Local reinsman Patrick Berry reached a career milestone on Tuesday night at Balmoral Park winning his 1,000th career race as he guided the pacing mare Monterey to a resounding 6¼ length victory in the eighth race.
Given a typically aggressive Berry like steer, the 29-year-old native of Harvard, Illinois had this mare on the front end through a quick 27.1 opening quarter. After allowing Brent Holland to take command with Little Mischievious as the field reached the half-mile mark in a brisk 53.2, Berry was on the move again quickly sweeping back to the front and opening up a big lead as the ladies rolled by the three-quarter mile station in a blazing 1:21.4.
With the milestone clearly in their sights these two set sail for home with a six-length advantage. “After just missing getting this mark the previous night at Maywood I wasn’t about to let this mare get caught in the late going tonight,” said an elated Berry in the winner’s circle. Under constant urging from her pilot Monterey reported home with an impressive victory in a night’s best of 1:51.0.
Married to wife Shannon with two beautiful daughters Berry has always known the career path he was going to choose. “Harness racing has always been a part of our family and it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do,” he explained. “Sometimes I’ve had to ask myself why but then you get a night like this and you know why,” joked Berry.
Never one to shy away from a heavy workload Berry has split time between Chicago and several east coast venues over the past few seasons and his driving skills have earned him engagements in some of the top stakes in North America. “Things have really stepped up for me the last few years and I’m not about to slow down now,” said Berry. “Going back and forth can be tough on not only me but my family but I know that this is home and I love being home so I really hope that things will pick up here on the Illinois racing scene,” said Pat who currently resides in the Western suburbs.
With more than 800 of his 1000 victories coming over the past three seasons and sporting career earnings of almost $8 million things definitely appear to be headed in the right direction for this rising star!
Courtesy Of Tom Kelley, Publicity Director, Balmoral Park