On Wednesday, May 9th Greg Merton's string of five consecutive hat tricks came to an end when the lanky reinsman had but two winners on that card. However, on the Thursday May 10th harness racing program Merton again reined three winners as he continues his thrust toward the top of the local leaderboard.
Merton won the seventh race with See You Smile($5.20) in 1:57.4 and then copped the ninth with Bitter Sweet($3.20) in 2:00.2 Merton’s hat trick victory came in the 11th race when he guided Betterthanlynx ($2.80) to a 1:59.3 triumph for the pacer’s third win in a row. See You Smile’s victory was also his third consecutive while Bitter Sweet triumph was his second in a row.
All three of Merton’s winners are trained by Pete Pellegrino who has been on fire since coming to the Mighty M from Florida in early April. Pellegrino has won 24 of 50 races here and carries an whopping .571 training percentage. The vast majority of Pellegrino’s winners were driven by Greg Merton and those wins, along with others he has catch-driven to victory have bolstered Merton’s numbers.
Currently his 78 driving victories rank him a solid fourth on the local leaderboard trailing top gun Jimmy Taggart, Jr. by 27 wins.
Only a small part of Pellegrino’s stable competes at the Mighty M but the ones that do have made thus far been very successful. Pellegrino also has horses that compete at Yonkers Raceway, the Meadowlands, Pocono Downs and Freehold Raceway.
“Every horse that I’ve driven for Pete was ready to win and thankfully many of them have. I’m just glad that I’m Pete’s driver of choice here at Monticello,” Merton said.
by John MANZI