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Monticello NY, - The harness racing driver's colony at Monticello Raceway is deep. On any given day a handful of drivers have the ability to win multiple races in one day. On Tuesday it was McGwire Sowers who reeled off three winners on the 10 race card. The triple for McGwire Sowers started with Retour Au Jeu (PP7) in race 3, the Dennis Laterza trained son of He's Watching scored in 1:57 - $6.80. The 3-year-old gelding notched his 6th win of the abbreviated season and pushed his seasonal earnings over $20,000. Poker Face (PP2) won race 6 in 2:01 - $4.20, the win gave trainer Bo Sowers a training double for the day. Sowers final win of the afternoon was aboard another Sowers Canadian import, Tymal Dazzle (PP7) the robust 3-year-old daughter of Kadabra won in 2:01 - $2.90. McGwire currently is in 6th place for leading dash winning drivers with 56 wins and a UDRS of .360. His father Bo, is leading trainers with 62 wins thus far in the season. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

Monticello, NY - Harness racing driver Greg Merton won three races in succession at Monticello Raceway on Monday November 9, the triple started in the 5th race aboard Partagas Blue Chip (PP5), the 5 year old son of Shadow Play picked up his second win of the season as he went wire to wire to score in 1:59 - $6.80 for trainer Thomas Merton. Spilling The Beans was next up, the Camluck gelding took a ton of air on the outside but prevailed in 1:57.1 - $9.70 to notched his 4th seasonal win. In race 7 it was the Thomas Milici trainee Checkout Terror who went down the road to win by a scant neck over Kiss My Sass in a photo in 1:58.2 - $2.50. Greg currently is in 5th place for leading dash winning drivers with 60 wins, trailing his brother Michael who has 63 wins. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

Monticello, NY---The betting crowd had confidence that Marianna Monaco would win the $5,000 NAADA Trot for amateur harness racing drivers at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon so much so, that they sent her trotter, Hot Summer Knight, away as the 2-5 favorite. And she didn't let them down. It took a strong stretch drive and a :29.2 final quarter but she hustled the veteran Justice Hall gelding to a come-from-behind triumph over the pace-setter, Ladys Big Stormont (Alan Schwartz), for a head victory in a 2:00 clocking. When the wings of the mobile gate folded Schwartz gunned Ladys Big Stormont to the lead from the three-hole while Monaco floated away in second position from the two-hole and they remained one-two by the first stanza in :29.4. With no one challenging, Schwartz tapped the breaks---albeit lightly-- and he led his competition by the halfway point in 1:00.1. Despite a few starters being on the limb as leaders trotted by the half it appeared that the race would be decided between Schwartz and Monaco... And it was. Ladys Big Stormont got first call by the three quarters but he was being stalked by the odds-on favorite Hot Summer Knight. And when they rounded the final turn and headed for home Schwartz's charge was strong on the lead but Monaco's .trotter was a bit stronger and Hot Summer Knight rallied in the final strides for a head victory. Noble Warrawee finished third for Mike Polansky. It was the fourth seasonal driving victory for the former "Gamecock" (she's a graduate of University of South Carolina) who had been a pupil of Richie La Cava. Hot Summer Knight is owned by Lynette Buter and trained by Todd Buter. He paid $2.70 for win. Next Thursday the series continues at Yonkers Raceway. by John Manzi, for NAADA  

