by Dave Briggs
Jimmy Takter isn’t Canadian, but his contribution to Canadian horse racing has been so immense he earned induction to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame the first time he went on the ballot.
Already enshrined in the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame (2012) and inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Nordic Trot Museum this weekend (July 13), Takter will become the first person to be in three harness racing halls of fame when he is officially inducted in Canada on Aug. 7 in Mississauga, ON.
“I am extremely proud to be the first one to be inducted into the Hall in three countries,” Takter said. “That’s tough to beat.”
Since trainer records were first collected in 1992, the Swedish-born, U.S.-based trainer has made 1,375 starts in Canada, winning 266 times and collecting purse earnings of more than $34.2 million on Canadian soil alone — more than 25 per cent of his complete career earnings of more than $134 million. Takter’s UTRS (a trainer’s “batting average”) in Canada is a remarkable .317.
Perhaps most impressive, Takter won 103 stakes races on Canada’s top Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) circuit, meaning nearly 40 per cent of his wins on Canadian soil came in stakes competition with a purse of $100,000 or more, including: the Breeders Crown (16 times), Canadian Trotting Classic (5), Casual Breeze (6), Champlain Trot (18), Elegantimage (5), Eternal Camnation (3), Fan Hanover (5), Goodtimes (3), Goldsmith Maid (1), Metro Pace (1), Mohawk Gold Cup (1), Peaceful Way (9), Robert Stewart Stakes (3), Shes A Great Lady (3), Simcoe (17), Somebeachsomewhere (1), Valley Victory (1), William Wellwood Memorial (5) (complete list follows).
Takter’s Breeders Crown legacy in Canada is particularly impressive. Nearly half of his record 34 Breeders Crown victories — 16 to be exact — have come in Canada, making him the leading trainer in Breeders Crown history for races held on Canadian soil. His Crown record includes one of the single most dominant performances by a trainer in Canada in the history of horse racing (both breeds). On 24, 2015 at Woodbine Racetrack, Takter trainees won six of the 12 Breeders Crown races, an all-time Crown record by a trainer and the single greatest day in harness racing history anywhere for a trainer in terms of purse earnings. Takter collected purses of $2,691,439 that night, a performance that also included four second-place finishers.
Horses trained by Takter have won a total of 19 O’Brien Awards honouring the best in Canadian harness racing. He has won at least one O’Brien Award in 15 of the 19 years between his first award in 1999 with Moni Maker and his most recent with The Ice Dutchess in 2018.
He has long been a vocal proponent of Canadian horse racing — even once training a thoroughbred that competed at Woodbine — he almost always accompanied his stakes horses to Canada and is known for being particularly cooperative with the racing media.
Despite being based in New Jersey, Takter was Canada’s leading trainer by earnings in 2015 with over $4.2 million made in Canada and has ranked among the nation’s top 10 conditioners six times since 2011, including second-place finishes in 2014 ($2,643,455) and 2016 ($2,263,361).
The 58-year-old Takter has also trained for a long list of prominent Canadian owners (including five members of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame): John Fielding, Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, Charles Armstrong (HOF), Dr. Glen Brown (HOF), Herb Liverman, Bob Anderson (HOF), David Anderson, David Willmot (HOF), Lou Camara, John Florens and Peter Heffering (HOF).
Takter retired in December of 2018. He is credited with 9,956 starts, 2,154 wins and earnings of $129,769,939. The eight years between 1983, when he started training, and 1991, when they started keeping trainer records, are not accounted for. As a driver, he has won 822 of 4,368 starts and posted earnings of $24,445,651 in 35 years in the sulky.