PARKER CLOSING IN ON 6TH ALL TIME IN RACES WON
Records are made to be broken; it’s just that some are harder to break than others. Take for instance Cincinnati Red’s pitcher Johnny Vandermeer’s back- to- back no hitters in the late 1930’s. Or even Joe Di Maggio’s 56 game hitting streak in 1941. They’re still standing and probably will for many years to come.
But horse racing is different. Records are equaled and occasionally surpassed especially in this day and age of finer breeding and better racing equipment.
Many thought that Herve Filion’s record of 15,183 winners would take a while to be broken but in relatively short order Dave Palone passed Herve’s mark and is on his way to establishing a record of his own. And many will say Dave’s record will be hard to beat.
Although this next record cited is no way equivalent as to the ones mentioned above, Walter Case Jr.’s 11,038 driving victories, which is currently sixth best all time, is in jeopardy of being overtaken by Billy “Zeke” Parker, Jr.
On Monday afternoon, August 26 at Monticello Raceway Zeke Parker reined his trotter Famous Dude to a convincing wire to wire seven- length triumph in a creditable time of 1:58. For the 59 year old Parker, it was his 150th winning drive of the season—third best on the Mighty M leaderboard this year—and more importantly it was his 11,028th win of his illustrious career.
With that victory Parker now remains just10 wins behind Case and soon he’ll rein his 11,039th winner. And when he does, he’ll move up to sixth pace all time in races won in the standardbred sport while moving Case back to seventh place.
Because Parkers career was mired mostly at the smaller racetracks there are those who view his incredible statistics unimportant when compared to those who race at the so-called ‘big time’.
But as someone once said about Zeke’s stats, “I don’t care who he was driving against 11,000 is a lot of wins.”
Two years ago Parker, a native of the Pine Tree State, was installed, and rightly so, the State of Maine’s Harness Racing Hall of Fame.
The United States Trotting Association, which keeps the industry stats among other things, states that in his career-- through August 26, 2013 -- Parker has driven 54,360 times and won 11,028 races.
Assuming the numbers are correct Parker’s career win percentage is .20 which means he won nearly 20 percent of the time.
And although Zeke is in the twilight of a wondrous career he still has plenty of wins in him before he hangs up his whip and gloves.