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Harness Legend Haughton Remains in Critical Condition With Head Injuries

July 07, 1986| Associated Press

NEW YORK — Bill Haughton, a Hall of Fame harness racing driver-trainer, remained in critical condition Sunday with head injuries suffered in a three-horse spill Saturday night at Yonkers Raceway.

Haughton's family had no comment Sunday, but Stanley Dancer, a Hall of Fame member and longtime friend and rival of Haughton, said the 62-year-old Haughton was in a coma at the Westchester Medical Center at Valhalla, N.Y.

In the second race of the night, Crimson fell while going between horses, and Ali Khan also went down. Then Sonny Key, driven by Haughton, fell. Haughton landed on his back, his safety helmet splitting open. The other two drivers escaped serious injury.

"He never had a broken bone from an accident, while I've broken every bone in my body," said Dancer, who started in harness racing with Haughton in the 1940's.

Haughton has won almost every harness race worth winning. Through 1985 he had driven 4,896 winners and his purse money totaled $39,699,355. His victories included four Hambletonians, five Little Brown Jugs and seven Messengers.

Perhaps Haughton's most meaningful victory personally was his last triumph in the Hambletonian in 1980, the premier race for 3-year-old trotters. Haughton won in straight heats with Burgomeister, a colt who had been owned, trained and driven by his 25-year-old son, Peter, who was killed seven months earlier in a car accident.

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