Takter on Father Patrick: "It's just frustrating"
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Although trainer Jimmy Takter remains steadfast that Father Patrick is the best male trotter he has ever trained, he admits frustration is beginning to set in following the 3-year-old colt's break at the start in the $200,350 Matron Thursday night at Dover Downs. It was the second straight loss for the 2013 Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter of the Year, coming on the heels of a second-place finish in the Carl Erskine at Hoosier Park.
With Father Patrick out of contention early in the Matron, it paved the way for the Takter-trained Nuncio to capture the race in 1:54.1 over a "good” track. In the battle for division honors, the win arguably puts Nuncio—whose wins also include the Kentucky Futurity and Yonkers Trot—in the driver's seat ahead of his stablemate Father Patrick, whose 11 victories this year include the Canadian Trotting Classic, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, Zweig Memorial, Stanley Dancer Memorial and American National.
"Nuncio, what a horse. He is without a doubt a great horse, and I'm happy for (owner) Stefan Melander,” Takter told harnessracing.com Friday afternoon. "But Patrick is the best colt I ever had. It's just frustrating.”
Takter said driver Yannick Gingras had no explanation for the gate miscue. He said other than trying to leave from post 1, he also has no explanation.
"What can I say? Takter said. "The horse is feeling absolutely beautiful. When I warmed him up he felt great. Not to make an excuse because I hate to make excuses, but post one at Dover is tough. You have to try and sprint them out of there. From post one it's almost impossible to keep the lead. It's hard to get out of there. The stretch is not more than 75 yards; it's really, really short. You have no speed from post one.”
While it has been announced that Father Patrick will both breed and race in 2015, his race schedule this year still includes at least one more start in the Nov. 22 Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands, two if eliminations are needed on Nov. 15. If there are 12 or 13 entries, then byes are given to the richest horses, but Takter says he is unsure whether he would take the free pass into the final with Father Patrick.
"I don't know what I'd do, whether to get him a race or go to the final,” said Takter.