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Record Pace
Charles Leerhsen
July 25, 2011
Even as harness racing fades, perhaps its greatest horse reaches her prime
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July 25, 2011

Record Pace

Even as harness racing fades, perhaps its greatest horse reaches her prime

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She understands she is a racehorse, her trainer says, and she carries herself like a true queen of the turf. So who is going to tell the 3-year-old pacer See You At Peelers—20 for 20 lifetime after a gutsy win at the Meadowlands last Saturday—that because she was born a standardbred, she is probably doomed to be the superstar nobody knows. See You At Peelers is the talk of her sport, and the winner of more than $1.2 million. Still, to dominate harness racing in 2011 is a little like being president of Myspace.

Peelers, though, would have been a standout in any age, even the early 1900s, when the sulky game was the national pastime. Her Swedish-born trainer, Jimmy Takter, calls her "our Zenyatta," but others compare her to Michael Jordan and Lawrence Taylor for her ability to mix power with grace. She has already beaten boys and holds the world record for 5/8 of a mile (1:49.2). In her most recent win she was parked wide for a quarter mile, then took the lead and fended off two tough fillies.

Still, See You At Peelers is probably 30 years too late to haul harness racing back to the prominence that it has lost due to changing taste in gambling and shortsighted leadership. Racinos allow the sport to survive, but just barely. The Meadowlands track, which was in danger of going bust, was bought from the state in June by an optimistic mogul hoping to eventually get casino games.

None of this matters to See You At Peelers. "She just likes to win," says Takter, 50, who bred the filly himself, and went along when his wife, Christina, gave her a name which he says is Canadian for "meet me at the strip club." Peelers's season will most likely culminate in the Little Brown Jug on Sept. 22. In the winner's circle at the Meadowlands, where she huffed, snorted and tugged, she seemed up to the challenge. "Gee," said Takter, watching her unladylike behavior during the trophy presentation. "You'd think she'd be used to this by now."

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