Uncle Peter will prep for the Elitlopp, to be held May 25 in Sweden, by facing nine rivals in Sunday's Copenhagen Cup at Charlottenlund Travbane in Denmark.
Trained by Jimmy Takter, Uncle Peter will be handled by his regular driver, David Miller, in the 1 1/4-mile race, which has a purse of $140,000 for the winner. Uncle Peter drew post 1.
Defending Copenhagen Cup champion Mr Picolit will start from post three. The field also includes Kash's Cantab, Solvato, and Magic Tonight – all who began their careers in the U.S. and were stakes winners. Solvato, incidentally, was bred by a group headed by Takter's wife, Christina, and is a full brother to Takter's star filly Shake It Cerry.
The 5-year-old Uncle Peter arrived overseas early Wednesday morning. He enters the Copenhagen Cup off a half-length win over Sevruga in 1:52.1 on May 2 at Meadowlands Racetrack. A week earlier, he was second in his seasonal debut, finishing 1 1/2 lengths behind Modern Family in 1:51.1.
"Against those horses (in the Copenhagen Cup), I think he's pretty comparable,” Takter said about Uncle Peter, who has won 13 of 37 career races and $1.18 million for owners Christina Takter, Brixton Medical AB, John and Jim Fielding, and Goran Falk. "It's probably a softer field than is going to be in the Elitlopp. There also is a big race Saturday in Finland, so some horses will be there.”
Uncle Peter is the only one of seven confirmed Elitlopp invitees competing in the Copenhagen Cup. Others expected in the Elitlopp, according to its website, are Maven, Pascia 'Lest, Panne de Moteur, Timoko, Reven d'Amour, and Shaq Is Back. The field for the Elitlopp will consist of 16 horses.
Takter won the Elitlopp and Copenhagen Cup with Moni Maker in 1998. Moni Maker, a two-time Horse of the Year Award winner, died May 2 at the age of 21.
"I haven't been back since Moni Maker won it,” Takter said. "It would be exciting to go back and win the race after Moni Maker just passed away.
"You've got to take a shot. If you're not in it, you can't win it.”
Takter was unconcerned about the extra distance in the Copenhagen Cup, but thought Uncle Peter's post could be a disadvantage.
"The two horses outside of him (Kash's Cantab and Mr Picolit) are extremely quick; they can leave faster than anyone,” Takter said. "You can get into a little trouble there.”
The style of racing is different in Europe, Takter said, so it was good Miller was going to get a few drives under his belt before the Elitlopp.
"It's really tough racing over there,” said Takter, a native of Sweden who has lived in the U.S. for more than three decades. "You're getting drivers from a bunch of different countries and the driving is way different from our style. You almost get shocked when you see some of those races. They're parking each other, it's tight, you don't get any position, they keep you out three wide. It's not easy.
"It's good for David. He's going to drive Uncle Peter and we got another drive for him Sunday. He can get a little familiar to European driving. David is a professional. I'm sure he will study the races and watch (video) so he is familiar with the style of racing. There is a horse outside all the time over there. It's tactic driven.”
In addition to Uncle Peter in the Copenhagen Cup, Takter's 4-year-old male trotter Corky will race on the undercard. Corky won last year's Beal Memorial and has earned $897,465 for owners Christina Takter and John and Jim Fielding.
"He's in a race for 4 year olds, about $60,000 purse,” Takter said. "I figure it's good for him to go over and not have to race against the (older) horses here. He can do three or four starts over there. If I'm going to send one horse over there, I might as well send two.” (HRC)