Press Room

He was a god 2-year-old but at age three Coraggioso is even better, and arguably the best of the 3-year-old colt trotters in the rich New York Sire Stakes .

On the Monday afternoon, August 6th program at Monticello Raceway, the  son of Conway Hall- Electra Hanover has been installed as the 9-5 early line favorite in his $83,922 division—race 10-- of the 167,844 NYSS for sophomore trotting colts and geldings. In the other $83,922 split—race six—Gaelic and Garlic gets the odds-maker’s early nod.



When Mike Merton scored five consecutive driving victories in the first five races on the Monticello Raceway card of June 28 he claimed, with tongue in cheek, that when he got dumped out and fell on his head in an early morning qualifying race that it must have done something to him when  he had his best day in years.


On Wednesday, August 1 Merton could  claim no such prognostication this time after  he again reined five winners on the card.


To look at Pete Pellegrino one would get an impression that he looks more like a pirate of olden days  than a horse trainer with his head shaved bald and sporting two ear-rings. But make no mistake about it, Pellegrino is not only a horse trainer but an outstanding one at that.


There’s an old adage that states ‘good things come to those who wait’ and that maxim certainly was germane  to the outcome of Monticello  Raceway’s Munich Mile on Monday afternoon, July 30 when  winning driver Mike Merton waited at the back of the pack in the early going and then rallied to victory in the race for drivers of German descent , which was the fifth leg of the Mighty M’s Heritage Drivers Series.

With the temperature hovering around 91 degrees and the race track lightning fast New York-bred freshmen trotting fillies were front and center at Monticello Raceway with five divisions of the $148,000 NYSS and three $12,800 splits in the Excelsior Series.


Right out of the box in the very first $28,362 NYSS split a new track record was established by Lady Riviera when Ron Piercee  guided her to a 1:59.2 triumph. The homebred daughter of Sand Vic- La Riviera Lindy knocked one full second of the former mark of 2:00.2 set by Jezzy in 2010.


On Wednesday afternoon, July 18 eight divisions of New York-bred  freshman trotting fillies will go to post with five $28,362 splits in the NYSS and another three in the Excelsior Series with  each  of those legs going for $12,800 purses.

The races that day will mark the second stop along the journey where the top eight point earners during the season will have the right to compete in the  $175,000 final in late September

Cornelius Kingsley Garrison Billings would have been proud.  Leland Stanford would also have joined the throngs. Both turn of the twentieth century millionaires who owned outstanding horses during their era,  were also avid amateur drivers and would have cheered the success of Monticello Raceway’s All Amateur Day on Friday, July 13.


Last year Monticello Raceway pioneered a day where all races were driven by amateur drivers. Dubbed All- Amateur Day the afternoon race card was well received .This year a second All Amateur Day will be presented on the added Friday program of July 13th and again all races will be driven by amateur drivers.

“We weren’t slated to race on that Friday but we added the date so we could be part of the Back to the Track national harness racing promotional weekend,” noted raceway GM Shawn Wiles.”

In the past Monticello Raceway has had full wagering cards featuring only  trotters; full cards of only  pacers and a full program amateur races, but not until July 4th did the Mighty M have a complete race card featuring just 2 year-old colt and gelding pacers; and most of which were making their pari-mutuel debuts.


On Wednesday evening July 4th Monticello Raceway will host the first seasonal divisions of freshmen pacing colts and geldings in both the New York Sire Stakes and the new Excelsior Series (formerly late closers).

The NYSS colts will be vying for points  which they will gain along the way competing  at various racetracks in NY State . The top eight, when the divisions are completed, will earn a berth in the $175,000 New York Sire Stakes Final at Yonkers Raceway on September 22.