Day At The Track

Pinkman to make 2019 debut at Big M

03:54 AM 05 Apr 2019 NZDT
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Pinkman,Harness racing
Pinkman
Ken Weingartner photo

Pinkman, who won the 2015 Hambletonian on his way to being named Trotter of the Year, is ready for a new season and trainer Per Engblom is optimistic that "the old man" is poised for a solid harness racing campaign.

The 7-year-old gelding makes his seasonal debut Friday (April 5) in the preferred handicap trot at The Meadowlands, which could be the first of two preps for Pinkman ahead of May's Arthur J. Cutler Memorial at the Big M.

For the past several years, Pinkman has been troubled by chronic throat and breathing issues; he made a total of only 14 starts at ages 4 and 5. Last year, he enjoyed his healthiest campaign since age 3 and equaled his career high for starts with 17.

Pinkman heads to Friday's race off a 1:54.2 win in a qualifier at the Meadowlands on March 30. He starts from post six in an eight-horse field and is 5-1 on the morning line with Yannick Gingras in the sulky. Sutton, with Andy Miller driving for trainer Julie Miller, is the 5-2 favorite.

"The old man is doing good," Engblom said about Pinkman. "He had a good winter, actually a little bit better winter than he's had the last couple years. We didn't miss any training with him. He's been staying healthy, he's been breathing well, and he qualified great.

"You have to take him for what he is. He's an older horse and you can't really push him. But if he's feeling well, he will give you what he's got."

Engblom is well acquainted with Pinkman. A native of Sweden, Engblom is in his first year running his own stable in the U.S. following six seasons as the top assistant in Jimmy Takter's stable, where Pinkman has spent his career.

Pinkman, a son of Explosive Matter out of Margie Seelster, has won 19 of 56 career races and earned $2.73 million for owners Christina Takter, brothers John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland, and Herb Liverman. He was a Dan Patch Award winner at ages 2 and 3 and counts the Canadian Trotting Classic, Kentucky Futurity, and Beal and Zweig memorials among his victories in addition to the Hambletonian.

Despite his health woes in recent years, Pinkman has earned $270,212 since turning 4. He won a Group 2 race in Sweden in 2016 and was stakes-placed last year. He trotted 1:49.2 in Homicide Hunter's 1:48.4 world-record mile in the Allerage Open Trot at Lexington's Red Mile, where he finished third.

"He had a little bad luck last year," Engblom said, referring to eight starts from posts eight, nine, 10 or the second tier. "At the end of last year, he was doing pretty well. He trotted (1):49 and a piece in Lexington. He's still got it, we just need to manage him. That's the key.

"He's been so solid (preparing for this season). I really think he's going to do OK. I'm really confident he can have a pretty good year. He's a sound horse. His legs are as tough as they come. It's fun to work with classy old horses like him. It's a thrill every time you train him."

Friday's card at the Meadowlands also includes the start of the Walner Series for trotters and the Wiggle It Jiggleit Series for pacers. Each series features three preliminary rounds followed by an April 27 final.

Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). For complete Friday entries, click here.

 

Ken Weingartner

Media Relations Manager

U.S. Trotting Association

www.ustrotting.com

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