By Bill Finley
Not only is Jimmy Takter not mad at Yannick Gingras for choosing Mission Brief over Pinkman in the Hambletonian, he is giving the drive on the gelding back to his one-time regular pilot.
Gingras had to choose between Pinkman and Mission Brief last Saturday after both won elimination races for the Hambletonian. Gingras picked wrong and chose the filly, Mission Brief, who finished second behind Pinkman. Brian Sears picked up the winning drive on the Takter-trained Hambo winner.
That wasn’t the only thing Gingras was wrong about Hambletonian Day as he said after the race: “Pinkman is Brian’s drive now. I am sure he will keep driving him.”
But Takter has other ideas and said this week that when Pinkman makes his next start in the Aug. 22 Colonial at Pocono Downs that Gingras will be sitting behind him.
“Yannick has been driving this horse all along,” Takter noted. “Just because the situation came up with Mission Brief, that doesn’t bother me. He was put in a tough situation and it wasn’t an easy decision. Whatever he did, he had the chance of looking bad. He probably drove the one he thought was better. Me, personally, I thought it was a no-brainer, but he apparently didn’t think that way.
“Yannick does a lot of driving for me. He’s been driving this horse through most of his career so I’m not going to fuss with things.”
Takter said he will “probably enter four or five” in the Colonial, but Pinkman will be the clear star of his group. With his Hambletonian win he has clearly established himself as the leading 3-year-old trotter in the country and is a serious Horse-of-the-Year candidate. Not bad for a gelding Takter was so down on, he entered him in the Harrisburg Mixed Sale last year before pulling him out.
“He has that star quality, like a great horse has,” Takter said. “He’s the biggest surprise horse of my life. He’s a horse we castrated and put in the sale. $1.7 million later, he’s still going strong. That tells you it is not easy, this game. I’m a guy with a lot of experience and with this horse I was completely wrong. you can be wrong. That’s the way it is.”