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Whom Shall I Fear 3,1:52.4, the Cantab Hall full brother to 2 and 3-year-old World Champion Father Patrick and to 2-year-old champion Pastor Stephen, has been retired from harness racing and will stand the 2016 breeding season at Victory Hill Farm in Indiana.   His stud fee has been set at $2,500.   He was the top-priced yearling of 2013 when he was purchased for $475,000 by Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter. Takter's wife Christina owned the colt, along with a partnership that consisted of John Fielding, Brixton Medical, Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, Sam Goldband and the colt's breeder, Brittany Farms.   "He's simply a gorgeous horse," said Brittany manager Art Zubrod. "His dam, Gala Dream, has produced four $100,000 yearlings and pair of sale-toppers. And I think he's definitely one of her best. He's nearly the spitting image, in terms of both looks and conformation, to Father Patrick."   Whom Shall I Fear was stakes-placed in Grand Circuit action at 2 and began his 3-year-old season with tremendous promise. He won his first four starts in stakes action and took a mark of 1:52.4, then went on to compete in major events like the Dancer Memorial, Earl Beal, Colonial, Zweig, Bluegrass and Matron against top colts like "Trotter of the Year" Pinkman, Crazy Wow, and Habitat.   "When it comes to Whom Shall I Fear, I don't think I've ever been more disappointed by a horse," said trainer Jimmy Takter.   "At the beginning of the year I knew he was the one, but he got sick on us three times. I never could get him back to where he was at the start of the season. It's a shame... he's such a magnificent-looking animal. He'll make a top sire, I just know it."   Those interested in additional information or a booking application should contact Victory Hill Farm by calling (260) 463-2442 or emailing info@victoryhillfarm.com.   Victory Hill Farm   For information contact Victory Hill Farm at (260) 463-2442 or email info@victoryhillfarm.com    

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 17, 2016 - Not Afraid with harness racing driver Dan Dube at the controls held off Red Hot Herbie (Brian Sears) in a two-speed number Sunday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway's $32,000 Open Handicap Trot. Assigned post position No. 5 among the half-dozen, Not Afraid and outside-remanded "Herbie" were both in play early. Not Afraid retook from Red Hot Herbie right before the :28.4 opening quarter-mile, then rated a comfy 59-second intermission. It was a 1:27.3 three-quarters as Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) moved from third, in front of 13-10 choice Dot Dot Dot Dash (Matt Kakaley). Not Afraid owned a length-and-three-quarter lead into the lane, then held sway despite drifting.. He whipped Red Hot Herbie by a half-length in 1:55.4...fastest local trot mile thus far this season. Tweet Me, Dot Dot Dot Dash and Zooming (Tyler Buter) came away with the remainder, while Theraputic (George Brennan) was outrun. For second choice Not Afraid, a now-7-year-old S J's Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners his wife, Christina, John Fielding and Goran Anderberg, he's now 2-for-2 in 2016. The exacta paid $19, with the triple returning $118. Note that the "French" Sunday matinees take a hiatus until Feb. 28. The Raceway's season continues Monday (first post 7:10 PM) and Tuesday (1 PM). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 10, 2016 - It was wet rather than white as favored Not Afraid and harness racing driver Dan Dube proved best Sunday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway's $32,000 Open Handicap Trot. Leaving from post position No. 4, he had some company with Theraputic (George Brennan) and Red Hot Herbie (Brian Sears). "Herbie" made the lead before a :28.2 opening quarter-mile as Not Afraid deferred into a three-hole. After a 58-second intermission, Not Afraid was moving again, hooking Red Hot Herbie in and out of the 1:28.1 three-quarters. Red Hot Herbie owned a short lead into the lane, but Not Afraid was relentless. He put away "Herbie," then held off a hard-charging Dot Dot Dot Dash (Matt Kakaley) by a neck in 1:57. Red Hot Herbie, Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) and Sumatra (Jordan Stratton) completed the cashers, while Theraputic tired to last among the half-dozen. For Not Afraid, a now-7-year-old S J's Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners his wife, Christina, John Fielding and Goran Anderberg, he won his seasonal debut (career earnings up and over $700,000). The exacta paid $40, with the triple returning $143. The Raceway's season continues Monday evening (first post 7:10 PM) and Tuesday (1 PM). Frank Drucker

