Green Speed - 1977
Green Speed: Colt That Had Raw Speed Although it took Bill Haughton nearly 20 years to win his first Hambletonian, this famous trainer-driver now has a strangle hold on trotting’s top prize after Green Speed rolled to two world record miles with Haughton in the bike in 1977. A son of the Rodney stallion, Speedy Rodney, Green Speed turned in two letter-perfect miles in 1:55.3, equaling the all-age mark for trotters held by Noble Victory and lowering the Super Bowl—Steve Lobell three-year- old mark by nearly a full second. Green Speed was the favorite, and he looked and acted like the best all day. Texas tried gamely in both heats but was no match for the winner. It seemed the outcome would have been no different under any circumstances. The winner was bred by Lloyd Lloyds, a longtime patron of the Haughton Stable, and was given to his wife, Beverly, after she refused to purchase the horse. He was syndicated in the off-season for $3.2 million for stud duty at Pine Hollow Stud in New York.
Green Speed was consigned as a yearling to the Standardbred Horse Sale and had actually been shipped to Harrisburg, PA. He was withdrawn from the sale at the last minute after a call from Haughton, who had seen the colt, and asked Lloyds not to send him through the sale. Lloyds turned ownership of Green Speed over to his wife, Beverly, and sent him off to the Haughton Stable for training. Green Speed's 1:55 3/5 first heat was a world record for a 3-year-old (the first sub-1:56 mile for a 3-year-old) and ties all-age race mark for a trotter. His second heat was an identical 1:55 3/5. When asked about three or four heats, Haughton said, "I would not have started Green Speed in the 3rd heat if we had lost the 2nd. I do not believe in racing more than two heats in this weather...perhaps I would later in the year." The only serious threat to Green Speed's journey down DuQuoin's Victory Lane came from stablemate Cold Comfort, driven by Haughton's son, Peter. The younger Haughton mounted a serious challenge in the stretch, getting within a neck of Green Speed, but Cold Comfort eventually faded to fourth. Comedian Red Skelton made the trophy presentation. CBS televised the race, which featured both the colorful attire and commentary of Heywood Hale Broun. Green Speed won the Yonkers Trot earlier int he season. The Hambletonian marked the 5th consecutive Trotting Triple Crown event for the Haughton Stable: Steve Lobell won the 1976 Yonkers Trot and Hambletonian, while Quick Pay (with son Peter driving) won the 1976 Kentucky Futurity. The string would come to an end; Green Speed was not kept eligible to the Kentucky Futurity, "an oversight for which Haughton accepted) responsibility." Green Speed was voted Horse of the Year.