Driver Ron Pierce told harnessracing.com Sunday night that Pastor Stephen’s break early in a Canadian Trotting Classic elimination the night before at Mohawk Racetrack resulted in the 3-year-old colt trotter breaking a coffin bone in his left front leg, and trainer Jimmy Takter confirmed the news on Monday morning.
“He trained coming into the race very good and warmed up super,” said Takter. “I thought the horse would jog in his division. Some things you don’t plan, and this is one of those.”
After winning six of 11 starts last year Pastor Stephen was voted the Dan Patch Award as 2-Year-Old Colt Trotter of the Year. The son of Cantab Hall got off to a good start this year but he became sick in the weeks heading into the Hambletonian. Following a fifth-place finish in the Hambo final, Pastor Stephen took two starts to return to the winner’s circle, that coming via a career-best 1:52.4 victory in a Simcoe division Sept. 3 at Mohawk.
Drawing post four in the CTC elim, Pastor Stephen got away eighth and made the break at the quarter pole.
“It’s very frustrating when things like this happen. And very rarely—knock on wood—this has ever happened to me,” said Takter, who on Sept. 3 learned he had been elected to harness racing’s Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y.
As for the future of Pastor Stephen, Takter said it is still too early to tell if the $1 million-winning trotter owned by his wife, Christina, in partnership with John Fielding and breeder Brittany Farms, will return to the track or be retired for stallion duty.
“I haven’t seen a picture yet myself. Coffin bones can heal, but I just don’t know,” he said. “As fast as they have to go today, you just don’t know.”