Eight of the top 25 trainers on the 2015 money list saw their stables earn less than they had in 2014, including the top two. Ron Burke fell more than $3.4 million short of last year’s record haul, which amounts to a 12% drop. His charges made 217 fewer starts which generated 108 fewer wins. Rules limiting participation by a single trainer in the Levy and Matchmaker at Yonkers, as well as the stakes raced at the Gural tracks would account for some of that. Burke’s UTRS dropped from 0.356 to 0.341. That being said, he was still almost $12 million ahead of second place Jimmy Takter. Takter’s earnings were off 3%, or about $415,000. His horses started 54 fewer times, accounting for nine fewer wins. Burke had 801 more wins than the trot master, but Takter’s six wins on Breeders Crown night, in addition to eleven other checks from his starters, amounted to a record $2.69 million banked on a single card and secured a second consecutive Trainer of the Year award for him. Number three Rene Allard had a remarkable year. 186 more starts led to 114 more wins and $2.2 million more than his barn earned in 2014, when he finished eighth on the list. Allard got 40% of his wins and half his money from Yonkers Raceway, where he won at a remarkable 25.8% clip. Being excluded from the Gural tracks obviously didn’t put a strain on his bottom line. Allard took $3.1 million out of Yonkers; only nine other drivers in North America earned that much overall for the year. His UTRS jumped from 0.340 to 0.393, which is higher than that achieved but all but two trainers in the top 50—with one of them being low volume Clyde Francis. Tony Alagna made a significant jump from number seven to number four, as his barn earned $673,000 more than in 2014. And that’s while winning 14 fewer races on 62 fewer starts. His UTRS remained at a strong 0.336. Bamond Racing grabbed the fifth spot, although Jeff Bamond Jr was the trainer of record, while PJ Fraley filled that role in 2014. Bamond’s horses made 216 fewer starts, accounting for 34 fewer wins, but their bankroll grew by $304,000—up 7%. Like Allard, Bamond thrived at Yonkers, as he accrued 60% of his earnings and 77% of his wins at that track. Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, who checked in at number six, up three spots from 2014, was very busy in 2015. His charges made 578 more starts, giving him 70 more wins and more than a million dollars more in purse money. The latter represents a 25% uptick from last year. Like Allard, his name has been permanently expunged from Jeff Gural’s holiday greeting card list, but he’s thriving nonetheless. He races quite a bit in Pennsylvania, but he was number five at Yonkers, the source of 36% of his earnings and 27% of his wins. With all those extra starts his UTRS dipped from 0.361 to 0.318. Julie Miller dropped back one spot to seventh. Her barn earned $375,000 less than last year on 29 fewer wins. Her UTRS dropped from 0.348 to 0.311. Ake Svanstedt, who advanced nine spots to number eight, upped his earnings by $1.1 million, or 34%, on 196 more starts and 34 more wins. There was life after Sebastian. Brian Brown also made a dramatic leap, from number 22 in 2014 to number nine this year. His bankroll grew by 38%--up $1.3 million. Brown won 37 more races on 122 more starts and his UTRS increased from 0.345 to 0.375. Lost For Words couldn’t quite get over the hump in the open class, but he still banked almost $700,000. Virgil Morgan Jr, who is reaping the benefits of the Midwestern revival, remained at number ten. His earnings increased by just about $700,000, or 11%. Erv Miller dropped eight spots to number 11. He had 52 fewer wins on 236 fewer starts and his money was down by a third--$1.5 million less. Miller’s UTRS dropped from 0.387 to 0.287. When the highly regarded Travel Playlist hit the wall in his BC elimination and scratched out of the final it was a major disappointment for Miller. Thanks to the likes of Doo Wop Hanover and Rockeyed Optimist, Steve Elliott saw his earnings jump an impressive 60%--$1.7 million more. The number 12 trainer had 37 more wins on 111 extra starts and saw his UTRS rise from 0.293 to 0.331. Richard Moreau, the winner of the 2014 O’Brien as well as the training dash championship in Canada this year, dropped back one spot to number 13. Although his earnings jumped by almost $403,000—up 14%. Moreau’s horses only made ten more starts, but they won 32 more races, and his UTRS was up to 0.337 from 0.309. Thanks to Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit Clyde Francis, who had no earnings as a trainer in 2014, earned $2.2 million in 2015. 98% of his haul came from Wiggle. Francis averaged seasonal earnings of less than $12,000 the other nine years he trained. He was number 18. The fact that Bee A Magician won six more races and earned $560,000 more this year helped Nifty Norman jump 16 slots to number 19. His stable upped its earnings by $645,000, which amounts to a 31% increase over last year. Number 20 Richard Banca, who is another one not welcome at any of Jeff Gural’s parties, saw his bankroll grow by a startling 77% in 2015. He upped his stake by $1.6 million. The forty-year-old Banca, who acquired 93% of his money at Yonkers, won 119 more races on 539 more starts. The number three trainer at Yonkers, he won at a superb 24.9% rate. It’s been a decade since he last eclipsed the $2 million mark. Casie Coleman, who was number four on last year’s trainer’s money list, falls all the way to number 23 this year. Her earnings are down $2.6 million dollars, or 58%. Dr. Ian Moore, whose State Treasurer just won a Dan Patch, moved up 25 spots to number 24. He realized a $622,000 gain in earnings—34%--and sported a splendid UTRS of 0.440. Chris Beaver, who was successful in the Ohio and Ontario Sire Stakes programs, jumped 16 rungs to number 35. His account grew by $258,000. Jim Campbell, who posted his 1,000 training win in July, saw his earnings go up by 27% this year, as he earned $430,650 more than he did in 2014. And his UTRS rose from 0.282 to 0.337. Tom Fanning added $300,000 to his earnings—up 21% from last year—and landed in slot 39 on the money list. Thanks to Wakizashi Hanover and Purrfect Bags, Jo Ann Looney-King upped her earnings by a million dollars and moved up to slot 41. About a third of the trainers on the top 25 money list were not on it last year.  Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for  http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/.  Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.

