Last fall when Austin Siegelman was presented with the Rising Star Award by the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA at their annual banquet he told the attending crowd that among the things he was looking to accomplish during 2014 was to win Monticello Raceway’s Passover Pace. Now on Tuesday, April 22 he will get that chance, and a good one at that, when he jumps up behind the 5-2 favorite Christoffer Bliss.
The Kentucky Derby has its “Run for the Roses”; the Preakness runs for the Black-Eyed Susans; and on Tuesday afternoon, April 21 Monticello Raceway will have its annual “Race for the Matzohs” when the Catskill Mountains oval presents its 16th edition of the Passover Pace, a race strictly for drivers of Jewish heritage.
The event will be part of the tracks year-long Heritage Drivers Series which will be followed later this season by other races for different ethnicities.
It’s déjà vu all over again at Monticello Raceway with a local pacer, Diamond Tiara, vaulting to the top of the North American leaderboard after she notched her ninth seasonal triumph yesterday (April 7) at the Sullivan County (NY) oval.
With Jimmy Taggart, Jr. again at the controls Diamond Tiara wired the field to score in a time of 1:58.1.
Last year another Monticello-based pacer, Tracys Song, led the North America in wins at this time, and nearly all season-long, and finished the season with 21 victories-- 18 of them consecutive.
At the beginning of last season Monticello Raceway had two pacers that were on a tear winning indiscriminately. Both Tracy’s Song and Haroun Hanover were consistent winners and were at, or near, the top of the North American leaderboard in races won then and all season long. And both finished the season with over 20 wins.
Last year the name of Bruce Aldrich Jr. forged its way into racing hierarchy. Sure, he had won many driving titles at Monticello Raceway over the first decade of the new century and had over 4000 wins in his career, but last season he became more known nationally when he reined 645 winners and finished tied for second in races won on the continent.
Last December Monticello Raceway’s leading driver, Bruce Aldrich, Jr. locked horns with Northfield Park’s top gun, Ronnie Wrenn, in a ‘drive-off’ here where both men drove in every trace on the card and at days end Aldrich, the home-towner, reined six winners while Wrenn, the visitor, had four.
And when the curtain came down on the 2013 national racing season both gentlemen finished one-two in driving victories in North America, Wrenn with 714 and Aldrich with 645.
It was just a few years ago when a youngster by the name of Jordan Stratton displayed an innate talent for driving harness horses at a very tender age and Monticello Raceway fans watched the emergence of “the Kid”, who became the youngest driver to win a Mighty M driving title. He has moved on and now competes, and very successfully, against the best drivers at Yonkers Raceway.