Jimmy Takter, one of the world's leading trainers of both trotters and pacers, was born on September 29, 1960 in Mantorp, Sweden. He and his brother Johnny received their early training from their father, Bo William Takter, who operated a large and successful stable of Standardbreds. Jimmy's first driving victory occurred when he was 18, and took place at Jagersro in Malmo, Sweden with Air Money, who paid $88 to win. Wanting to explore opportunities in the United States, Takter left home in 1978 to work for Continental Stable. He returned to Sweden to marry his childhood sweetheart, Christina.
The Takters decided to move permanently to the U.S. in December 1982, and shortly thereafter he joined the stable of Soren Nordin, for whom he worked for two years. His first U.S. driving victory occurred at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey in 1983 with Baltic Speed 3,1:56 ($1,271,764) in a New Jersey Sire Stake. The first horse that Takter privately trained was pacer Witsend?s Apollo p,7,1:57.2 ($122,827), who retired with a total of 30 winning efforts.
Takter first earned national prominence with the filly Genuine Comfort 3,T1:55.4 ($412,992), and by the early 1990s he was considered to be a rising star, with Christina handling the books and other stable business while he concentrated on training and driving. Throughout the 1990s Takter was one of the top trainers on the Grand Circuit. Among his star pupils were Mr Lavec 3,1:54.3 ($947,321), Kramer Boy 3,1:52.4 ($598,009), and 1994 Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year Gleam 3,1:55.3 ($587,858).
In 1996 Takter was named USHWA's Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year, with two of his charges also receiving honors. Hall of Fame trotter Malabar Man 3,1:53.1 ($2,143,903) was named Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year, and Armbro Prowess 2,1:56.2 ($431,109), Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year. In 1997 Malabar Man won 13 of 16 starts including the Hambletonian Stake and was the leading moneywinning Standardbred in North America with earnings of $1,679,862. He was named Three-Year-Old Trotting Coltof the Year, Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year.
Hall of Famer Moni Maker 7,1:52.1 ($5,589,256) would become even more sensational for Takter. In winning the Nat Ray Final at the Meadowlands, she trotted in 1:52.2, the fastest trotting mile of 1997. The four-year-old compiled a record of 19-9-5-3 and was named Trotting Mare of the Year, an honor she would receive for the next three years. In 1998 Moni Maker raced both in the United States and abroad. Included among her 1998 U.S. victories was the Breeders Crown in the stakes-equaling and world-record clocking of 1:52.3. In Sweden she won the Elitlopp in 1:53.3f, a world record on a five-eighths mile track, and major stakes in Italy and Denmark. She was named Trotting Mare of the Year, Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year.
At the age of six in 1999, Moni Maker continued to race both domestically and in Europe. In addition to her victories in America she won the Prix d'Amerique, Prix de France and second consecutive Gran Premio Gaetano Turilli. She was awarded the Canadian O'Brien Award for Older Trotting Mare of the Year, her second consecutive Dan Patch Trotter of the Year title, third straight Dan Patch Trotting Mare of the Year title, and was again named Horse of the Year in the U.S., the first female to twice earn that honor. In 2000 Takter became a United States citizen and Moni Maker retired at the end of the season with her third consecutive Dan Patch Trotter of the Year title, fourth straight Dan Patch Trotting Mare of the Year and second consecutive O'Brien Older Trotting Mare of the Year awards. Her earnings of $5,589,256 made her the richest Standardbred of all time and richest female race horse of any breed.
In 2002 Takter received his fifth Dan Patch Trotter of the year award with Canadian Trotting Classic and Breeders Crown winner Kadabra 4,1:51.3 ($1,806,779), who also garnered both the Dan Patch and O'Brien Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year awards. Takter's charge Filly At Bigs 3,1:54 ($655,773) received the 2002 O'Brien Award for Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year. On September 4, 2004 Takter became the trainer of the fastest trotter in history when Tom Ridge 3,1:50.2 ($886,144) won the first heat of the World Trotting Derby at DuQuoin, Illinois in 1:51, and came back for a second heat victory in the world record time of 1:50.2. On the very same day at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, in just her fourth career start, Takter-trained Cabrini Hanover p,2,1:51s ($1,303,790) became the first two-year-old pacing filly to record a 1:51 race mile and would receive the 2004 O'Brien Award for her division. Other division winners that year included Breeders Crown victor and Dan Patch and O'Brien Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year recipient Ken Warkentin 3,1:52.3 ($902,355), and Solveig 4,1:54.4f ($820,791), the Dan Patch and O'Brien Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year and winner of the Oakville Stakes.
Takter's charges would continue to take home divisional titles. In 2005 Fan Hanover winner Cabrini Hanover earned the Dan Patch Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year award, and Breeders Crown winner Passionate Glide 3,1:52.2 ($2,060,447) was named Dan Patch Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year. In 2006 Mr. Feelgood p,5,1:49 ($1,259,599) won the Little Brown Jug, setting a new all-age two-heat race world record of 3:40.3. Passionate Glide was victorious in the Hambletonian Oaks and received her Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year award in the U.S., while Oakville Stakes winner Pampered Princess 3,1:53 ($1,648,362) was awarded both the Dan Patch and O'Brien titles for Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year.
In 2007 Elegantimage Stakes winner Pampered Princess was named Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada, and the following year Lantern Kronos 3,1:52.3 ($1,009,175) would claim the same Stakes victory and divisional titles. Takter-trained Muscle Massive 3,1:51 ($1,239,138) won the 2010 Hambletonian in the second-fastest time (1:51) in the history of the trotting classic. That same year Wellwood Memorial winner Pastor Stephen 3,1:52.4s ($1,048,607) received the title of Dan Patch Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year. 2010 Dan Patch Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year See You At Peelers p,3,1:49.2f ($1,573,260)' twenty-two consecutive victories thrilled the harness racing world, bringing international attention to the sport and earning her the title of 2011 Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year in the U.S. 2011 She's A Great Lady winner American Jewel 2,1:50.2s ($685,638) received that year's O'Brien Award for Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year, and would go on to set a world record for three-year-old pacing fillies on a mile track (1:48.2s) in her 2012 Fan Hanover victory.
Jimmy Takter is the only conditioner to be named Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year three times. He achieved the honor in 1996, in 2000 as a co-winner with Mark Ford, and again in 2010. He has won twenty-eight Dan Patch divisional championships and eleven O'Brien Awards. To date, Takter's charges have recorded over 1,093 wins and nearly $62 million in earnings.
Jimmy and Christina Takter have four children, Nancy, Jenny, Tiffany and Jimmy, Jr., and four grandchildren.