"I Wasn't Ever Really Into These Pacers"


When you consider that he has trained world-class pacers the likes of Cabrini Hanover, Mr Feelgood and Vintage Master, it sounds downright strange when trotting master Jimmy Takter says, "I'm from Sweden. I came over here and I wasn't ever really into these pacers."

Although, with the volumes of success Takter has enjoyed on the trotting side of the business, those aforementioned top-tier horses and their tremendous stakes accomplishments seem like mere drops in a bucket, in a relative sense.

Earlier this year, Takter went on the record as being extremely high on Rockin Image's chances of hauling down a pair of the sport's grandest pacing events this season -- the Pepsi North America Cup and the Meadowlands Pace, specifically. Having participated in five races this year, and currently holding a seasonal resume which reads two wins, one second and one third with $53,407 in purse earnings, on the surface something seems amiss.

A closer look reveals that the son of 'Pace' winner Rocknroll Hanover has paced both a pair of sub-1:50 miles and two sub-1:49 miles this year. What is more remarkable is that the colt hasn't been getting his air properly; something which Takter hopes has been rectified heading into the $1 million final of the Pace this Saturday.

He discussed the colt's breathing issues with Meadowlands Racetrack Statistician Bob 'Hollywood' Heyden at the Pace post position draw earlier this week.

"Unfortunately, in the final (of the NJSS on May 29) he could not breathe," Takter said. "John (driver John Campbell) drove the horse then, and he told me that he (Rockin Image) flipped [his] palate at the half. I knew we were in trouble, so we had to do something to help him."

"(After surgery) I had the horse in an oxygen chamber every day for a week, which helped (bring along) the healing process a lot faster. Normally, it is about two and a half weeks or three weeks. We qualified him back I think in 13 days, or something like that. He qualified good, but he was not really 100 per cent healed because Norm Ducharme had to trim a little bit of his palate," explained Takter, who went on to say, "so I made the decision not to go to the North America Cup with him."

Takter went on to say, "I never thought I would get into it (training pacers). So when the Meadowlands Paces were on, I was probably racing some trotter somewhere else. A couple of years ago, the first (pacing) horse I bought was Cabrini Hanover, and from there on we've had great success and have done well. To be quite honest, I love training these pacers -- I don't mind it. [Pacers'] conditioning is the same as conditioning a trotter. I think I'm getting better. I've learned a lot the last couple of years. I think I've learned quite a bit on it -- I think I'm pretty decent on it."

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