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The often raced and often claimed pacing mare, Diamond Tiara notched her 20th seasonal victory at Monticello Raceway when she defeated a field of claimers in a time of 2:00.4 over a sloppy racetrack on Monday November 17. With her victory the 7-year-old daughter of McArdle now is just two wins shy of the track record of 22 victories set by another claiming pacer, Golden Storm GB, back in 1985. Once again Jimmy Taggart, Jr. handled the driving chores for trainer Mike Watson and as he's done nearly every time before, gunned Diamond Tiara to the front this time from the five-hole and they had a length and half lead when they passed the first stanza in :30.3. From there, it was catch me if you can, and nobody could as Diamond Tiara made every pole a winning one en route to an easy five-length victory over Artemis Blue Chip and driver Jimmy Devaux. "She (Diamond Tiara) has raced her heart out all season long and those miles on the front end have taken a toll on the ole gal," Taggart said after the race. "She's always been game but lately she's been tailing off at the end of a mile. Today the muddy track probably didn't sting her as much and she finished like her old self." Asked if the track record for most wins in a season is an objective, Taggart answered; " We'll take it week by week. If she wins again soon then we'll probably look to at least tie the record. But she's not the soundest horse in the world." Again owned by (Phillip) Mike Schultz after multiple claims to get her back, Diamond Tiara was sent off at odds of 4-5 and paid $3.60 for win. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

The Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA scribes know talent when they see it and they have been on the money with their recent choices for their annual Rising Star Award recipient. In recent years they've cited Jordan Stratton, Jimmy Marohn, Jr. and Austin Siegelman but through the years they've named George Brennan, Jimmy Taggart, Jr. and Greg Merton to name a few. This year their Rising Star Award will go to 25-year-old Jason Ryan and it just so happened that he won four races on the Tuesday card(Nov. 11) here at the Mighty M. His first victory was with Tiffany Barrett's Kevin's Apple ($27.40) in 1:58.2 and he followed that with a 1:56.3 triumph behind Steven Moore's KB's Bad Boy ($15.60). With win number three he lit up the toteboard with Laurie Patistas's Jet Set Style in a 1:56.4 mile. The pacer paid $72.50, $17.20 and $13.60 across the board. Ryan capped his afternoon when he won the 12th and final race with Andrew Adamczyk's See You Smile in a time of 1:55.4 and that win was worth $17.40 for each two dollar mutuel ticket. "After the races were completed somebody called me 'longshot Ryan because all my winners paid double figures," Ryan said. "I know a couple of them had a decent chance but I was certainly surprised with Jet Set Style being 35-1 from the rail. But (trainer) Lounsbury had one (Mr Tommy Fra) in there that was odds-on and he never got untracked from the seven hole. Starting from the inside I got a two-hole trip and my horse finished strong." The transplanted Canadian began the season here at the Mighty M in early January and he opened some eyes with his driving abilities over the months that he was here. He later moved on to Saratoga Raceway and then during the late summer back Running Aces Harness Park in Columbus, Minnesota where he competed well the previous year. But this season at the Minnesota race track Ryan finished as leading driver with 90 winners. When that track closed he moved back to Monticello Raceway and he plans on being here throughout the winter. He currently had driven 148 winners thus far this season which is his best output thus far in his fledgling career. Asked what the future will bring he replied "I'd like to race at Yonkers and the Meadowlands in the future but I know I'll have to pay my dues before I'll be able to," Ryan admitted. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Monticello Raceway's award winning track photographer, Geri Schwarz, has a knack for getting a unique photograph. Here she caught JB Rose acting ornery in the winner's circle on November 10th after she won her contest in a time of 1:56.1 for driver Bruce Aldrich, Jr. Trainer Danny Gill (left) is seen trying to settle her down while the children look on in amazement. "She did it again ( reared and stood on her hind legs)," Schwarz said after snapping the photograph. " She did the same thing last week after she won. The horse is a messugenah (crazy)!" For the record JB Rose settled down and had her picture taken and no one was hurt. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

