Day At The Track

Deja vu all over again in $702,500 Haughton

04:14 AM 21 Aug 2010 NZST
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Shark Gesture and his happy Tug River Princess Shark Gesture
"Give me a high five" says the happy - owner of Tug River Princess, Jerry Silva.
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Shark Gesture and his happy - winning connections.
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Tug River Princess - Five wins in 14 starts this season for trainer Jeff Webster
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Shark Gesture - His seventh win in 10 starts this season
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It was deja vu all over again in the $702,500 William R. Haughton Memorial. Shark Gesture surged late to score back-to-back 1:48.2 victories in the Meadowlands Racetrack's richest event for older harness racing pacers Friday night.

Shark Gesture came second over, angled three-wide in the stretch and held off strong rallies by Hypnotic Blue Chip and Won The West for a half-length margin. George Brennan steered Shark Gesture to his seventh win in 10 starts this season. Trained by brothers Ray and Larry Remmen, Shark Gesture paid $7.40 to win the headliner on a stakes-laden card.

"I was just hoping Andy [Miller and the pacesetter Real Joke] couldn't last and that he'd take me around the turn, which he did," Brennan said. "You can never count out [Won The West and Hypnotic Blue Chip]. They're great horses, but Shark dug in and that's what makes him such a great horse. He enjoys racing and he enjoys winning. I've said that all along and he proved it tonight.

Shark Gesture, who took the 2009 Haughton in a commanding performance over Bettor Sweet, also won his second straight Graduate Final this year. The 7-year-old son of Cam's Card Shark has won 27 of 76 career starts and $2.8 million. He is owned by TLP Stable of Kearny, NJ, Norman Smiley of Boca Raton, FL and Gerald Smiley of Montreal, Quebec.

Tug River Princess scooted up the inside to win the $257,000 Golden Girls Final by a nose over Ginger And Fred. On The Glass was a neck behind them in a three-way photo finish.

Driven by John Campbell, Tug River Princess left hard to take the lead on the opening turn before taking a back seat to On The Glass. Tug River Princess remained locked in the pocket until deep stretch, when she burst through for the victory in a career best 1:49.3.

"With as many horses as there were [in the field of 11]], you can't get away in the back," Campbell said. "You just have no chance, and sometimes she doesn't get out of the gate as good as the others. Tonight, she got off on the right foot and I think that was the key to the race. We had just enough racing room in the stretch to squeeze through."

Tug River Princess improved her record to five wins in 14 starts this season for trainer Jeff Webster and owners Let It Ride Stables, Robert Cooper Stables and Jerry Silva. The same partnership - sans Silva - won the Sweetheart Final earlier on the card with 2-year-old filly Honky Tonk Woman. A 5-year-old daughter of Badlands Hanover, Tug River Princess has now won $1.8 million in her career.

Amy SILVER

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