Is This Jewel An Unrivaled Gem?

Published: July 12, 2012 07:30 am EDT

“How can I be so lucky to run into two fillies back-to-back like that? It’s just amazing. Both of those fillies belong in the top 10 fillies ever in the history of harness racing. That’s been the story of my life.”

For the second year in a row, a three-year-old filly pacer is the No. 1-ranked harness racing horse in North America in early July. For the second year in a row, the filly hails from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter. Even Takter, who was inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame on July 1 and has trained two winners of Horse of the Year honors, marvels at the situation.

In 2011, the top spot belonged to See You At Peelers, who won the first 22 races of her career and achieved national prominence before being hampered by a heart ailment that eventually led to her retirement earlier this year. This season, No. 1 is occupied by American Jewel, who has won four of five starts this year and won her last three by either setting or equaling a world record.

Last year, American Jewel won eight of nine starts and $677,116 for breeder/owner Brittany Farms. Her victories included the $645,660 She’s A Great Lady Stakes, in a world record 1:50.2; the $281,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes, in a track-record 1:52.3 at Indiana Downs; and divisions of the Bluegrass and Eternal Camnation Stakes.

American Jewel suffered a fractured sesamoid bone in her loss, by a head, to Big McDeal in the International Stallion Stakes on October 7 at Lexington’s Red Mile. Big McDeal won in 1:50.2, equaling American Jewel’s world record for a two-year-old filly pacer.

This year, American Jewel and driver Tim Tetrick opened their campaign with a second-place finish to Major Look in a track-record performance at Vernon Downs before ripping off four victories in a row, including the finals of the She’s A Great Lady Stakes in a world-record 1:48.2 for a mile track and the Lynch Memorial in a world-record-equaling 1:49.2 for a five-eighths-mile oval.

On Saturday, American Jewel will compete in the Mistletoe Shalee at the Meadowlands. She will start from post seven in a field of 10.

“We’re very excited,” said Myron Bell, the racing manager for George Segal’s Brittany Farms. “She was born great. It’s her pedigree as an individual – and the trainer and driver don’t hurt.”

American Jewel is a daughter of world champion American Ideal out of the mare Trim Hanover. She is related to two-time divisional champion Three Diamonds on both sides of her family; Three Diamonds is the second dam of American Ideal and third dam of Trim Hanover.

“It was a Brittany plan, and when it works out like this it makes it look easy,” Bell said. “We bought the dam, Trim Hanover, in 2005 when American Ideal broke the world record at The Red Mile and we planned to race her a few years and then breed her to American Ideal. And this is the resulting foal, so it worked out great.”

The last three-year-old filly pacer to be voted Horse of the Year was in 2004 when Rainbow Blue, another Hall of Fame inductee last Sunday, accomplished the feat. Whether American Jewel can join that group remains to be seen, and is little concern to her connections at the moment.

“Let her be whatever she can be,” Bell said. “She’s going to race, hopefully, this year and if she’s healthy maybe next year. We’ll see. We’ll take it a week at a time. We can’t make long distance plans in this business.

“All I can say is she’s a pleasure.”

As for Takter, when asked if he could compare American Jewel with See You At Peelers in any way, he declined.

“No, you can’t – and why should I? It’s not fair to either one of them,” Takter said. “But I can say this: American Jewel is just a fantastic horse.”

To view the entries for Saturday’s Mistletoe Shalee Final, click the following link: Saturday Meadowlands Entries.

This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit

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