Hollywood’s Hits: 57 facts about Jimmy Takter on his 57th birthday

by Bob Heyden

Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter turns 57 today (Sept. 30). To celebrate, here’s 57 facts about him.

1. The first world record he set was with Sir Taurus in 1:57.2 on July 13, 1987 at Yonkers in a $152,300 NYSS event. The record was for a three-year-old trotting colt on a half-mile track.

2. Twice he has qualified a male and a female in record time:
Male — Always B Miki in 1:48.2 at Red Mile on Sept. 25, 2015
Female — Pure Country this summer in 1:48

3. He won three Breeders Crowns, minimum, for five straight years — not counting his 2015 total of 6. That makes 30 Breeders Crowns total for Takter and 18 since his Hall Of Fame Induction Day of 2012.

4. He had four different drivers for his four Hambletonian winners: Mal Burroughs in 1997 with Malabar Man, Ron Pierce in 2010 with Muscle Massive, Jimmy himself in 2014 with Trixton and Brian Sears with Pinkman in 2015.

5. He will be shooting for five straight Hambletonian Oaks triumphs in 2018.

6. Six was the age of Moni Maker in 1999 when she won the second of her two straight Horse of the Year titles. This is the last time anyone has repeated as HOY.

7. There are seven combined Hambletonians between Takter and fellow Swede Per Eriksson.

8. Takter is the only trainer to have the HOY on two continents in the very same year — Kramer Boy in 1997 in Sweden and Malabar Man in 1997 in the U.S.

9. Takter’s first Hambletonian appearance was also John Campbell’s first Hambletonian win. In 1987, Sir Taurus didn’t get any money in the final that Mack Lobell won.

10. Twice Takter has finished 1-2 in the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands. No other trainer can say this. Ten years ago, Malabar Man won and Take Chances was second. In 2014, Trixton won and Nuncio was second.

11. Eleven years ago, Takter sent out the runnerup in the HOY ballot — Passionate Glide. It was also 11 years ago that Takter debuted in the Little Brown Jug and won it with Mr Feelgood with Mark MacDonald also winning in his first attempt.

12. Takter trainee Always B Miki has 12 wins in 2016 en route to a HOY season in which he also became the fastest standardbred of all time (1:46). It was the fourth HOY for Takter but his first with a pacer.

13. There were 13 years between Takter’s first and second Hambletonian wins — 1997 with Malabar Man and 2010 Muscle Massive.

14. The last two times the Hambletonian has been won by a trainer back to back, both were Swedes and both were born in 1960. Per Eriksson won in 1991 and 1992 with Giant Victory and Alf Palema, respectively. Takter won in 2014 and 2015 with Trixton and Pinkman, respectively.

15. Pinkman is Takter’s richest single-season performer ($1.9 million in 2015). Not bad-considering that he was catalogued at the Standardbred Sale in Harrisburg as a two-year-old before being withdrawn.

16. Two decades ago, Takter took over the training of Moni Maker (1997) and she would go on to become the richest female performer in the sport’s history.

17. Takter and daughter Nancy Johansson are the only father/daughter combo to each have HOY trophies. Takter with four and Johansson taking hers home in 2014 with J K She’s A Lady.

18. Takter is the second leading trainer of all time in earnings (near $125 million. USTA trainer stats begin only in 1992).

19. Takter worked for Soren Nordin among others early on. Soren, who passed away at age 91 and won his last race at 82, would have been 100 this past Sept. 5.

20. Takter homebred See You At Peelers won her first 22 starts and was a two-time divisional winner. Vintage Master lost his first 20 starts for Takter, but went on to bank well over $2 million.

21. Back in 1985, on the second of five Statue Of Liberty Nights, Takter and his father Bo drove in back- to-back races in the trotting stakes on the card. Bo had Ellizar H from post 10 in the Statue Of Liberty for $150,000 at a flat mile and Jimmy, just 24, had Bandolino in the Hiram Woodruff in the very next race.

22. Takter’s all-time winning percentage at the Meadowlands is 22.7 per cent. That’s even more impressive when you consider how often he races multiple horses in the same event.

23. Takter’s 30 total Breeders Crown wins is one more than the combined total of Breeders’ Cup wins between the two leading money-winning trainers in thoroughbred history — Todd Pletcher has won nine Cups and his one-time mentor D. Wayne Lukas has won 20.

24. Takter is a six-time Trainer Of The Year and is going for his fourth straight. He won his first in 1996.

25. Takter is the only trainer to send out a Meadowlands Hambletonian favorite from post 10 (2014 — Father Patrick).

26. In 2014, there were 314 ballots cast for the best three-year-old trotting colts and fillies and 313-out-of-314 went to a Takter trainee. In the colts’ division, Takter’s Father Patrick (94), Nuncio (57) and Trixton (five) earned 161 votes (trainer Charlie Norris had one vote for Datysuk). In the fillies’ division, Takter’s Shake It Cerry received 156 votes and his Lifetime Pursuit earned one vote.

27. In 2014, Takter sent out the top five winningest trotters in the sport. They combined for $6,070,149. This total was more than the next 16 earners combined.

28. Only Takter has had a female trotter timed in sub-1:50 in a race at the Meadowlands. Shake It Cerry was timed the same as J L Cruze in 2015 in his record 1:49.4 effort.

