EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The promised rain started to fall just before Saturday’s (July 17) $178,500 Dorothy Haughton Memorial for harness racing pacing mares at The Meadowlands, but the impeccably-bred JK First Lady ($6.60) didn’t let the weather bother her at all, as she benefited from a perfect Dexter Dunn drive to break the world record for 4-year-old pacing mares by way of a 1:47.4 clocking.
Dunn hustled the daughter of Western Ideal out of former Horse of the Year JK She’salady away from the gate from post six in the bulky field of 11, making the lead before yielding to the streaking Rocknificent at the completion of a :25.4 quarter. JK First Lady sat in the pocket through middle fractions of :53.3 and 1:21.
Trainer Nancy Takter noted, “She’s got a great turn of foot after following a helmet, so into the stretch, I kept rooting, ‘Sit with her, Dexter, sit with her!’, and then Dexter moved her at just the right time.”
Getting out in time and into gear quickly, JK First Lady went by 17-1 pacesetter Rocknificient to win by three-quarters of a length while eclipsing both the previous divisional world record of 1:48, set two weeks ago by Lyons Sentinel, and the previous stakes record of 1:48.1, set in 2020 by Major Occasion A.
JK FIRST LADY REPLAY
Lyons Sentinel, who was the 9-5 favorite despite starting from post 10, couldn’t find a forward early position and had to follow deep cover, swung five-wide turning for home and was flying late, just missing getting third ahead of the ground-saving Peaky Sneaky. JK First Lady was the 2-1 second choice; the other 2-1 choice, Gia’s Surreal, faded after a failed first-over bid.
The victory was the first of the year for JK First Lady, but she has earned $851,990 in her career, during which she has consistently been among the leaders of her division. She is owned by the Three Brothers Stable of New York, NY.
“She really is a family horse,” Nancy Takter noted, and indeed the 3 Brothers Stable own not only her but also her dam, JK She’salady.
The victory was the second in a row in this event for two-time defending Driver of the Year Dexter Dunn. Nancy Takter had never sent out a winner in this event, but her father, Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter, did in 2007 with Armbro Dancer.
For full race results, click here.
by Jerry Connors, for the Meadowlands