Shake It Cerry proved supreme once again, winning the last major harness racing stake of the season for the aged trotting mares at The Meadowlands, capturing the $200,000 TVG Mares Trotting Championship. Released as the even-money second-choice, Shake It Cerry was gathered off the gate by her pilot Dave Miller, while the 4/5 favorite Bee A Magician moved to the lead early in the mile. The 2013 Horse of the Year reached the quarter in 27.2 and as soon as the field straightened up on the backstretch, the 2014 Trotter of the Year made her move for the lead and Shake It Cerry took charge three-eighths of a mile into the race.  The four year old mare reach the half in a sharp 55.4, before getting a third-quarter breather, hitting three quarters in 1:25, with Handover Bell committed first over, Classic Martine in the outer flow and Bee A Magician pinned in behind the leader. But Shake It Cerry was under a hand drive at the head of the stretch and when Miller called on his mare, the response was instantaneous and she dominated through the stretch, the result never in doubt and she scored decisively in 1:52.3. Bee A Magician could only manage a runner-up performance tonight, with Handover Belle a game third in what was the final start of her wonderful career. Shake It Cerry Trainer Jimmy Takter had nothing but praise for his star mare. "She's just really good. She chased the boys earlier in the year and trotted in 1:49.4 and maybe that was a bit hard on her. But, she rebounded now and has been just fantastic. She is in the caliber with Moni Maker and I think when she is done, she will be on the list as one of the great fillies that ever was." Shake It Cerry was named Trotter of the Year for her 2014 campaign that included 15 wins from 17 starts and $1.2 Million in earnings. The 2015 season had been tougher on her, but she closes it out with a runner-up try in the Breeders Crown and then back to back wins in the TVG series, sending her lifetime earnings to $2,482,335, while earning her 28th victory. She is owned by Solveig's Racing Partners. Venus Delight Rebounds The pacing mares were up first in the $200,000 TVG Championships and delivered a compelling stretch drive with a familiar name finding the winner's circle. Despite being the beaten favorite in her last two starts, Venus Delight was given the majority of support again by the bettors, established as the 8/5 choice and this time she did not disappoint. Driven by Tim Tetrick for the first time since her Milton elimination, Venus Delight worked out a perfect pocket trip throughout the mile behind the speed of the very sharp Sandbetweenurtoes, who ripped through fractions of 27, 55.3 and 1:22.4 before turning home with a tenuous lead. The leader was facing challenges from all parts of the racetrack and began to drift, opening a path for Venus Delight to charge through, which she did convincingly and drew clear to a sharp 1:49.4 triumph over a fast closing Gallie Bythe Beach. Color's A Virgin went a tough first over trip and fought-on to hold on to the show spot. Venus Delight is trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr. for Bamond Racing L.L.C, earning her eighth win of the season, sending her seasonal earnings to $605,265. Venus Delight Filly Divisions of Fall Final Four With Broadway Donna done for the season, the Breeders Crown winner All The Time had a chance to make her case for divisional honors in the $409,950 Goldsmith Maid Final. The bettors believed she was the horse to beat, establishing her as the 2/5 morning line favorite. But in the end, it was the lightly raced Double Exposure who proved best on this night. Following a solid runner-up try in the elimination last week, Double Exposure was supported well at the windows, sent off as the 4-1 second choice. Tetrick moved his filly forward off the gate and she remained parked through an opening quarter of 28.1 as the favorite, All The Time set the pace. Double Exposure cleared the lead and put up a sharp second quarter, reaching the half-mile in 55.4. All The Time was content to ride her pocket until the three-quarter pole, when Gingras showed his filly racetrack as the field moved past three-quarters in 1:24.3, but Double Exposure had plenty left in the tank and accelerated on the lead. All The Time could not trot with the winner and Double Exposure reached the wire in 1:54, a lifetime best effort. Haughty rallied off the cover of All The Time to be second, while Woman's Will stayed on to be third. Driver Tim Tetrick expressed confidence in his filly. "I loved her at Lexington," said Tetrick. "She got sick after baby races but she has really matured. I have never gone three big quarters with her, but she proved she is really good tonight." Double Exposure is owned by Brittany Farms and Mel Hartman, and her earnings soar past $224,000 with the victory. The $385,250 Three Diamonds was scratched down to a field of seven, with three fillies gathering the majority of the attention at the windows, Yankee Moonshine, Shezarealdeal and Penpal. Shezarealdeal made a break heading to the start which changed the complexion of the race for Yannick Gingras who was driving Yankee Moonshine. "Absolutely, when she (Shezarealdeal) took off running, I looked over and saw Pat (Lachance) taking off the gate, so I made the lead rather easily," said Gingras. "We were going pretty good to the half and (Penpal) leaned in and we got hooked up for a few steps, but the other filly took it tougher than we did." Yankee Moonshine was allowed to set the pace through fractions of 27.4, 56.2 and 1:24.3, turning for home with Penpal right off her flank. But, Yankee Moonshine kept on going in the stretch, keeping Blue Moon Stride trapped in the pocket for much of the stretch. That filly shook free but it proved too late, while Shezarealdeal made a great recovery to rally to be third. Yankee Moonshine completed the mile in 1:52.2. The winner is owned by Burke Racing Stable, JT45, Karr and Weaver Bruscemi. The victory was the fourth in the career of Yankee Moonshine, sending her earnings north of $370,000. Handle for the 13-race Friday program was $2,426,263. Racing returns on Saturday, with a 14-race blockbuster card that begins at 7:00 P.M. Featured on the program are the $400,000 TVG Free For All Championships as well as the Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Continentalvictory and Tarpot Hap Finals. Darin Zoccali Director of Racing Operations Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment | 1 Racetrack Drive | East Rutherford, NJ 07073

The Bank will try to cash in Saturday when he faces seven older foes in the $400,000 TVG Free For All Series championship for trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack. A 3-year-old colt, The Bank was invited to the TVG final as a Breeders Crown champion. For the year, the Jimmy Takter-trained trotter has won five of 17 races and earned $994,652. He enters the TVG off victories in the Breeders Crown on Oct. 24 at Woodbine and the American-National Stakes on Nov. 7 at Balmoral Park. According to the U.S. Trotting Association's Information and Research Department, The Bank is seeking to become the first 3-year-old male trotter in recent history to win against older foes in a series final worth at least $100,000 since Before He Cheats captured the $120,000 Chester Late Closing Series in 2007. The only other instance since 1992 of a 3-year-old trotter winning a race worth at least $100,000 against older horses came on the female side, when filly CR Kay Suzie defeated seven mares in the Breeders Crown at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. The Bank is 4-1 on the morning line, the third choice behind 9-5 favorite Resolve and E L Titan at 5-2. "It's the end of the year; it's a long year," said Takter, who trains The Bank for owners Christina Takter, Goran Falk, and Goran Anderberg. "Most of these horses are starting to get a little tired and this colt's last two starts have been his best almost. It's a matter of how a horse's form is. I think I have a horse going into the race in good form and that's going to take me somewhere anyway." Takter will have a busy weekend at the Meadowlands. On Friday night, he sends three horses to the $409,950 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old female trotters - including 4-5 morning line favorite All The Time - plus Katie Said in the $200,000 TVG final for female pacers and Shake It Cerry in the $200,000 TVG final for female trotters. On Saturday, in addition to The Bank and Master Of Law in the TVG trotting championship, Takter has Lagerfeld in the $489,400 Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, JK Endofanera and Somewhere In LA in the $400,000 TVG final for pacers, and Wild Honey in the $144,000 Continentalvictory for 3-year-old female trotters. The Bank, a son of Donato Hanover out of the mare Lantern Kronos bred by Falk's Falkbolagen AB, has finished first or second on 13 occasions this season. His other triumphs this year include the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. He finished second in the Colonial and Goodtimes stakes. David Miller will drive The Bank in the TVG final, starting from post two in the eight-horse field. Miller guided The Bank to victory in the Breeders Crown - one of a record five winning Crown drives for Miller that night at Woodbine and one of Takter's record six Crown triumphs as a trainer. Also part of the TVG field is 4-year-old Resolve, who won last week's final preliminary round of the TVG and finished second in the Breeders Crown and Maple Leaf Trot in his two previous starts. Resolve, trained by Ake Svanstedt, has finished no worse than second in his seven most recent races and hit the board a total of 11 times in 12 starts this year. He has earned $506,938 this season for owner Hans Enggren. The field also includes Takter's Master Of Law, who won the American-National Stakes for older trotters, Cashman Memorial winner Flanagan Memory, Crawford Farms Trot winner Obrigado, Sebastian K Invitational winner E L Titan, Melady's Monet and DW's NY Yank. "Fortunately (The Bank) got a good seat, with two post he can bust out of the gate, and if the race sets up like it did last week, with Resolve going a (29.4) second quarter, that's definitely not going to hurt our horse if he's right up there. If he would finish in the top three I would be very happy." The Continentalvictory attracted only four starters, but features harness racing's top money-earning 3-year-old female trotters: Wild Honey, with $1.11 million, and Mission Brief, with $929,317. Mission Brief defeated Wild Honey in last week's Matron Stakes with a world-record 1:50.2 performance at Dover Downs. Wild Honey had won her two most recent previous encounters with Mission Brief, in the Breeders Crown and Kentucky Filly Futurity. All The Time is another of Takter's Breeders Crown winners racing this weekend and heads to the Goldsmith Maid off a 2-3/4 lengths win in 1:56.2 in last week's single elimination for the event. She has won seven of 11 races this year, including three in a row going into tomorrow's race. "I think All The Time is the best out of my three, and she's the favorite too," Takter said, referring also to Haughty and Kathy Parker. "She's been amazing all year basically and she stands out from my three." Shake It Cerry, last season's Trotter of the Year, heads to her TVG championship off a 1:53.3 win in last week's final preliminary round. She raced last week on Lasix for the first time, following second-place finishes to D'One in the Breeders Crown and Il Sogno Dream in the Dayton Trotting Derby, where she was the lone female taking on the boys. She is 7-5 on the morning line, second choice behind 4-5 Bee A Magician. "We put her on Lasix and I think that's going to make a big plus," Takter said. "She is really, really good. I expect her to be right there." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications/USTA

