Day At The Track

Takters to enjoy more 'Crunch' time in Pace

07:02 AM 04 Jul 2019 NZST
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Captain Crunch, harness racing
Captain Crunch
USTA Mark Hall Photo

Christina Takter was in Sweden when Captain Crunch won the C$1 million North America Cup last month, and although it was around 4 a.m., it did not prevent her from cheering on her 3-year-old harness racing colt or from celebrating enthusiastically with her husband, retired Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter.

"We were yelling so much I thought the roof was going to lift from the house," said Christina, who is among Captain Crunch's owners, with 3 Brothers Stables, Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms. "We had set the alarm to wake up and see the race. It was a lot of fun."

The Takters were in Sweden for a month, seeing family and friends. At the time of the North America Cup, they were visiting Per Eriksson. Did the commotion disturb their host?

"We were staying maybe a quarter of a mile from their house," Christina said, adding with a big smile and laugh, "so I don't think I woke them up."

Christina hopes there are more reasons to celebrate in the weeks ahead, beginning with the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace. Captain Crunch, a Dan Patch Award winner in 2018, was among 15 horses entered in the event, with the group divided into two $50,000 eliminations that will be contested Saturday at Meadowlands Racetrack. The top-five finishers will return for the final on July 13. Elimination winners will draw for posts one through six.

Captain Crunch, trained by Christina's daughter Nancy Johansson and driven by Scott Zeron, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the first of the two eliminations. North America Cup runner-up Bettor's Wish is the 9-5 choice in the second.

For the year, Captain Crunch has won three of four races. His only loss came in his North America Cup elimination, when he went off stride in the first turn because of jumping a shadow. He recovered to finish fifth and advance to the final, where he started from post eight and posted a three-quarter-length win over Bettor's Wish in 1:47.2.

"I was very, very nervous," Christina said about the final. "But, at the same time, that was kind of a freaky thing he did in the elimination, so I wasn't too worried about it. Of course, it's in the back of your mind, but we still had faith in him.

"That's when you really want to show the world that the horse is what you think he is."

Captain Crunch, a son of Captaintreacherous out of Sweet Paprika, was purchased for $85,000 at the 2017 Standardbred Horse Sale. Johansson's daughter, Ella, fell in love with the colt the day prior to the sale and implored her mother to buy him. The connection has added another layer of joy to Captain Crunch's story.

"It's special," Christina said. "She picked him out, kind of; she really liked him. She has that extra bond with him.

"I thought the price was right too. I was happy to get a piece of him because with the pedigree, I don't think we overpaid for him. And it's a very nice group (of owners) to be involved with."

If Captain Crunch advances to the Meadowlands Pace final, it will conflict with another big event for the Takter family. Jimmy, already a Hall of Famer in the U.S. and Canada, is scheduled to be inducted into the Swedish Trotting Hall of Fame on July 13. And although Christina and Jimmy celebrated the North America Cup win in Sweden, the couple plans to remain home for the Meadowlands Pace.

"It's going to be exciting," Christina said. "Of course, we have to get to the final. You never know. I just hope nothing happens, that the horse doesn't have bad luck or get sick. It all depends on Saturday."

Joining Captain Crunch in the first elimination are U S Captain (5-1), Reigning Deo (10-1), Workin Ona Mystery (5-2), Mangogh (15-1), Captain Ahab (4-1), and Mac's Power (12-1). U S Captain, entering open stakes company for the first time this season, is unbeaten in four races this year. Mangogh and Mac's Power are making their seasonal debuts.

The horses joining Bettor's Wish in the second elimination are Love Me Some Lou (10-1), Escapetothebeach (10-1), Best In Show (12-1), Captain Trevor (7-2), Hurrikane Emperor (8-1), Caviart Rockland (8-1), and De Los Cielos Deo (4-1).

Saturday's card at The Meadowlands also includes the $250,000 finals of the Graduates Series for each 4-year-old trotters and 4-year-old pacers. Racing begins at 6:35 p.m. (EDT). It is Fan Appreciation Night and fireworks will follow the races. For complete entries, click here.

Ken Weingartner

Media Relations Manager

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