06/12/2014 10:21AM

Mohawk: Takter ready for a big weekend

Derick Giwner
Trainer Jimmy Takter will send out the morning line favorite in three of the six stakes races on Saturday at Mohawk.

For some trainers the luck of the draw was a major concern going into Saturday’s multi-stakes 14-race card at Mohawk Raceway. But for trainer Jimmy Takter, there was little to fear. Four from Takter’s broad stable captured elimination races last weekend and were able to bypass lady luck and choose their options wisely.

“We were very fortunate,” said Takter modestly about the impressive weekend his stable enjoyed at Mohawk. On Friday it was Trixton, the most improved three-year-old colt trotter in North America, securing a spot in the Goodtimes final and a likely odds-on assignment come post time. The trainer opted for post five in the C$272,100 contest drawn as race four. Takter also drives the son of Muscle Hill.

“He’s a big horse,” said Takter. “Last year he just couldn’t put it all together.” The colt has been so impressive that many are beginning to put him in the same conversation with Takter’s brilliant Father Patrick. “I’m not going to compare them,” said Takter politely, wanting to skirt the issue. Trixton is not eligible to the next major stake for his age group (Earl Beal at Pocono on June 28). What that means for racing fans is that Trixton won’t meet his stablemates until the Dancer at the Meadowlands or the Hambletonian on the first Saturday in August.

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On Saturday, Takter was thrilled with the performance of last year’s Breeders Crown filly pacing champion Uffizi Hanover. “I was very happy with her. She paced home in :25 and change,” said Takter of the daughter of Well Said. “We had some problems with her in her first two starts with splints. But since then she’s been fine.”

Uffizi Hanover (post two) is the 3-1 morning line favorite in the C$457,500 Fan Hanover final carded as race nine. The other elimination winner, Table Talk, asked for post three while beaten elimination favorite Nat A Virgin was fortunate to land the pole position after succumbing to soft fractions in Uffizi Hanover’s elimination race.

Takter likes his chances because he doesn’t see the three-year-old filly pacing division being as strong as it was last year. “I think we were lucky that McNair’s fillies (0 for 4 in the elims) didn’t qualify,” Takter said.

One race later, Takter finds two of his three-year-old pacing colts on the inside due to quite impressive miles last Saturday. Tellitlikeitis, the son of 2009 North America Cup victor Well Said from the five-time 1:50 performing broodmare Kikikatie, captured his elimination in 1:48 4/5 for driver Brett Miller. The colt has shown incredible improvement from two to three-years of age. “We had trouble keeping him together last year,” said Takter. Certain physical issues have been resolved this year and Tellitlikeitis appears to be in perfect condition from post three for the $1 million North America Cup final.

Takter’s impressive stable has been able to lure quality horses for years and perhaps he’s been given another gift horse in Lyonssomewhere. The son of the 2008 North America Cup champion Somebeachsomewhere arrived in his stable about six weeks ago after conditioning through the winter in Canada and has been letter perfect in three starts.

Takter has been extremely impressed by the colt thus far. “It’s a big step up for him but I think he can handle it,” Takter said. Corey Callahan drives the colt again after scoring with him in 1:50 1/5 in preliminary action. The pair start from post four in the 10-horse field.

This year’s North America Cup is as wide-open as the race has been in its 31-year history.

“I think five or six horses can win the race,” said Takter with respect for his competition. The draw may have compromised the non-winners from last week, with pre-North America Cup favorite JK Endofanera landing post nine for the final. After capturing a division of the Somebeachsomewhere, the Art Major-sired colt from the sport’s leading conditioner—Ron Burke—appeared to be locked on a line in the stretch and impossible to steer. Brian Sears has the driving assignment.

He’s Watching, also a beaten favorite in last week’s elimination race, drew post seven for the final and gets his third different driver of the 2014 season. Tim Tetrick has been put up behind last year’s undefeated two-year-old, a winner just once in three starts this year.

Last year’s Breeders Crown winner Luck Be Withyou drew post eight for driver Ron Pierce and the speedy Let’s Drink On It starts from post five with young Tyler Smith in the bike.

Second choice in the field is McWicked, a son of McArdle who captured the fastest of the three eliminations last Saturday and asked for post two in the draw. He’s rated the second choice in the line for driver David Miller.

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The year 2014 is shaping up rather nicely for trainer Jimmy Takter. The one-time conditioner of only trotters branched into pacers just a dozen years ago. Now he’s on the threshold of capturing his first North America Cup. A Fan Hanover title and Goodtimes trophy wouldn’t be bad either.