Takter in focus as Hambletonian nears

His horses have won more than $60 million in purses over his

now-Hall of Fame harness racing career. He’s trained two colts,

Malabar Man in 1997 and Muscle Massive in 2010, which have won the

world’s most famous harness race, the Hambletonian, for 3-year-old

trotting colts.

And now, Jimmy Takter is the trainer for Hambletonian favorite,

Uncle Peter.

But it’s not the horse he’s pulling for.

If the Swedish-born trainer/driver, now residing in East

Windsor, N.J., has his druthers, he would much rather have the

other horse he trains in the race, Guccio, take home the top prize

in the $1.5 million Hambletonian on Saturday.

”I’m in a lot of races and most of the time, I don’t drive,”

Takter said. ”Most people know I’m not really into driving. I kind

of forget who’s driving my horse. But this time, I’m driving my own

horse and I want to win it for me. I’m 52 years old now and I’ve

never won this race. Ron Pierce (the driver of Uncle Peter) has won

this race before several times (four times). I’ve never won. I came

in second once (with Mr. Lavec in 1994) but I never won.

”It’s my turn now. I want to win.”

Takter will take Guccio, an 8-1 choice on the morning line, out

from the No. 7 post. Guccio closed well in the Hambletonian

eliminations last week to finish second to Knows Nothing, earning

his spot in the finals Saturday. Guccio has won only twice in 14

starts lifetime, but Takter feels the colt has a shot.

”It’s a wide open shot and this is my shot to win it,” Takter

said. ”Anything can happen. We might be a longshot, but it would

be my goal to win it.”

Uncle Peter, the 5-2 favorite in the morning line, drew the No.

1 post. Winner in eight of his 12 lifetime starts, Uncle Peter

romped home in 1:53.3 to win by one and 3/4 lengths in the

elimination last Saturday.

”I would be just as happy if Uncle Peter won,” said Takter,

who was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame on July 1.

”But I’m going to really do my best to win. It’s been my dream to

win the Hambletonian. I think Guccio is a big factor. It’s good for

me to have both.”

Takter knows that Uncle Peter is the favorite for a reason.

”He’s the most gifted 3-year-old I’ve ever been around,” said

Takter, who came to the United States from Sweden in 1982 to begin

his career. ”He has natural raw ability. I’ve been very fortunate

to be around this great horse. Is he the easiest to train? No. But

he’s nothing like anything else I’ve ever seen at this age. I know

he’s ready for the Hambletonian. Obviously, with two horses, I’m in

a very fortunate situation.”

Knows Nothing, with Jody Jamieson in the bike, is the second

choice in the morning line at 7-2. Knows Nothing drew the No. 3

post. Knows Nothing, a Canadian-bred colt, has won seven of eight

starts in his career.

Market Share, with top driver Tim Tetrick in the sulky and

trained by Linda Toscano, is the third choice at 4-1. Market Share

also won an elimination race last Saturday and trotted the fastest

mile of the three eliminations in 1:52.2. Market Share has reached

the winner’s circle more than any other in the 10-horse field,

earning nine wins in 15 starts.

Archangel, the winners of the Yonkers Trot on July 7, was the

fourth choice at 9-2 with Jim Morrill in the bike.

The Hambletonian field and morning line odds are as follows: 1,

Uncle Peter, Ron Pierce, 5-2; 2, Market Share, Tim Tetrick, 4-1;

3,Knows Nothing, Jody Jamieson, 7-2; 4, Archangel, Jim Morrill,

9-2; 5, My MVP, Mike Lachance, 15-1; 6, Prestidigitator, Sylvain

Filion, 12-1; 7, Guccio, Jimmy Takter, 8-1; 8, Stormin Normand,

Dave Palone, 15-1; 9, Money On My Mind, Andy Miller, 15-1; 10, Gym

Tan Laundry, George Brennan, 30-1.

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