HALFPIPE , DRIVEN BY JIMMY MAROHN, JR. ,WINS THE MONTICELLO MARATHON
By definition halfpipe is a structure used in gravity extreme sports such as snowboarding, skateboarding and skiing, but at Monticello Raceway Halfpipe has another meaning.
The Monticello Raceway version of Halfpipe is a 6-year-old trotting gelding who has won five times this year and has been victorious in each of his last three starts.
On Wednesday afternoon December 19 Halfpipe’s third win-in-a-row came in the 1-3/4 mile Monticello Marathon when Jimmy Marohn Jr. reined the veteran trotter to a 1-1/2 half length triumph over Collect Call and driver Tyler Buter. Third place went to the Mike Simons-driven Howmuchubench.
However the final time of 3:42.2 left intact the world record of 3:40 set in 2009 by Pembroke Prayer and driver Mike Micallef.
In the odd-distance race on the double oval the field is picked up in front of the grandstand and let go at the usual quarter pole. From there the trotters must pass the winners circle four times before the race is completed and on the final lap Terry Finch, of the Monticello Harness Horsemen’s Association, waved a white flag to indicate there was just one more time around the oval.
For a race that had a very competitive field of well behaved trotters an unusual amount of breaks marred the event. Although some of the early breakers had time to get back in the race –Howmuchubench being one of them. However the most costly one came on the final turn when favored Call Collect broke away from the pack and opened up five lengths of daylight on the field and then he broke; as in off-stride.
Buter got his trotter back on gait and they had a lot of ground to make up but his a charge at Halfpipe, who had inherited the lead when Collect Call went off-stride, fell short and they had to settle for second money.
After the late scratch of Famous Dude the race got underway with Imallottocatch grabbing the racetrack on the first turn and Mike Forte had him on the lead for the majority of the race.. First to challenge was Buckshot Victor and Justin Huckabone but they faded after going off-stride..
With Forte and Imallottocatch still on the lead the closers were waiting for the final lap.
And close they did.
Halfpipe stayed covered nearly all the way as did Collect Call. When Buter moved Collect Call before the final turn he burst to the lead and appeared to be heading for a new world record but unfortunately the trotter went off stride while at least five lengths ahead of the pack.
When Buter moved so did Marohn with Halfpipe and they also cleared the field and when Collect Call made a break the lead was theirs. They then held off Collect Call who rallied late after Buter got him back on stride . Howmuchubench came from cover to finish third after he made a break earlier in the race.
“I kinda like this long distance race and I’ll bet the fans did too. It’s something different and not the same old thing,” Jimmy Marohn, Jr. said after his victory.
“Driving strategy is different , too. I was patient and waited until late to move but we also got lucky with so many of the horses making breaks.
“Tyler’s horse was a clear winner but he must have stepped on a banana peel,” Marohn joked. “He got back trotting and he was close at the finish.”
Buter was asked what happened to Collect Call on the final turn. ”He makes breaks occasionally and he just picked a bad time to do it,” he said almost nonchalantly.
Owned by Edward Hall and James Hall, Jr., Halfpipe raised his seasonal bankroll to over $35,000. He paid $7.40 for win.