Day At The Track

The lady who is kicking some Saratoga butt

04:27 PM 15 Sep 2012 NZST
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Is this table reserved for the 2012 Melissa Silverman Beckwith's Melissa Silverman Beckwith The Beckwith family Melissa Silverman Beckwith
Is this table reserved for the 2012 - champion trainer at Saratoga
Melissa Silverman Beckwith's - favorite horse - Renoir
Melissa Silverman Beckwith - With her brother Richie
The Beckwith family
Melissa Silverman Beckwith - Is caning the boys!
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Melissa Silverman Beckwith could have been well into her second decade as a kindergarten teacher, but thanks to her husband Mark she is now the leading harness racing trainer at Saratoga Springs in New York.

In fact the 40-year-old horsewoman is so far ahead on the training premiership she could break a leg tomorrow and still win the title by a country mile.

“This year would have to be the highlight of my career so far. I’ve never won a track title before, and hopefully by the end of the season this will be my best year yet,” Beckwith told Harnesslink.

Beckwith leads the training premiership at Saratoga Raceway with 118 wins from 400 starters – a massive 67 victories more than second placed Mark Ford.

She has banked $571,220 at Saratoga this year and has an amazing 0.417 strike rate.

Husband Mark, who drives Beckwith’s 23-strong team has saluted the judge 129 times ($792,362) from 808 drives and currently sits in third in the standings behind runaway leader Billy Dobson (209) and Dan Cappello Jr (142).

But overall in 2012 Beckwith has conditioned 122 winners this season from 446 starters. She had also 121 place-getters and won $610,497 in purses. Strike rate - an amazing 0.391.

Compare that with last year when the Riverdale (Bronx, NY) native won 151 races from 630 starters and $958,937 – UDR: 0.374. The team is going really well,” she said.

“I’m fairly confident we can beat last year’s total. I also think we can surpass $1 million in stakes. The team is going very well.

Beckwith is the daughter of well known Bronx trainer Jerry and brother of reinsman Richie Silverman.

She said she grew up with horses and loved being around them, but in her teens and early twenties all she wanted to be was a kindergarten teacher.

“I was at College when I met my husband. That was 1992 - he was friends with my brother Richie. He was the person who converted me back to harness racing. If it wasn’t for him I’d probably be teaching now.

“Looking back on my life I have no regrets. I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m loving what I’m doing and really enjoying training with Mark,” Beckwith, a former John F. Kennedy High School student, said.

Since 1997 Beckwith has trained 796 winners from 3,716 starters. She’s also placed 1060 times for $5.175 million in purses. Lifetime strike rate: 0.337.

She singled out Silver Delivery, Legal Litigation, and Grand Victory as the best trio in her Wilton (NY) barn.

“I really like our grey, Silver Delivery. He’s seldom out of the money, and is a former pacer turned trotter. Mark does a lot of the work with him. He’s our star,” said Beckwith who employs two other staff.

The Beckwiths have two children – Carly (12) and Brett (9).

“Because of our children we intend staying where we are. We want to give them stability and we are doing well here, so it makes sense to stay put.

“Furthermore we like it here,” Beckwith said.

The Beckwiths started out training in Maryland, then New Jersey before settling at Saratoga three years ago.

Beckwith said the now retired Renoir (44 wins – 1:51.1) as her favorite horse.

She was voted Horsewoman of the Year by the USHWA in 2009 and again in 2011, as well as their Trainer of 2011.

By Duane RANGER (editor)

(1) The Melissa Beckwith trained Silver Delivery winning at Saratoga last Friday (September 7): 

(2) The Melissa Beckwith trained Carmens Best winning at Saratoga on Wednesday (September 12): 

(3) The Melissa Beckwith trained Clem winning at Saratoga on Wednesday (September 12):

(4) The Melissa Beckwith trained Grimsby winning at Saratoga last Sunday(September 9):

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