YONKERS, N.Y. – The first time Justin Huckabone drove Winning Legends at Monticello Raceway Jan. 8, the trotter went wire-to-wire in a $5,500 overnight, drawing away by 6 1/2 lengths in 2:00.4. After another two straight harness racing victories at the Mighty M from posts seven and eight Jan. 15 and 22, respectively the 25-year-old driver was impressed. “He won three in a row and I called owner (Jonathan Appelbaum) after he won his first start and said, ‘wow, this horse is talented. This horse is real talented,” Huckabone recalled. “I was shoeing him and driving him for Austin Gilbert and I said, ‘man, this is a really nice horse, you guys got lucky here.’ ” After the COVID-19 shutdown hit, Winning Legends went on the shelf. By spring, Appelbaum was calling Huckabone asking him to train the trotter. Huckabone declined, ‘sour about training’ after serving a lengthy suspension for possession of hypodermic equipment in 2015. Finally, Appelbaum convinced Huckabone to take Winning Legends. Huckabone began working with Winning Legends June 4. With the 4-year-old Winning Mister gelding unraced and out of training since Feb. 12, Huckabone gave a 12-week timeline to qualify. “He hadn’t done much, he was really out of shape. This horse didn’t have a bad day for 12 weeks. Every single day, he was good and he just kept getting better,” Huckabone said. “He’s a great horse to be around. He’s really enjoyable. He’s always real friendly, always real personable,” Huckabone continued. “This horse has a personality, he knows when you’re talking to him, he’ll be really interactive to be around, really nice that way. “He’s kind of a high-strung horse and that’s probably his biggest limiting factor. If he ever learned to relax, he’d be even better than what he shows now,” Huckabone continued. “That’s his biggest limiting factor by far now is he gets excited. There’s nothing he really can’t do. He can out-leave the car if necessary. He’s got two really good moves. He’s got a wicked eighth off the car and if you sit him in and never use him, he’s got another wicked eighth right at the end. Very athletic, classy sort of horse.” Winning Legends qualified ahead of schedule at Pocono Downs Aug. 12, going wire-to-wire to win by 3 lengths in 1:57.2.  “I knew training down he was a killer, but I qualified him and said, ‘this thing is a real freak,’ ” Huckabone said. “I don’t know how anybody got him to go slow, but this horse is fast. He won his qualifier really handy. He won in 1:57.2, probably had 1:55 in the tank.” Winning Legends made his first pari-mutuel start back in a $10,000 overnight at Harrah’s Philadelphia Aug. 20. After riding in the three-hole, he won by a half-length, trotting a mile in 1:54.3. After a setback in his next start Aug. 27, in which Winning Legends went off stride, Huckabone made a rigging change and it has been smooth sailing ever since. “I took him to Chester, he got a great trip up the inside, he won in 1:54.3. It was a really good tightener and he rose to the occasion. If he had gotten a check, I would have been happy. He’s overachieved,” Huckabone said. “The next start, he made a break and I re-rigged him,” Huckabone explained. “He had a big laceration on his tongue from being hot. He wears a dog chain. So, I put a lip cord on him and ever since then, he’s been really good, really drivable.” Winning Legends has finished first or second in each of his last five starts, including a 1:53.2 lifetime mark at Pocono two back Oct. 10, in which he got a pocket trip before beating Broadway Athena by a neck. Winning Legends also jogged by 2 1/2 lengths at Harrah’s Philadelphia Sept. 17.  “The start that impressed me the most was when he won in 1:53.3 and I never breathed on him. I had the whip tucked the whole way and cut it at Chester and he won handy. Nobody even got near him,” Huckabone said. “He beat Broadway Athena at Pocono.  “I didn’t think he would get here. I thought training him down, he would get to this point, but I thought he would be a 5- or 6-year-old before he matured like that. He’s advanced rapidly. Every week he’s better. I don’t really expect anything from him. Whatever he does, he does. He’s done so well so quickly, he’s taken the pressure right off himself.” Winning Legends went to the Saratoga open handicap pace in his last start Oct. 19. Huckabone timed the gate and advanced from post seven, but looking to his left, saw four horses leaving to his inside. Trotting around the first turn, Huckabone went with plan “B” and took back to land a seat in fifth. Winning Legends didn’t stick to the pylons long, angling first-over from 5 lengths behind hitting the stretch the first time. By the third turn, Winning Legends applied pressure to leader Gruden, who was softened by a :27.3 first quarter. Around the final turn, Winning Legends turned the screws on Gruden, drawing even under a hand drive while the longtime leader was all-out. At the same time, Brett Crawford tipped Ronnie Goldstein three-wide off cover.  Winning Legends put a nose in front at the top of the stretch. Huckabone cracked the whip three times, but approaching the wire, looked to his right at the approaching Ronnie Goldstein and tucked the stick. Winning Legends held on by a nose in 1:56.2. “I knew I had (Gruden) put away going into the last turn. Brett Crawford was the one that I was really worried about and he was third-over, moved wide, got pulled right into the race, never had to use his horse,” Huckabone said. “I wasn’t going to abuse ‘Legends’ to hang on. I quit driving on him and let him finish up what he wanted to and he held on. He was really large that start. He was probably out for three turns out of four.” With Saratoga not carding an open trot Oct. 26, Huckabone entered Winning Legends in the $25,000 trotting feature at Yonkers Raceway Oct. 30. The 14-time winner and earner of $92,602 is 20-1 on the morning line as he steps up to face the likes of Melady’s Monet, Stormy Kromer, Muscle M Up, Cash Me Out, Nows The Moment, Mississippi Storm, and a familiar face in Broadway Athena, who upset this feature Oct. 23 at 12-1. “I saw Broadway Athena was in at Yonkers and the trip worked out for her and she won. There’s really no reason (Winning Legends) couldn’t have done the same thing. I figured I would give him a test and see what he’s made of,” Huckabone said. “The purses are going up and if he acts like he can go with them now, I’ll probably try bringing him regularly. If it seems like it’s too much for him to handle, I’ll probably wait on him until next year. I didn’t want to put him in against the real horses just yet, but it wouldn’t hurt to get a read on him. “Coming in here, these are way better horses than what he’s faced,” Huckabone continued. “He’s kind of in a compromised spot having the four hole. It looks like there are three leavers underneath him, probably somebody is going to press from the outside. They aren’t going to trot away from him at any point, that’s for sure, so it’s all going to depend on how the trip works out.” Although Winning Legends has been close to the pace in most of his starts for Huckabone, the trainer-driver isn’t looking to be as aggressive early in a spot like this. “What’s going to matter is whether the flow keeps going,” Huckabone said. “If the flow doesn’t keep going and you get away fourth, fifth on the rail, it’s going to be hard to make a big move for more than a half-mile on those horses. He’s not going to be able to handle that sort of trip, and there’s no passing lane. I’m just going to drive smart. If I drive him smart, I’m quite sure he can get a piece of it if it goes his way.” Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights through Dec. 22. First post time is 7:12 p.m. For entries to the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

