Jimmy Takter, who came early on to the United States -- 'The Land of Opportunity' as he calls it -- and has since bloomed into the world's leading trainer -- of trotters and pacers alike -- was selected to be placed on the ballot for election to the Harness Racing Living Hall of Fame, which took place during committee voting amidst the traditional Fourth of July Grand Circuit week and Hall of Fame Dinner in Goshen, N.Y.
Takter will go before the voters, qualified members of the U. S. Harness Writers Association and members of the Living Hall of Fame, this summer, and if garnering 75 percent of the yes-no voting, will be inducted into the Living Hall.
Takter, Trainer of the Year in 2010, is having another terrific season in 2011, but a little surprisingly, the stable this year is headed by a pacer instead of any number of trotters, who are used for harness racing exclusively in Takter's native Sweden.
That pacer would be the sensational 3-year-old filly See You At Peelers, currently rated #1 in the weekly Top Ten poll of harness racing's best performers. See You At Peelers is currently undefeated in 18 lifetime starts, set a world record of 1:49.2 at Tioga earlier this year, beat colts in the Rooney, and if staying on schedule will get another chance to go up against colts later this year in the prestigious Little Brown Jug.
But the transplanted New Jerseyite has by no means given up training trotters -- ample evidence being Pastor Stephen, last year's 2-year-old Trotting Colt of the Year and among everybody's top contender for harness racing's biggest race, the Hambletonian, in August.
In fact, it was his dexterity with the trotting gait over the years that has brought him to the pinnacle of the sport. There was Moni Maker, a mare who became an international champion and one of the greatest squaregaiters of all time;, Horse of the Year, two-time divisional champion, and Hambletonian winner; and the list could go on and on. Takter is the only conditioner to have been named Trainer of the Year three times (1996-2000-2010) by USHWA.
Takter also gets points for his cooperativeness and candor with the press, and for being willing to participate in most any manner of publicity or public relations for the sport.
Joining Takter in the Hall of Fame mailing this summer will be a ballot containing this year's two nominees for the Communicators Hall of Fame: Jean Emerson, publisher of the respected New England Harness News and tireless worker for harness racing; and Moira Fanning, whose knowledge, polish, and demeanor has helped her work her way to one of the most important jobs in the sport, coordinating countless areas for the Hambletonian Society and their championship year-end series, the Breeders Crown.
The results of the balloting should be announced just before the end of summer -- maybe on the day a certain trainer stands in an Ohio winner's circle 3,500 miles from his place of birth, holding the bridle of a certain filly with a garland of flowers draped on her back...
by Jerry Connors, for the United States Harness Writers Association
2010 Year In Review - Jimmy Takter