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Monticello, NY - Monticello Raceway Race Secretary Eric Warner announced today the purse's at Monticello Raceway have been increased 15% on this week's condition sheet. According to Warner "We are hopeful that this will attract more horse's, in addition to the purse increase we also changed some conditions to reflect purse increase" The increase will go into effect for horses racing on Monday February 24th. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway  

Monticello, NY - With Saratoga Raceway now open and driver's Jim Devaux and Greg Merton opting to race there, harness racing Bruce Aldrich took advantage of their absence and scored 5 winners' on the afternoon. Aldrich won the first 3 races on the program, it was the Rick Dane Jr. trained Ladybeluckytonite (PP4) the Art Major mare scored in 1:58.3 - $3.00 for her second win of the young season. Jasmin Ivory overcame the outside post from the 7 hole to win in a tight photo over The Filly Princess in 2:00.1 - $19.00 for trainer Raheim Strong, the Palone Ranger mare is owned by John DeSantis of Albany, NY. The triple came aboard the ultra-consistent Demand An Answer in a wire to wire win in 2:01.1 for trainer Laura Perino. Lily Hanover kept the banner afternoon alive when she scored a wire to wire win in 1:59 - $4.40, the win gave Laura Perino a training double on the afternoon in race 5. Storyboard would cap off the afternoon and give Aldrich win 5, Bob Lounsbury trains the well-bred daughter of Art Official who earned her first win of the year for owner Robert D Main of Leechburg, PA. Starting from the rail Storyboard won in 1:57.2 - $19.80 for her first trip to the winner's circle in 2020. This marks the 3rd time this season that Aldrich has driven at least 4 winners on an afternoon. The 5 wins puts Aldrich (39) in first place for leading dash winners, overtaking Jim Devaux (35) by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

Monticello, NY - Without much fanfare Brandon Parker has quietly broke into the top 5 at Monticello Raceway for leading harness racing dash winning drivers. On Thursday Feb 13, the 21-year-old Brandon drove 3 winners on the 10 race card. Rock America started the triple in race 7, the American Ideal gelding notched his first win of the 2020 season with a wire to wire 2:01.1 - $5.80. In the next race starting from post position 3, My Last Chance sat the 2 hole behind pace setter Brookstone to score in 1:59.1 - $15.00, giving trainer Bo Sowers a training double on the afternoon. Sowers now leads the way as leading trainer with 21 wins. Park It Park it scored a 3 length wire to wire win in 1:59.1 for Brandon's father Billy "Zeke" Parker, Billy Parker holds down the 6th spot for leading trainers with 10 wins Brandon is in the 5th spot for most wins thus far at Monticello Raceway with 27, 1 win behind 2019 Leading Dash winning driver Jim Taggart Jr. - Jim Devaux is atop the leader board with 35 wins with Bruce Aldrich on his heels with 34 trips to the winner circle. Monticello Raceway resumes live racing on Monday February 17 with a 12:25 Post Time. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway  

Both harness racing drivers Bruce Aldrich Jr. and Jim Devaux each enjoyed a banner day on Tuesday afternoon at Monticello Raceway as each driver won 4 races on the muddy afternoon. Track Superintendent Anthony Desimone did an excellent job in maintaining the racing oval after 2 days of rain and mud Bruce Aldrich Jr. started off the day by winning the first race with the heavy favorite Always Ya Baby in 2:00.1 - $2.70, Devaux would win the next 2 races, Aldrich came back in race 4 with Safety Second 1:58 - $3.90. 2 races later he visited he winners circle aboard Bootswiththefur in 2:03-$2.50, the Bob Lounsbury trained earned her second win of the season. Devaux won the next 2 races, in the last race of the afternoon Bruce went wire to wire with Julios Girl 1:59.4 -$3.00. Where Bruce Aldrich wasn't, DeVaux was , the 4 bagger started in the second race for Jimmy Devaux with Surface Tension, who scored a 4 length wire to win in 2:04.1 - $2.70, he came right back the following race aboard Gorgeous Partygirl 2:00 - $5.40 for trainer Greg Decker. Gaius Crastinus won race 7 in 1:59.36 - $4.20, last up was Kilkenny in 2:02.2 - $7.90 in the last race of the day. Trainers Jim Doherty Jr. and Art Green each had a training double on the card, Jim Doherty Jr. is in second place with 15 wins behind the leader Bo Sowers with 19 for leading dash winning trainers, Art Green broke into the Top 5. Jim Devaux maintains a slim lead for leading dash winning drivers, the 4 wins on the card gives him 34 wins, with Bruce Aldrich trailing closing behind in second with 33 wins. Greg Merton is 3rd with 28 wins followed by Jim Taggart Jr. with 25 wins, in the 5th spot is the young gun and future dash winner, Brandon Parker with 24 wins who has been on fire as of late. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

