Day At The Track

Momentous day for Tony Morgan

02:46 PM 04 Jan 2018 NZDT
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Tony Morgan is only the second driver in harness racing history to drive 16,000 winners
Tony Morgan is only the second driver in harness racing history to drive 16,000 winners
Foto Won Photo

DOVER, Del --- It was a BIG day for Tony Morgan. Needing two wins to reach 16,000, Morgan quickly responded taking both ends of the Dover Downs daily double to attain his milestone, on Wednesday, Jan. 3. Then Morgan, who won four races, is only the second driver in harness racing history to drive 16,000 winners in a career, displayed a perfect drive behind Divas Image, to win the $25,000 Mares Open by a nose. Dave Palone is the all-time leader with more than 18,000 wins.

Morgan started his momentous day driving owner-trainer Pippy Longstocking to victory in 1:56.1 to win the first race on the card. Then he guided Josh Parker and Nanticoke Racing’s Killean Finale home in 1:56.1 in the second race for his milestone victory.

In the $25,000 female feature, Morgan, driving Divas Image, escaped from racing fourth on the final turn to come on and take the passing lane to get up in 1:53.1 nosing out Newborn Sassy (Tim Tetrick) at the wire. Our Horse Cents, Stable 45 and J and Silva own the Bettors Delight-Rocknroll Diva five-year-old trained by Jenn Bongiorno ,. The winner of the last Open, she has won three of her last five and four of her last six with a pair of thirds in between. Sweet Bobble (Art Stafford Jr.) held on for third.  

Tony Morgan finished the card with four wins. Tim Tetrick had three. Vic Kirby and Corey Callahan won two races each.

Weather permitting, another outstanding Thursday program is headed by a $25,000 Open Handicap pace featuring Major Uptrend, Cajon Lightning and newcomers Missle J and Macon Georgia A..

A changing daily menu of fine food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations.

Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred races continue each day from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight in the Dover Downs Race and Sports Book.

TONY MORGAN PROFILE

Tony Morgan, with 16,001, is second in winning drives in the sport, only Dave Palone has more. Palone passed the 18,000-win mark early in 2017. German driver Hans Wevering is third on the list with the late Herve Filion fourth.  

From a career starting in his teens with his first drive coming at 13 at the Fairs, Morgan’s career has progressed to be ranked among the sports elite drivers.

From racing in Kentucky and Midwestern tracks, he emerged as a top driver in the 1990s at Chicago-area racetracks.

Morgan has won the North American leading dash-win title five times, including three in consecutive seasons; 1995, 1996 and 1997. He also was the sport’s leading driver in 2006, with 1,004 wins, and in 2008, winning 961 races. He also was runner-up in 2002, 2005 and 2007, a year in which he won 880 races. Four times, in 1996, 1997, 2002 and 2006 seasons, Morgan won the prestigious Harness Tracks of America (HTA) Driver of the Year honor, a coveted award based on the number of wins, UDR percentage and purse money .

In 1996, while driving in Chicago, Morgan drove 852 winners to brake one-season record of 843 set by Walter Case Jr. Ten years later, during the 2006 campaign, Morgan became only the second driver in harness history to reach four figures in wins in one season, making the winner’s circle in 1,004 races. During a 27-day stretch in January 2006, Morgan won a remarkable 101 races during the month. That season, Morgan destroyed the Dover Downs’ all-time one-season track record with 447 wins almost two hundred wins more than the previous mark. Morgan then went on to dominate the driving standings at Harrington Raceway that year, also setting a track record.

Morgan won his 15,000th races in March 2015. Hailing from a six-generation harness racing family. His dad, Eddie Morgan Jr., was a well know horseman in the Midwest. A cousin, Bob Styles, was a successful driver-trainer while racing in New England and in the Delaware Valley in the mid-20th century.

Morgan is now 59 and is enjoying another top season currently at Dover Downs where he is in the top three in wining drives this season.

Marv Bachrad

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