EAST RUTHERFORD - All The Time was last seen in The Breeders Crown winner's circle at Woodbine three weeks ago. The Muscle Hill filly picked up right where she left off winning in authoritative fashion in the $20,000 elimination for the $409,950 Goldsmith Maid Final, which will be contested next Friday, November 20th at The Meadowlands. All The Time left for position, while Ultimate Shopper appeared intent on the lead in the early stages. Yannick Gingras guided the 4/5 favorite, All The Time, to the pylons briefly through a 29-second opening quarter before showing her racetrack as the field turned down the backstretch. The Breeders Crown champion easily cleared the lead before the 58.1 half-mile and the lead would only grow from there. All The Time powered away to a three length lead on the far turn, while Double Exposure assumed the daunting task of trotting first over against the favorite. All The Time reached three-quarters in 1:56.2 and poured it on to win by a geared down two and three-quarters lengths, tripping the timer in 1:54.4. Double Exposure trotted home well despite the first over trip to finish second with Haughty third. The top nine finishers qualified for the Final, therefore all but Lindy's On Fire will move on to that Final next Friday night. All The Time is a homebred of Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld and is trained by Jimmy Takter. She has now won seven of 11 starts this season with earnings of $452,240. The mares got their final tune-ups for the $200,000 TVG Free All Championships for both the pacing and trotting mares tonight. In the $25,000 Mare Trot, Shake It Cerry, adding Lasix for the first time, made a powerful first over move on the far turn and quickly trotted past pace-setter Classic Martine and drew clear to win convincingly in 1:53.3. Longshot Handover Bell was second while Classic Martine faded to third. Favored Bee A Magician was fourth. The 2014 Trotter of the Year won for the fourth time this season and she inched closer to $2.4 Million in her career. Shake It Cerry was driven by Dave Miller for Jimmy Takter and the champion is owned by Solveig's Racing Partners. The pacing mares also went in the final TVG preliminary leg for $25,000. Sandbetweenurtoes was compromised by traffic in the stretch of the Breeders Crown, but she faced no such issue on this night winning in wire to wire fashion in 1:52 with Brett Miller in the sulky. Skippin By, a 24-1 longshot sat the pocket and stalked the winner throughout and mounted a strong challenge up the pylons through the stretch, but Sandbetweenurtoes was dead-game and held off the challenge for the fourth win of the season as she closes in on $500,000 lifetime. In his 40th season racing a horse at The Meadowlands, fittingly trainer Larry Remmen earned a victory on opening night for owner Bradley Grant. In other action, Penpal put forth a fine effort in her tune-up for the $385,250 Three Diamonds Final with a three and a half length victory over Albany Girl in a condition event for younger filly pacers. She scored for Pat Lachance in 1:54.2. Radar Contact returned to her favorite location, winning for the seventh time in 15 starts at The Meadowlands in a condition event for pacing mares in 1:52.3. It was not an easy victory as Radar Contact was headed in mid-stretch by Sir Jillian Z Tam, but the battle-tested mare fought back tenaciously to earn the victory for John Campbell and trainer Noel Daley. The driving star of the night was Dave Miller, winning three races, including the late Daily Double. Total Handle for the opening night program was $2,127,362, a slight increase from this same night in 2014. That is despite two less races and being up against a 13-race card that featured six Breeders Crown elimination races. The Late Pick 4 was well-received in its new eighth race slot, handling over $76,000. Racing resumes on Saturday with a 13-race program that includes eliminations for the Governor's Cup and Valley Victory as well as the final preliminary legs for the TVG Pacing and Trotting Championships. Post time for the Saturday program is 7:00 P.M. Darin Zoccali  

