Day At The Track

Classic Martine & Shake It Cerry clash Friday

06:01 AM 24 Apr 2015 NZST
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Frau Blucher-Classic Martine (outside horse) dead heat
Frau Blucher-Classic Martine (outside horse) dead heat, the fastest trotting dead-heat in history

WASHINGTON, PA, April 23, 2015 -- Shake It Cerry, 2014 Trotter of the Year, and Classic Martine, 2014 Mare Trotter of the Year, headline a field of nine top older harness racing mare trotters who will contest Friday's inaugural $51,100 The Meadows Maturity at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino. The event goes as race 9, with first post at 6:55 PM.

The Meadows created The Meadows Maturity, as well as a companion event for colts and geldings that's set for the May 2 Kentucky Derby Day card, as a rich earnings opportunity for the sport's trotting stars that could keep them from retiring early to the breeding ranks. That's a mission throughout harness racing, and in the case of The Meadows Maturity events, the effort appears to be a success.

The distaff version attracted two Dan Patch Award winners in Shake It Cerry and Classic Martine as well as The Meadows' elite female trotters, including Daylon Miracle, Anaffairtoremember, Cowgirl Hall and Whata Donato.

Shake It Cerry, who was won more than $2 million in her career, kicks off her 4-year-old campaign in The Meadows Maturity following a winning qualifier in 1:55 -- last quarter in 27.1 -- at the Meadowlands. Trainer Jimmy Takter was in the sulky that day and was pleased with her performance.

"I was very impressed with how she felt," Takter reports. "I'm very happy with the way she's training."

When Takter turns the reins over to Dave Palone, he won't be advising the Hall of Fame driver to take it easy on the champ her first time out."

"She likes to be in charge," Takter said. "When she gets behind the gate, she wants to be part of the action."

Takter indicated he and Shake It Cerry's owners, Solveig's Racing Partners, have mapped out an ambitious schedule for the champion that likely won't include any races against males.

"It's possible she could race against boys if it's for 4-year-olds only, but we wouldn't race her against boys in anything that's 4 and up," Takter said.

He said he does not expect this to be the final season on the track for Shake It Cerry.

"At 5, I think she'll be a candidate to ship to Europe to race," Takter said.

Classic Martine also is launching her 4-year-old campaign and must do so from post 9 for driver Dan Rawlings, trainer Chris Oakes and owners Hauser Brothers Racing, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich and Edwin Gold. But The Meadows Maturity brings her back to the scene of a particularly memorable finish.

That occurred in the championship of the 2013 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes for sophomore fillies, when Classic Martine and Frau Blucher crossed the wire together in 1:53.2. It was the fastest trotting dead heat in North American harness racing history, a mark that still stands. If she wins Friday, the daughter of Classic Photo-Drinking Days becomes a millionaire.

Friday's program also features the $33,700 championship of the Do Me Honor Pace for 3-year-old fillies.

Here is The Meadows Maturity field in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line:

1. Sweetie Hearts, Tony Hall, Rich Gillock, 20-1

2. Cowgirl Hall, Eric Goodell, Ron Burke, 8-1

3. Anaffairtoremember, Mike Wilder, William Bercury, 10-1

4. Daylon Miracle, Aaron Merriman, William Bercury, 5-1

5. Rockin With Dewey, Eric Ledford, Benoit Baillargeon, 12-1

6. Handover Belle, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 12-1

7. Shake It Cerry, Dave Palone, Jimmy Takter, 7-5

8. Whata Donato, Doug Snyder, Doug Snyder, 20-1

9. Classic Martine, Dan Rawlings, Chris Oakes, 4-1

Evan Pattak

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