When Monticello Raceway presents its 14th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Pace, a race which features the talents of African-American drivers, last year’s champ, Dennis Watson, will be back to defend his title.
This year’s MLK Pace will be presented on Tuesday afternoon, January 21 and it will not only be Monticello Raceway’s annual tribute to the great civil rights leader, but the race will be the first leg of the tracks 2014 Heritage Drivers Series.
To say that racing in the north during the winter time is unforgiving would be an understatement. Frigid weather, snow and ice, and mud and rain, easily portrays what horses and horsemen have to go through just to keep the show going. And often racing has to be cancelled due to the climate conditions.
There was a time in racing when all legal pari-mutuel wagering was done on-track. But as the mid-60’s British pop duo of Peter and Gordon sang during their heyday “that was yesterday and yesterday’s gone”.
It’s no secret that off-track wagers are important and an integral part of any racetracks pari-mutuel handle. Off track wagers are always combined with on track bets and that becomes the combined betting handle.
The inimitable Yogi Berra is known to have said “it ain’t over til it’s over” but regardless of what the Yankee’s Hall of Famer stated, put a circle around the names of driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. and trainer Bob Lounsbury as they are well on the way of winning their individual titles even though the curtain hasn’t come down on Monticello Raceway’s 2013 season.
Aldrich and Lounsbury have been lethal together this year and both have been enjoying their finest seasons of their careers
Monticello Raceway will present its 14th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Pace on Tuesday, January 21 in spite of the fact that the nation will celebrate Dr. King’s birthday on Monday, January 20.
“Since we don’t race on Sundays and there’s no live racing on Monday, January 20th it was decided that we will honor Dr. King’s memory on Tuesday, January 21,” said Eric Warner the tracks director of racing.
It’s not like it was totally unexpected but Monticello Raceway’s Au Revoir, the race exclusively for 14 year olds who will be forced into retirement on January 1, 2014, failed to attract enough entries.
“When we opened the (entry) box this morning we only had three entries,” noted Eric Warner, the tracks Director of Racing.” Actually I was somewhat surprised because we worked hard on filling the race and there seemed to be quite a lot of interest.”