COVERAGE OF ALL DIVISIONS & PHOTOS

Obviously the top story to come out of Saturday’s Breeders Crown races was the record six wins by Jimmy Takter and the five by David Miller. The former added more than $2 million to his earnings total, while Miller added a million dollars. Takter, who won three BC races last year, increased his all-time series leading total to 27, while David Miller, who was shut out in 2014, remains in fifth place with 19 wins. The fact that all-time leader John Campbell got his forty-eighth win in the series with Wild Honey is also significant. Campbell now leads Ron Pierce by eighteen. He captured a pair last year with Shelliscape and Thinking Out Loud. There wasn’t much left for the rest when Takter and Miller got through: several trainers had one each, including Ron Burke, who got two in 2014. Gingras, who won four races last year, won two, and five other drivers took one each. Several of these races had a marked impact on the quest for division honors. Jimmy Takter’s SBSW filly Pure Country and Bob McIntosh’s Bettor’s Delight filly, LA Delight, have only one loss between them; both won their respective sire stakes championships and they each have a few GC wins. Pure Country’s impressive 1:51.4 BC win gives her an edge though. Combine that with a pair of wins in Lexington, and the fact that she’s staked to the Three Diamonds and the Matron, and it looks like she has a clear path to the title. Prior to the BC LA Delight, who called it a year after her Super Final win, was ahead by $143,000 in the earnings column, but the SBSW filly is now up by almost $153,000. A win for Pure Country in either the Three Diamonds or Matron should secure the Dan Patch. Control The Moment, who like LA Delight has only raced in Canada and was undefeated entering the BC, with wins in the Metro and Nassagaweya, lost any edge he had in a muddled race for freshman pacing honors with his sixth place finish in that BC division, won by longshot Boston Red Rocks. This one should come down to the remaining races on the calendar. Control The Moment is not staked to the Monument Circle, Governor’s Cup or Matron. The latter can be supplemented into for $20,000. Boston Red Rocks is eligible to the Governor’s Cup. The Alagna pair, American Passport and Racing Hill, are both staked to the Governor’s Cup and the Matron. Southwind Frank, who won his eleventh in twelve starts with another 1/9 romp, will be the Dan Patch winner among the freshman trotting colts. Things aren’t so simple with the first year trotting fillies. Broadway Donna, who entered her BC elimination with wins in the Doherty, Bluegrass and PA Championship, and had a perfect record to boot, was poised for a coronation, but she failed to advance to the final. If not her the thought was it would be Tony Alagna’s Kadabra filly, Caprice Hill, who won the Peaceful Way, Champlain and OSS Super final. But she fell short in her elimination and the final. Takter’s Muscle Hill filly, All The Time, engineered big wins in both, while his Donato filly, Haughty, was second best. All but Caprice Hill are staked to the Goldsmith Maid. Broadway Donna is the only one eligible to the Matron. The jury is still out on this one, but All The Time looks like the best at this point. Not that it always matters. Joe Holloway’s relentless RNR Heaven filly Divine Caroline, who only won once in 11 tries at two, probably won the division for herself on Saturday night. Timing is everything and within the past few weeks she took splits of the Bluegrass and Garnsey as well as the BC. Others in the division, like Sassa Hanover, Stacia Hanover, Wrangler Magic and Caroline’s stablemate Bettor Be Steppin, have had their moments in the Sun, but Divine Caroline has taken control at the right time. She’s staked to Friday’s $100,000 USS Indianapolis at Hoosier Park and the Matron. Holloway said she will race in the latter and at The Meadowlands. Wiggle It Jiggleit, who was not supplemented to the BC, won a split of the Circle City at Hosier Park on Friday. The Jug and Pace winner will take his division. Wild Honey, who beat Mission Brief off a pocket trip in the KY Filly Futurity, beat her again in the BC, when the Muscle Hill star galloped to the center of the track while leading in the stretch. With wins in the BC, Oaks, Filly Futurity and Bluegrass the little Cantab Hall filly clearly deserves to win that division. Both fillies are staked to the Matron, and as the winner of the BC, Oaks and Filly Futurity, Wild Honey qualifies to be added to the TVG Mare Final. Takter stated definitively that his filly should win the division. Pinkman was picked up by stablemate The Bank in the BC, but the winner of the Hambletonian, Kentucky Futurity and CTC, will win his division. Bee A Magician beat the boys in the Maple Leaf, Centaur, Cutler and Charlie Hill, and also won the Armbro Flight. She chose to try them again in the BC Open, but finished fourth. Prior to that she was sixth in the Yonkers International. Throughout most of the season it’s been a given that BAM would win the Dan Patch, but the repatriated Donato Hanover mare, D’One, is clouding the picture. She won the Open Mare BC on Saturday, and prior to that she won the Allerage Mare, which BAM did not compete in, and she beat BAM in the Fresh Yankee at The Meadowlands and the Muscle Hill at Vernon Downs. Trainer Roger Walmann said D’One will start in the TVG Mare, which Bee A Magician is also eligible to. The aged male trotters are by far the softest division in harness racing. You can’t give the Dan Patch to BC winner Creatine, who has that one BC win since returning from Europe. JL Cruze was good early, but fell to pieces when the four-year-old restricted races came to a close. He has no open stakes wins outside that class. Resolve won the Vincennes. I don’t think so. Luminosity has 14 wins, primarily in the Yonkers open. No. Skip it this year, I guess. Venus Delight, who has wins in the BC Matchmaker, Artiscape and Milton, and has amassed a bankroll of over $500,000--$140,000 more than second place Anndrovette—had an opportunity to win the division in the BC, but she finished third from the nine post for Jason Bartlett. Last year’s sophomore division winner Color’s A Virgin won from the rail. The latter has had a disappointing year, but she took the Allerage Mare over a very short field a couple of weeks ago and now she has the BC win that eluded her last year. She still only has about half as much money as Venus Delight, but if Color’s A Virgin wins the TVG Mare Pace, she’s in the running for division honors. Between August 8, when he won the USPC, and October 2, when he took the Dayton Pacing Derby by five lengths, State Treasurer was in Sweet Lou 2014 territory—he lorded it over the division. The notion that he would not win the Dan Patch was too outrageous to even contemplate. Then he faded to seventh in the Allerage, beaten by JK Endofanera, and was crushed by late season arrival Always B Miki in the BC elimination and final. The latter is eligible to Friday’s Hoosier Pacing Derby; State Treasurer is not. If Miki was also eligible to the TVG final he’d have a chance to take down the six-year-old son of Real Desire, but he is not. After Friday’s race, opportunities to make up ground on State Treasurer will be few and far between. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century.  He writes a weekly blog for  http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/.  Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.

TORONTO --Harness racing stars Jimmy Takter and David Miller completed an incredible Breeders Crown night capturing the final event, the open pace with Always B Miki in a sensational 1:49.3 mile over a rain-soaked surface. The victory, a year removed from when the son of Always A Virgin had to be scratched from the Crown final at The Meadowlands came at the expense of stablemate J K Endofanera and Mach It So. State Treasurer and driver Chris Christoforou blasted to the early lead in a :26.3 opening quarter, but the driver was looking in the rear view mirror and when Miller came with Always B Miki on the backstretch he was anxious to yield. The half was a solid :55.2 and Always B Miki pushed it into another gear on the turn as Foiled Again attempted to come up without cover but couldn't make a dent in the leader's margin. Always B Miki hit three quarters in 1:23 and then was high-lined to the wire with a :26.3 final quarter, an awesome closing quarter given the conditions. It was the third win in as many starts this year for Always B Miki capturing the $400,000 U.S. ($518,960 Cdn) Breeders Crown and pushing his lifetime bank account over $1 million. Owned by Bluewood Stables, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter, the victory was the sixth of the 12 Breeders Crown races for trainer Takter and the fifth by winning driver David Miller. Takter now has 27 Breeders Crown victories lifetime, while Miller has 19. "He's pretty special," said Miller about Always B Miki. "It's a thrill to sit behind him and to feel his power." The 2-5 favorite in the field Always B Miki impressed the trainer as well. "He's a very unique horse. I put him in the top horses to ever compete in this sport," said Takter. Takter finished 1-2 with J K Endofanera's finish as All Bets Off earned fourth money. Foiled Again was placed fifth after being lapped on a breaking State Treasurer at the finish. As for Takter wrapping up his record night. "It was almost like 100 per cent," Takter said. By Jay Bergman

