By Bill Finley
Nothing has gone right for Pinkman since his win in the Hambletonian. He broke in the Colonial at Pocono Downs and then lost again in the elims of the Yonkers Trot, where he had trouble negotiating the tight turns. Both races were won by Crazy Wow.
That doesn’t mean it’s time to write Pinkman off or declare Crazy Wow as the leader of the 3-year-old male trotting division. It does mean Pinkman can ill afford another defeat.
There will be a lot on the line tomorrow night at Yonkers for Pinkman in the $500,000 Yonkers Trot, where he could have his hands full with not only Crazy Wow, but his stablemate Habitat. Both are trained by Ron Burke and coming off sharp elimination wins.
But his biggest opponent may be himself. He has to be the Pinkman that won five straight, including the Hambletonian. If so, it’s unlikely he will lose.
Trainer Jimmy Takter took somewhat of a risk when deciding on the Yonkers Trot for Pinkman as the gelded son of Explosive Matter had had little experience over the half-mile track. His only other race on the half was a win last year at Delaware in the Standardbred Stakes where he beat none other than Crazy Wow. It showed as he lost his momentum on the final turn, dropped back and looked hopelessly beaten, but came on again late to finish second. Crazy Wow beat him by one length.
“He didn’t handle the turn well at all,” Takter said. “We’re going to change some things with him and we’re working on them now. It’s still a little bit of a concern, but I think he will be fine. His form is good. It’s just that he really had problems on the turns. Hopefully, we’ll be able to fix that.”
Takter is unwilling to concede that Crazy Wow might be the better horse right now.
“Crazy Wow, he’s had perfect trips the two times in a row that he beat Pinkman,” he said. “He beat Pinkman on a night when Pinkman had problems on the turns and Crazy Wow came up the passing lane. It’s not that Crazy Wow stepped up, it’s that Pinkman stepped back.”
In addition to having to face Crazy Wow and Habitat, Pinkman will have to deal with the seven post. Crazy Wow drew post six and will also have a new driver in George Brennan. Tim Tetrick will be driving tomorrow night at Mohawk.
The seven is never a good spot to begin from at Yonkers, but Takter sees a race loaded with early speed and is hopeful that will help driver Yannick Gingras work out a trip.
“The half-mile is the half-mile and that makes things a little bit different,” he said. “We drew the seven and post positions matter at Yonkers. I think there will be a fast pace in this race because there are a lot of horses that can leave out of there. Trond’s horse (Buen Camino) is very fast out. My other horse (French Laundry) is very fast out. Svanstedt’s horse (Southwind Mozart) is very fast out. The speed is inside and there are a lot of leavers in the race. It’s a good race, an interesting race.
“I’m not saying he will definitely win, not from that post position. But is he the best horse in the race, without a doubt. Yannick had to basically shut him down in the last turn (in the elims) and he almost came back and won anyway.”
Some trainers don’t like to race at Yonkers, no matter how big the purse is, because of the half-mile track, but Takter isn’t one of them. He won this race last year with Nuncio.
“It’s one of the oldest classic races we have and it’s part of the Triple Crown,” he said. “It doesn’t matter with Pinkman, but for a stallion it means a lot. To win the Yonkers Trot is great for their credentials. It makes the horse desirable as a stallion if they prove they can go on the big track and the small track.”
Buen Camino drew post one and with his gate speed there’s little doubt he’s going right to the front. He finished third last week behind Crazy Wow and Pinkman.
“The draw couldn’t have been better,” said Smedshammer. “Obviously, a couple of those horses (in the Yonkers Trot) have a little more power. He’s going to have to get lucky with a trip, but he certainly can get a nice piece of it from the rail.”
As for Crazy Wow, the son of Crazed is a “now” horse. After finishing fifth in the Stanley Dancer, he sat out for three weeks because he was not eligible for the Hambletonian. Upon his return, he’s won three straight with the streak also including a New York Sire Stakes win at Yonkers.
For TrackMaster pps for the Yonkers Trot and Messenger click here.
For all other pps go to www.trackmaster.com.