Meadowlands Pace Picks / Haughton Handicapping

Thirty-five industry insiders give their picks for tonight’s Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace and William R. Haughton Memorial.

Tonight’s card at the Meadowlands is chock full of stakes, so we asked a slew of prominent industry types to give their picks for who will win the two biggest stakes on the card — the $732,050 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace and the $471,800 William R. Haughton Memorial.

TOM GROSSMAN (Owner Blue Chip Farms)
Pace: “You must Roll With Joe — Racing Hill to get sire Joe a Meadowlands Pace winner in his first crop. If you have any doubts go back and look at Joe’s Pace.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki is a monster. I can’t bet against him, though I have tremendous respect for both Wiggle and Pete.”

BILL O’DONNELL (president Central Ontario Standardbred Association)
Pace: “My pick for the Meadowlands Pace is Control The Moment. He’s coming into the race fresh off his easy victory in the elimination.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki in the Haughton. A better post position draw than Wiggle It Jiggleit makes him my pick.”

JUDY DAVIS-WILSON (Executive Administrator – Delaware Standardbred Breeders’ Fund)
Pace: “Control The Moment will “Control The Moment” if he blasts home like he did last week.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki. Even though some can go just as fast, he can carry it a long way.”

ROGER HUSTON (Hall of Fame race caller)
Pace: “Control The Moment as I liked the effort last week and don’t like the off week for Racing Hill.”
Haughton: “Wiggle It Jiggleit and Montrell Teague despite post 10. Could work out to his advantage with the speed inside.”

Pace: “Control The Moment finished very strong last week. He will be tough to beat.”
Haughton: “I love the FFA’s this year. It’s a throwback to yesteryear when there were real free-for-all pacers and not just nice open horses. These are the real deal. It’s hard to bet against Always B Miki. He’s crazy fast, tough and can race anyway he needs to.

BOB BONI (Northwood Bloodstock – part-owner Always B Miki)
Pace: “I like Control The Moment in the Meadowlands Pace in a very competitive race with Racing Hill and Lyons Snyder. His elimination was spectacular and I think he is coming around for Brad Maxwell and I would not at all be surprised if he moves to the head of the division from here on. I am also a big fan of the certain next ‘Hall of Fame’ driver Brian Sears.”
Haughton: “As for the ‘Haughton,’ for obvious reasons I strongly believe Always B Miki will prevail again.”

MURRAY BROWN (Hanover Shoe Farms / Hall of Fame publicity man)
Pace: “Racing Hill is the logical choice. He’s in great form and has most things in his favor. I can see Control The Moment making it a real horse race, though. He appears to be in top form, has a good position and having Brian Sears does not hurt.”
Haughton: “I’ll go with Always B Miki. In my opinion, he’s the best, until one of the others show they are better. In addition, I think he’s got everything going for him. He’s on a big track, which he prefers. He’s got a very favorable post position, maybe the hottest and coolest driver in the country and he appears to be in top form. If he makes the top without too much expenditure, I don’t see anybody catching him.”

RON GURFEIN (Hall of Fame trainer)
Pace: “Control The Moment was very good last week. Brad Maxwell is great for the money. Racing Hill hurt by week off.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki. May be the best there ever was. We haven’t seen the best yet and his only competition had a horrid draw.”

Pace: “Control The Moment has been a bit hit and miss this year, but he certainly looked like the colt of old last week.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki in likely the toughest bunch of aged pacers most of us have ever seen. He’s not a lock, but has position on his toughest foes.”

Pace: “I pick Control The Moment. He was a freak last year and looks to be rounding back into form. Explosive move down stretch last week. Racing Hill a game second
Haughton: “Always B Miki is just in a league of his own, and loves the big track. He is possibly the fastest horse I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. Wiggle It and Freaky Pete second and third best.”

Pace: “Boston Red Rocks. He was sneaky good last week and Timmy (Tetrick) always seems to find the right trip for the Meadowlands Pace.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki. Gets a nice rest week and will be hard to beat especially with the post position draw of WIJI and FFP.”

PETE SPEARS (President and CEO Standardbred Horse Sales Company)
Pace: “Racing Hill. Dominant at Pocono, peaking at right time, great post.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki. Monster at Pocono, perfect post, competition way outside.”
BOB ROBERTS (Racing writer)
Pace: “Racing Hill looks the lone speed in the Meadowlands Pace. Look for him to make the top and never look back.”
Haughton: “Give me Always B Miki, the in-form horse, in the William Haughton. He’ll probably appreciate the race’s added eighth of a mile more than others.”

BILL FINLEY: (Racing writer)
Pace: “Control The Moment seems to be back on track after showing so much promise at two. He is ready to deliver winning effort in a minor upset.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki proved he’s the king of this loaded division with his win in Franklin. There’s no reason to expect a different outcome this time.”

GARNET BARNSDALE (Handicapper, writer)
Pace: “Racing Hill. This colt has shown great progression and can be raced effectively in any style the driver chooses.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki. The fastest horse in the race draws inside his two main rivals. In my opinion, this race was decided at the post position draw.”

Pace: “I like Racing Hill. He is ready to shine his brightest in the biggest moment, just like his sire Roll With Joe.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki. Fresh with week off and has a good post distance and big track won’t hurt either

GREG BLANCHARD (Raceway Manager – The Raceway at The Western Fair District)
PACE: “Control The Moment. Looked better than ever in his elimination with a scintillating rally to win. Much better post this time should put him well within striking range.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki. Has looked every bit the pacing powerhouse everyone thought he would be. The horse to beat in an incredible division.”

