Takter on Lazarus
By Michael Guerin
Champion trainer Jimmy Takter believes Lazarus may have something just as important as fitness and class on his side heading into Sunday’s US$430,000 Breeders Crown.
Lazarus has the perfect draw at barrier two with his only major concern being a recent cold that saw him miss his final lead-up race at Yonkers two weeks ago, a race won effortlessly by his arch rival McWicked, who has barrier three on Sunday.
Takter admits Lazarus has thrived when able to get consistent racing in his five-start North American campaign, which has resulted in two wins and three seconds, the latest in the second fastest race mile in history three weeks ago.
But while a lead-up run would have suited Hall of Fame trainer Takter, he says he is going into the race at 3.45pm (NZ time) with a happy and more importantly sound horse.
“At this time of the season a lot of horses start to get a few little problems because they have had so much hard racing,” says Takter.
“But Lazarus has never taken a sore step. He is a very, very sound horse and that can be really important at this stage of the season.”
But even after his recent slight setback Takter says Lazarus’s recent work has been good and he was going to work him a fast 800m on Thursday (US time) to clean out his lungs before a race which will be crucial to Lazarus’s future dual hemisphere stallion career.
The formline for Sunday’s race looks relatively straight forward as many of the key players have now met each other on several occasions.
Filibuster Hanover has drawn the ace and has blazing gate speed but has handed the lead to Lazarus when pressured in the past, which suggests the former Kiwi hero could find the lead on Sunday, ideal on the super fast Pocono circuit.
“I think that will give him a really good chance and I think the track there will suit him better than McWicked,” offers Takter.
McWicked and Don’ttellmeagain look the two biggest, and maybe only realistic, dangers to Lazarus if he is able to lead and driver Yannick Gingras can rate him how he wants through the middle stages of the race.
Lazarus won’t be the only Kiwi star on show at the 14-race Crown meeting, with Shartin, who has been the best open aged pacing mare in North America this season favourite for her US$270,000 final at 2.05pm.
You can watch the interview Michael has with Jimmy Takter here