10/24/2015 11:49PM

Woodbine Harness: Always B Miki highlights Takter's Crown wins

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Always B Miki and driver Dave Miller drew away powerfully.

Trainer Jimmy Takter called himself a "Conditioner" earlier this week when asked to describe the key to his success. Ultimately you can't take down half of the dozen Breeders Crown races held at Woodbine on Saturday if you send out horses that come up short in the end. Takter completed his record-setting night by sending out Always B Miki to a breathtaking 1:49 3/5 victory in the Open Pace and in the process proved beyond a doubt what that conditioning means. Unlike all of his rivals the 4-year-old by Always A Virgin was light when it came to competitive racing but clearly well-conditioned to handle the best the sport had to offer.

Always B Miki put the finishing touches on a masterpiece of a night not just for Takter but also for driver David Miller. Miller had been the regular pilot for State Treasurer but found his way back to Always B Miki for the Crown. His connection to Takter earned him another victory when The Bank surprised division leader Pinkman capturing the 3-year-old male trot.

The Bank was probably Miller's savviest drive of the night as he raced parked without cover the entire trip while Pinkman controlled the fractions and then almost apologetically rolled by the Takter stablemate in the closing strides.

"I saw Yannick working on his horse and I hadn't asked mine yet," Miller said following the race about what the stretch drive looked like turning for home. Miller was cool as can be.

It's not easy to out-duel the greatest drivers in the sport on a stage this big but that's exactly what Miller did the entire night. He put D One in control and lulled them to sleep in the opener. He allowed Sassa Hanover to tuck in front of him early in the 3-year-old filly pace thereby assuring himself a live cover trip and ultimate win with Divine Caroline. He followed reasonable cover and gave fellow Buckeye Brian Brown a Breeders Crown victory with Colors A Virgin, a 4-year-old also by Always a Virgin that was an unsuccessful supplement to the Crown a year ago as was Always B Miki.

Miller's best drive may have been in a losing effort as he seized the moment with Lost For Words in the 3-year-old male Crown event and nearly stole the race with Freaky Feet Pete, Wakizashi Hanover and Artspeak all mired in a dull cover flow on the turn.

The fact that three of the 12 Crown winners were Hoosiers was a near impossibility but the racing world got a whole lot brighter after Freaky Feet Pete's 1:50 performance with the subtle news from driver Trace Tetrick that the son of Rockin Image would likely be more heavily staked next year.

The Crowns may be the ultimate prize for 2015 but the biggest gift to the sport is the knowledge of just how many of the sport’s stars are destined to be back in 2016 and perhaps bigger and better than ever.

It's impossible to walk away from the Always B Miki or Freaky Feet Pete race and not want to see the two of them along with perhaps Wiggle It Jiggleit in combat on a regular basis. If Always B Miki could be this much better after breaking down twice in the last 12 months and now racing as a 4-year-old, imagine what Freaky Feet Pete and Wiggle It Jiggleit may turn out to be once their bodies have matured.

Takter's conditioning aside he certainly does get some well bred horses and in Pure Country that pedigree shined in a major way as the Somebeachsomewhere filly got an unexpected test at the halfway mark and just took off giving Brett Miller his first Crown triumph.

All The Time and Haughty gave Takter its first one-two sweep in the juvenile filly trot. He would later see J K Endofanera complete the Takter-exacta in the nightcap.

All The Time is a Marvin Katz-Al Libfeld homebred and the successful owners and breeders have been amassing some of the best trotting mares the sport has and converting them into solid stakes producers.

Muscle Hill continues to be the most fashionable trotting stallion and he swept the juvenile events with  Southwind Frank beating the boys and All The Time knocking off the girls.

The Crowns have clearly become an international affair and the victories by D One for sensational trainer Roger Walmann in the Open mares and then the facile tally by driver Johnny Takter behind Creatine either proved how strong the Europeans are our how limited the North American stock was. Clearly Johnny Takter knew what he was sitting behind and trainer Jimmy Takter was wise to ask the owners to pony up $62,500 to supplement Creatine. Though a disappointing third in the International all systems were go for the Crown.

If there was one question the Crowns didn't answer it was just how many lengths was Mission Brief going to win by before she broke? It's hard to come away from the race with the belief that "The Brief" isn't hands down the best in this division.

The late sire Rocknroll Hanover is gone but not forgotten after his son Boston Red Rocks surprised the premier 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings. In what proved to be the only truly contested race of the night Betting Line should get the most props for a fourth place finish. The son of Bettor’s Delight fought off every favorite only to get beaten by three longshots on the wire. Racing Hill had his chances as did Control The Moment, but neither had the heart on this night to pass Betting Line.

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