Monticello Raceway

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ZEKE PARKER COPS A PAIR—CLOSING IN ON 11,000 CAREER WINS

Billy “Zeke” Parker, Jr. copped pair of races yesterday (April 10) at Monticello Raceway and in the process he raised his career total to 10298, which ranks him seventh all-time in races won in North America.

He won the featured trot with Jon Win by three lengths in a very creditable 1:58.3 over Sweet Joe and driver Greg Merton. He also scored behind KZ Too in 2:00.2 for the Dream Away filly’s maiden victory.

Still Zeke finds himself in unfamiliar territory being in fourth place on the driver’s leaderboard trailing Bruce Aldrich, Jr. by some 53 winners.

Over the years Parker has usually been the driving leader here having copped 18 titles at the racetrack he has called home since the early 1990’s
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Asked why he’s again off to a slow start this year he paused for a moment and then said: “I haven’t had the power I had in the past. It seems like “Bruce (Aldrich Jr.) and Jimmy (Marohn, Jr.) are getting the live mounts, something that I usually have gotten. But things will probably turn around later in the year …. they usually do.”

Take last season for instance; Parker trailed Jimmy Marohn Jr. by some 70 wins early in the spring but made a race out it in late December and although at one point he was just two wins behind Marohn got hot and Parker fell short and his 256 winners ranked him second behind Marohn’s , 271.

Being the intense competitor that he is, Parker admits that he sometimes gets mad if he doesn’t win. “I’m a poor loser,” he says,” but honestly, isn’t everybody a poor loser?”

Around Monticello Raceway he’s known as Zeke-- and he likes that moniker—although to most harness racing fans he goes by his given Billy Parker, Jr., which seems like a misnomer because one has to wonder ,who is Billy Parker, Sr.?

“My dad was William Parker and really, he only babbled in harness racing. He never drove horses but l once found a grooms license when he worked for the Mason Stable at Roosevelt (Raceway) back in 1946. He died when I was only 16,” Parker explained.

“ It was my Uncle Freeman (Parker) who took me under his wing. I worked for him when I was a teenager. He was a great driver and the top driver in Maine back in the 50’s and 60’s. He won over 4000 (4132 to be exact) races back when the seasons were short and the trainers drove their own stock.”

Zeke’s illustrious driving career began in the early 1970’s and he has won driving titles at every racetrack that he competed at on a seasonal basis.
Besides the multiple Mighty M driving crowns he also won driving titles at Scarborough Downs, Foxboro Raceway, and Yonkers Raceway.

If you ask him Parker will tell you that one of his most prized memories was scoring his 10,000th win at Monticello Raceway . It came on May 17, 2010. Another memorable accomplishment—and there have been many—came right here at the Mighty M on October 26, 1996 when Parker tied a then world record reining nine winners on the race 10-race program. And his 526 driving victories during the 1995 season at Monticello Raceway is still the track record.

At 59 years of age Parker hasn’t lost much, if anything at all. Besides his 10,928 driving victories his mounts have earned $29,827,756, the vast majority coming at raceways where purses were small.

Asked what’s on the horizon for him in the future, he quickly remarked: “I’m especially looking forward to my 11000thwin which I hope to get sometime this summer. That’ll be a pretty big thing, don’t you think?”