Monticello, NY -Brandon Parker has been on a roll for the last four harness racing programs at Monticello Raceway, as he has won at least 2 races per card, and on Wednesday February 5, the 21-year-old Parker broke out and scored a driving triple. In the first race Brandon steered home the 8/1 Choochoocharlie from the rail, the 6 YO Crazed gelding went down the road and tripped every timer to score in a 6 length romp in 2:01:2 and a $19.00 win pari mutual for co-owner and trainer Randall Ring of Elmira, NY . The heavy favorite Manticipation from the rail was his next winner in race 6 where he scored another wire to wire win in 2:04 -$2.80 for trainer Bo Sowers in the non-winners of 2 class, Tempra Hanover finished second followed by Dial A Date. Using the same tactic that worked well for him all day, cutting the mile and playing catch me if you can, Parker won with Drain Daddy in 1:57.1, the fastest mile of the afternoon, Drain Daddy is trained by Bo Sowers, the win gave Sowers a training double on the card and a seasonal tally thus far of 16, putting him in first place for leading winning trainers. While only 21 years of age, the young Parker shows poise in the sulky, gaining more confidence every day, certainly having a father who has won over 10,000 races in his career is an excellent sounding board and mentor. Brandon is currently in 5th place for leading dash winning drivers with 18 wins in the young 2020 season by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

Monticello, NY - Harness racing driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. had the hot hands on Thursday January 30 at Monticello Raceway as he won 4 races on the 11 race card. The streak started with Dealin Dan in race 2, the 27-1 longshot won in 1:57.2 from post position 6, pacing his LQ in 28.4 and paid $57.00 to win for trainer John Stubits. Dealin Dan is owned by longtime Monticello Raceway patron Joe & Kathy Rea and trainer John Stubits. Aldrich came right back in the following race with odds on favorite Ladybeluckytonite who started from post position 2. The former $26,000 Goshen yearling sale graduate is trained by Rick Dane, the 4-year-old trained mare by Art Major scored in 6 length romp in 1:58.2 - $2.20 to earn her first seasonal win. Virtuous Dragon would account for win #3, the well-bred 6-year-old Dragon Again gelding went wire to wire in 1:59.2 - $5.00, Aldrich is also the trainer and owner of Virtuous Dragon. In the afternoons last race, a short field of 5 after 2 scratches, it was Zinck's Night from post 7 who scored a 2 length wire to wire finish in 1:59.3 - $6.40. Zinck's Night is owned and trained by Sarah Osmeloski . Thus far in the young season it is a tight photo for leading dash winning drivers, with the afternoons 4 wins Aldrich is tied in third place with 20 wins with the newest member of the 5,000-win club Jim Taggart Jr., leading the way is James Devaux with 22 wins, Gregory Merton is second with 21. Brandon Parker won 2 races on the afternoon and is in the sixth spot with 12 wins. Over $574,000 was wagered on the 11 race card, live racing resumes Monday February 3 with a 12:25 Post Time. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway              

