There’s an old adage  that says, “save the best for last” and that’s exactly what Billy “Zeke” Parker Jr. did  today (July 16)  when he reined Topgun Raider to victory for his 11,000th career win in the 13th and final race at Monticello Raceway on July 16.


Parker’s milestone victory came after he  left strongly from the pole position and allowed the betting favorite  Paulimony,  driven by Jimmy Taggart, Jr. to take command before the quarter pole. From  there Zeke stalked the leader and in the lane he rallied his pacer enough to score a  head victory in the final strides  in 1:56.3 clocking.


“I’m really  glad I won my 11,000th with Bobby Merton’s girl friend’s horse,” Parker said during the blanket presentation ceremony .  “When I had a big stable Bobby worked for me for over ten years.”


Parker who’s  not known to be very emotional  had  to wipe  tears from his eyes when he was joined by  family, friends, management  and some fellow drivers  who came in from the paddock to be part of  the winner’s circle ceremonies. And had it not been the last race on the program  undoubtedly more drivers would have joined the throng.


Earlier on the card  Parker scored his 10,999th victory when he guided  14 –year-old  pacer How Forever Feels  home first in 1:57.4.


Asked if he was  nervous as he neared 11,000 wins Parker  unashamedly admitted; “ Yeah, I was. I was pushing  a little at the end at the end.

“I’m glad it’s over and I’m  proud, 11000 is a lot of wins.”


The Monticello Harness Horsemen’s Association gave Parker a  Bulova watch  engraved with his milestone victory. And he was also presented a cake stating Congratulations Zeke on 11,000 wins.


Parker is currently third in races won here this season with 123. Over the years he’s  won 18 driving titles at the Mighty M along with titles at Yonkers Raceway, Foxboro Raceway , Scarborough Downs and Lewiston Raceway, the latter three in Maine, his native state.


Parker has always been an all-around horsemen and although the US Trotting Association has Parker with 1223 training wins that number was only tabulated  since 1991. He had big stable of horses for over 15 years prior to the catch-driver phenomenon and those previous  training victories  are not recorded.


“You know, when I came here in 1985 I just had my 2000th win,” Parker recalled. “I’ve won a lot of races here over the years,”


When told he is now only 38 wins behind fellow Mainer Walter Case, Jr. Parker thought for a moment  and then said. “I’ll probably beat that but it’s a shame (except for the few times he drove in 2008) because Casey hasn’t driven a horse in ten years.”