Billy Haughton, 62, a member of the harness racing Hall of Fame and the winner of 4,910 races and more than $40 million in purses, died July 15 at the Westchester County Medical Center.
Death was attributed to head injuries he received July 5 when he was thrown from his sulky in an accident at Yonkers Raceway. The accident occurred in an elimination heat for the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace for 2-year-olds. Three horses fell, including Sonny Key, who was driven by Mr. Haughton. The other two drivers escaped serious injury. Mr. Haughton lapsed into a coma and never regained consciousness.
A director of the U.S. Trotting Association, Mr. Haughton rose to prominence as one of the leading driver-trainers in the 1950s and 1960s. He was known in harness circles as "The Master."
A resident of Jericho, N.Y., Mr. Haughton was born in Gloversville, N.Y. Among horses he drove were Green Speed, the 1977 harness horse of the year, Handle With Care, a well-known pacing mare, and Nihilator, who last year became the richest standard bred ever.
Mr. Haughton was among the top 10 money-winning drivers each year from 1949 to 1978, ranking first 12 times. He was the top money-winner from 1952 to 1959. He was ranked in the top 10 in victories 18 times, including six straight Dash-Win titles between 1953 and 1958.
Mr. Haughton curtailed his driving recently but still drove 73 winners and won $1.8 million in 1985. His career-winning purses totaled $40.2 million.
He won the pacing Triple Crown with Rum Customer in 1968, the year he was inducted into the Harness Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. He won the Messenger Stakes at Roosevelt Raceway seven times and last season drove Valentina to victory in the La Paloma for 2-year-old pacing fillies at Yonkers.
He was a five-time winner of the Little Brown Jug race. He captured the Hambletonian four times. The last time was in 1980 with Burgomeister, a colt co-owned and developed by his son Peter.
The younger Haughton, a promising driver, was killed in January 1980, in a car crash while leaving the Meadowlands in New Jersey. The father dedicated Burgomeister's campaign to his son's memory.
Mr. Haughton's survivors include his wife, Dorothy, of Jericho; three sons, William Jr., Tommy and Robert, and one daughter, Holly Ann, all of the Jericho area.