Monticello, NY - On Tuesday afternoon January 28, harness racing driver Jim Taggart Jr notched a career milestone as he won his 5,000 win aboard GD Striker in the 8th race at Monticello Raceway.   GD Striker wired the field in a 5 length victory 2:01.2 - $3.20 over New York Attitude (Renaldo Morales III) who finished second followed by London Hanover (Bruce Aldrich Jr.) The 49-year-old Taggart has been a fixture of the Mighty M for decades, the PA native has enjoyed much success with trainer Gary Messenger, ironically is was a Messenger trained horse that earned Taggart the covenanted 5000 win. GD Striker picked up his first win of the 2020 season, he is a 4-year-old gelding by Guccio and is owned by Jason Darling of Burlington NJ. During his career his mounts have earned $24,710,856 in purses, Taggart was the leading dash winning driver at Monticello Raceway for 2019, presently he is in 3rd place with 17 wins behind Greg Merton (18) and Bruce Aldrich Jr. (19).   by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

The weather may have been cold and windy, but Greg Merton was not deterred and had the hot hand and drove 4 harness racing winners on Thursday January 16 at Monticello Raceway. Fly'N With Royalty was Merton's first winner of the card in the 3rd race, the Thomas Milici trained son of Panspacificflight scored a wire to wire 3 length win 1:59.2 - $3.70 for his second win of the young season. Merton would catch fire and won the cards final 3 races, Brookstone from post 3 won by a neck over Victory At Last in 2:01.2 - $9.90 for trainer David Dziengiel, next up came the out of town invader Mansome who won in a wire to wire 5 length romp in 2:00.4 - $3.00 for Elisha Lafreniere. In the last race Tinos Pulse starting from the rail, lead every step of the way to win by 2 for trainer Dawn DeVaux in from the rail in 2:02.3 The early season leading dash driver is James Devaux with 13 wins, Greg's 4 wins on the afternoon has him in second place with 12 wins. Monticello Raceway will be dark in Monday January 20th for Martin Luther King Day and will resume live racing on Tuesday January 21 with a 12:25 post time by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway  

Monticello, NY - Harness racing driver Jim Devaux owned the second half of the harness racing card at Monticello Raceway Thursday by sweeping the programs final five races. The win skein started in the fifth race aboard Rockme Socks Off who scored a pocket trip to win by a neck in 1:58- $7.90 from post 4 for his first win of the season for trainer Elisha Lafreniere and owner Wilda Mcdanel. Runhappy Ten was next up, who scored in a 6 length romp pacing the fastest mile of the afternoon in 1:55.4 and paid a paltry $2.90 win pari mutual. The 4 year old gelding by Pet Rock is trained and co owned by Joseph Skowyra and Mo Coo Inc. Devaux and Skowyra teamed up again in the next race with Big Is Better, who scored a 2 length win in 1:57.4 and paid $5.70. Win #4 came aboard Adorabella from the rail in another romp, winning by 9 lengths for trainer Jody Riedel for his first win of the 2020 season in 1:59.1 - $2.50. Devaux capped of the afternoon with Master Faster from post position 4 to score a wire to wire win by 3 lengths in 1:58.2, pacing his last quarter in 28.4 for trainer Jimmy Nickerson. Live racing resumes Monday January 13 with a 12:25 Post Time. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway          

Monticello NY - The curtain fell on the 2019 harness racing season at Monticello Raceway on Tuesday afternoon December 31 and between the races the awards for leading trainer and driver were handed out. Trainer Gary Messenger won honors for leading dash winning trainers and Jim Taggart Jr. took top honors for leading dash winning drivers. The relationship of Gary Messenger and Jim Taggart Jr has been very prolific since Taggart became the main driver for the Gary Messenger Stables 10 years ago. The duo was responsible for the 2018 Monticello Raceway Horse of the Year, Warrawee Preferred, and many other top performers over the years. Both horseman has been mainstays at Monticello for decades, Messenger a native of Monticello NY and the 49-year-old Taggart hails from nearby Honesdale, PA. Gary Messenger harnessed 488 starters over the course of the 2019 season at Monticello Raceway with 113 winners with a UDRS of .383 and a winning percentage of a respectable 23%. His starters earned $440,571 for the barn with earnings per start of $903. As a trainer with over 500 starts, Messenger ranked 12th in the nation for trainers with over 500 starts with 153 wins and stable earnings of $797,354. James Doherty Jr finished in second place with 95 wins trailed by former leading trainer Robert Lounsbury with 85 wins Jim Taggart Jr. took top honors for leading dash winning driver with 254 wins, Michael Merton was second with 211 and former multiple dash winner Monticello Raceway driver Bruce Aldrich was 3rd with a win tally of 208. Last season Jim Taggart finished 5th with 168 wins. Taggart's mounts earned $893,141 for the year Also on the card were 4 horses making their final lifetime start. The 14 year olds Crypto Man, My Cool Breeze, Briars Creeks Angel and Elias Joy. The 11 race card produced the 2nd highest handle of the year with $810,575 wagered with a per race average of $73,688. Live racing will resume on Thursday Jan 2 with post time at 12:20, Monticello will also offer live racing on Friday January 3. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway  

