Saturday, July 15, 2023

Charlie May, who took his mark of 1:47.1 at The Meadowlands last year but knew cruel luck here the year before that, had all the luck go his way in the $444,000 William R. Haughton Memorial for free-for-all pacers on Saturday night (July 15), equaling his lifetime mark after sliding up the pylons late to defeat Tattoo Artist by a half length.


David Miller had the Steve Carter-trained McArdle gelding flying away from post 9 in the field of 11, circling three-wide much of the first turn and dropping in behind early leader Allywag Hanover before the :26 quarter. Ruthless Hanover had floated out, then was put into gear to get to the front by the three-eighths – and with an outer tier already forming by that point, favored Abuckabett Hanover had no choice but to brush up uncovered. However, he could not clear despite urging as the two crowd choices battled past a :52.4 half and all the way to the 1:19.4 three-quarters, where Abuckabett Hanover began to tire.


Allywag Hanover came out of the pocket nearing headstretch to take his chance, and Tattoo Artist circled wide off cover, looming as a possible winner midstretch. But David Miller found room up the pegs from his third-in spot with Charlie May, and the pacer finished courageously to outfoot Tattoo Artist, with Ruthless Hanover third.


After the race Miller said, “I just took a shot out of the gate, and my horse was able to follow Allywag and looped Ruthless to drop in – that worked out perfectly. At the top of the stretch, I knew my horse still had a lot of pace, and when Allywag Hanover moved outside from in front of me to challenge Ruthless Hanover, I got the room I needed.”


Owner-breeder Don Tiger knew the downside of racing fortune when Charlie May finished first in the 2021 Meadowlands Pace but was disqualified. On Saturday night, he got to know good fortune as his horse added another major credit to his resume, which sports a bankroll of over $1.8 million and 25 victories in his career. Also sharing in Charlie May’s good fortune were the scattered backers of the 31-1 winner – although trainer Carter noted, “I think a few people in Ohio may have had a little bet on him.”


Charlie May paid $64.40 to win.