Juvenile champion Father Patrick brings a 10-race winning streak to the Meadows for Friday's $211,700 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes for sophomore colt and gelding trotters, but Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter said the streak is the farthest thing from his mind.
"I don't think like that,” Takter said. "They're horses. They win, they get beat. I don't worry about things like that.”
Instead, Takter hopes the son of Cantab Hall-Gala Dream builds on his facile victory in 1:53.3 in the Historic-Dickerson Cup at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, which kicked off his 3-year-old campaign and pushed his career bankroll to $762,688.
Father Patrick may not be tested sternly Friday; of the six other contenders in his split, one is a maiden, and two remain eligible for NW2. Amped Up Hanover, perhaps the most accomplished of the rest, stalked Father Patrick from the pocket in the Dickerson Cup and still was beaten 4 1/2 lengths. Nevertheless, Takter has Father Patrick where he wants him on the road to the Hambletonian.
"I'm very comfortable with what I'm doing with him,” Takter said. "We haven't started pushing him, and I'm really happy with how he's performing. I expect him to win and step forward.”
He said Father Patrick likely will follow Friday's PASS with several starts at Pocono Downs before heading to the Meadowlands.
"I love this horse,” Takter said. "He's a serious, serious animal. I think he's the horse I've been waiting for that's really, really, special.”
Father Patrick goes from post 4 in the first of three PASS divisions, Race 1, with Yannick Gingras piloting.
Takter also has the presumptive favorite in the second division (Race 4) with another of his hard-hitting sophomores, Nuncio. Although the son of Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle has raced in Father Patrick's shadow, he's hardly been a slouch, with six victories in 11 starts--he's never been worse than second--and nearly $500,000 in career earnings.
Nuncio faces a potential surprise package in Wheelsandthelegman (Donato Hanover-Carmita), who was unraced at two but has captured all four of his 2013 starts, including a PASS victory for trainer Walt Carroll. Nuncio leaves from post 3 for John Campbell while Jim Raymer will guide Wheelsandthelegman from post 2.
The third split (Race 9), a wide-open event, features Datsyuk, an Explosive Matter-Pink Ribbons gelding who has won his only two lifetime outings, including a PASS split at Pocono Downs. Charlie Norris trains and drives Datsyuk, who drew post 2.
The card kicks off a series of Friday Family Fun Nights, coordinated by the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, that will offer a host of family-oriented activities, including a number of contests, jog cart and starting gate rides and "meet and greet” sessions with horsemen. First post is 6:55 p.m. (The Meadows)