It’s official. On Monday afternoon, July 22 Monticello Raceway will host the third edition of the Battle of the Brain Trust, a race is for harness racing executives from various aspects of the Standardbred business.
As of this writing five people who make the decisions for their respective organizations will don racing silks and be in the unfamiliar position of driving a harness horse competitively over a one mile distance.
Just four weeks ago Monica Banca received her provisional license and the Norwegian native has shown she has a talent in the sulky. Not only did she win the final of the Catskill Amateur Driver’s Club’s Pacing Series yesterday (June 26)at Monticello Raceway but in five trips to post in betting races Monica has won four times. And her last three drives here were all winning ones.
In Wednesday’s fourth race here Banca had the favorite ,Indescribable from the pole position, and she drove the veteran gelding like he was the best.
When Haroun Hanover won for the 16th time this year at Monticello Raceway one just had to check the finish line photo where the tote board odds are displayed-- as can be seen in the accompanying picture --to put Haroun Hanover race, and season for that matter, in perspective.
Tracys Song was back home again at Monticello Raceway on Monday, June 24th and the venerable pacing mare won for the 19th time this year to continue leading all other standardbreds in races won this season in North America.
Although it was drizzling at the start of the race when the field passed by the first quarter the rains began to fall more earnestly and the attending fans ducked for cover although the falling rain seemed oblivious to the competing horses and drivers.
In C.K.G. Billings Series action on Wednesday, June 19th two amateur trots went to post at Monticello Raceway and when the results were official Howie “the Horse” Gelfand and Harvey “Doc” Stein each reined a winner in driving finishes.
Gelfand , a sales agent by trade from Mississauga, ON , won with Four Starz F in 2:02.3 while Stein, a veterinarian from Moreau, NY, got Make it Hot home first in a 2:04.1 clocking. Both races needed the photo finish camera to determine the winners.
After driving along at a pedestrian pace-- at least for him --- Billy “Zeke” Parker, Jr. broke out and reined five winners on the Tuesday, June 18th card at Monticello Raceway, where, over the years, the bearded wonder has copped 18 driving titles.
Now Parker has 102 wins at the current meet which is good for third place on the local leaderboard, but more importantly Zeke is moving ever closer to the 11,000 career win plateau and now needs just 20 more winning drives to reach that incredible milestone.
KZ Bezz won Monticello Raceway’s second annual Junior Free For All on Monday afternoon June 17th when driver Jimmy Taggart, Jr. hustled her to the front and defeated seven rivals in a 1:58.3 clocking.
In what was almost an exact replica of last year’s race, Taggart, who drew the mount behind KZ Bezz this season, raced her the same way that she was raced in the contest last year when Greg Decker, Jr. won the event with her in the nearly identical time of 1:57.4.