The Caretakers Classic is set to go this week

03:17 PM 20 Sep 2011 NZST
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Daniel Houghtaling Southbound Trucker’s caretaker
Daniel Houghtaling - Displays the trophy from the Caretakers Classic last year
Geri Schwarz photo
Southbound Trucker’s caretaker - Carlton Oney(left) holds the Horse of the Year trophy
Geri Schwarz photo

After a false start last week the harness racing Caretakers Classic is set to go this week. 'The race for grooms was curtailed last week because of a technicality but we've got our ducks in a row and now we'll have one race on Wednesday and one on Thursday' said Alan Schwartz , the president of the Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association who is the driving force behind the grooms races.

“Each day the Caretakers Classic will be presented after the fifth race on the betting card.”

This is the second consecutive season that the Mighty M has presented races for the hard working caretakers and the winner of one of last year’s contest, Dan Houtaling, is now a full-fledged trainer with a small stable on the grounds.

The races will be contested over the usual one mile distance with the caretakers on jog carts and without whips.

The first event will go on Wednesday September 20th after race number five on the wagering program. Caretakers participating in that contest include John Oney, Sr.; Michael Farnum; Jeff Branning; Constance Lawrence; Daniel Chansky and Cody Houghtaling.

The Thursday, September 22nd event will have the following caretakers at the lines: Ashley banks; Carlton Oney; Adele Prince; Alain “Chico” Diaz; John Houghtaling; and Kip Banks.

Of course both events are exhibition races and there will be no wagering on them but that doesn’t diminish the grandeur for the participating caretakers.

“I finished second last year and I’ll be all out to win it this year,” said Carton Oney, who is the caretaker of Southbound Trucker, the Mighty M’s 2009 “Horse of the Year”.

John MANZI

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