Takter Sweeps Kentucky Futurity
Published: October 5, 2014 2:45 pm ET
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In a battle of the Jimmy Takter stablemates, Nuncio fought off Father Patrick down the stretch to win the $435,000 Kentucky Futurity for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings featured on the closing day of The Red Mile's Grand Circuit meet.
The Triple Crown leg was contested as a single race for the first time in its 122-year history.
Nuncio and driver John Campbell prevailed over Father Patrick and Yannick Gingras, giving Takter not only a sweep of the top two spots in the Kentucky Futurity, but also a sweep of the Sunday feature races as his trainee Shake It Cerry won the earlier filly companion event as well.
"It's not easy to keep them all on target and ready for the battles, but we got a great team and I'm very proud of everybody and my horses," said Takter after his spectacular Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile.
In the Kentucky Futurity, Nuncio left from post six and cleared to command over insider Father Patrick. He reached the first quarter in :27.2 and raced to the half in :54.1. Gingras pulled 2-5 favourite Father Patrick from the pocket down the backstretch and the stablemates raced stride-for-stride approaching the 1:22.2 three-quarters mark. Father Patrick gained the slight advantage in the stretch, but Nuncio battled back and drew just over one length clear before hitting the wire in 1:51.3. Il Sogno Dream and Aaron Merriman finished over five lengths behind to round out the top three finishers.
"He was over there [to three-quarters] faster than I wanted, he just wasn't trotting as comfortable and when I went to back him up he got a little bumpy," noted Campbell after the race. "Once Father Patrick came out, I thought he was going to go right by. He got part way by and then my horse just dug in. I pulled the plugs and the blinds down and he was able to fight him off.
"He's one of the unusual horses that just doesn't trot as well over this surface. He was labouring with his gait a little bit, but he's got such a great attitude, he just keeps going. He puts his head down and goes forward."
The victory gives Campbell a record seven wins in the Kentucky Futurity. He last won the race in 2006 with Glidemaster.
"It's been a few years, but it's a race I've been fortunate enough to compete in," said the Hall of Fame reinsman. "Just getting a horse that's good enough to compete in a race like this is always special to me. When you're fortunate to come out on top, this is the best feeling we have in this game -- to win Triple Crown races."
His other Futurity wins include a three-year reign between 1992-1994 with Armbro Keepsake, Pine Chip and Bullville Victory as well as victories in 2001 with Chasing Tail and 1989 with Peace Corps.
Nuncio paid $5.80 to win the 2014 edition as the 9-5 second choice. The Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle colt has never finished worse than second in 13 starts during his million-dollar sophomore campaign for owner Stall Tz Inc. of Vero Beach, Florida.
Although Takter had expected a battle between his stablemates, he admitted that he thought the outcome would be a bit different.
"Nuncio has been chasing Father Patrick all year," said Takter. "I beat him with Trixton in the Hambletonian. This win is well-deserved. He's been an absolutely wonderful horse to work with. He tries hard. Every horse gets beat. Of course I'm a little disappointed in Father Patrick, he should have won the race, but this horse is a tough horse to get by. He's got the right attitude and he's a fighter. He sure deserved this win."
Takter added that the stablemates won't meet again until the Breeders Crown.
Trotting filly Shake It Cerry continued her stellar sophomore campaign with a romping victory in the 49th edition of the $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity, also contested in a single race.
Sent postward as the overwhelming 1-5 favourite, Shake It Cerry made a quarter-pole move in rein to Ron Pierce and swept from third to first ahead of her pylon-protecting stablemate Scream And Shout (Yannick Gingras) at the :27.4 opening mark. She trotted on to the half in :56.2 and three-quarters in 1:25.1 and opened up a quick four lengths into the stretch. The talented daughter of Donato Hanover continued to expand her leading margin down the lane and hit the wire in 1:52.2. Vanity Matters (David Miller) advanced first over to place ahead of Scream And Shout.
"The race, it worked out perfect," said Takter. "It's a heck of a mile actually to go :52 with a trotting filly in this weather. It's kind of windy and it's tough. You saw the previous class went a couple ticks faster and Ronnie said she's just so good right now that he had seconds left in her."
Solveigs Racing Partners' filly, who notched her fifth stakes win in a row, is now 11-for-13 this year to boost her career bankroll over the $1.5 million mark.
"She really never had a bad race," noted Takter when asked about her current form. "In the Hambletonian [Oaks] maybe she got a little bit over-driven, but the rest of the races, in all her life actually, have been very good. She's been an absolutely wonderful horse since she's started racing. She's just a very, very special horse."
Takter indicated that Shake It Cerry is staked up the rest of the year.
The victory in the Kentucky Filly Futurity was the second in a row for Takter, who won last year's final heat driving To Dream On. It was Pierce's fifth win in the stakes event as he also won the previous two editions with Win Missy B (2012) and Cedar Dove (2011) in addition to victories with Passionate Glide (2006) and Her Culese (2005).
Overlooked at odds of 31-1, Creatine returned to the scene of his big Kentucky Futurity victory from a year ago and pulled off the upset as he collared 1-5 favourite Sebastian K at the wire in the $173,000 Allerage Farm Open Trot.
Creatine and driver Trace Tetrick crossed over ahead of Sebastian K (Ake Svanstedt) from their outer post eight starting spot into the first turn for early position. Parked through the :26.4 first quarter, Master Of Law (Scott Zeron) drove on to take over the lead with Sebastian K edging off the pylons.
Master Of Law cleared near the half-mile mark of :53.4 and then Sebastian K trotted by. As the Swedish star raced to three-quarters in 1:21.4, Master Of Law made a break in stride and left the leader five lengths clear at the top of the stretch.