29. Billy Haughton drove the Hambletonian winner in 1980 (Burgomeister) while his entrymate (Final Score) was second. Takter drove Trixton to victory in the 2014 Hambletonian while his entrymate (Nuncio) was second. In both cases, the trainer/driver who was victorious was not driving the divisional winner. Tommy Haughton drove Final Score and Yannick Gingras drove Father Patrick, who broke at the start and lost all chance as the public’s choice.

30. Takter has won 30 Breeders Crowns.

31. Takter is the first trainer since Stanley Dancer to have had both the fastest trotter and the fastest pacer of all time. Dancer in the 1970s had Albatross and his sub 1:55 efforts, after having Nevele Pride become history’s fastest trotter in 1969. Jimmy Takter had Always B Miki in 2017 at 1:46 and Tom Ridge on Labor Day weekend of 2004 establishing the all-age mark of 1:50.2.

32. Jimmy has not won a Hambletonian in the 21st century with a favorite. Malabar Man did it at 1-5 in 1997, but Muscle Massive was 6-1 in 2010, Trixton and Nuncio were the two choices after Father Patrick in 2014 and Pinkman was second choice to the lady Mission Brief in 2015. (Note: Takter was favored in 2004 with Tom Ridge (eighth) and with Bar Hopping in 2016 (fourth)).

33. Nine of the 33 Hambletonians since 1985 have been won by Swedes — 1985-1991-1992 Per Eriksson, 1988 Jan Johnson, 2017 Ake Svanstedt and the four by Takter 1997-2010-2014-2015

34. Cabrini Hanover was Takter’s first foray into the high-end pacing game. In 2004, she set the world record for a two-year-old filly pacer (1:51) the same weekend Takter set the all-age trotting mark with Tom Ridge at 1:50.2.

35. Creatine (driven by Johnny Takter) won the 2015 Breeders Crown and gave the Takter brothers the distinction of being the second set of driving brothers to each drive a Breeders Crown winner. Earlier that same night, Trace Tetrick completed the Timmy-Trace double.

36. Takter was 36 when he won his first Hambletonian with Malabar Man in 1997.

37. Could “7s” be wild again for the trotters? Consider that in each of the last five decades ending in a “7″ the Horse of the Year was a trotter and a decisive winner (Nevele Pride in 1967, Green Speed in 1977, Mack Lobell in 1987, Malabar Man in 1997, Donato Hanover in 2007). Can Takter’s Ariana G get it done in 2017?

38. Takter is the only trainer in history to condition a winner of a million-dollar race with an amateur driver — Mal Burroughs with Malabar Man in the Hambletonian in 1997.

39. Takter twice trained a colt who would go on to sire either a HOY or the fastest trotter ever.
Takter’s Enjoy Lavec sired Enough Talk (1:49.3 in 2008) and San Pellegrino sired San Pail (HOY in 2011).

40. Takter is the second leading money-winning trainer behind only Ron Burke.

41. Takter’s first winning drive in the U.S. came several weeks before Stanley Dancer’s last Hambletonian win. Takter with Baltic Speed in the summer of 1983, the year Duenna won the Hambletonian for Dancer.

42. “Stanley Dancer is the one guy I really wished I had worked for years ago,” Takter once said.

43. Takter has trained pacers, trotters, males and females that have won Horse of the Year.

44. The last female to win an elimination of the Hambletonian was Takter’s Pampered Princess in 2007.

45. Takter had his three $10 million+ seasons consecutively — 2014-2015-2016.

46. Southwind Allaire was 25-1 when she upset in the Hambletonian Oaks in 2003. It is the largest win price for any of the Oaks or Hambletonian winners sent out by Takter.

47. Mr Lavec was the 1994 Hambletonian runnerup for Takter. He was from the first European-sired crop of Speedy Somolli and he was raised in Ireland.

48. Takter’s 2010 Hambletonian winner was the $425,000 yearling Muscle Massive. He was the third straight son of Muscles Yankee to capture the Hambletonian. Takter’s world record setter Tom Ridge was also a son of the 1998 Hambletonian winner Muscles Yankee.

49. Drivers and trainers 50 or older to win the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands: Stanley Dancer (56) in 1983 with Duenna; Ray Schnittker (50) in 2008 with Deweycheatumnhowe; Roger Hammer (59) in 2005 with Vivid Photo and Takter (53) in 2014 with Trixton.

50. Takter’s brother Johnny won the Peter Haughton for Jimmy with Weingartner.

51. Takter’s first year in the U.S. was 1977, the year that Green Speed was the Hambletonian-Yonkers Trot winner and HOY. Billy Haughton won the Hambletonian for the second straight year (following Steve Lobell in 1976). Takter later won both of those races consecutively — the Yonkers Trot 2009-2010-2011 and the Hambletonian in 2014-2015.

52. Takter’s first ever driving winner was a 42-1 longshot named Air Money Jagersto in Sweden at age 18.

53. The first wave of top-notch horses trained by Takter on his own included: Genuine Comfort, On A Cruise, Classic Air and Sir Taurus in the mid-late 1980s.

54. Ariana G (#1) was ranked ahead of Walner (#2) this year on the Hoof Beats Predictive Rankings.

55. Takter was named the 1988 Sports Eye “Newcomer Of The Year”.

56. The first time Takter had the two-year-old colt and filly trotters of the year was in 1996 when Malabar Man and Armbro Prowess took the respective awards.

57. Though Takter hasn’t had a Triple Crown winner yet, he did win all the Trotting Triple Crown events of 2014 but with different colts — Nuncio in the Kentucky Futurity and the Yonkers Trot and Trixton in the Hambletonian.