Monticello, NY - On Friday December 27, at Monticello Raceway on a track listed as good, a field of 5 pacers lined up behind the starting gate for the last time in their career in the Au Revior $5,000 Invitational Pace. For almost a decade and a half, these 5 equine iron geldings have been behind the starting gate almost 1600 times in their combined careers. When the gate left, the betting favorite FLEM N EM N starting from post position. 5 and driver Jim DeVaux were first away followed by Lucky Man right along side, DeVaux worked his mount hard to get the front keeping Lucky Man at bay, they zipped the opening quarter in 27.3, Driver Jennifer Lappe and Lucky Man were parked and had no choice and was forced to tuck in the 3 hole well past the paddock turn. The Saratoga invader FLEM N EM M took the field to the half in 57.3, at this point Lappe pulled the right line for the last time and started the outer flow and was first over and bid his time as the leader FLEM N EM N hit the the ¾ in 1:27.3, with Lucky Man parked on the outside. In the paddock turn Lucky Man, urged on by Lappe, exploded in a matter of strides and had an instant three length lead on the field at the head of the stretch. The usually reserve Lappe savored the moment and pumped her arm in the air before the wire, reminiscent of the Stanley Dancer moment with Duenna in the Hambletonian, the duo hit the wire in 1:57.2 drawing off by 5 lengths, pacing their last quarter in 29.4. FLEM N EM N finished second Lightning Raider N third, the winner paid a $6.40 for win. It was his 9th win of the season and has banked over $32,000 in 2019, Christopher Bliss was a late scratch. Lucky Man's career stats and overall body of work is impressive, the $90,000 Camluck yearling purchase amassed lifetime earning of $1.2 million with a lifetime mark of 1:49.1 as a 5 year old at Mohawk Raceway with 60 career wins, he is co owned by trainer-driver Jennifer Lappe and Patrick Laiso. After the winner circle presentation, and emotional Lappe paid homage to her steed and unhooked the sulky and walked the gutsy campaigner Lucky Man back to the paddock for the last time to enjoy the moment amid the spattering of claps for the classy duo from those admirers on the racing apron that braved the elements to bid him farewell. Cool him out good, this last time. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway          

Monticello Raceway will present the Au Revoir Invitational Pace on Friday December 27. Race Secretary Eric Warner was able to secure six older harness racing pacers from all over the state of New York for this even which will be racing for a purse of $5,000. The 6 hardened campaigners, all geldings collectively have combined earnings of over $2,364,887 and 292 trips to the winner's circle. The fastest and richest is Lucky Man, a former  $90,000 yearling has life time earning of $1,2781000 and a lifetime mark of 1:49.1 taken when he was a 5-year-old at Mohawk Raceway. The son of Camluck is still on top of his game, this season he scored at Vernon Downs in 1:52.2 with 8 trips to the winner's circle for trainer-driver Jennifer Lappe. Lucky Man has drawn post position 6. The morning line favorite is the Saratoga invader Flem N Em N, a model of consistency this year he has finished 2nd 13 times with earning this season of $35,320 and a mark of 1:52.4, Jim DeVaux will drive the son of Courage Under Fire for trainer Gary Levine. The Batavia based Lightning Raider has drawn post 6 for trainer Gerry Sarama. In 41 starts this season he has entered the winners circle 7 times, top Monticello Raceway reinsman Bruce Aldrich Jr. will drive the son of Christian Cullen. Rounding out the field is Yankee Devil (PP3) and 2 Monticello Raceway horses Christoffer Bliss (PP1)and Mercurio N (PP2) The event is carded as Race 8 on the 11 race program with post time at 12:20. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway    

