Day At The Track

Monti notches #1,500; Ranger wins 5 of 9

12:50 PM 22 Nov 2019 NZDT
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Drew Monti, harness racing Opus Blue Chip, harness racing
Celebration took place as Drew Monti scored his 1,500th career win
Tom Melanson photo
Opus Blue Chip gives driver Bruce Ranger one of his five winners
Tom Melanson photo

Plainville, MA --- Driver Drew Monti captured the 1,500th win of his harness racing career on Thursday afternoon (Nov. 21) at Plainridge Park when he guided the venerable trotter Hailstorm Volo to a gate to wire victory in the second race.

For his career, Monti now has 1,501 wins, 1,346 seconds and 1,295 thirds out of 9,320 starts with a Universal Driver Rating (UDR) of .299 and as a result of his work, the horses he's driven have earned a total of $9,259,976 during his brief seven year career.

This year Monti has 256 wins, a UDR of .303 and earnings of $2,149,908. However the bulk of those numbers came just during the last five months.

Starting in July, Monti divided his driving time between Batavia Downs, Plainridge Park and The Red Mile and at one point was listed as one of the top four drivers for wins at all three tracks. He was the primary driver for Lindy Farms at Plainridge and became a sought-after catch driver there in the process. He also drove Lindy's horses in the Massachusetts Sire Stakes and most of their entries in the Kentucky Sire Stakes as well.

As a result of the multi-track schedule he maintained since getting his first win at Plainridge on July 10, Monti has won 170 races and bankrolled $1,574,959 during that short span.

Although he did have more wins in 2017 (294), this year's earnings is a milestone for Monti and the first time in his career that he eclipsed the $2 million mark.

With the Plainridge meet down to four days and the Batavia meet down to nine, Monti plans to take up residency at the Meadowlands right after the holidays.

Driver Bruce Ranger was in top form at Plainridge Park on Thursday and put on a driving clinic while winning the feature as well as four other races on the nine-race card, which included a natural hat trick in races four through six.

In the $12,000 pace for upper-level condition horses, Ranger left with Opus Blue Chip from post eight, went right to the front and never looked back. After cutting quarters of :26.3, :56.2 and 1:24.1, Opus Blue Chip took a three-length lead into the stretch and made it last to the wire, defeating a fast closing Betterlatethnnever (Mitchell Cushing) in 1:53.2.

For Opus Blue Chip ($14.20) it was the eighth win of the year and it pushed his earnings to $94,530 for owner Scott Dillon. Joe Nelson trains the winner.

Prior to that Ranger won with Bet On Joe (1:55, $17.00), Chief Altawick (1:54, $4.20), Burkes Bandit (1:54.4, $5.80) and JJs Shark (1:54, $15.20).

The five wins pushed him to 200 for the year which is the most driving tallies he has had since 2013. Ranger now has 9,159 wins and $37,379,248 in earnings during his distinguished career.

Ranger is a member of both the Florida and New England Halls of Fame.

Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (Nov. 22) at 1 p.m.

By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

 

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