Day At The Track

Father Patrick to debut in 'great' Maxie Lee

08:48 AM 21 May 2015 NZST
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Father Patrick
Father Patrick makes his debut as a 4-year-old on Sunday
Mark Hall - USTA photo

Harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter looks at Sunday's $150,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational for older trotters at Harrah's Philadelphia and can't help but be impressed.

"It's like a mini Elitloppet," Takter said, referring to the famed invitational in Sweden that brings together an international field of 16 trotters. "This would have been a top field in Elitloppet elimination, anyway. It's going to be a great race."

Takter's Father Patrick - who on Sunday makes his debut as a 4-year-old - is among four trotters entered in the Maxie Lee with Dan Patch Awards on their resumes. The others are Bee A Magician, who was harness racing's 2013 Horse of the Year, Market Share, and Classic Martine.

The race is part of a star-studded card that also features the $150,000 Jerry Taylor Invitational for older male pacers and the $150,000 Betsy Ross Invitational for older female pacers.

Father Patrick, who received Dan Patch Awards at both ages 2 and 3 and was the sport's top money-winner last season, drew post five with driver Yannick Gingras and is 7-2 on the morning line. He has won 22 of 28 career starts and earned $2.43 million for the Father Patrick Stable ownership group.

A son of Cantab Hall out of the mare Gala Dream, Father Patrick prepped for his seasonal bow with three qualifiers. He was second to Melady's Monet in the first in 1:55, then won in 1:53.3 and 1:52.

"Everything is much better than I expected," Takter said. "The horse had three qualifiers and he was stronger in every one of them. The last one was in (1):52 with the plugs left in; (Gingras) never really asked him anything. The horse is ready."

In addition to getting ready for the racing campaign, Father Patrick has been doing stud duty.

"It hasn't hurt him," Takter said. "He's going to breed three times this week. He's got a busy schedule, this guy. He doesn't seem to mind it. We've been fortunate that it hasn't been that hot. Sometimes when they've got to ship back and forth and breed, you just want to make sure their weight stays right."

Bee A Magician, who on Saturday became the first female trotter to win the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial and is No. 1 in the first Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, drew post three and is the 2-1 morning line favorite. The 5-year-old mare is 3-for-3 this season, defeating male rivals in all of her starts. She won the Cutler in 1:51.2, which is the season's best time for any trotter.

Her trainer, Nifty Norman, also is impressed with the Maxie Lee lineup.

"I would say that's the best field she's met - maybe in her life," Norman said. "That's a really, really good field. I think we got probably the best draw out of that crew so we'll see how it shakes out.

"You couldn't be more pleased with her," he added. "She's been fantastic every start and maybe got better each start. I'm thrilled."

Classic Martine, who received last year's Dan Patch Award for best older female trotter, got post seven and is 5-2. She has won two of three races this season, including the Miami Valley Distaff at Miami Valley Raceway in a track-record 1:52.2.

Market Share, a Dan Patch Award honoree in 2012 and 2013, drew post four and is 8-1.

"This is (Father Patrick's) first time racing against aged horses," Takter said. "Bee A Magician has really impressed me this year. She's a horse that's going to be tough to beat. But I feel optimistic. I think he can give her a run for the money. Classic Martine has been racing really good and you can't rule out Market Share with the class he has."

Following is the field for the Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line:

1. Lindy's Tru Grit, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 20-1

2. DW's NY Yank, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 9-1

3. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman, 2-1

4. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 8-1

5. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 7-2

6. Melady's Monet, John Campbell, Kevin McDermott, 12-1

7. Classic Martine, George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes, 5-2

8. Bourbon Bay, John Cummings Jr., Megan Wilson, 15-1

Following is the field for the Jerry Taylor Invitational in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line:

1. Doctor Butch, John Campbell, Linda Toscano, 6-1

2. Sapphire City, Mark MacDonald, Paul Blumenfeld, 20-1

3. Domethatagain, Simon Allard, Rene Allard, 2-1

4. Great Vintage, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 10-1

5. Mach It So, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Bamond Jr., 5-2

6. Dancin Yankee, Brett Miller, Josh Green, 15-1

7. Clear Vision, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 5-1

8. Modern Legend, James MacDonald, David Drew, 6-1

Following is the field for the Betsy Ross Mare Invitational in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line:

1. Sayitall BB, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 3-1

2. Anndrovette, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Bamond Jr., 7-1

3. Radar Contact, John Campbell, Noel Daley, 9-2

4. Jerseylicious, David Miller, Wayne Givens, 9-1

5. Table Talk, Andy Miller, Bart Dalious, 20-1

6. Yagonnakissmeornot, Simon Allard, Rene Allard, 9-5

7. Ooh Bad Shark, Allan Davis, William Wiggins, 12-1

8. For The Ladies N, Brian Sears, Peter Tritton, 20-1

by Ken Weingartner

Harness Racing Communications





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