The road to August’s $1 million Hambletonian will go through Ontario this Saturday when 10 three-year-old male trotters will meet in the $268,000 Goodtimes Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack. Jimmy Takter, who has trained the last two Hambletonian winners, believes he’s got another contender in Goodtimes finalist Bar Hopping.
Bar Hopping finished second to Dayson in his Goodtimes elimination last Friday – he was one and three-quarter lengths behind in the 1:53.2 mile. Dayson, who is not eligible to the Hambletonian, is the 2-1 morning line favourite for the Goodtimes final, while Bar Hopping is the 7-2 second choice.
“I like the horse a lot,” Takter said. “He’s got the right gear. He just has to know that he’s a good horse.”
The colt is by Muscle Hill and is out of the stakes-winning mare Cocktail Hour. Bar Hopping sold for $190,000 under the name ‘Revenger’ at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale. Bar Hopping’s full brother, Martiniwithmuscle, finished second to Trixton, Takter’s 2014 Hambletonian champion, in the 2014 New Jersey Sire Stakes championship, and his family also includes Dan Patch Award-winner Jefs Spice.
Last year, Bar Hopping won a division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes and finished second to early-season Hambletonian favourite Southwind Frank in the final. He finished second in divisions of the International Stallion and Bluegrass stakes and was fourth in the Peter Haughton Memorial.
Bar Hopping debuted this season with a third-place finish in the first round of the New Jersey Sire Stakes in which he raced on the outside for most of the mile and closed with a :26.3 final quarter-mile. He was fourth in the sire stakes final in his start prior to the Goodtimes eliminations.
“He was definitely not as good the last two starts as he was the first start, but something has been going on with him and hopefully we can get him cleared up now,” Takter said, adding the colt had scoped with mucous following last week’s race. “He was exceptional through the elimination for the sire stakes when he was third after (Southwind) Frank, but he charged like a great horse.”
Bar Hopping, who has won one of 12 career races and earned $118,163 for owners Christina Takter, Hatfield Stables, Marvin Katz, and Al Libfeld, will start the Goodtimes from Post 6 with driver Tim Tetrick.
Dayson is a son of Conway Hall-Nerveys Taurus who will start the Goodtimes from Post 5 with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Ron Burke. Dayson won seven of eight races last year on the New York Sire Stakes circuit. He became a member of the ‘Burke Brigade’ in January and has won three of four starts this season.
“I think he fits well with that (Goodtimes) group,” Burke said about Dayson, who has earned $234,412 in his career. “It’s not the best colts out there, but it’s an even bunch. He’s nice. He’s a very good horse. I don’t think he’s quite as good as (Southwind) Frank, but he’s right there behind him. He’ll do well in the spots we put him in.”
Dayson is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, and Rossie Smith.
Other Hambletonian-eligible horses in the Goodtimes are Blenheim, Goin To The Limit, Honor Above All, Marion Marauder, and Tony Soprano.
Dia Monde, who won the second of the two Goodtimes eliminations, is the 4-1 third choice in the final. The son of Deweycheatumnhowe-Lady Bar will start from Post 4 with Randy Waples driving for trainer Thomas Durand. Dia Monde, who has won two of six lifetime starts, is owned by Durand, June Durand, and Allan Smith.
The field for the Goodtimes appears below.
(PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line Odds)
1. Blenheim – Chris Christoforou – Per Henriksen – 10-1
2. Marion Marauder – Scott Zeron – Michael Keeling – 6-1
3. Will Take Charge – Paul MacDonell – John Bax – 5-1(Ontario-Sired)
4. Dia Monde – Randy Waples – Thomas Durand – 4-1(Ontario-Sired)
5. Dayson – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke – 2-1
6. Bar Hopping – Tim Tetrick – Jimmy Takter – 7-2
7. Goin To The Limit – Brett Miller – Tony Alagna – 20-1
8. Honor Above All – David Miller – Jimmy Takter – 20-1
9. Zagster – Trevor Henry – Shannon Henry – 20-1(Ontario-Sired)
10. Tony Soprano – John Campbell – Bob McIntosh – 15-1(Ontario-Sired)