Monticello, NY - On Thursday October 29, harness racing driver Mike Merton drove 4 winners on the 9 race card at Monticello Raceway. The banner day started off with Crixus in race 2 (2:00.4 - $3.80) the Keith Haase trainee notched his first win for the year. Fox Valley Julius (PP5) was a 2 length winner in 1:59.3 - $2.30 for trainer Tyler Freese in the third race Drive Em Cowboy won his 8th race of the year for trainer Tom Merton in 1:53.3 - $2.50. In the last race of the day Michael won with Bold And Brave in 1:58.1 and returned $3.40 to win, the son of Bold Hope is trained by Art Green and is owned by William E. Emmons of Farmingdale, NY. James DeVaux also drove home 2 winners on the card, the leaderboard for top drivers at the Mighty M shows Bruce Aldrich Jr, atop of the list with 86 wins, followed by Jim Taggart Jr. with 69, the young Brandon Parker is in 3rd place with 59 wins, followed by Greg Merton 56, rounding out the top five is Mcgwire Sowers with 45 wins Bo Sowers has a commanding lead for leading dash winning trainers with 55 wins, Gary Messenger trails him with 19 wins and is in second place with 37 trips to the winner's circle. James Doherty Jr is in the show spot with 26 winners. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

Monticello, NY - On a cold muddy day at the famed Catskill Mountain oval, harness racing driver Jim Taggart, Jr. had a hot hand and drove four winners on the afternoon card. Gary Messenger enjoyed a training triple, Michael Merton and Mcgwire Sowers each both enjoyed a driving double at Monticello Raceway. Taggart's 4 bagger started in the second race with Holiday Hanover (PP6) a 3 length winner in 2:00 and returned a paltry $2.20 to win, next up was Roll With Joy (PP1) a 2 length winner in 1:59 - $4.90. Topville Olivia scored a wire to wire win in 1:58.2 for trainer Monica Eriksen. The final win of the day came in race 8 with Askmelater Hanover a five length winner in 2:00.3 - $2.40. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

