VIC HARRISION WINS THE BATTLE OF THE BRAIN TRUST
They came; they saw; they conquered. Well at least Vic Harrison did. Of the four participating harness industry executives it was Vic Harrison, director of sales for United Tote in Louisville, KY, who prevailed in the third edition of Battle of the Brain Trust
On Monday afternoon, July 22 Monticello Raceway presented the non-wagering race with the horses driven by executives in the racing industry.
Besides Harrison, others at the lines were Shawn Wiles, Monticello Raceway’s general manager, Jason Settlemoir, general manger of the new Meadowlands and VP of Racing at Tioga and Vernon Downs, and Jerry Murkerson, who operates the Hawkinsville, GA training center.
Although the four gentlemen had a wonderful time driving it was Harrison who guided Bet On Lindy to a 2:06.2 victory over Wiles and Keystone Iris. Murkerson finished third with Pembroke Lil and Settlemoir fourth behind JM Dancing Star.
It seems strange what some people will do to pursue something they enjoy. Take for instance, Harrison and Murkerson. Both gentlemen traveled hundreds of miles just to drive a spirited steed in this unique harness race.
“I’ve driven in a few races over the years at Monticello and even though I finished up the track I loved every minute of it,” a joyful Harrison spouted in the winner’s circle referring to his third attempt in the race for executives involved in the harness racing industry. “I’m now one for three in the Brain Trust races and I finally broke my maiden.”
In a race that started as if it were a professional betting contest the four execs battled for the early lead with Harrison and Bet On Lindy on the pole position getting first call as the field headed into the first turn.
When they straightened for the quarter pole Settlemoir found himself with no friends as he was parked on the outside as the first panel timer flashed :30.2.
Wiles, in the two hole with Keystone Iris, didn’t make room for Settlemoir who couldn’t gain command over Harrison.
“It’s too bad Jason got parked but I had the perfect spot and with him challenging for the lead I figured it would help me at the end of the mile,” Wiles said leaving Settlemoir on the limb.
Bet On Lindy and Harrison kept going down the road and they passed the half in 1:02.1 with the order remaining the same.
As the field headed for the three quarters which was paced in 1:34.3, Murkerson’s pacer, JM Dancing Star moved up to third position when Settlemoir’s pacer tired. But unfortunately for Wiles, Harrison’s charge was still strong.
When the field headed for home Harrison urged Bet On Lindy and Wiles ducked for the passing lane but despite the two-hole journey Keystone Iris was empty and couldn’t overtake Bet On Lindy and Harrison was a winner. Wilesheld second place, Murkerson finished third and Settlemoir was fourth.
When asked about being parked out, Settlemoir said: “I thought this was a friendly race but the guys were out for blood. When I couldn’t find a hole I knew it was all over for me. Still it was great fun.”
Wiles made no excuses because really he didn’t have any to make. He had his pacer in the right spot and when the passing lane opened Bet on Lindy just didn’t fire like Wiles hoped she would. And Murkerson, who over the years has driven matinee races at the Hawkinsville Training Center was rather philosophical about his third place finish.
“Sure I wanted to win but my mare just couldn’t make up any ground in the stretch,” Murkerson said in his distinctly Southern accent.”Nevertheless it was still a great time.”
The winning horse is owned by Dr. Scott Woogen and Brenda Messenger and trained by Gary Messenger.
Eric Warner, the tracks director of racing was on hand to make the trophy presentation to the winner.
“We’d like to thank all the trainers and owners who helped us with this special race,” Warner said. “It seemed win or lose, everyone had a good time.”
Post positions and driving assignment were drawn by lot and for safety sake the executives raced in jog carts without the use of whips.