Day At The Track

Sunfire Blue Chip ready for Levy

10:31 AM 18 Mar 2016 NZDT
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Sunfire Blue Chip
Sunfire Blue Chip competes in the third of six first-round Levy divisions Saturday at Yonkers
USTA/Ken Weingartner photo

Jimmy Takter already had a nice one-two punch in the older male pacing division with multiple-stakes-winners Always B Miki and JK Endofanera. The return of Sunfire Blue Chip from stallion duty adds even more clout to the trainer's harness racing stable.

Sunfire Blue Chip, who won the 2013 Adios and is on the verge of $1 million in career purses, bred 37 mares in 2015. He sat out more than a year because of his work at stud, but returned to the races in late November. This weekend, he will compete in the opening round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway.

A 6-year-old who has battled injuries during his career, Sunfire Blue Chip has won 19 of 50 lifetime starts and earned $955,174. In addition to winning the Adios, his victories include the 2014 Prix d'Ete and a division of the 2013 Tattersalls Pace. He finished second in the 2013 Messenger Stakes.

This year, Sunfire Blue Chip has won two of eight races and hit the board a total of six times for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Brixton Medical Inc., and R A W Equine.

"He's always had the greatest attitude to be a top horse," Jimmy Takter said about Sunfire Blue Chip, who is a son of American Ideal-Shot Togo Bluechip and a full brother to Dan Patch Award winner Heston Blue Chip. "We brought him back after the breeding season to fool around with him for a little while. I was surprised. He came back and felt like he was born again; he was so fresh and sound. He's been keeping up that. I think he's going to have a good season this year."

Sunfire Blue Chip has won six of 13 career races and posted a total of 10 in-the-money finishes on half-mile ovals, such as Yonkers. He is 2-for-16 on mile racetracks.

"Miki and JK are two powerhouse horses," Takter said, referring to 2015 Breeders Crown champion Always B Miki and two-million-dollar earner JK Endofanera. "But they're not really made for a small track. I staked (Sunfire Blue Chip) a little bit on the smaller tracks and figured he could step in.

"It's nice to have this level of aged pacers. It's something I never had and suddenly I have a whole bunch of them."

Sunfire Blue Chip competes in the third of six first-round Levy divisions Saturday at Yonkers. Mark MacDonald will drive the horse, who leaves from post five and is 6-1 on the morning line. World champion Always At My Place, who is making his seasonal debut, is the 8-5 choice from post one.

"He's going to need a couple starts to establish himself," Takter said. "I haven't been able to get a really high gear in him yet, but he's very sound and should be good. He's not a great leaver, so (post five) could be a little trouble."

The six-week Levy Series concludes April 23 with a $200,000-added final. Among the horses entered in Saturday's first round is Domethatagain, the event's defending champion.

Take It Back Terry, last year's Levy runner-up, is the 9-5 morning line favorite in Saturday's first division. Other morning line choices are Lucan Hanover (5-2 in the second division), Polak A (3-2 in the fourth division), The Real One (2-1 in the fifth division) and All Bets Off (5-2 in the sixth division).

Other former Levy champions in the series are Foiled Again, harness racing's all-time richest horse with $7.33 million in career purses, and P H Supercam.

Ken Weingartner

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