Monticello, NY - A 14-year-old horse is comparable in age to that of a 45 ½ year old human, and behind the harness racing starting gate the 14-year-old Old Elias Joy looked racy and eager to go, certainly not the demeanor you would expect from a rugged old campaigner on the cusp of beginning retirement. Sent off as the prohibitive favorite of 1/5 at Monticello Raceway Monday afternoon and starting from the rail for driver 21-year-old Hunter Oaks, the old timer Elias Joy worked smarter and not harder as he was content to sit the packet as Justin Huckabone Jr. cut the mile with the young whipper snapper RC'S Ready thorough fractions of 29.3,1:02.1, and 1:33.3, Elias Joy dug deep and unleashed a wicked last quarter of 28.3 to score by a scant nose in 2:04.2 and paid $2.40 to win. The 14-year son of Floritas Hero has not slowed down in his old age, the rugged gelding made 42 starts in this, his final season, in his last 8 starts he has amassed 6 wins and finished 3rd twice. His season tally of 18 wins earns him the title of the leading older trotter in the nation with wins and is the second winningest horse at Monticello Raceway this season. His overall body of work is impressive, 276 life time starts 62 wins, 26 place finishes and 39 times finishing 3rd and $255,000 in lifetime earnings and more impressively is the almost $40,000 he earned in his final year of eligibility. Elias Joy is owned by Andrew J. Gannon of Hamburg NY and is trained by Robert Lounsbury and was driven to victory by Hunter Oakes. He was bred by Gestut Prieros of Germany. After the win, Elias Joy was greeted by well-wishers in the winner's circle for a blanket presentation. $740,036 was wagered on the 11 race card on Monday December 23 an average of over $67,000 per race. Monticello Raceway will be dark on Christmas Day but will resume live racing and full card Simulcasting on Thursday December 26 and 27th with a 12:20 Post Time. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

Monticello, NY - While the weather was cold, wet and nasty Tuesday afternoon at Monticello Raceway, Bruce Aldrich Jr. was red hot and as he drove five harness racing winners on the 10 race card. Bruce started the rally early in the first race with Tweedledtweedledum, the Bo Sower's trainee started from post 6 and scored in 2:02 - paying $8.20 to win. Aldrich went on a tear in race 3 and won the next 3 races in a row. Scootin For Joy notched her 5th seasonal win for trainer Jim Doherty Jr in 2:02.3 - $4.50. Next up was Zone Blitz, the former Ron Burke trainee won in 1:59.3 - $10.60. Carters Casper won his 8th race of the season in 1:57.1, the fastest mile of the day on a track rated sloppy for trainer Al Annunziata. The fifth win of the afternoon cam in the last race were he scored a wire to wire victory with Future Life in 2:02.4, the win also gave 2nd leading trainer Jim Doherty Jr. a training double on the afternoon. The five wins on the afternoon gives Aldrich 193 wins at Monticello Raceway this season which puts him in 3rd place for leading dash winners behind Jim Taggart Jr. and Michael Merton. by Shawn Wiles, for Montiello Raceway

Monticello, NY - The odds are long these days that Standardbred's are still harness racing at the age of 14, this trait is a credit and testament to the durability and hardiness of the Standardbred. On January 1, 14 year olds will be forced into mandatory retirement, as Standardbreds cannot race in pari mutual events over the age of 14. Former Monticello Raceway Publicity guru John Manzi started this event in 1991, originally called the "Clash of the Senior Titans" its most famous dash of the seniors was in 2004 when The Suleiman nosed out Troy D in 2:02.4. Monticello Raceway is seeking additional entries and will try and fill both the Au Revoir Trot & Pace on December 27, the purse for each race will be $5,000, this is an invitational event. This year Monticello Raceway has a handful of aged trotting campaigners that have been competing at a high level throughout their last year of eligibility, Elias Joy, My Cool Breeze and Crypto Man. Between the trio they have combined lifetime starts of over 1010, 125 wins and over $850,000 in lifetime earnings. "After a long hiatus of this event due to the lack of entries, I think we will be able to conduct the race this year, I have been receiving calls from numerous horsemen inquiring about the event," said Eric Warner, longtime Monticello Raceway Race Secretary. Horsemen interesting in participating in these event should contact Eric Warner at (845) 794 4100 X 557 or ewarner@empireresorts.com for details. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