Monticello, NY--When a horse is deemed the best in a race the driver knows the most preferential place to be is on the front-end. And that's just where Alan Schwartz put Ladys Big Stormont in the NAADA trot at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 22. And once there, the big strapping 9-year-old altered son of Earl Of Stormont didn't let him down and cruised to a gate to wire triumph in a time of 2:01.1. "He's now won 45 races in his career with the overwhelming majority while racing on the lead.." Schwartz said of his veteran trotter, "And today he was extra gritty turning back all comers and finishing strong." When the starter released the field Schwartz gunned Earl Of Stormont to the lead and they had control on the first turn but had to contend with Massamillion (Bob Davis) who was parked. Davis rushed his trotter up alongside Schwartz's charge who had command and the pylon position. They raced side by side past he first quarter in :29.1 and they were still like a team by the half in :59.4. "I guess I got a little lucky when when Bob (Davis) didn't try to force the pace and the fractions turned out to be just right for me," Schwartz acknowledged. After the half Massamillion began to fade but Bobby Krivelin had Permanent Joy in high gear and they rushed alongside Ladys Big Stormont as they trotted by the third stanza in 1:31.1 "My horse was up to the challenge and when he saw Krivelin's trotter he put it in another gear and we drew off a couple of lengths and cruised home an easy winner," Schwartz said. Permanent Joy held on for second money while Garnet (Chris Doherty) took home the show dough. The winner is owned and trained by his driver. He paid $4.20 for win. For Schwartz it was his 623rd amateur driving victory. by John Manzi, for NAADA

Monticello, NY - Monticello Raceway has just concluded its second week of harness racing after an extended COVID shutdown. It seems that everyone is getting their groove back together as driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. won the first 3 races on the card with Lucky Leonard (1:59.1 - $14.00) Noble Woody (1:57.3 - $4.90) and with Zone Blitz (1:56.3 - $2.90). It started to look like a banner day for Aldrich but Mcgwire Sowers then went on a tear for his own driving triple with Ideal Candidate (1:57.1 $2.80) My Last Chance (1:55.4 - $5.40) and Coach Zuzek (1:57 - $2.60) in the last race of the day. Greg Merton also drove 2 winners on the afternoon. With 2 weeks under their belt since the reopening Mcgwire Sowers has had 10 trips to the winner's circle with Bruce Aldrich right behind him with 7 wins in the 2 week span. Aldrich sits atop the leader board for the most wins for the year with 67, with Brandon Parker in second with 49 wins. Bo Sowers is leading dash winning trainers with 39 winners. On the training side of the board this afternoon Bo Sowers enjoyed a training triple and Laura Perino had a training double Live racing resumes Monday October 5 with a 12:50 Post time by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

Monticello, NY - On Monday September 21, Monticello Raceway hosted its first live racing card since March 12, due to a 6-month hiatus from COVID-19, Race Secretary Eric Warner was able to card 7 races for the first harness racing program. Greg Merton sat the pocket in the first race with Love Trumps Hate following Pine Tab the entire mile, Pine Tab made a miscue in the stretch, giving Merton the lead and the win in 2:02 for trainer Wesley Miller. Merton would also go on to win with Sea's Ideal in race 5. Mcgwire Sower also had a driving double on the afternoon and trainer Steve Ray had a training double win with the hardy campaigner Racingtowardsadream and With Our Luck. On hand for the opening was Charlene Cushing, Cushing was the former longtime Marshall at Monticello Raceway, often referred to as the "best outriderin the industry" Cushing made the 8 hour trek from Farmington Maine to be on hand for the first race at Monticello. Cushing has made the transition from harness racing to nursing after moving to Maine, Charlene graduated Nursing school a year ago and now works as a nurse in Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington Maine. Charlene is married to Mike Cushing of Farmington Maine, Mike is the President of the Maine Harness Horseman's Association. Ironically today marks her 30th anniversary of when she first started as Marshall at Monticello Raceway, Charlene brought her favorite steed to Monticello Raceway for the occasion, Leo Shady Jack a registered quarter horse. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

