McWicked continued to turn back the clock, holding off Filibuster Hanover by a half-length to win Saturday’s $471,100 William R. Haughton Memorial for older male pacers in 2:02.2 at the distance of 1 1/8 miles at The Meadowlands. Rockin Ron finished third.
McWicked, a 7-year-old stallion, was a Dan Patch Award winner at age 3 in 2014. He has won five of seven races this year, including the Ben Franklin Pace on June 30, and earned $543,911 for owner Ed James’ SSG Stables.
Rockin Ron led the field to the opening quarter, in :25.4, before yielding the top spot to Sintra, who took the group to the half in :55, and three-quarters in 1:22.4. McWicked and driver Brian Sears were sixth through the early portion of the race, but followed the cover of Check Six to work their way to second at the top of the stretch.
McWicked took the lead in the lane, but still had work to do to fend off the charge of Filibuster Hanover to his inside.
"I was trying to get him someplace in the hunt early and get in some type of flow," Sears said. "The horse has been super sharp his last few starts. I was just hoping to get some kind of trip and it worked out great.
"(Filibuster Hanover) was digging pretty good on the inside, but my horse kicked it in right to the wire and was very sharp. He’s just a sweet horse, so easy to drive, and gives you everything he’s got."
McWicked, the 4-5 favorite, paid $3.60 to win.
As a 3-year-old, McWicked won 12 of 23 races and earned $1.47 million. He was winless in a combined 14 races at ages 4 and 5 because of breathing issues and multiple throat surgeries, but bounced back last year with seven victories in 27 races and $560,025.
For his career, McWicked has won 27 of 81 starts and $2.86 million.
"This horse, every single time he races, is absolutely unbelievable," McWicked’s trainer Casie Coleman said. "He gives everything he’s got every time he’s on the track. He’s just a pleasure of a horse." (Ken Weingartner/USTA)