Takter Trotters Repeat In Big M Graduate

Graduate Series - Hasty Bid, Winners Bet, Act Fast, Ken Hanover
Published: June 23, 2024 12:38 am EDT

Apparently, the Nancy Takter barn has more good trotters in it than presumptive Hambletonian favourite Karl, as in Saturday night’s third and final leg of the Graduate Series for four-year-olds, she sent out the winners of both trotting divisions for a second straight week.

Saturday’s card also had a pair of Graduate splits on the pace, as all four of the events went for a purse of $68,493. The $250,000 USD (est.) finals will take place on July 6, the night of the Meadowlands Pace eliminations.

In the first trot, Takter’s Winners Bet, who last week equaled the track record for a four-year-old horse, apparently wasn’t happy with that, and went out and lowered that mark to 1:49.3 in an eye-popping front-end score with Dexter Dunn driving.

The time was the fastest of 2024 in the entire sport on the trot.

After winning last week in leg two from off the pace, Dunn put the son of Walner-Side Bet Hanover on the lead and cut out fractions of :27.1, :54.4 and 1:23, before sprinting home in :26.3 to record a 1-1/2 length score over Chapercraz. Ponda Jet was third.

Ponda Jet came at the eventual winner with a rush at three-quarters, but was shrugged off once they straightened away in the lane.

“That was pretty special,” said Takter. “It was nice to see him perform so well. He was perfect today. Dex said he had plenty left when horses came alongside him.”

Winners Bet has now won eight-of-22 lifetime outings, good for earnings of $780,784 for owners Lindy Farms of Connecticut and Robert A. Rudolph. He paid $2.60 to win as the 1-5 public choice.

Takter hit paydirt again in the second trot with Hasty Bid, a horse who joined her barn just last week, as driver Yannick Gingras kept the gelding by My MVP-Sunshinenlollipops close to the action from the get-go before grabbing the lead while parked at the head of the stretch and holding sway to the wire to win by 1-1/4 lengths in a lifetime-best 1:50.2. Special Way finished second with 6-5 favourite Oh Well third.

Due to a cancelled flight, driver James MacDonald, the three-time defending Canadian Driver of the Year, couldn’t make it to The Big M for the races, so his good friend Gingras wanted to let him know that there were no problems with him hopping in the bike.

“He sure raced good. Going into the race, I thought maybe I was two or three lengths better than James, but I guess I’m six lengths better,” said Gingras with a laugh. “He’s a nice horse to drive, two fingers. He likes to pass horses and he delivered.”

Hasty Bid recorded his sixth lifetime victory from 27 starts as he upped his lifetime bankroll to $632,622 for owners James MacDonald and Paige N. Austin. He returned $7.40 to win as the 5-2 third choice in the betting.

The pair of paces brought a pair of upsets, one major, one not so much.

Act Fast (Downbytheseaside-Act Like A Diva), no closer than fifth in any of his last four starts, worked out a brilliant cover trip and stormed home to record a 1:47.3 lifetime-best mile at odds of 23-1 for driver Todd McCarthy and trainer Ron Burke. Its My Show was three-quarters of a length back in second with Voukefalas third. Coach Stefanos, the 3-5 favourite, weakened to seventh and last, unable to endure after leading at the half in :53.3 and three-quarters in 1:21.

The winning time equalled the fastest mile of the year at The Meadowlands.

“It sort of panned out there, the horse raced super,” said McCarthy. “It was my first time behind the horse, and Ronnie said he’s been a little unlucky. He thought we had a shot if we got a trip. He did a great job to hang on.”

Act Fast returned $49.60 to his joyous backers as the sixth choice. Owned by Burke Racing Stable, Knox Services Inc., Rich Lombardo Racing and Beasty LLC, he now has 12 wins from 45 lifetime outings, good for earnings of $482,489.

Ken Hanover took control of the second pace with a swift move to the lead at the half in :54.3 before a back half in :53.1 resulted in a safe one-length win over even-money favourite Huntinthelastdolar. Redwood Hanover was third.

The final time of 1:47.4 was a lifetime best for the son of Captaintreacherous-K Js Justine.  

“He had a better post and everything worked his way tonight,” said winning driver Dave Miller of the Roland Mallar trainee. “He’s a good horse who always gives 100 per cent.”

After recording his 13th lifetime win from 35 attempts, Ken Hanover lifted his lifetime earnings to $660,371 for owners Roland D. Mallar, Patrick A. Leavitt, William R. Jordan and Dennis J. Osterholt. He returned $10.20 to his backers as the 4-1 third choice in the wagering.

One shrewd player scooped the pot in the 20-cent Pick-6. With a carryover of $3,440 leading to a total pool of just over $36,000, after a sequence that saw winners' odds of 1-5, 12-1, 5-2, 9-5, 3-1 and 14-1, he or she cashed in for $31,337.96. The 11th race 10-cent Hi-5 (or Pentafecta, if you prefer) saw a carryover of $15,253 lead to a total pool of just over $74,000. Those with tickets with the correct combination of 1-5-7-8-6 walked away with $1,837.83.

All-source handle on the 14-race card totalled $2,978,687 USD.

Racing resumes on Friday, June 28 at 6:20 p.m.

(Meadowlands Racetrack)

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