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Pastor Stephen, Whiskey Tax win Simcoes

September 03, 2011

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Pastor Stephen benefited when the leading Blue Porsche broke in the stretch and the made it through a judges' inquiry that looked into a possible violation of Ontario's whipping rule by driver Ron Pierce, to capture the first $123,644 Simcoe division for 3-year-old colt trotters Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The second division went to Whiskey Tax, the runner-up in last month's $1.5 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands.
Blue Porsche and driver Trevor Ritchie had cleared to the lead before the :57 halfway point was reached and that trotter still had command at the 1:24.3 three quarters. Although Pierce had Pastor Stephen following Blue Porsche on the outside, he was able to angle behind around the final turn. A few strides into the stretch Blue Porsche broke stride, which allowed Pastor Stephen to assume control.
Down the stretch Pastor Stephen had enough left to best Luckycharm Hanover and David Miller by 1 1/4 lengths in a stakes-record 1:52.4, with Whatever It Takes and Andy Miller third.
A son of Cantab Hall, Pastor Stephen won for the fourth time in nine starts this year, The reigning divisional champ in the U.S. battled sickness the past month but now appears to be past those health issues.
“He started out really good and then unfortunately he was one of my horses to get sick,” said trainer Jimmy Takter afterward. “He’s been better for the last six or seven weeks here now."
The victory easily pushed Pastor Stephen's career bankroll past the $1 million mark for owners Christina Takter, John Fielding and breeder Brittany Farms.
As for Whiskey Tax, the son of Revenue had just enough gas left in the tank for driver Randy Waples to fend off the late charge of Windsong Hercules and Rick Zeron to reach the wire in a career-best 1:55.1 in the second $121,644 Simcoe split. Tamarind and Sylvain Filion was third.
Trained by Tom Durand, who shares ownership with his wife, June, and Allan Smith, Whiskey Tax is now a three-time winner in 2011 with career earnings approaching $600,000.
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