Goshen, NY - When the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association holds their 61st annual Awards Banquet, on Sunday, December 15, 2019, Dave Brower will receive the Phil Pines Award for his outstanding media coverage of the sport of Harness Racing. No stranger to the bright lights of Metropolitan area Standardbred sport, Dave Brower has been a fan of harness racing since childhood when his dad would bring him to the original "new" Big M back in the late 1970s. Growing up in nearby Passaic, New Jersey, just five minutes from the Meadowlands Racetrack, the ace handicapper and television personality has always had his finger on the pulse of the industry. While attending classes at St. John's University he also rubbed horses on the backstretch for Rick Farrington, John Conte and Randy Perry during the late 80s and early 90s along with working as an intern in the publicity department under Ellen Harvey. After graduating with a degree in journalism in 1991 he has held many positions in and around the top floor of the Meadowlands. "I operated the teletimer, was a chart caller for Sport's Eye and then became the morning line odds maker and program comments producer...all while sitting two seats to the left of Ray Brienza in the press box," Brower recalls with pride. "There was a lot of action in the press box in those days." As the in-house television and simulcast broadcasts grew, Brower got more opportunities to work in front of the camera. Brower, along with Gary Seibel, were the first hosts of TVG's Drive Time at the Meadowlands. Focusing on racing at the East Rutherford mecca, the duo provided on-site analysis and interviews during the Campbell-O'Donnell era. That experience proved to be serendipitous as the pair now team up annually for CBS Sports Net to host the live Hambletonian Day television coverage. "Live broadcasts are a true test of your abilities. You have to have faith in yourself, you gotta get it right. It's quite an adrenaline rush," Brower exclaims. "It is one of my favorite parts of the job." Dave Brower is good at it too! In fact, the right people have taken notice. He also anchors the Jug Week simulcast show and was brought in to provide color at the Red Mile this past season. But Brower is quick to give credit to his colleagues for planning and executing the broadcasts. "The TV department develops replays, we have voice checks, camera checks, the announcer adapts the content into the program sequence and preview highlights, and so on. There are hours, sometimes days, of advance notes and preparations." To this day, aside from his current handicapping duties he still anchors the Racing from the Meadowlands broadcast. His past and present colleagues read like a who's who in harness communicators: Sam McKee, Hollywood Heyden, Ken Warkentin, Dave Little, Gabe Prewitt, etc. Also very active on social media, many folks get their first breaking news about the night's racing card from Brower's Twitter and Facebook feed. Drivers changes, scratches, special guests...Dave sees it all first and then informs the public. But it's all in a day's work and the harness racing lifer takes it all in stride. "A lot has changed since we opened the Star Ledger to see what Ray Brienza had to say." In addition to the year-end awards for horses and horse people from the local tracks, the Monticello-Goshen chapter will also honor Mickey Burke (Lifetime Achievement Award); Noelle Duspiva (Excelsior Award); Barbara Martinez (Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award); Larry Lederman (John Gilmour Good Guy Award); Purple Haze Stable (Cradle of the Trotter Breeders Award); Tony Verruso (Amateur Driver); Joe Chindano, Jr. (Rising Star), etc. Tickets for the gala event at The Fountains at Wallkill Golf Club, Middletown, NY, can be reserved by contacting Shawn Wiles at (845) 794-4100 extension 458 or Email: swiles@empireresorts.com. To place a congratulatory ad in the souvenir journal, please contact Chris Tully at (845) 807-7538 or Email: tullytrot@yahoo.com. by Chris Tully, for the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of USHWA  

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