Gail D. Conte passed away on September 17, 2020.  Born April 14, 1955, Mrs. Conte was the first daughter of Vic and Nola Bloomfield.  Her father, a career army man, received an assignment to West Point Military Academy and Mrs. Conte attended Highland Falls High School.  During her junior and senior year, she enrolled at Boces Standardbred School at Historic Track in Goshen, NY. After graduation, Mrs. Conte went to work for Hall of Fame inductee, John Patterson Sr at Monticello Raceway.  She worked for him not only at Monticello, but also Roosevelt Raceway and Dalton, GA. In 1978, she married Michael Conte and continued working at Roosevelt Raceway for Angelo Anobile until the track closed in 1988.  She then attended Long Island School of Dog Grooming. Mr. and Mrs. Conte moved to Yorktown, IA in 1989, to be closer to her parents.  As an Iowa native, Clarinda, IA was always her home.  She opened a successful dog grooming business in Clarinda.  Mrs. Conte also helped start the Southwest Iowa Humane Society in 1991 and was always ready to support fund raising for the shelter dogs and cats.  In 2001, she went to work for NSK-AKS, retiring in 2017. During their time in Yorktown, Mr. and Mrs. Conte built up their breeding and racing stock.  They raced the Iowa Fair Circuit for 30 years and still do.  Some of the horses that have been bred or owned by Mrs. Conte include:  Hap Bob Bobby, Krissy Brit S, Military Brat, Military Stratcom, Foxy Jazz, No Money Fun, J R Jazz, Not Thinking, Cyclone Maximus and her favorite Pugwash.  Mr. and Mrs. Conte claimed Pugwash in 1979 on her recommendation, thus starting their journey into Standardbred ownership. Mrs. Conte is survived by her husband, Mike, of 42 years and sister, Kim.  Services are set for Monday (9/21) at Cummings Family Funeral Home, Bedford, Ia.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation.   By Tara Spach

Resorts World Catskills reopened 30 of its 150 table games on Wednesday evening, and it expects to resume regular poker in a few weeks. The harness racing horsemen at Monticello Raceway reached an agreement in principle on Wednesday to amend the contract, which will likely be signed by the end of next week. Tioga Downs Casino Resort reopened with 350 active slots machines. Affter reopening with a 25-percent capacity limit and other restrictions on Wednesday, Resorts World Catskills reopened 30 of its 150 table games, after initially being closed while the casino’s operators sought the New York Gaming Commission’s approval for a table games safety plan. A casino spokesman told Times Herald-Record that the state Gaming Commission has closed roulette and craps games, and there is not yet a reopening date. Regular poker also remains closed, though the spokesman said it will likely begin in a few weeks, and the casino will keep patrons updated so they know an exact date. Casino visitors can now play blackjack, baccarat, three-card poker, Let it Ride, Caribbean Stud, Ultimate Texas Hold ’em, Casino War, Pai Gow with tiles, Pai Gow poker, Crazy 4 poker and Mississippi Stud. To staff the table games and the 700 (of 1,600) slot machines now back online, the casino is bringing back 700 of its 1,400 employees. Workers who test positive for the coronavirus will be required to immediately notify state and local health departments, cooperate with contact tracing efforts, including notifying potential contacts. They'll also have to provide proof to the casino that they sought and received a quarantine order from their local health department. Moreover, the casino’s sister property Monticello Raceway will reopen for harness racing as soon as Monday, said Joe Faraldo, an attorney for the Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association, as reported by Times Herald-Record. He contends Empire Resorts, the casino’s parent, has kept Monticello’s track closed, despite all of New York’s other harness and horse racing tracks being allowed to open since June, as leverage while casino leaders tried to renegotiate the horsemen’s contract. The contract has four years left on it, Faraldo said. Plus, Resorts World Catskills agreed to fund the horse track, split earnings with the horsemen and preserve racing, as a major condition for receiving a state operating license before opening in 2018. But Faraldo said that the horsemen reached an agreement in principle on Wednesday to amend the contract because of how hard the casino has been hit by the pandemic. He said the contract will likely be signed by the end of next week, and then he can disclose its new terms. All of the lost racing days will be made up gradually in the coming years, he indicated. With files from the Times-Herald Record

