leave the gate hard in the Elitlopp to have any chance at all.”

Guccio captured his second start of the year on April 19, winning at the Meadowlands in 1:52, a career best. Last year Guccio closed from well back to finish second in the $1.5 million Hambletonian, a race that still impresses his trainer to this date.

“There aren’t many horses that can go around the last turn at the Meadowlands three wide and finish the way he did,” said Takter.

Guccio earned over three-quarters of a million dollars during his sophomore season and Takter believes he’ll be a better horse this year and even better over time.

“I have to be careful with him early in the race but he can carry his speed a long way,” said Takter.

When asked about perhaps racing in Europe in the future, the trainer suggested that perhaps in a couple of years he’ll be able to compete in the Prix D’Amerique, the elite race in France held annually in January.

“I think you don’t have to have the early speed to win that race,” Takter said.

Little Brown Fox earned $952,261 as a sophomore last year, but has yet to kick into the kind of form necessary to compete at the highest level.

“I don’t think he’s gotten up to speed as yet. He may need a few more starts,” said Takter.

While the Meadowlands Maturity is exclusively for four-year-olds, the trainer thinks that perhaps some of the others in the field may have more seasoning and thus an edge over his horses.

Modern Family has already raced 10 times this year and won seven of them for trainer Daryl Bier. Tim Tetrick steers Modern Family from post six while looking for his third consecutive victory.

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Perhaps the most intriguing horse in Saturday’s Meadowlands Maturity is Googoo Gaagaa. Ineligible to the Hambletonian last year, Googoo Gaagaa, the winner of the Beal Memorial at Mohegan Sun at Pocono last year in a world record 1:50 4/5 mile, makes his first start as a four-year-old.

Googoo Gaagaa was unbeaten until making breaks in both the Yonkers Trot and Stanley Dancer at the Meadowlands in 2012. He did rebound to win the $500,000 Colonial at Harrah’s Philadelphia, but by year’s end, he proved no match for Guccio in the Matron at Dover Downs.

Googoo Gaagaa drew post three with Corey Callahan slated to drive.

Kentucky Futurity winner My MVP makes his four-year-old debut from post 10 with Mike Lachance in the sulky. Lightly raced as a two-year-old, My MVP earned over $700,000 as a three-year-old, including a third place finish in the Hambletonian.

The Meadowlands Maturity goes as race six on the 13-race Meadowlands program with first post slated at 7:15 p.m. The program also includes the $39,615 Simpson Memorial for three-year-old colt pacers carded as race two.