07/16/2016 9:29PM

Meadowlands: Always B Miki an easy winner in Haughton

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Nikki Sherman
Always B Miki added another world record to his collection; this time at the 1 1/8 mile distance

Fans who came to the Meadowlands on Saturday night expected to see a Ben Franklin rematch in the $471,800 William Haughton Memorial, but instead they witnessed the crowning of Always B Miki as the clear-cut best older pacer in North America.

Freaky Feet Pete left the gate as has been the norm and quickly gave up command to Wiggle It Jiggleit at the opening quarter in 25 3/5. Those two came off the turn in line as Always B Miki began his move on the backstretch of the 1-1/8 mile race.

Driver David Miller asked Always B Miki for speed and gunned to the front passing the half in 54 seconds. The duo continued the solid tempo as Shamballa initiated the outer flow while towing All Bets Off into the race.

Shamballa gave his all on the rim, gaining steadily by three-quarters and coming up to the winner just before the mile marker in 1:48 1/5, but Always B Miki was too strong. Wiggle It Jiggleit attempted to split foes in the stretch but lacked his usual zest in the stretch while finishing third behind the top pair. Freaky Feet Pete was fourth.

The final clocking of 2:01 1/5 set a world record, the third straight world record mile for Always B Miki.

“Once I got to the front as easily as I did, I thought he was in pretty good shape; I thought it would be more of a battle,” said Hall of Famer Miller, who put Always B Miki in perspective with some of his past drives. “He’s one of the best horses I’ve ever driven. I’ve driven some really good horses, but I have an emotional attachment that goes along with him. He’s definitely one of my favorites.”

Trainer Jimmy Takter was non-committal about the 5-year-olds next start, but it is widely expected to be the U.S. Pacing Championship on Hambletonian Day at The Meadowlands (August 6).

“It is such a long year, and I’m dealing with flesh and blood. Every start for me, I have to absorb what he has done, and I have to see how he came out of the race, work on him a little bit. He’s not a horse that can race week after week,” said Takter, who mentioned winning the Breeders Crown and TVG final as goals for later in the season.

Always B Miki added $219,387 to his career earnings with the win and has now eclipsed $1.78 million for owners Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter.

The winner paid $2.80 as the favorite.