The following column was written by Bill Liblick for the Sullivan County Post and is reprinted with permission.  Resorts World the operator of our gaming casino in Sullivan County is upset that New York State has not given them permission to reopen despite the fact guidelines and protocols are place to reduce the risk of COVID19. New York State Indian run casinos are open because they are Sovereign Nations. Casinos in Pennsylvania, Atlantic City, and Connecticut have all reopened. Elected officials including Assemblywoman Aileen Gunter are leading the charge for Resorts World Catskills to open so the region which includes Sullivan County can begin to receive important sales tax and gaming revenue associated with the facility. Sullivan County which obviously is part of New York State is losing millions due to COVID19. Surprisingly two big potential revenue streams for New York State going untouched in Albany is online Sports Betting and the legalization of marijuana. Without a doubt our local gaming facility should reopen. People will once again be employed, and casino goers can decide if it is safe for them to return. With that said – Resorts World might not be the right company to operate our local gaming facility. Their refusal to open Monticello Raceway and treatment of our horsemen is deplorable and should make our leaders in Albany and the New York State Gaming Commission take notice. The one industry that has been successful and fully operational for months is horseracing.  Although people are not physically allowed on racetracks, thoroughbred and standardbred racing is operational throughout the United States. People can watch and bet the sport on the Internet. In fact, many racing facilities have seen their revenue increase since opening several months ago. Saratoga is having an outstanding meet. They are cash cows for their owners and operators. In an attempt to get New York State to open casinos, the operator of Tioga and Vernon Downs has said they might end their horse racing meet if casinos do not open soon. Resorts World owns Monticello Raceway. They closed their racino operations to keep casino goers at Resorts World Catskills. They also plan on opening a new racino in Orange County near Woodbury Commons. Monticello Raceway which was once one of the most well attended and revenue generating harness tracks in the nation has seen little support from its current owner Resorts World and previous owner Empire Resorts. They have milked the track to the bone. In days past there were matinee and night racing attracting thousands of people. Monticello Raceway even hosted a long list of famed entertainment featuring the likes of Barry Manilow, The Village People, and Ike and Tina Turner.  But, sadly like everything else, things have changed in Sullivan County. The current owners of Monticello Raceway have no respect for the horsemen or an industry that has been the backbone of Sullivan County for decades. Resorts World refuses to open the racetrack even though they can open the facility by using the purse money they are already holding to resume racing. What Resorts World is doing is attempting to hold the horsemen hostage by seeking givebacks from their original contractual agreements to resume racing. The horsemen have sued Resorts World, but a recent decision by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Schick was not favorable towards the horsemen. Schick said Resorts World have a right not to reopen. The horsemen are appealing. I am told Resorts World is not willing to give an inch. Their idea is that they cannot operate until they open the casino. The horsemen have found money that Resorts World received from OTB that would give them the ability to operate. The horsemen are also appealing to the New York State Gaming Commission. Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Robert Doherty recently said on Sullivan County Post’s facebook page, “The Harness Industry is an integral part of Sullivan County. Most of the hay that is produced for consumption and bedding comes from Sullivan County. Most of the hay is produced by dairy farmers. Without the harness industry most dairy farmers would lose a large part of their income. They must not end the harness industry in Sullivan County. No Farms No Food!!!” I went directly to the horsemen asking them to speak directly to Sullivan County residents. They all asked me not to release their names because they were afraid of actions Resorts World might take against them and their livelihood. Here are their comments: “They don’t want to open the track until the casino opens crying poverty, meanwhile this racetrack stood on its own for over 50 years making money and still does. They’re just trying to break our contract and give the horsemen less of the take.” “We’re the only racetrack in the state not racing, Why?” “We’re not asking the casino for money to race for, we have our own money in our purse account that we’ve generated that we can race for now, this is a pressure move by the casino to starve us out, they got the casino because of racing now they want to get rid of us.” “I have a family to feed, rent to pay, horses to feed and they care less about us the horsemen.” “There is absolutely no reason why they won’t let us race for our own purse money except that they want us to starve.” “Every other racetrack in the state, I think in the country is currently racing why them and not us?” “We are mostly all Sullivan County residents and supported this county, this racetrack, helped get them the casino and now they just want to push us aside.” “On June 1st, the governor gave the green light for the racetrack to re-open, every other racetrack in the state resumed racing except Monticello.  They made us a proposal that provides they get all the proceeds and the horsemen get nothing. Does that sound fair?  Just screw the horsemen!” “I can’t pay for horse feed, I can’t pay the farmer for hay and straw, I can’t pay the guy that shoes my horses, I can’t pay the veterinarian, I can’t pay my mortgage, I can’t even buy gas for my truck. I guess I’ll go to the food bank for food for myself.” “I heard the Casino may not plan to open until December. I’m sure their ultimate goal is to get rid of us altogether. Cry chapter 11, reorganize and boot us out.” “There was NO legal reason why the judge did not grant our case. We presented a perfectly sound argument, but he did not want to hear it.” Shame on Resorts World – Open Monticello Raceway and do the right thing for the horsemen!  by Bill Liblick 

