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Pinkman Returns

Published: September 30, 2016 10:59 am ET

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When a horse boasts more than $2.5 million in earnings, wins one of harness racing's most coveted and richest races and earns awards and accolades for two straight seasons, no one expects that individual to fall off the radar. But such is the case for trotting star Pinkman.

In 2015, Pinkman won 11 of 17 races and banked in excess of $2 million. He captured the Beal, the Zweig, the Canadian Trotting Classic, the Kentucky Futurity and the Hambletonian. He was U.S. Trotter of the Year in 2015, and garnered divisional honours stateside in back-to-back seasons for co-owners Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman.

The 2016 campaign for Pinkman, however, has been a frustrating one for his connections. He's made just six starts with his only win coming in a stakes event in Sweden.

Liverman told Trot Insider that the trotter battled issues with sickness since returning.

"He was very, very good in Sweden. When he got don't go from being [divisional] trotter of the year twice in a row to nothing without a reason."

In addition, Liverman noted that Pinkman also had surgery on his palette this summer.

"When he raced on Hambletonian Day, he had a very good drive by Yannick Gingras. And he didn't pass horses in the last eighth like he usually would. It turned out he was sick. And he brought him back in an invitational at Pocono, same problem. But he seems better now."

The indication that Pinkman seems better now comes from his solid 1:52.4 qualifying effort at The Red Mile last Friday. This morning (Sept. 30) he finished third in his qualifier to sophomore Southwind Frank. After some soft early fractions the mile was timed in 1:54.1 with Pinkman individually timed in 1:55 for trainer and driver Jimmy Takter.

Herb Liverman (centre) with the connections of Pinkman following his 2015 Kentucky Futurity win (Nigel Soult)

With a stakes schedule winding down, Liverman notes that the only planned event on his schedule is the 2016 Breeders Crown. As a few stakes loom the weekend before the Breeders Crown elims at Yonkers Raceway, Liverman notes Pinkman can trot on half-mile tracks but according to his owner he's not at his best there.

"If you remember last year in the Yonkers Trot, on the last turn he had trouble and bore in a bit," recalled Liverman. "Whereas in Delaware in the first stakes race of his life, he set a world record (for two-year-old trotting geldings) in 1:57."

Liverman also stressed that time is on the side of Pinkman, who doesn't need to validate himself immediately for a lucrative stallion career.

"Because he's a gelding, it's not like you're trying to get a stallion who might race at four and you're trying to get every inch out of him...he has to keep racing. So if he doesn't race at four, he'll race at five. If he races a limited amount at four, it could mean he's saved a year of wear and tear."

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