Wolfgang gobbles up Goodtimes foes

The favorite was driven to a 1:52.1 victory by Yannick Gingras for trainer Jimmy Takter.

story by James Platz | quotes by Sandra Snyder

One week after scoring in his three-year-old debut, the Jimmy Takter-trained Wolfgang had his way with the field in the $266,000 Goodtimes final for sophomore trotting colts Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Steered by Yannick Gingras, the Ohio-bred My MVP—Summer Savory colt made his winning move after the quarter, taking command and rolling to a 1:52.1 triumph as the favorite. Longshot Stormont Ventnor (136-1) finished second followed by second choice Alarm Detector and 123-1 Missile Hill.

“Perry (Soderberg), the guy that looks at my horses, said, ‘This is a special horse.’ I know he’s not really the type of horse I’m buying, but he was so unique and we took a shot with him,” Takter said of the colt. “I don’t play the Ohio field, but that’s how we ended up with this horse. But he was so big; he’s a horse that I can see further and further down the line, as a four and five-year-old, is going to be a real special animal.”

At two, Wolfgang scored his biggest win in the $203,900 Matron for owners Brixton Medical Inc., Goran Falk, Hatfield Stables and breeder Fair Island Farm Inc. (Art Zubrod and his wife, Leah Cheverie). He was also a factor in the $250,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes final and $464,650 Valley Victory final, finishing second in each contest. Finishing first or second in six of 10 seasonal starts, Wolfgang showed he could be one of several Takter products that played a factor in 2018.

Last week, fans got their first glimpse of Wolfgang’s sophomore form. Drawing post five, Gingras set every fraction on the way to a near three-length advantage in one of the $30,000 eliminations, stopping the clock in 1:52.2. Entering Saturday night’s final, Alarm Detector, also an elimination winner last week, was the slight morning line favorite over Wolfgang, but as the gate swung into the stretch for the evening’s 10th race, it was the Takter trainee that was favored in the group of nine.

At the start, Lawmaker and Hat Trick Habit fired to the lead from posts five and six as Gingras settled for third. Hat Trick Habit would make a break in the turn, handing over the pocket seat to Wolfgang, but the favorite wouldn’t sit long. After a :27.3 opening panel, Gingras brushed to the lead with the favorite and clicked off fractions of :56.2 and 1:24.3 as Alarm Detector and Trevor Henry advanced first up to challenge. In the stretch, Wolfgang had things well in hand and trotted clear of the field by four lengths at the wire, closing out the race with a :27.3 last quarter. With the victory, the colt raised his bankroll to more than $460,000 for the partnership.

“I wanted to control the race,” Gingras said afterward. “Alarm Detector is a great horse, no doubt about it. Maybe he isn’t entirely in top form yet, but I thought if I could have my horse on the front and him first-up, that was my best chance to beat him. It worked out.”

This Buckeye-bred colt is not what you would typically find in the Takter Stable. On the track, he doesn’t perform like a typical trotter developed by the Hall of Famer. Gingras echoed those sentiments when describing the Goodtimes champion.

“He feels smooth when you’re sitting behind him, but if you look at him he’s not as smooth as other trotters,” the driver explained. “But he gets the job done and he’s willing to please, any time you ask him, he’ll give you some more and that counts for a lot.”

Saturday night he got the job done in a big way. Now Takter must decide where the talented colt will go next. With super filly Manchego in the stable, as well as some other top trotting talent, he has to chart a course for the sophomore this summer that will put him in the best places to succeed.

“I’ve got a couple of options. I don’t think I’m going to go (to the) Beal. We’re most likely going to race Manchego in that. I’ve got four or five horses racing at Pocono tomorrow and I’ve got to decide which one of those will go in there. We’ll mostly likely skip the Beal with him, because it’s too hard to race four weeks in a row. He’ll probably go to the Stanley Dancer next,” the trainer said of Wolfgang’s next start. “You cannot race every horse in every dance. Hopefully, you have a few players and you can manage them a bit better. That’s a tough time he went here, 1:52 on this track. That’s a good mile. Hannelore (Hanover) went :52 and she’s a great horse and she’s older, so it tells you a lot that this is a good one.”

The best may be yet to come for Wolfgang, but Saturday night he flashed a form that shows he will have a say in the Grand Circuit this season.