Anyone who thought the name Haughton would fade from the harness racing scene after the legendary Billy Haughton died in a racing accident last year need only look at the entries for the Terrapin Stakes at Freestate Raceway Friday night to be relieved of the notion.
Of the 34 3-year-old colts and geldings entered in four divisions of the Terrapin, eight are from the stable of Billy Haughton's son Tommy. Based at the Meadowlands, it probably is harness racing's largest outfit.
Haughton said taking over the powerful stable has not been a burden but acknowledged "a lot of added responsibilities."
Haughton has six assistant trainers working at his public stable at the Meadowlands. He said several owners went elsewhere after his father died July 15 from injuries received in an accident at Yonkers Raceway, but new owners have arrived.
Now Haughton, 30, can stand on his record, not his father's.
In 1986, Tommy Haughton ranked 21st among drivers in earnings with nearly $2 million. He has earned more than $11.5 million in his career.
His major stakes victories include the 1982 Hambletonian with Speed Bowl and the 1980 Kentucky Futurity with Final Score. At Freestate, he's won divisions of the Potomac, Turtle Dove and Hanover stakes the past three years.
Despite his strength in numbers for the Terrapin, which carries a total purse of $405,000, Haughton is cautious about overstating the ability of his eight colts.
"They are real nice horses but probably a step down from Jate Lobell," Haughton said, referring to last season's top 2-year-old pacing colt, who was not eligible for the Terrapin.
The eight still-green pacers show the strength of the Haughton stable. Five of them have won in 1:56 or better, and together they have earned $775,127, with many major 3-year-old races to come. --