East Rutherford, NJ — King Of The North ruled supreme in Saturday’s (Aug. 7) $293,450 Peter Haughton Memorial Trot, for 2-year-old colts and geldings, at The Meadowlands, remaining undefeated through five starts with a 1:53.4 win for driver Mark MacDonald.
King Of The North got away near the rear of the field as Global Pandemic and driver Joe Bongiorno sprinted to the front on the first turn and parked Temporal Hanover through a :26.3 opening quarter before yielding. Temporal Hanover and David Miller didn’t have the lead for very long, as second choice Robertsin and driver George Brennan moved quickly to take control well before the half and were able to back down the pace to a relatively comfortable :56 half-mile clocking.
Mark MacDonald appeared to be in a very compromised position at the half, as Fast As The Wind and Dexter Dunn pulled to the outside but failed to move aggressively, instead waiting for Letsdoit S and Brian Sears to pull and provide cover. Sears accommodated the outer flow, but was in a grind as Brennan — behind Robertsin — continued to apply the brakes, waltzing to three-quarters in 1:25.2 and appearing to have the race pretty much at his mercy.
When the field fanned wide, King Of The North quickly made up ground on the leaders, but, in mid-stretch, the son of Walner-Check Me Out got a bit rough gaited, forcing MacDonald to collect him and otherwise lose momentum at a crucial time. The Ray Schnittker trainee regained his composure, and MacDonald urged him forward to gain the lead in deep stretch. Scott Zeron and Classic Hill appeared to be a menacing threat, weaving through traffic and rallying to the inside of King Of The North, but would not pass. King Of The North arrived home on top with Classic Hill second and Fast As The Wind third. S I P rallied wide to finish fourth.
“He overcame it,” MacDonald said of the treacherous trip. “It was maybe a little too far back than I would have liked. I should have used him a little bit more early, but when the gate opened, everybody was kind of going hard, so I just retreated. I got a cheap middle half, but he’s such a good little horse (that) he just runs them down.”
King Of The North was bred by Steve Jones and Ray Schnittker and is owned by Schnittker Ward, Arden Homestead Stable, Nolamaura Racing and Steve Arnold.
Sent off as the 1-2 favorite, King Of The North returned $3.00 to win. King Of The North is out of the stakes star Check Me Out, who won the Merrie Annabelle in her 2-year-old season.