The $702,500 William R. Haughton Memorial, the richest event for older pacers, will headline the final card of Meadowlands Racetrack’s January-August harness
meet on Friday night.
The race will share the spotlight with the $473,000 Woodrow Wilson and $402,400 Sweetheart for two-year-old pacers, and $257,000 Golden Girls for pacing mares. A $109,462 Pick Six carryover will top the betting action on the program. The night will kick off with 'Winners at the Wedge,' sponsored by Biggie's Clam Bar, at 6:30 p.m. Handicapping tips, prize drawings and a meet-and-greet with a leading driver and trainer are all on tap. First-race post time will be 7:00 p.m.
Shark Gesture, the 2009 Haughton winner, will defend his title from Post 9 with George Brennan at the lines in the eighth race feature. After an uncharacteristic loss in the US Pacing Championship on Hambletonian Day, Shark Gesture bounced back to win the $50,000 Haughton prep in 1:49 on August 20. The seven-year-old horse, trained by brothers Larry and Ray Remmen, will enter the Haughton final with a 2010 record of six wins and three seconds in nine starts. Shark Gesture scored his second straight win in the Graduate earlier this season. The $2.4 million earner is owned by Norman and Gerald Smiley and TLP Stable.
Shark Gesture’s younger brother, Shark Ingested, is one of two colts that will represent the Remmens in the Woodrow Wilson for freshman pacing colts. A $110,000 yearling purchase, Shark Ingested won a division of the Niatross Stakes in 1:53.2 before finishing second in the Wilson elimination on August 13. He drew Post 7 for the Wilson and will also be piloted by Brennan. His stablemate, McSocks, was a $48,000 acquisition by the Remmens at the Tattersalls Sale on August 1 at the Meadowlands. McSocks will leave from Post 10 with John Campbell at the lines. The Wilson field also includes elimination winner Powerful Mist, who owns two straight 1:51.4 clockings for trainer Wayne Givens, and Fashion Delight, who posted back-to-back wins in 1:51.2 for trainer Jim Campbell before accepting a bye into the final.
Ace Of Pace looms the one to beat in the Sweetheart final for two-year-old fillies. The Mark Ford trainee is perfect in four career starts and counts the Debutante, Countess Adios and New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship among those wins. She will start from Post 7, also with the services of Brennan.
The Golden Girls features a well-matched field of 11 pacing mares, including Lady Liberty winner On The Glass and Ginger And Fred from the Burke barn, and the duo of Southwind Tempo and Tug River Princess, trained by Jeff Webster.
The Golden Girls will also feature the Canadian-owned Dreamfair Eternal and Chancey Lady.
The Friday card marks the last night of the Meadowlands' main meet. Harness racing will return on weekends in the fall beginning October 23.
The field for the William R. Haughton Memorial appears below.
Post, Horse, Driver, Trainer
1, Real Joke, Tim Tetrick, Lou Pena
2, Won The West, David Miller, Ron Burke
3, Bettor Sweet, John Campbell, Thomas Cancelliere
4, Hypnotic Blue Chip, Jody Jamieson, Kevin McDermott
5, Oliver Cleo, Brian Sears, Lou Pena
6, Mr Wiggles, Andy Miller, George Teague, Jr.
7, Vintage Master, Daniel Dube, Jimmy Takter
8, Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke
9, Shark Gesture, George Brennan, Larry Remmen