To Whom It May Concern  We are the horsemen and women of Monticello Raceway and neighboring farms. We are mothers and fathers. We are parents with small children. We are parents with college students. We are people. We are not going to be allowed to race at other tracks! We are just trying to survive in these trying times as we know you are all trying to do the same. We don’t know when we will be racing again. We don’t know when the next purse check will be coming. The purse check that will feed us, our children, and our livelihood - our horses. Our track has provided us with as much help as they can - food for us and for our horses. But, that can only go so far. Our track opening date is as uncertain as the pandemic end date, or at least as uncertain as the end of the shutdown.  We aren’t asking for much. We only ask that you consider allowing Monticello horsemen to continue racing at your track. We are not asking for new classes to be opened up or for an extended race card each night. We just ask you to allow us to help us help you. Our horses will help you fill the box for your own horses on the track.  Thank you for your time and consideration. Let us all work together to make the “new normal” one that benefits all of us.  Sincerely, A concerned friend, granddaughter, and niece speaking for the horsemen and women in plight, Jessica Hallett  

Since March 12th, when live harness racing was halted at Monticello Raceway due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the horsemen have been without purse checks.   The MHHA (Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association, Inc.) has been supplying the many horsemen in the backstretch of Monticello Raceway with straw, hay and feed since the cancellation of racing.   The horsemen are really appreciative of the efforts of the MHHA. As echoed by horseman John DeSimone . . . "I don't know how we would have been able to get through this without their help. They have gone above and beyond!"   Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association President Alan Schwartz noted that " The Association is committed to serving our horsemen - not only in times like this - but if it means taking care of their horses or when our members are ill or hurt, in times of family problems or simply lending a hand when it's needed. It is our obligation to take care of our own. The feed, hay and straw program will continue until racing resumes. Hopefully . . . soon!"   Horsemen of Monticello Raceway  

Monticello, NY - Effective immediately Monticello Raceway will limit all incoming traffic to the barn area until March 30, if harness racing horseman do not have horses on the grounds they are not permitted in the barn area. Only horsemen, (trainers, drivers, grooms and owners) that have horses on the grounds and support staff such as veterinarian, blacksmiths, feed and supply vendors will be able to enter the barn area until March 30. Shawn Wiles

Monticello, NY - Ensuring the health and welfare of our patrons, horsemen and employees is our top priority and we therefore will cease live racing and simulcasting at Monticello Raceway beginning Monday, March 16 as a result of the COVID-19 virus. Our plan is to reopen Monday, March 30, but we will continue to closely monitor developments and rely on guidance from the CDC as well as state and local health officials. During the down time, the Simulcasting Room, Racing Paddock, Race Office, and common areas will undergo a deep cleaning and sanitization process." by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway  

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