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Lifetime Pursuit sets world record in Hambletonian Oaks
Saturday, August 02, 2014 - by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

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East Rutherford, NJ --- A Jimmy Takter-trained filly won the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, but not as expected.

Lifetime Pursuit, sent off at odds of 10-1 with driver Yannick Gingras, won the Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters by 2-1/2 lengths over favorite Designed To Be in a world-record 1:50.4 Saturday (Aug. 2) at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

USTA/Mark Hall photo
Lifetime Pursuit was an upset winner in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks in a world-record 1:50.4.

Take The Money finished third, followed by Lifetime Pursuit’s better-known stablemate Shake It Cerry, who was the second choice in the betting.

Lifetime Pursuit, leaving from post seven, got the early lead and led the field to the first quarter in :26.3. Shake It Cerry, who started from the second tier in post 11, took the top spot on the backstretch as the group reached the halfway point in :55.1.

Coming off the final turn, Shake It Cerry led, with Lifetime Pursuit sitting behind her and Heaven’s Door on the outside. Lifetime Pursuit powered to the front and pulled away, with Gingras punching the air triumphantly well before the finish line.

The time broke the world record for a 3-year-old filly trotter, which was 1:51, set in 2013 by Bee A Magician.

“It definitely was a perfect trip,” Gingras said. “She probably needed that to win, but she was awesome today. Jimmy pulled the shoes and I think that was the difference. She’s always good gaited, but she definitely had more speed today.”

It was Takter’s fourth Hambletonian Oaks victory, which is second most to Jan Johnson’s record of six.

“She’s been flying a little bit under the radar,” Takter said about Lifetime Pursuit. “She’s a tough horse. She’s been running second to Cerry all last year. I felt good about her going into this race because she’s been serious every race. We gambled a little bit and made a couple changes and it worked out.”

Lifetime Pursuit (Cantab Hall-Queen Of Grace) is owned by George Segal’s Brittany Farms, which also bred the filly. She has won three of eight starts this year and nine of 19 in her career, earning $607,615.

“She’s a terrific filly,” Segal said. “Jimmy has done a great job and Yannick drove her great. I don’t pay attention to the publicity, she’s been racing great. You race for a half-million bucks, you put it all on the line.”

Second- and third-place finishers Designed To Be and Take The Money were both from the stable of trainer Julie Miller.

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