TORONTO -- Harness racing division leader Pinkman failed to go wire-to-wire in the $500,000 U.S. ($648,700 Cdn) Breeders Crown three-year-old colt and gelding trot, with stablemate The Bank and David Miller grinding by from first over to win in 1:54.3. Yannick Gingras sent Pinkman to the lead through a :27.2 first quarter, with Muscle Diamond tucking into the pocket and The Bank parked out early. The Bank edged closer first over while Pinkman passed the half in :57.2. With the plugs pulled, Pinkman passed three quarters in 1:26.4, while The Bank crept closer on the outside. Into the eighth pole, Pinkman's lead diminished to a neck as The Bank became a threat, proving so by driving by and progressing to the wire in front of Pinkman, Muscle Diamond, and French Laundry. The Bank, a colt by Donato Hanover out of the Viking Kronos mare Lightning Kronos, competes for the interests of Christina Takter, Goran Falk, and Goran Anderberg. Trained by Jimmy Takter, the Falkbolagen Ab-bred colt paid $30.50 to win. "Around the last turn, Yannick [began] to ask his horse and I was just sitting on mine," Miller said. "At that point, I thought that he might be second for sure, but he went a big trip; he hung a long ways and he got the job done." Takter, who has won four Breeders Crowns on the night and 25 lifetime, said the victory was a good one for The Bank. "He's been racing tremendous all year and chasing Pinkman and, you know, Pinkman was just a little more excited today. Normally, he's very laid back," Takter said. "In the warm up, I told Yannick, 'either it's a good thing or bad thing' but he's very different. He was very aggressive today and normally he's very much the opposite." Miller, who has won three Breeders Crowns on the night and 17 lifetime, said the rain-soaked track was holding up relatively well. "It's a little sticky, but under the conditions, it's pretty good." QUOTES; Jimmy Taker - The Bank and Pinkman "It was good for Bank. He's been racing tremendous all year and chasing Pinkman and, you know, Pinkman was just a little more excited today. Normally, he's very laid back. In the warm up, I told Yannick, 'either it's a good thing or bad thing' but he's very different. He was very aggressive today and normally he's very much the opposite. But for Bank to come and win the Breeders Crown it's great." If one of your horses was going to beat Pinkman tonight, would you have guessed The Bank? "Well, you know, we didn't up giving Bank a bad race last time in the Futurity and Tim and I were fighting for the lead a little too much and came up short. He's been a good horse and I'm really happy."   By Ray Cotolo

TORONTO -- In the second start of his homecoming, Jimmy Takter-trainee Creatine displayed an effortless harness racing performance, taking the $531,250 U.S. ($689,244 Cdn) Breeders Crown open trot at Woodbine Racetrack in 1:52.4 over Resolve, Gural Hanover, and Bee A Magician. Under minor encouragement by driver Johnny Takter, Creatine swept to the lead over Resolve and Gural Hanover, passing the first quarter in :27.2 and remaining unchallenged through a :56.4 half. Bee A Magician made her move into the far turn, flushing out Resolve heading to the third quarter. Timed in 1:25.1, Creatine began to sprint home. Resolve chased in second, while Gural Hanover snuck by a stalled Bee A Magician to the inside. Creatine was a two-length winner at the wire. "He was a little bit hot at sometimes," Johnny Takter said of Creatine. The Andover Hall horse, out of the Muscles Yankee mare Berry Nice Muscles, passed $2 million in career earnings with the Crown victory. He has 17 wins from 52 starts. Bred by Diamond Creek Farm, he competes for the interest of Big C Racing and conditioner Jimmy Takter. The $7.00 winner gave Jimmy Takter his fifth win on the Breeders Crown card and 26th lifetime. This was also brother Johnny Takter's first Breeders Crown win. "We [Johnny and I] have come a long way together," Jimmy Takter said. "John had a fantastic career in Europe, and I've done well over here. He has driven a few race for me over the years here, too, but it's always special when your brother wins a race for you like this. He had done a fantastic job with the horse over in Europe. It's very special for us." Asked about how Creatine's connections decided to supplement to the Breeders Crown, Takter said, "Of course [it was a hard decision] because $62,500 is a lot of money to bring into this game. The horse raced well at Yonkers. Unfortunately, he tied up a little bit there, and I thought he would've had a heck of a shot to win that one, too. The horse is razor sharp and has been racing well in Europe, so I know we belong. I also basically knew what was going to be here, and I knew he could beat these horses." By Ray Cotolo

