CAMPBELLVILLE, June 5 - One of the few trophies missing from trainer's extensive collection is a Pepsi North America Cup. This week, the Hall of Fame trainer said, "I want to win this one bad."
It partly explains why he's racing a horse in each of the three $50,000 Pepsi North America Cup eliminations Saturday at Mohawk. Takter will send out Lyonssomewhere in the first elimination (race three, post six, driver), Capital Account in the second elimination (race five, post eight, ) and Tellitlikeitis (race nine, post three, ).
The New Jersey-based conditioner, who was inducted into the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2011, came close to winning the NA Cup in 2012 when Tellitlikeitis' older half-brother Time To Roll finished second to's Thinking Out Loud by a half-length. In that same NA Cup race, Takter-trained Simply Business finished ninth less than a year after winning the $1 million Metro Pace at Mohawk.
The Pepsi North America is in a much more exclusive club of harness racing stakes races carrying a seven-figure purse. "We have two million-dollar races. It's all we have left. (The NA Cup) is one of them," Takter said. It serves as a further motivation for the trainer to win it.
Of his three entries, Takter said "both 'Tellit' and 'Lyon' have the ability to win it if they make the final. Otherwise, I wouldn't even put them in, of course. I really think both of those horses, if they have a good day, are two contenders in that race."
Takter said this year's field is wide open.
"So far, at least, there's not a Captaintreacherous in the field," he said. "It could be won by any one of those 23 horses that are in it."
Canadian-owned Tellitlikeitis comes into the race with the best credentials and a stellar pedigree.
The homebred owned by Sue Grange's Lothlorien Stables of Cheltenham is a son of Lothlorien-owned 2009 Pepsi North America Cup championout of stakes star Kikikatie.
Takter has trained all four of Tellitlikeitis' brothers. All four - Rockin Amadeus ($700,000), Time To Roll ($735,000), Grams Legacy ($165,000) and Rockin Image ($900,000) - are sons of Lothlorien's 2005 Pepsi North America Cup champion, who will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Aug. 6 in Mississauga.
Lothlorien also won the Pepsi North America Cup in 2002 with. All three of Lothlorien's NA Cup winners were owned, in part, by Jeffrey Snyder of New York City.
Takter said Tellitlikeitis is "a little smaller than his brothers, but they all can go fast... He's a good horse, but he had a lot of problems when he was a two-year-old. We had problems with his front ankles.
"He's a tough horse. He's as fast as Hes Watching, that's for sure. He has quick speed. Does he have stamina like Hes Watching has? I don't know, yet."
Tellitlikeitis comes into the NA Cup elims off a victory May 17 in his 2014 pari-mutuel debut in a Pennsylvania Sires Stakes event at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. As a two-year-old, Tellitlikeitis earned nearly $125,000 with two wins in eight starts.
Lyonssomewhere is also Canadian owned. The son of beloved 2008 NA Cup championis owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound of Burford. The colt sports a perfect four-for-four career record, though has yet to test stakes company.
"Lyonssomewhere hasn't raced against this calibre of horses. It will be exciting to see how he is. The horse is undefeated and loves to race," Takter said.
"I love that horse. I really like him He raced his last two starts (at the Meadowlands) and he really was super. I know he hasn't gone one of those :49 miles, but they are there.
Capital Account is a homebred owned by Brittany Farms of. The son of out of Copywriter has won half of his eight career starts and was sixth in his division on May 31 at Mohawk.
"He raced okay... He's a good horse. He's not bad. Unfortunately, he got a (poor) post again," Takter said of drawing the eight-hole. "It's going to be tough with that starting point."
First race post time for the Saturday card is 7:25 p.m.
by John Siscos, for WEG