EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- After two rounds, Always B Miki remains the undisputed champion of the Free-For-All pacers.
The 5-year-old again affirmed his standing as the king of what has become harness racing's glamour division, improving to 2-0 in the second high-profile matchup with Wiggle It Jiggleit and Freaky Feet Pete.
Always B Miki took command down the backstretch with a powerful brush past Wiggle It Jiggleit and went on to a three-quarter length victory over 39-1 shot Shamballa in the $471,800 William R. Haughton Memorial Saturday night at The Meadowlands.
And it was another world record--his third straight--pacing the 1 1/8 miles in 2:01.1 as the 2/5 favorite in the 12-horse field.
Always B Miki ($2.80) posted a fourth straight win, improving his season mark to 6-2-0 in eight starts for trainer Jimmy Takter and the ownership team of Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter.
"He's just a fantastic horse to do what he does," Jimmy Takter said. "He's gone through a lot. It takes a special horse to come back from all the injuries he had. It gets me very emotional every time I see him race."
The most surprising aspect of the Haughton was the determined showing by Shamballa, who ranged up first-over to challenge Always B Miki and hung in gamely right to the finish.
Wiggle It Jiggleit, stung by a :25.3 opening quarter while forced three-wide as he worked his way to the front from post 10, finished third.
Freaky Feet Pete was fourth.
The stage for the Haughton was set in the Ben Franklin Pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on July 2. Always B Miki won that first meeting, a 1:47 mile equaling the world record.
Wiggle It Jiggleit, the defending Horse of the Year, bested Freaky Feet Pete last weekend in the Graduate over the sloppy track at Big M, a race restricted to 4-year-olds.
Returning after the week off, Always B Miki delivered another dynamite performance as the leader in the weekly Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll again cemented his grip on the top spot.