Father Patrick Triumphs In Maxie Lee

Published: May 24, 2015 04:26 pm EDT

Father Patrick kicked off his four-year-old campaign with a victory over the talented trotting mare Bee A Magician in the $150,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Trot -- one of three rich Invitationals on Sunday's harness racing card at Harrah's Philadelphia.

The race began with four trotters battling for the leading role off the gate with Father Patrick and Yannick Gingras among those jockeying for early position. Insider Lindys Tru Grit (Andy Miller) and slight 6-5 favourite Bee A Magician (Brian Sears) left together with Father Patrick, off at 7-5 from post five, and outsider Bourbon Bay (John Cummings Jr.) to their outside. Bee A Magician, who became the first female trotter to win the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial in her last start at The Meadowlands, forged to the front over Lindys Tru Grit by the :27.1 first quarter mark while Father Patrick pressed on and then cleared in front of the grandstand.

Father Patrick continued to lead the field to the half in :55.4 with Bourbon Bay left first over. As Father Patrick reached three-quarters in 1:24.2, his rivals began making their moves. Meladys Monet (John Campbell) swept three-wide off cover and Bee A Magician pulled the pocket. However, Father Patrick remained strong on the lead through the stretch and was victorious in 1:52.1 with Bee A Magician chasing him across the wire two lengths behind in second-place. Lindys Tru Grit finished third. DWs NY Yank, Meladys Monet, Market Share, Bourbon Bay and Classic Martine completed the field. Father Patrick paid $4.80 to win.

Father Patrick's 1:52.1 clocking equalled the track record for four-year-old male trotters.

“He did it so easy too,” said Gingras. “The earplugs are still in; I never really called on him. I let him trot the last eighth [of a mile].

“Bee A Magician got the right trip, but with those kinds of fractions maybe I got a little bit of a jump on her. But she’s a great horse and I was definitely worried around the turn when Brian [Sears] pulled because I knew she would give me a run. But he just showed what kind of horse he is.”

Jimmy Takter trains the four-year-old Cantab Hall stallion, who put together an award-winning sophomore season in 2014 in which he was harness racing's top money-earner with purses totalling $1,727,181. He is now 23-for-29 in his career and boasts lifetime earnings over $2.55 million. Father Patrick is leased by Brixton Medical Inc.

“If everything stays perfect I think he’s going to be very dominant,” said Takter. “I really do. I’ve been around greatness, and I think he’s going to be a horse people talk about for many, many years.”

Earlier on the card, the Takter-trained Great Vintage rallied three-wide coming off the final turn to take the inaugural edition of the $150,000 Jerry Taylor Memorial Pace.

Great Vintage and driver David Miller followed the cover of Domethatagain (Simon Allard), who tipped first up from mid-pack near the half-mile mark and began to gain ground on the leading Doctor Butch (John Campbell) down the backstretch. Doctor Butch had looped early leaver Dancin Yankee (Brett Miller) at the :26.2 quarter-pole and carved out middle splits of :55.1 and 1:22.4 before Great Vintage made his big move and overtook the leader at the top of the stretch. He prevailed in 1:50.2 by half a length with Dancin Yankee coming through for second-place three-quarters of a length behind and 2-1 favourite Mach It So (Tim Tetrick) closing on the far outside for third. O'Brien Award winner Modern Legend (James MacDonald) finished fourth with Doctor Butch, Domethatagain, Sapphire City and Clear Vision rounding out the order. Great Vintage paid $10.60 to win as the 4-1 third choice.

Takter trains the son of American Ideal for his wife Christina and co-owners John Fielding, Goran Anderberg, and Goran Falk. Great Vintage, who is two-for-two to start his seven-year-old campaign, now has 28 career wins and nearly $800,000 in earnings.

“He got hurt in the fall last year, so I thought he was done," said Takter. "But he came back sounder and better. He was a really good two-year-old, but he got hurt in the paddock when he was turned out so he didn’t come back good as a three-year-old. He had a bad injury on the knee.

“He raced good [in the two years] after that. He’s a good horse. He’s a brother to [$2.1 million-earner] Vintage Master, so he’s got a license to play. He’s a tough horse.”

Radar Contact fought off all challengers including defending champion Anndrovette to win the $150,000 Betsy Ross Mares Invitational Pace.

Leaving from post three, Radar Contact and driver John Campbell let Jerseylicious (David Miller) cross over to command, but then she drove on to claim the top spot past the :26.2 opening quarter. Radar Contact proceeded to lead the field of talented mares past the half in :55 and three-quarters in 1:22.4 with 4-5 favourite Yagonnakissmeornot (Simon Allard) fading after a first over bid and Jerseylicious pulling the pocket. Down the stretch, Radar Contact shook off Jerseylicious and then held off Anndrovette (Tim Tetrick) as she closed from third along the pylons. Radar Contact prevailed over Anndrovette in 1:51.1 by a neck while Ooh Bad Shark (Allan Davis) came on for third. Table Talk, For The Ladies N, Yagonnakissmeornot, Jerseylicious, and Sayitall Bb completed the finish order. Sent postward as the 7-2 second choice, Radar Contact paid $9 to win.

Trained by Noel Daley, Radar Contact earned her sixth victory from 14 starts this year. Charles Stillings and Dean Ehrgott own the 31-time career winner, who has banked over $882,000 in purses.

(With quotes from HRC)