TORONTO -- Sometimes you have to get the breaks to win a Breeders Crown race and that proved to be the case in the harness racing event for three-year-old filly trotters as 1-5 shot Mission Brief broke stride on a clear lead in early stretch and Wild Honey emerged with the victory in the $500,000 U.S.($648,700 Cdn) event on Saturday at Woodbine. The race began as expected as Mission Brief cleared the 8-5 Wild Honey going to the quarter in a respectable :26.2. Mission Brief and Yannick Gingras cruised to the half in :56.2 with no movement from the trailers. Mission Brief kicked it into high gear late on the final turn and appeared to be opening ground effortlessly on Wild Honey hitting the three quarters in 1:25 and looking on her way to an open lengths victory. That victory would not materialize as Mission Brief blew up and was pulled to the outside in the stretch leaving Wild Honey and driver John Campbell suddenly in the lead and concerned about the trailers. Closers Im So Fancy and Speak To Me gained gradually on the Jimmy Takter-trained daughter of Cantab Hall, but neither could dent the filly's margin as she won for the third straight time this year and avenged a defeat to Mission Brief in last year's Breeders Crown juvenile event. "I don't think I was going to catch her," said John Campbell of Mission Brief. "My filly was struggling on the turn and she got away from me. If you're going to beat Mission Brief you've got to stay right on her back." But Campbell's strategy to stay on Mission Brief's back was not important once the filly made a break. Mission Brief's trainer Ron Burke said his filly, "didn't warm up the best. The track didn't suit her today and she has those issues that we're not 1,000 per cent over just yet. I thought she was, but I knew warming her up that maybe we had an issue. "She was home. All she had to do was keep herself trotting so, you know, it's bad. That's the high of the sport and the lows of the sport right there. She'll be fine and there will come a time yet when she'll put it all together. She's the best horse I've ever trained." Winning trainer Jimmy Takter -- who captured his third Crown of the evening and 24th lifetime -- said he thought he had a chance. "I saw Yannick was having trouble with her (Mission Brief). She wasn't trotting as smoothly as she usually does," Takter said. Takter also put his vote in for division honors. "She won the Hambletonian (Oaks), The Kentucky Futurity (filly division) and The Breeders Crown. I think she should be the divisional champion," Takter said. Wild Honey, owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Jim Fielding and Herb Liverman, has now won over $1.5 million during her career. She's won 17 of 26 lifetime starts. Classical Annie and Elegant Serenity earned the final checks in the field. It was the 12th Breeders Crown victory for John Fielding, who ranks second in Crown victories by owners. By Jay Bergman

TORONTO, ON--The Jimmy Takter-trained All The Time brushed to the lead after a quick quarter set by stablemate Kathy Parker, advancing to a 1:56.2 harness racing victory in the $600,000 U.S. ($778,440 Cdn) Breeders Crown two-year-old filly trot at Woodbine Racetrack. Going :26.4 to the first quarter, Kathy Parker held control while Caprice Hill occupied the pocket. All The Time swiftly pulled first over midway into the first turn and took the lead into the backstretch. By dictating the tempo, All The Time passed the half in :58. The lone pressure to All The Time came from Dewdle All Day heading to three quarters, passing that pole in 1:28.2. All The Time drew away in the stretch from pocket-rider Kathy Parker, who battled for second from Caprice Hill and Haughty in the final stages. Haughty, Caprice Hill, and Womans Will secured the bottom spots to All The Time at the wire. Paying $4.50 to win, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld's homebred All The Time claimed her sixth win in 10 starts this year, earning $448,010. She is by Muscle Hill, out of the Cantab Hall mare Cantab It All, and was driven by Yannick Gingras, who celebrated his 13th career Breeders Crown victory and 12 in the last four years. "The minute I hit the track tonight, she's never felt better," Gingras said. "Jimmy's [Takter] second trainer told me that he thought she was better than she was last week, and he was right. They did a tremendous job with her in the last three or four weeks to get her where she is today." Gingras also said in regards to getting a start over the track that "for the two-year-olds, I think it matters more than [for] the rest of them. The other horses have probably been here at some point in the past, but for [the freshmen] it definitely helps to get around the racetrack; there's a different toteboard, different type of things everywhere. She's a true professional. I don't think it would have mattered with her." Katz said, "This is really fulfilling of all the expectations that Al Libfeld and myself, and Sam [Goldband], and the long journey we've had. This is the idea we had many, many years ago, where we would produce champions like this for ourselves, and out of our own broodmare bed." When asked about All The Time's future, Katz said that "I really don't know; she just won a Breeders Crown, and I think we will leave it at that. We'll talk to Jimmy [Takter] in a day or two and let the dust settle, and see from there." QUOTES; All The Time 1:56.2 Yannick Gingras Walk us through this one. She is really super, the minute that I hit the track, I knew that she had never felt better.  She was awesome to drive tonight.  They have done a great job the last few starts, getting her ready. With a 2yo is more important than the other horses.  Get them on the race track and feel things out.  She is a true professional, I don’t think that it would have mattered if she got a start here, or not. By Ray Cotolo

TORONTO, ON-- Pure Country maintained her undefeated streak in the $600,000 ($778,440 Cdn) Breeders Crown two-year-old filly pace, winning in 1:51.4 as the 1-9 harness racing favorite at Woodbine Racetrack. Call Me Queen Be obtained the lead from the outset, setting a :26.1 quarter while Mayhem Seelster rushed towards the top. Immediately into the backstretch, Pure Country was moving first over and towards the top, securing the lead through a :55.1 half. Flying towards the pacesetter into the far turn, first-over Lyons River Pride put her nose in front of Pure Country, but couldn't clear the lead. With the plugs pulled, Pure Country retook command and journeyed by three-quarters in 1:23.4. After three-quarters, Pure Country extended her lead to three lengths over closing Shezarealdeal and Mayhem Seelster. She held her three-length lead until the wire, winning in 1:51.4. Yankee Moonshine and Soft Idea were fourth and fifth, respectively. A homebred filly from Diamond Creek Farms by Somebeachsomewhere out of the Western Hanover mare Western Montana, Pure Country collected her 10th win of the season and pushed her seasonal earnings to $692,954. Trained by Jimmy Takter, she paid $2.30 to win. It was Takter's 22nd Crown victory, extending his lead on the all-time record for Crown wins by a trainer. Driver Brett Miller scored his first Breeders Crown win aboard the filly. "Oh my God, it feels so good to win it," Miller said. "I'm so glad this race was early and I'm so glad we were able to win it. "I was being a little cautious with her out of the gate, and it almost cost me [the race]. I got very lucky to get out. Once I got out, I kind of eased her to the front, even though :55.1 is a big half. She's just a tremendous horse." Miller said he had Pure Country, "pretty much shut down" when Pure Country was headed by Lyons River Pride in the last turn. "I was trying to give her a breather; I was still pretty confident in the last turn. She's got all the tools and some grit to her, too." QUOTES; Brett Miller – Pure Country; On how it played out in his head vs. reality: “No, I was actually hoping I could get away somewhere either right up close or right to the front where I didn’t have to do any work. But in the first turn, I almost got myself into a lot of trouble and almost got trapped and once I got her out she had to do a lot of work but she’s such a tough filly and I’ve never driven anything like her before she just toughed it out after that.” On winning your first Crown with a star favorite vs. a long shot surprise… pressure? “The pressure is different with THIS filly. She was coming into the race undefeated. I’ve driven some undefeated horses before and, you know, at one time they’ve all gotten beat. There was pressure tonight, being undefeated and knowing I had a shot at getting one of these. I feel so relieved now. I’m so glad this was the second race. If she was in late and I was having a bad night through the night, it would’ve weighed on me. As good as you dreamt it? “Oh yeah. It felt great” [Brett’s wife is from Canada.. “so any time we get to come up here it’s fun because it’s home for her”. Trainer Tony O’Sullivan (2nd Shezarealdeal and 3rd Mayhem Seelster) It surprised me Mayhem Seelster I little, just because you’re not going to get anything from the back and she ended up going to the front which ended up affecting Call Me Queen Be (also trained by O’Sullivan), but they raced great. I’m ecstatic. Ecstatic. As for Shezarealdeal, last week she was a little flat and this week she had plenty of pace and chased horses down and Mayhem Seelster really hung in tough against horses that are better than her. I didn’t see it happening like that. I knew Call Me Queen Be was going to leave because that’s what she likes to do. Mayhem, we just wanted to get her into the race. I didn’t know that’s how the race was going to unfold and I’m just really, really proud of Mayhem Seelster. By Ray Cotolo

