When Golden Receiver won the U.S. Pacing Championship in 1:48 at the Meadowlands Racetrack on Hambletonian Day, August 4, it was his 11th victory of the season in 18 races. He has started at least once in every month this year and made at least one start in 17 of the last 18 months dating back to March 2011.
This year, he has missed the board in only three starts, all of which were in June.
“He was around in January beating them and he’s around now beating them,” trainer Mark Harder said. “That’s a big ask of a horse and it shows what a good horse he really is.”
On Friday night, Golden Receiver leads a field of eight in the William R. Haughton Memorial for older pacers at the Meadowlands. It is the final night of the Meadowlands’ Championship Meet and begins with a special 6:35 p.m. first-race post time.
The card also includes the $218,850 Golden Girls for older female pacers and the $191,500 Moni Maker Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies, plus New Jersey Sire Stakes championships for two-year-olds.
Golden Receiver, who leads all older pacers in North America with $528,600 in purses this year, won the U.S. Pacing Championship in gate-to-wire fashion, holding off Aracache Hanover by a half-length, in defeating a deep field that also included defending Pacer of the Year Foiled Again, We Will See, and Bettor Sweet.
“Apart from Betterthancheddar, that’s about as good as what’s out there,” Harder said. “He did the work at both ends and beat them.”
Driver Andy Miller was impressed.
“He was awesome,” said Miller, who was driving Golden Receiver for the first time this year. “He just cruised around there. He had the inside (Post 1) and has such good gate speed that he got away on the front and put everybody in a hole. He just kind of coasted from there. He’s a tough horse and can go a long ways.”
Golden Receiver has won eight of 11 starts at the Meadowlands this season and been no worse than third at the North Jersey oval. In addition to the U.S. Pacing Championship, the gelding won the Graduate and Presidential at the Big M for owners Stable 45, Richard Taylor, Stephen Springer and Nina Simmonds.
He also captured the Spring Pacing Championship at Woodbine.
As for Golden Receiver’s three-race skid in June, Harder noted the horse battled illness in addition to being stuck with a difficult outside post (nine) in his elimination for the Ben Franklin Pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
“Those are the only races where the line doesn’t look that good, but he had legitimate excuses,” Harder said. “The rest of the time he’s been racing great.”
Harder hopes Golden Receiver continues racing great on Friday.
“He’s fit, he’s healthy, he’s had a good week, so I think we’re in good shape,” Harder said.
Following is the field in post position order for the Haughton Memorial, with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Rockincam, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman; 2. Golden Receiver, Andy Miller, Mark Harder; 3. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 4. Alexie Mattosie, David Miller, Nikolas Drennan; 5. Aracache Hanover, Doug McNair, Gregg McNair; 6. Bettor Sweet, John Campbell, Thomas Cancelliere; 7. Meirs Hanover, Jim Morrill Jr., Burke; 8. We Will See, Ron Pierce, Sam DePinto.