Nowadays, final race times don’t really underscore the class of those horses competing. It seems that every race goes fast these days; be it a high priced claimer or a conditioned horse. Even the lesser class claimers put up times that FFA (Free-For-All) horses turned in decades ago.
So with the aforementioned in mind handicappers will have to make a decision in Monticello Raceway’s 1-3/4 mile Marathon Trot which will go to post in race number four on Wednesday afternoon, December 19. Will class hold up in this long distance race?
Since Monticello Raceway instituted its Au Revoir back in 1991 only five times has the race been presented. Although the raceway had tried to fill it every year since the inaugural the fact remains that there is usually is a shortage of 14 year olds still racing in December of the final year of eligibility. And although the amount varies slightly from year to year during this season there were only 54 14 year olds that made at least one start.
Amateur driver Alan Schwartz is having a banner year. Not only did he rein his 57th winner of the season at Monticello Raceway on December 3rd but that triumph was Schwartz’s 500th of his amateur driving career. Schwartz’s milestone victory came behind Space Chalet in a time of 1:58.1.
Would you like to have your horse’s name in the record books? If so, Monticello Raceway is offering a chance for that to happen in its 1-3/4 mile trot slated for Wednesday afternoon, December 19, dubbed ‘the Monticello Marathon’.
During the 2009 season, the last time the Mighty M presented the Monticello Marathon, Pembroke Prayer and driver Mike Micallef established a new world record at that distance when they toured the double oval in a time of 3:40. Pembroke Player erased the former standard of 3:42.4 set the previous year by Lively Moment, also at Monticello Raceway.
Monticello Raceways Heritage Drivers Series Final-- dubbed the All-America Cup--pitted the winners of each of the eight preliminary races for different ethnicities on Thursday afternoon, November 29 and when the shouting ended Jimmy Devaux ,winner of the Maple Leaf Mile for drivers of Canadian heritage , emerged victorious. He reined Gin And Vermouth to a length victory over Mike Forte (Godfather Pace winner) and Amazida in a 1:59 clocking .Jimmy Taggart, Jr. (St Paddy Pace winner) finished third with EHI Guaglione.
He doesn’t get much national attention but Billy “Zeke” Parker Jr. is one of the best harness drivers of all time. And his record speaks for itself!
On the muddy afternoon of November 28, Zeke reined six winners on the Monticello Raceway card and with those victories his career win total is now at 10,855; seventh best all-time in North America.
During the month of December there will be several changes in the live racing schedule at Monticello Raceway.
The schedule during the first two weeks in December remains the same as always with live harness action on the afternoons of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
On Sunday December 16 there will be a special live afternoon race card to coincide with the Horsemen’s Holiday Party. After December 16 racing will continue on every weekday afternoon including Friday December 21.
Monticello Raceway’s Heritage Drivers Series began on January 17 with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pace, for drivers of African-American heritage, and continued throughout the year with a race for seven other ethnic groups and culminated with the Maple Leaf Mile, for drivers of Canadian descent on October 23. Now on Thursday, November 29 the winning drivers of each of the preliminary legs in the Heritage Drivers Series will return to battle in the final event dubbed the All-America Cup.