Day At The Track

'Chimo's win recalls 'The Monticello Miracle'

05:13 PM 02 Feb 2012 NZDT
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The late Don Karkos My Buddy Chimo My Buddy Chimo
The late Don Karkos
Geri Schwarz photo
My Buddy Chimo
Geri Schwarz photo
My Buddy Chimo
Geri Schwarz photo

Almost from the day he first sat in a sulky Jimmy Marohn, Jr.displayed a talent for driving harness horses and being a son of a very successful horseman it really isn't hard to understand. Besides being tutored by his dad, who has won nearly 5300 races in a career that is still underway, young Jimmy, at 5 ft. 5 in. and 135 pounds is the perfect fit for today's racing.

On the Wednesday, February 1st card at Monticello Raceway Jimmy Jr. won three races and now has vaulted to the top of the local leaderboard with 30 winners, five more than runner-up Jimmy Taggart, Jr.

Marohn started day with a victory behind Debra Millier’s Bingo Best in 2:01.1 and then scored with Art Green and Ken Westerside’s Mighty River A in 1:58.

Subbing for John Gilmour in the trotting feature , Marohn jumped up behind My Buddy Chimo and after a quarter pole move where they swept to the front, they then proceeded to make every pole a winning one en route to a 2:01 triumph, the trotters first fo the year. The 10 year old Movie Mogul gelding, a lifetime winner of $190.000 is currently owned by Gilmour in partnership with Arnie Waxenbaum and Jerry Plante, is a celebrity of sorts, himself.

Some may remember a few years back that the same My Buddy Chimo was the horse that was responsible for what the media dubbed “the Monticello Miracle” when it was learned that from a bump on the head by My Buddy Chimo eyesight was restored in the right eye of WW II veteran Don Karkos, the horse’s co-owner at the time. Karkos had been blind it that eye since a war-time accident in 1942.

Seaman Don Karkos, 17, lost his sight in the summer of 1942 while serving on the USS Rapadan in the North Atlantic, a merchant marine ship that fueled battleships and cruisers at sea. He was on deck of the Rapadan when there was a loud explosion. Twisted metal flew everywhere and something heavy hit him above his right eye. When Karkos awakened he found himself in a military hospital in Iceland and was told by the doctors that he’d never again see out of his right eye. But for cosmetic purposes Karkos chose leave that eye in place rather than remove it as the doctors suggested.

Karkos received an inordinate amount of media attention back in December of 2006 when it was learned that from a bump on the head by My Buddy Chimo, eyesight was restored to his right eye, one that has been , for all intents and purpose, blind since 1942.

Karkos, a long-time security guard here at the raceway, became world renowned when he had been spoken about and his story told by countless media outlets not only in the United States and Canada but in the United Kingdom and in Japan.

And along with the newsprint went television videos and radio transcripts of the miraculous occurrence. Organizations like CNN, CBS; NBC along with countless syndicated radio stations throughout the United States and Canada and even the BBC in England and outlets in Japan told of Karkos’s miraculous story.

Unfortunately Karkos is gone now but his buddy, My Buddy Chimo, keeps Karkos’s legacy alive.

John MANZI

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