By Darin Zoccali

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., August 2, 2014--It was a banner Hambletonian Day for Team Takter.

Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter finished 1-2 in the $1 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters as Trixton beat Nuncio by a half length on Saturday at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment.

Making the victory even sweeter, it was Takter’s first winning Hambletonian drive.

And it didn’t stop there.

Takter also took the companion event for 3-year-old trotting fillies, the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks with Lifetime Pursuit.

Takter became only the second trainer to win the Hambletonian and the Oaks in one year, joining Jan Johnson who sweep both in 1988.

In both instances, Takter won with his “other” horse. Father Patrick, the 2-5 favorite, had won 15 straight for Takter, and looked like a lock heading into the Hambletonian.

That blew up early when Father Patrick a break. Fortunately for Takter, he still had two solid chances.

Nuncio and Hall of Famer John Campbell set a pressured pace. Takter meanwhile worked out a perfect second over trip before tipping three wide turning for home.

It was all Takter in the lane, as his two colts pulled well clear of the pack. The only drama was which one would prevail.

It was Trixton, winning for seventh time in nine starts this season.

“It’s been a great day,” Takter said. “I just won the Oaks. It’s hard to absorb so much good. God gave it to me. I’m so happy.”

To win the Hambletonian as a driver only added to the experience.

“When I have a possible contender, I put the best possible driver up,” Takter said. “This was my shot. If was going to do it, I had to do it today.”

Trixton earned $503,062.50 for owners Brixton Medical A B and Christina Takter.

Trixton trotted the mile in 1:50 3/5, paying $10.60 to win.

The attendance was 20,764 for the first Hambletonian raced before the new, streamlined grandstand on an overcast afternoon following a rainy morning.

They were treated to an extraordinary afternoon of racing that saw the meet leaders enjoy huge days. Yannick Gingras drove five winners, including four major stakes.

Ron Burke sent out four winners, including three top stakes winners.



$500,000 HAMBLETONIAN OAKS

That Takter won the Hambletonian Oaks did not come as a surprise as he sent out Del Miller Memorial winner Shake It Cerry.

Yes, Takter did get the victory, but it was other 3-year-old trotting filly, Lifetime Pursuit that delivered a 10-1 upset.

And she did it in style, beating Designed To Be by 2 1-2 lengths in a world record 1:50 4/5 performance.

She had a little help from a friend.

Shake It Cerry, starting in the second tier, worked her way to front to give Lifetime Pursuit an ideal pocket trip.

Gingras had a ton of filly tugging at the lines when he turned Lifetime Pursuit loose.

“It definitely was a perfect trip,” Gingras said. “She probably needed that to win but she was awesome today. Jimmy pulled her shoes and that was the difference right there. She has always been good gaited but she definitely had more speed in her today.”

Lifetime Pursuit is owned by Brittany Farms.