Mister Big, two-time Older Pacer of the Year, makes his first appearance this season at the Meadowlands in the prep for the William R. Haughton Memorial on Saturday night.
The only horse to win the Haughton in back-to-back years, he will bid for his third straight trophy on Saturday, July 11. The fourth all-time richest pacer will start from post nine as the 2-1 morning line favorite in Saturday’s prep, carded as race 10, with Brian Sears at the lines. Trained by Virgil Morgan Jr.,won 11 of 14 starts and $1.5 million last season.
“We plan on defending all seven stakes titles he had from last year,” said Joe Muscara Jr., whose father, Joe Muscara Sr., owns. “He's bigger and stronger than before. He's got to be three feet wide, a real physical specimen. I remember looking at , and he was one of the most impressive looking horses I'd ever seen. is like that.
"He loves the Meadowlands,” Muscara Jr. continued. “This is his favorite track by far. He can be an annoying horse to race against. He always seems to know how many lengths he can spot you. Then, when he gets up to you, he'll go past your number and stay there. He likes to pass horses one by one and pick them off. He'll go a fast quarter, then another fast quarter, then an even faster quarter. He doesn't always win by a lot. He reminds me of a Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods. They know how to win, and have this incredible desire to do it.”
With $3.3 million in earnings,is within reach of Gallo Blue Chip’s all-time earnings record of $4.2 million.
“I would like to take a shot at the earnings record this year,” said Joe Muscara, Sr. “That's definitely one goal I'm shooting for. I don't think anyone would have expected him to turn out as he has. He’s been a pleasant surprise. Virgil [Morgan] has done a great job and I love racing him.”
Joe Muscara Sr. of Huntingdon Valley, PA purchasedfor $255,000 a month after his runner-up finish to in the 2006 Three-Year-Old Breeders Crown Pace at Woodbine. He was six-for-26 during his two-and-three-year-old seasons combined, but has earned $3 million as an older horse.
“He takes care of himself,” noted Joe Muscara Jr. “Every morning he has a routine. He goes out in the field and does his 'yoga.' He stretches and runs up and down along the fence for five minutes or so, then chews on grass for 10 minutes like nothing happened. Then he'll sit down for a while. He's a great feeling horse who breathes well, and he's ready for his six-year-old season."
In his second start this season,got up to win the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational by a neck over Winbak Speed on June 20 at Hoosier Park.
“By the time he came back to the winner’s circle after the Dan Patch he was breathing totally normally,” Muscara Jr. said. “After the Dan Patch, we were both excited and relieved. We can just hope for the best, treat him as well as we can and send him out there. We love racing him, that's for sure."
In addition to the Haughton prep, the Saturday, July 4 card at the Meadowlands features the $203,000 Titan Cup for older trotters, $85,033 Jersey Cup for three-year-old pacers and $50,000 Thomas Strada Memorial for pacing mares.
MEADOWLANDS HONORS ARTISTIC FELLA ON PACE ELIMS NIGHT
, winner of the 2006 Meadowlands Pace, will be officially retired Saturday, July 11.
Trained by Steve Elliott,won 26 races and $2.6 million during his career, which spanned 2005-2008. He proved to be one of the best bargains in racing for owner Joseph Alborano, who purchased the son of for $13,000 as a yearling. gave Hall of Fame driver Cat Manzi his first victory in the $1 million Meadowlands Pace at age 56 when he won the 2006 edition in 1:48.4.
will parade to the winner’s circle for the last time before the second race on July 11, a features the eliminations for the 2009 Meadowlands Pace.
’s Career Totals:
Year St 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings Age, Mark Track Date
2008 * 14 5 7 1 $ 937,580 5, 1:48 Chst 06/15/2008
2007 * 16 7 2 3 $ 674,640 4, 1:48.4 Moh 06/09/2007
2006 * 18 11 1 0 $ 941,385 3, 1:48.4 M 07/08/2006
2005 4 3 0 0 $ 51,250 2, 1:53.3 M 07/21/2005
Total 52 26 10 4 $2,604,855