However, Creatine avoided the breaker and kicked home to steal the glory in the final stride. Creatine prevailed by a head in the photo finish in a final time of 1:51.2, shaving a full second off his lifetime mark. Wishing Stone (Matt Kakaley) closed from the backfield to finish third over two lengths behind.
"Scotty did a great job at getting the horse out of the way and I had a clear shot after that," said Tetrick of the breaker in the final turn. "I said as long as I don't mess up, we have a good second-place finish right now. The horse got tired on the front and we just got him right there at the wire."
Diamond Creek Racing owns the four-year-old millionaire son of Andover Hall, who returned $64.80 to win. The victory was his second this year in 12 starts and followed up a pair of second-place finishes in the Centaur Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park and Noble Memorial at Scioto Downs.
"The last day of the meet here at The Red Mile has been very nice to us the last two years," said winning trainer Bob Stewart. "It doesn't get any better than this.
"I think more of him them some other people. He's kind of flown under the radar just a little bit, but he's always been a very special horse to me."
During the post-race interview, Stewart also discussed the future plans for Creatine and addressed talk of a European campaign for the trotter in 2015.
"If everything is okay, we'll be in Balmoral next week and then hopefully the Breeders Crown and a race there in Ohio," he said. "The owners have always wanted to race a horse in Europe and I think this might be the right one."
Mistery Woman tracked the cover of reigning Horse of the Year Bee A Magician and out-sprinted that rival to the wire in a world record performance in the $89,000 Allerage Farm Fillies & Mares Open Trot.
Mistery Woman's 1:51 clocking lowered the world record for four-year-old trotting mares by one-fifth of a second. The former mark was co-held by the Allerage Farm Open runner-ups, Bee A Magician and Classic Martine.
The winner's stablemate, Maven (Yannick Gingras), was the race leader through opening fractions of :27.4 and :55.1 before being confronted by 2-1 favourite Bee A Magician (Brian Sears). Advancing first over from fifth with Mistery Woman on her back, Bee A Magician moved up alongside Maven as they approached the third quarter mark in 1:23. She took over command into the stretch, but Mistery Woman wore her down late in the mile for the upset victory by a neck. Classic Martine (Tim Tetrick) closed from third over to finish third.
Mistery Woman entered the Allerage Farm off three consecutive wins at Pocono Downs and returned $21.80 to her backers at the betting windows.
"I wanted to stick with her," said winning reinsman Andrew McCarthy of his only stakes drive on the day. "She's just been racing at Pocono, but she's been beating the boys so I did have a lot of confidence in her. She's been racing great. A little trip like that worked out good."
Jonas Czernyson trains the Donato Hanover mare for Millstream Stable and Aldebaran Park.
Supplemental entry Yagonnakissmeornot closed well from the backfield to prevail in a wild four-across finish in the $90,000 Allerage Farm Fillies & Mares Open Pace.
Post 10 starter Anndrovette (Tim Tetrick) rolled up to take over the lead early on ahead of Aunt Caroline (Scott Zeron) and Krispy Apple (Brett Miller) through a :26.3 first quarter. She continued to carve out the middle splits of :54 and 1:21.3 while the outer flow, led by Shebestingin (David Miller), began to stack up and fan out wide.
Shelliscape (John Campbell) tipped three-high off cover and took over the lead in the stretch with Rocklamation (Yannick Gingras) following her move. But 3-2 favourite Yagonnakissmeornot, who was caught outside second from last early on, rallied home from fourth over to prevail on the grandstand side with Ron Pierce aboard. She edged out Shelliscape by a nose while Krispy Apple came through between horses to finish just a head back in third. Rocklamation was fourth, finishing just a half-length behind the photo finishers.
Rene Allard trains the five-year-old daughter of The Panderosa, who was purchased from the Meadowlands Mixed Sale early this year by his Allard Racing Inc. and partners Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation, Que. and Kapildeo Singh of Yorktown Heights, New York. She’s won 12 of her 26 starts and was the runner-up in the Milton Stakes during a career year in which her earnings are approaching the half-million mark.
“She’s just been like a dream," said Allard. "She had a bit of a bleeding issue and we put her on Lasix and she’s just been awesome all year.
"As a three-year-old we wanted to buy her at the fall sale and [George] Teague had bought her back, but I always followed her since. When she went in the sale again I said I’m going to make sure I get her this time. I’ve just always loved her. She’s just a beautiful, big mare and she just does everything right.”
Allard said that the connections are also considering supplementing Yagonnakissmeornot to the Breeders Crown.
The $160,500 Allerage Farm Open Pace also concluded in a blanket finish, with State Treasurer prevailing for his Canadian connections.
Dr. Ian Moore trains the five-year-old son of Real Desire for owners Sally MacDonald of Souris, P.E.I. and Paul MacDonald of Regina, Sask.
Sweet Lou (Ron Pierce) left for the lead from post nine and cleared his stablemate Bettors Edge (Matt Kakaley) at the quarter pole, reached in :26.3. As he led the way past the half in :54.1 and three-quarters in 1:21.4, Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras), another Ron Burke trainee, advanced to his outside towing State Treasurer and catch-driver Tim Tetrick on his back.
Sweet Lou maintained the lead over Foiled Again into the stretch, but Bettors Edge came through between his barn buddies while State Treasurer launched off cover and Modern Legend (David Miller), even wider, unleashed a wicked closing kick from third over.
State Treasurer managed to edge out the competition at the wire and prevailed in 1:48.3 by a head over Foiled Again. Bettors Edge finished second over Modern Legend and Sweet Lou.
The victory was State Treasurer's eighth in 17 starts this year and 21st lifetime, boosting his bankroll to $873,290.