Nowadays, final race times don’t really underscore the class of those horses competing. It seems that every race goes fast these days; be it a high priced claimer or a conditioned horse. Even the lesser class claimers put up times that FFA (Free-For-All) horses turned in decades ago.
So with the aforementioned in mind handicappers will have to make a decision in Monticello Raceway’s 1-3/4 mile Marathon Trot which will go to post in race number four on Wednesday afternoon, December 19. Will class hold up in this long distance race?
When the Mighty M last programmed their marathon in 2009 Pembroke Prayer and Mike Micallef established a new world record of 3:40 on a half mile track over that distance. That victory erased the former world standard of 3:42.4 which was set here at the Mighty M the previous season by Lively Moment.
But unlike the previous seasons where an entrant looked superior to its competition this year it appears that things will be different in this eight horse Monticello Marathon..
Favored Collect Call, who’ll start from post seven with Tyler Buter aboard, will be coming in from out of town and has been racing in higher classes that most of the others in Wednesday’s contest but his official final race times are not all that much better than some of the others in the race.
Halfpipe, rated as second choice on the early line, will leave from the eight hole and sports two consecutive victories in his last two outings. The meet’s leading driver Jimmy Marohn Jr. will again be in the sulky for trainer Dan Gill, himself battling for leading trainer honors here..
Claude Huckabone III’s DW’s Devine, who won a 1-½ trot in 3:05.1 at Saratoga Raceway in early November and Howmuchubench who finished second in a 1-¼ mile trot at Harrah’s Philadelphia on November 18 will be no pushovers either. The former will start from post position six while the latter will leave from post two with Mike Simons at the controls.
Others who will have to be reckoned with include Zeke Parker’s Famous Dude whose nine seasonal victories prove he has winning ways and the veteran Imallottocatch (Mike Forte) who has raced against the best trotters o the grounds here this past season.
Dreamnwillie with Austin Siegelman, in from Saratoga, and Justin Huckabone’s Buckshot Victor, also a Saratoga Raceway import round out the eight-horse field.
“It’s true that Collect Call appears to be the classiest in this field but it’s really hard to get a bead on just how well these trotters will race over the 1-3/4 miles, “noted John Flynn, the tracks program director and morning line oddsmaker,” After all this will be the first time that any of them will compete in race of that distance.”
According to Mighty M director of racing, Eric Warner, the longer distance is a great equalizer.“We’ve had a 1-3/4 mile race quite a few times over the years but this race appears to be our most competitive one.”
The Monticello Marathon will be the fourth race on the Wednesday afternoon card of December 19. First post will be at 12:25pm.