07/10/2013 11:52AM

Meadowlands: Golden Receiver primed for Haughton Memorial upset

Lisa Photo
Golden Receiver has a 15-for-20 record at the Meadowlands over the last two years.

Looking at the odds board prior to last Saturday’s William Haughton Memorial eliminations, one would have thought an imposter had taken the place of Golden Receiver. The noted speedster, with a dynamic record of success at the Meadowlands, was 16-1 . . . from the rail!

With new driver Corey Callahan, Golden Receiver finished an inspired second behind Warrawee Needy in a world record-equaling 1:46 4/5 mile.

Golden Receiver’s trainer Mark Harder wasn’t totally shocked by the performance.

“I wish they didn’t have to go that much but I’m not surprised he raced well,” said Harder. “He had developed a pus-pocket and it finally broke free after his last race at Pocono.”

Golden Receiver came very close to not even entering the Haughton eliminations even though the Meadowlands is his favored track.

“I wasn’t sure until Tuesday (July 2). I trained him that morning before it was time to enter him. He trained well so I decided to put him in,” said Harder.

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Golden Receiver drew post five in the $471,800 Haughton, race nine on a stakes-filled program at the Meadowlands on Saturday. Callahan retains the drive after taking regular pilot Tim Tetrick’s place for the eliminations.

“Tim had to make a business decision and I respect him for that,” said Harder.

It was a rare bad decision, as Heston Blue Chip, Tetrick’s choice, failed to qualify for the final.

At the same time, Harder himself understands just how difficult it is to predict the outcome in any of the big money races for aged pacers today.

“I think there are a lot of horses in this field that can win,” said Harder. “To tell you the truth, I think there’s a few who didn’t qualify who could also win.”

Golden Receiver’s quick step at the start gives him an advantage in so many ways, but Harder doesn’t believe his eight-year-old warhorse has to be in front to win. “Sure, I think he can race from behind, but the way these races are run you need to be able to make two, or even three moves to win. You can’t just take back at the start,” Harder said quite realistically about what may unfold on Saturday.

Not only are there nine millionaires in the 10-horse Haughton field (Hugadragon is about $70,000 short), but the field also includes the richest pacer of all time, Foiled Again, third in the record-setting mile last week. Foiled Again drew post six and will pick up Ron Pierce in the bike with regular driver Yannick Gingras taking elimination winner Sweet Lou (post three).

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The depth in the field is rare, with a host of last year’s stellar crop of three-year-olds adding luster to the field. Warrawee Needy (post 2), Sweet Lou (post 3), Bolt The Duer (post 7) and Pet Rock (post 9) are all legitimate contenders. Warrawee Needy is the sport’s newest world champion. Sweet Lou has captured the Haughton elimination and Meadowlands Maturity. Bolt The Duer captured the Dan Patch and Pet Rock scored in the Roll With Joe at Tioga Downs.

Levy Memorial winner Razzle Dazzle has won half of his 10 starts this season for trainer Mark Silva. John Campbell neatly found a path and Razzle Dazzle stormed home last week to finish fourth and qualify for the final. He drew post four and should be in the midst of the event.

Whether another record will fall in the Haughton remains to be seen, but the race sets up as one of the most competitive from top to bottom in recent memory.