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.
For the past 43 years Monticello Raceway has offered local fans the best Fireworks Show in Sullivan County(NY) and this year will be no exception. On Wednesday, July 4th the Raceway will stage its 44th Annual Fireworks Extravaganza after the races. But that night the first post will be at 5:30p.m. “The fireworks will be presented approximately 20 minutes after the racing program ends on July 4th,” said Shawn Wiles, the Raceway’s Assistant General Manager.
For the most part Mike and Greg Merton grew up on the backstretch of Monticello Raceway. After all, their dad, Bob Merton, Sr. was a longtime trainer-driver and during their Monticello High School seasons their school bus driver would drop them off at the stable gate so they could go to their dad’s barn.
There they received good formative training and both boys grew into hard working and accomplished horsemen and talented harness drivers. Their records speak for themselves.
Last year Lisa Krom lost her helmet as the mobile gate sped away at the start but that loss was the only one Lisa endued that afternoon as her pacer Allikait Fighter went on to win the Monticello Raceway’s Lady Godiva Pace on a cold February morning.