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Maven Returns, Sophomores Sold

Published: December 9, 2015 9:51 am ET

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While Jimmy Takter will be saying goodbye to a number of his top three-year-olds from this past season, he will be able to say 'welcome back' to a star from the European arm of his stable.

As Trot Insider reported last week, Wild Honey will move to Sweden for the 2016 season after a deal in principle was made with Stall Kenny. Stefan Melander's Stall TZ has since secured two of Takter's talented sophomore colts -- French Laundry and Uncle Lasse -- to race in Europe.

"I have been hunting for both these horses a long time and never thought we would get the opportunity to buy them," Melander told Trot Insider on Wednesday morning. "Both horses will race before they will work as stallions."

Melander is best known in North American circles for his 2001 Hambletonian win with Scarlet Knight. He took over the training of Nuncio in 2015 when his connections made the decision to campaign him in Europe for his four-year-old year.

French Laundry was a homebred of Canadians Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, who were joined by Christina Takter and John Fielding on the ownership. The son of Muscles Yankee - Creamy Mimi won $679,629 and 11 of his 30 starts in North America at two and three, and established a world record for trotting colts with his 1:53.4 mile at Delaware with his win in the Old Oaken Bucket.

"I’ve liked him since a saw him as a yearling, but back then I had more than 160 horses to train in Sweden, and the price tag was little bit too big for my wallet," said Melander. "He will also fit well to my Scarlet Knight mares along with Uncle Lasse and Nuncio."

While Uncle Lasse might have taken a back seat in Takter's stable to Hambletonian winner Pinkman and Breeders Crown winner The Bank, he was a consistent performer throughout his three-year-old year for New Jersey-based Solveigs Racing Partners and Goran Falk. He accrued $604,602 as a sophomore, missing just three cheques in 15 starts while primarily racing against the Grand Circuit's best. He sits just shy of the million-dollar mark in lifetime earnings.

"Pedigree-wise, Uncle Lasse is among the best horses ever," continued Melander. "It is a modern bloodline and I think with Donato Hanover as a dad and Yankee Glide as a grandfather it will be a perfect breeding stallion for the 90 mares that I own.

"I also like Solveig very much, before Uncle Lasse and Shake It Cerry she also has left Solvate who been very successful in Sweden."

Returning to North America will be trotting mare Maven. The six-year-old Gildemaster mare banked nearly $250,000 in her European campaign. She's set to return to the U.S. today (Wednesday), with co-owner Herb Liverman telling Trot Insider plans are to have her ready to race in around three months.

Maven (Gildemaster - M Stewart) is owned by Liverman along with Toronto's John Fielding and Joyce McClelland of Ohio. The double millionaire made history in 2014 with her $750,000 price tag during the Harrisburg Mixed Sale, making her the most expensive trotting mare sold at auction in North America.


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