by Frank Carulli
January 2, 2019
It’s safe to say Jimmy Takter went out on top as a harness racing trainer.
It’s more accurate to say he went out over the top.
Takter, 58, entered his self-imposed January 1 retirement with an unrivaled, three-decade run of sheer excellence.
His name was synonymous with the sport’s biggest races – and he has 2,100 wins, $130 million in purse earnings, six Trainer of the Year trophies and a 2012 Hall of Fame induction to prove it.
Takter won a record 34 Breeders Crown races, in addition to four Hambletonians, five consecutive Hambletonian Oaks and a Little Brown Jug, to name a few of the lucrative, six-figure stakes races. His stable earned more than $8 million the last six years and $40 million over time at the Meadowlands, the most recognized harness track in North America.
Trotters flourished under Takter’s care. Moni Maker ($5.58 million) was a two-time Horse of the Year and the sport’s richest female ever. Malabar Man gave Takter his first Hambletonian victory in 1997. Lifetime Pursuit/Trixton and Ariana G/Pinkman gave Takter an unprecedented Hambletonian/Oaks double in 2014-15. Shake It Cerry became the first female to trot a sub-1:50 mile at the Meadowlands in 2015, the same year the The Bank sprung an upset in the Breeders Crown 3YO Trot to give Takter six Breeders Crown wins on the 12-race card at Woodbine. Manchego kept the five-year Oaks winning streak alive for Takter and driver Yannick Gingras when she trotted to a stakes-record 1:50 last year.
But Takter could handle pacers, too. Pure Country earned more than $2 million in becoming the first female pacer to win the Dan Patch Award at ages 2, 3 and 4. Always B Miki paced a world-record 1:46 mile in the 2017 Allerage Farms Stakes at the Red Mile en route to becoming Horse of the Year.
It all adds up to a career that by anyone’s standards was over the top.