TORONTO ---Harness racing trainer/driver Jimmy Takter made his first appearance in the Breeders Crown in 1986, but it was seven years before he got to hoist a trophy. Takter, who trains and sometimes also drives, had two second-place finishes and one third-place effort in eight championship starts before driving Gleam to victory in the 1993 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female trotters at Florida's Pompano Park. And if the waiting was the hardest part, it also made the triumph all the more satisfying. "That is my No.1 memory in the Breeders Crown, my first one," Takter said. "It was hard to win that first one. I drove her, too, and when she won it meant a lot to me. That to me was the most emotional." Takter has created many more Breeders Crown memories since that first win with Gleam. He heads to Saturday's 12 Breeders Crown finals at Toronto's Woodbine Racetrack as the top trainer in the history of the series, with 21 victories and $9.48 million in purses. He has posted three victories in each of the past three years and 10 triumphs overall in the past four editions of harness racing's championship event. "I'm very proud of that," Takter said about his Breeders Crown record. "I really am. Winning 21 of them to me is amazing. It's really hard. It's like the saying, 'It all comes down to the Breeders Crown,' and I believe that. That's what it is. I think the Breeders Crown is the most prestigious. It's the end of the year and every horse normally is most mature and most ready." Takter moved to the U.S. more than three decades ago, but could have enjoyed a comfortable career in Sweden, where his father, Bo, was already established as one of the sport's top trainers. But after getting a taste of racing in the States as a teenager during a 10-month stint with the powerful Continental Farms Stable, Takter decided at the age of 22 to leave his homeland for good. The decision was not easy. Takter and his wife, Christina, had a 1-year-old girl, Nancy, and Takter knew he was unlikely to see his family in Sweden very often. Nancy is also now a trainer and in 2014 conditioned Dan Patch Award Horse of the Year winner JK She'salady. "It was a big decision to start all over, but I loved the United States; it was something special," said Takter, who became a U.S. citizen in 2000. "The harness racing was so different compared to our country. It was a big sacrifice for my wife and me, but I'm glad I did it. It's a special country." Takter rose to prominence in 1997 when Malabar Man won the Hambletonian and Breeders Crown and was named Horse of the Year. Malabar Man was followed by the trotting mare Moni Maker, who was Horse of the Year in 1998 and 1999. She was an international star thanks to victories in major races in Europe, including the Prix d'Amerique and Elitloppet, and is the last mare to win the Breeders Crown Open Trot, which she won in 1998. This year, Takter has 17 horses in Saturday's Breeders Crown finals. His group is led by returning Breeders Crown champion Pinkman, who captured last year's Crown for 2-year-old male trotters and is the sport's second-richest horse this year, with $1.75 million in purses. Pinkman's wins this season include two legs of the Trotting Triple Crown - the Hambletonian Stakes and Kentucky Futurity - as well as the Canadian Trotting Classic. Takter, who was voted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2011, has won the Hambletonian four times and this year became the first trainer since 1992 to win the race in consecutive years. Takter has three horses joining Pinkman in the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters: French Laundry, The Bank, and Uncle Lasse. Last year, French Laundry finished third, Uncle Lasse fifth, and The Bank sixth in the Breeders Crown. "They all are players," said Takter, who is a four-time Trainer of the Year Award winner in the U.S. "They all belong there. Overall, they've had a great season." Takter has won the two most recent Breeders Crown finals for 2-year-old male trotters, and three of the past four trophies. He sends out Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Lagerfeld in Saturday's final for 2-year-old male trotters. He also has captured two of the most recent three finals for 2-year-old female trotters, where this year he sends out elimination winners All The Time and Haughty --- who is 7-for-7 this year --- plus another contender in Kathy Parker. "(All The Time) is the one to beat," Takter said. "I was very impressed with her in her elimination. That was a helluva performance; (1):56.1 and the way she did it, never pulling the plugs. She was amazing. "Haughty is undefeated, so you have to respect a horse like that. I didn't like her much early. She was a pain in the (butt). But she's good. She won in (1):54.1 for me in Lexington. I know she's got the gear." Other top contenders for Takter include undefeated Pure Country in the 2-year-old filly pace, Always B Miki and JK Endofanera in the Open Pace, Wild Honey in the 3-year-old filly trot, Shake It Cerry in the Mare Trot, and Creatine in the Open Trot. Shake It Cerry, a 4-year-old mare, won Breeders Crown trophies at ages 2 and 3. She can join Peace Corps, Grades Singing, and Mack Lobell as the only trotters in history with three or more Breeders Crown titles. Wild Honey won this year's Hambletonian Oaks --- giving Takter a sweep of the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks for the second consecutive year --- and defeated Mission Brief, last year's divisional Breeders Crown champ, in the Kentucky Filly Futurity. Always B Miki was the favorite in last year's Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male pacers, but was scratched because of injury. He joined the Takter Stable during the winter, suffered another injury setback in the spring, but has returned to win his first two starts of this season, including his Crown elimination by three lengths in 1:49.4. "This is what it's all about for me, with this horse," Takter said. "It was 10 months to get here. He's the king. He's unbelievable. They supplemented him to the Breeders Crown last year and he won his elimination and never got to race in the final. Now, hopefully, he can continue the story." Ken Weingartner for the Breeders Crown

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