KEN MIDDLETON, JR. (Race caller – Woodbine Entertainment Group)
Pace: “Control The Moment was a bit snake bitten until last week’s eye-catching score in off-the-pace fashion. I’ll look for lightning to strike twice for the Brad Maxwell pupil.
Haughton: “Always B Miki had a week to freshen up while others slugged it out in last week’s Graduate Final. The hottest horse in racing gets the edge again.”

MARK LOEWE (VP of Ohio Racing Operations, Penn National Gaming)
Pace: “Control The Moment’s victory last week was exceptional. Moves inside and is in his second week with HOFer Sears. That gives him the edge. If there is any kind of flow don’t be surprised if Check Six is close at the end along with Racing Hill and JK Will Power.”
Haughton: “I like Always B Miki as his victory at Pocono showed he is extremely versatile. Five-year-old against four-year-olds and the post position draw gives him the edge.”

JASON SETTLEMOIR (CEO and GM Meadowlands Racetrack)
Pace: “Racing Hill. Looking for another big effort, razor sharp.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki. He has just been unbelievable.”

BRETT REVINGTON (Director of Racing – Pompano Park)
Pace: “Control The Moment. I’m hoping he’s regained his two-year-old form and follows up his impressive elimination win with another winning performance.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki. David Miller should be able to navigate a trip with the versatile Miki even at the extra distance getting him to the winner’s circle.”

BOB MARKS (Author, former communications direction Perretti Farms)
Pace: “Racing Hill has the slight edge as there really isn’t any diehard speed in here.”
Hauhgton: “I’ll go with Always B Miki as I think he’s the best. Not sure how the race unfolds but the long run to the first turn and the trailers might aid outside speed leavers.”

SHANNON “SUGAR” DOYLE (Race caller – The Raceway at The Western Fair District)
Pace: “Racing Hill. Loving him, even more now, with the extra week off to freshen up for this main event.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki. Gets a great post to work with and will enjoy the added distance. Tough to go against!”

JEFF GURAL (Owner Meadowlands, Vernon and Tioga Downs)
Pace: “I have to go with Racing Hill as again I think the week off is a big advantage, but then again Brain Sears always seems to find a way to show up and win our big purses.”
Haughton: “Once again I have to pick Always B Miki as I think the added distance will help along with the week off and the better post.”

KIM RINKER (Ohio Sires Stakes administrator)
Pace: “Racing Hill appears to be in the right form at the right time, and ready to ‘roll on’ once again for this tough trainer/driver combo.”
Haughton: “Off that stunning last performance, I’d have to give Always B Miki the edge in the Haughton, especially with Wiggle It Jiggleit being saddled with the 10-hole.”

TOM PEDULLA (Racing writer)
Pace: “Control The Moment repeats impressive elimination effort.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki should get the best trip.”

DAVE BROWER (Broadcaster, handicapper)
Pace: “Control The Moment’s stretch move in the elimination was nothing short of breathtaking, and from a key, inside post, I expect him to be in prime, upset position to knock off the favorite for Brian Sears.”
Haughton: “As much as I’d like to pick against Always B Miki, I simply cannot, as he’s proven to be the best of this free-for-all class for now and his ultimate versatility and toughness will give him a big edge and push-button response for Dave Miller.”

Pace: “Control The Moment. From his elimination race he looked awesome. This track can really pick some horses up.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki. Great field, but this horse is five and lightly raced. On his game. His main competitors are both four-year-olds. With a warm night we could see 1:46 and a bit. Great night of racing.”

DARIN ZOCCALI (TVG, Daily Racing Form)
Pace: “Control The Moment. Sensational turn of foot in his elimination and appears to be the only one that can beat Racing Hill in what looks like a two-horse race.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki. When the chips are down, I am yet to be shown that the pair of Pete and Wiggle can best him, so I will pick him until proven otherwise.”

DAWN LUPUL (WEG broadcaster and analyst)
Pace: “Boston Red Rocks closed furiously in his last race and looks in a good position to capitalize off a good trip here.”
Haughton: “Wiggle It Jiggleit has a tough task with the outside post, but he is quick early and once he’s wound up he may not stop.”

JOHN KOPAS (Trainer)
Pace: “Control The Moment. He has raced very well his last three starts and last week was catching birds finishing.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki. Draws inside his two rivals and will continue his march to being one of the best if not the best ever.”

MOIRA FANNING (Director of publicity – Hambletonian Society)
Pace: “Lyons Snyder skipped the Hempt and need a tightener last week. I think he has a big mile in him and I think we will see it Saturday night.
Haughton: “Wiggle It Jiggleit. He looks sounder and better than earlier in the year and I think he clears early and ends up in good position.”

JAY WOLF (Little Brown Jug publicity)
Pace: “Control The Moment. Brett Miller will stick to his script and will send Racing Hill after the early lead. Tim Tetrick will get Boston Red Rocks into the race early. Control The Moment will be closer to the pace this week and will use his fast closing speed to win by a length over Racing Hill and JK Will Power.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki. The post position God has been good to Wiggle It Jiggleit and Team Teague the past few starts. Even with the additional 1/8th of a mile, post 10 will be hard to overcome. Always B Miki has the post advantage and will use it to defeat Freaky Feet Pete in 1:47.4. Wiggle It Jiggleit will overcome a rough trip for the show spot.”

IAN FLEMING (General Manager – Clinton Raceway)
Pace: “Control The Moment. He has a great late kick that is a perfect fit for the Meadowlands.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki. The best until proven otherwise.”

KEN WEINGARTNER (Harness Racing Communications / USTA)
Pace: “Racing Hill. Control The Moment was awesome in the stretch in last week’s elimination, but Racing Hill has done little wrong this season and should be fresh off his bye.”
Haughton: “Always B Miki. Hard to pick against the world champion, who defeated WIJI and Pete in the Franklin from a tough starting spot and gets the best of the draw here.”