Art Mc Ilmurray notches 3,000th win

04:46 PM 02 Mar 2009 NZDT
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NORTHVILLE, Mi. Perennial championship driver Art Mc Ilmurray, hit the winner's circle for the 3,000 time Friday night at Northville Downs and joined the elite club of all time North American harness drivers.

Mc Ilmurray scored the milestone victory in the 10th race when he deftly guided Jinni's Fantasy N to a daylight victory. Jini.s Fantasy N was launched as the even-money favorite and returned mutuels of $4.40, $2.20 and $2.40.

Mc Ilmurray began his driving 32 years ago at Northville Downs and has been a top five driver since. However, from 2002 to late 2004, the Michigan native was sidelined after a serious on-track accident and was questionable whether he would ever be back in the bike.

The seat literally broke off during mid-race and Mc Ilmurray, who checks in at 6'2" and 215 pounds, went down immediately. Although his back was not broken, it took nearly two years of strenuous, daily rehabilitation to get back in the sulky,

"After the accident in 2002, I never, in my wildest dreams thought I would ever win 3,000 races," Mc Ilmurray smiled. "I am just happy that I was able to achieve the 3,000 win mark at my home track (Northville Downs) with my finance Maureen joining me in the Winner's Circle."

Mc Ilmurray graduated from Detroit's Livonia High School in 1976 and is a third generation Standardbred horsemen.

"I have raced 90% of my career at Northville Downs and Michigan," said Mc Ilmurray, "I spend a couple of very successful years in New Jersey on the Meadowlands and Freehold circuit, but always looked for an opportunity to return home."

Since 1977, Mcllmurray has rung up over a $13,611,903 in driver earnings. On the Trainer side of things, he's collected another $1,114,603.

"I remember my first winner-Ole Eden Jadison-in 1976 like it was yesterday," Mc Ilmurray recalled, I love the sport and plan to be driving winners for a long time to come."

So far in 2009, Mc Ilmurray averages between eight and 10 drives a night at Northville Downs.

Hugh Mellon

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