It seems like the local scribes can spot talent. In recent years they cited Jordon Stratton and Jimmy Marohn, Jr. as Rising Stars for their driving prowess at Monticello Raceway. And just check their records. Both youngsters are now winning plenty of races and are developing into the future stars in harness racing.
Last year, too, the area’s harness writers chose 21 year old Austin Siegelman as their Rising Star at the Mighty M. And it appears that the scribes are on the money again.
On Presidents Day, with well over two feet of fresh snow on the ground, much of it piled along the inside and outside of the racetrack, Monticello Raceway was still able to present its “Not Quite Presidential” Pace despite the fact that three horses were late scratches.
Monticello Casino & Raceway (“MC&R”) continues to support the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act (“Gaming Act”). When they authored the Gaming Act, the Senate, Assembly and the Executive protected the Monticello Harness Horsemen’s Association (“MHHA”), and the entire racing industry. As New York State moves toward approving four casinos in upstate New York, future revenue for the horsemen is governed by the Gaming Act, and current revenue is governed by the New York State Lottery for Education Law.
It is, as Yogi Berra once said, ‘de je vu all over again’ especially at Monticello Raceway where the quest for top training honors continues.
Last year’s stalwarts, Bob Lounsbury and Danny Gill, are again on top of the leaderboard in a continuation of the friendly battle that ensued during the 2013 campaign. The modern-era trainers, who leave the driving to the professionals, are back at it again and currently Lounsbury’s 18 winners are showing the way with Gill’s 14 in hot pursuit.
In early January Monticello Raceway lost a few race cards due to inclement weather and non-racing dates were added to the winter schedule.
One non-race date that was added is Monday, February 17 and as usual it will be an afternoon card with a 12:25pm post time. The featured race on that Presidents Day afternoon program will be the “Not-Quite” Presidential Pace, a race for drivers whose names are the same as any of the former United States Presidents.
If all who say they are coming do so, Monticello Raceway is currently just one driver short of having an eight horse field for its “Not-So Presidential” Pace on Presidents Day, February 17.
“To recap…eligible drivers are those whose surnames are the same as former U.S. Presidents,” noted Eric Warner, Monticello Raceways director of racing. “With a possible, or maybe probable, seven saying that they want to drive in our race we’ll have a contest although I’d really like to have eight in the race.”
There’s a saying that the decision of the judges is final and it took the judges to determine the winner of Monticello Raceway’s 14th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Pace on Tuesday, February 21.
A racing infraction was the subject of the study and the judges used the powers vested in them to determine that the driver (Dennis Watson) of first horse under the wire, Lakers Vett, had gone inside a few pylons on the final turn which caused the disqualification.
Quietly and without much fanfare Jimmy Devaux continues to be a force to be reckoned with. Last year the former Mighty M driving champ, competing both here and at Saratoga Raceway, reined 413 winners which ranked him 19th in races won in North America.