The older pacer quietly put up a 1:51 mile in a training session Saturday afternoon at the Meadowlands with his trainer, Jimmy Takter, in the bike.
by Dave Briggs
After training Always B Miki in virtual secret at the Meadowlands Saturday afternoon, trainer Jimmy Takter had just one word to describe the uber-talented older pacer — scary.
As in scary good.
Takter figures the five-year-old son of Always A Virgin out of Artstopper went a training mile in 1:51, with a :54 last half and a final quarter in :26.
“He was very good. He was very strong. He felt like he’s ready,” said Takter, who was in the bike.
“He’s been super all winter. He’s been getting better and better. Knock on wood, we hope he’s going to stay like this. If so, it’s going to be very interesting.
“I can’t praise a horse more than I praise this horse. He’s in a caliber to be one of the best pacers ever. One of the more powerful horses I ever saw was Somebeachsomewhere and this horse has that kind of power. He makes it look easy. He’s definitely in a class with the best that ever lived. I know that for sure. If I can keep him good and healthy and sound I think he’s going to make a big impact in the sport. I’m sure about that.”
Last fall, Always B Miki rebounded from his second serious career injury to storm through his only four races of the year in epic style after posting a 1:48.2 qualifier at Red Mile that equaled the world record for a qualifier.
The winner of more than $1.2 million lifetime was dominant in the $300,000 Breeders Crown open pace final at Woodbine in October — defeating a tough older group by five-and-a-half lengths in the slop in 1:49.3. He then ended the year with a 1:49.1 victory in the $136,500 American-National at Balmoral to cap a perfect campaign with earnings of $301,210 for owners Bluewood Stable (William Jones, Jillian Luff, Mitchel Skolnick, Bluestone Farms and Kitty Hawk Stable (Bob Boni and Stuart Hankin)), Roll The Dice Stable (Joseph Hurley) and Christina Takter.
In 2014, Always B Miki was scratched out of the $531,250 Breeders Crown final for sophomore pacers on Nov. 22 at the Meadowlands mere minutes before going to post with what was later found to be a broken left hind long (P-1) pastern.
Veterinarian Dr. Patty Hogan repaired the damage surgically and Always B Miki trained a mile in :53 at the Meadowlands last May. A few days later, Takter informed the owners that Always B Miki had suffered a broken bone in the right hind P-1 pastern. The horse had surgery and returned to the races later in the year in tremendous form.
If he stays healthy, some pundits believe Always B Miki could put up some jaw-dropping world record miles this year.
“Believe it or not, when you sit behind him you don’t feel like
you’re going that fast,” Takter said. “You can drive a :55 pacer and feel like you’re going a million miles an hour. But this horse, you can do in one stride what would take four strides for a normal horse. He’s very efficient in how he goes.”
Takter said Always B Miki will likely qualify in two weeks, “so he gets two weeks to absorb this training and then we’ll go from there. It’s not that easy to find races for him right now. So, it will buy me two weeks anyway.
“I’m going to try to keep him at the Meadowlands as much as possible for awhile and then, hopefully, we can find some races for him here. Right now, they’re racing those Levy races at Yonkers and there’s not that many open pacers around.”
Earlier Saturday, Takter trainee JK Endofanera won his qualifier in 1:51.4 at the Meadowlands.
“John Campbell drove him and he was very happy with him,” said Takter, who also was impressed by a qualifying victory by three-year-old Brittany Farms homebred Western Fame (Western Ideal—Shyaway).
“He was a very lazy, laid-back colt last year that didn’t do all that much, but he won his qualifier in 1:53.2 and looked really good. So, I had a good afternoon here.”