On November 16 at the 56th Annual Monticello Goshen Chapter Awards Banquet racetrack harness racing photographer Geri Schwarz will finally step in front of the cameras and be photographed when she receives the chapter's Award of Appreciation. For many years now Geri Schwarz has been the track photographer at Monticello Raceway and an award winning one at that. She has also been the track photographer at Goshen Historic Track since 1998 and her abilities are legendary. First, and foremost, her finish line photographs are spot-on as are her winners circle photographs. Not only is her work first rate but she has an eye for the unusual and many times she captures shots that others wouldn't even notice. A few years ago while waiting to photograph the race finish at the Mighty M a cat was crossing the racetrack at the top of the homestretch nearly in front of a racing field of horses. Obviously with guidance From Above, the cat cleared and the lead horses didn't notice but Geri Schwarz did and photographed the cat with the horses in the background. An unusual photograph for sure. Geri is so quick with her camera that many a time she has taken a winner's circle photograph of a horse rearing up which is certainly an unusual shot. It's not to say that Geri looks for these oddities she just has a knack with a camera. "When I see something that is unusual I'm often ready to photograph it," Schwarz acknowledges. It's precisely that instinct that caught the photo that won for her the prestigious George Smallsreed Award for harness racing photography a few years ago. That day rain was falling like it was being poured from a spout and water lay on the racetrack; even inside the pylons. It was raining so hard that the drivers had a tough time seeing and when they were and in the homestretch three horses came close to colliding so one went inside the pylons spraying water as he went. It was certainly an unusual shot and it got noticed on the internet and in the press. But for Schwarz photography is a labor of love. "I certainly don't make a lot of money photographing but I just love being around the horses," she says. It was just that love of the animals that Geri decided to take the USTA Driving course. Not once but twice; first in Columbus, Ohio and then in Goshen, NY. "I enjoyed the school so much in Columbus that when it was offered at Historic Track I couldn't pass it up, " she said. "I 'll probably never drive a horse in a race but I did earn a certificate and had a blast in doing so." Originally from the Bronx and raised on Long Island Geri matriculated at the community colleges of Nassau, Queens and later Sullivan. While at Sullivan County Community College -now SUNY-Sullivan- Schwarz moved to the Catskills and has been here ever since except for the time she spent in Israel living in a Kabbutz. "I lived in a Kibbutz for about six months and it was great to experience the simplicity of that lifestyle but the modern conveniences of America make life a whole lot easier," Schwarz acknowledged. Perhaps it was there in the Kibbutz with her love of the outdoors that Geri gained a great appreciation for animals. A few years after she returned home she purchased five acres of land in Bethel. "I had a house and a barn on the property so I made fences and boarded a few horses. I even took in a horse that had a broken bone in its foot and nursed him back and I used to ride him all the time. His name was Belle Gay Jigger and I had him for 25 years. He died recently and I'm still heart-broken," Schwarz said. I had to work two jobs to make ends meet. I was a paralegal and worked for various lawyers and in 1980 I got a chance to pursue my love for photography when I went to work for Earle Tunick photographing at Monticello Raceway and Goshen Historic Track. In 1998 Schwarz became the track photographer at Historic Track where she still enjoys that relationship. Five years ago she became the track photographer at Monticello Raceway. "I still have to supplement my income by working as a paralegal because at both Goshen and Monticello the only money I make is from the pictures I sell. And let me tell you that those sales are extremely lean during the cold winter months," she said. John Manzi

Since 2011 Jimmy Taggart has won plenty of races here at Monticello Raceway but it's been nearly three years since he has driven five winners on one card. However, on the 11-race Tuesday (Nov. 4) card the talented reinsman added another milestone to his resume when he drove five winners. Taggart, who passed the 3000 career win plateau last season, began his afternoon with a 1:56.3 victory with Luanne Case's pacer, Shark Income ($16.40) and followed that with a 1:59 triumph with Jimmy Doherty Jr. and Jodie Doherty's trotter, Tobell ($4.10). Taggart's next victory was behind Flirting With Disaster Stable's, Myra's Hiho ($3.10) in a time of 1:58.1 and then Jimmy proceeded to win the final two races on the card. He won the afternoon's pacing feature with Phillip Schultz's pacer Ideal Bid ($3.20) in a time of 1:54 and then copped the 11th and final race with Gerald Decker's Kennanskingwilliam ($3.00) in a time of 1:56.1. Taggart, with his even temperament, just takes his winning in stride and he's not very vocal about it, and for that matter, or anything else he does. He did however say that he had some horses in the right place and that they raced real good for him. The 44 year old catch-driver who gets first call from top trainer Gary Messenger, has already driven 201 winners this season and this season marks the fourth consecutive year that Taggart has won 200 or more races. His mounts thus far this season have earned nearly $750,000. Currently Taggart is fourth in wins on the local leaderboard. A product of the amateur ranks here at the Mighty M in the late 1980's when he turned professional during the 1988 season Taggart now has 3303 driving victories to his credit. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Monticello, N.Y.: After an impasse of over one year, the Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association is pleased to announce that it has secured a long term horsemen's agreement with the management at Monticello Raceway. Assuming that Monticello or any subsidiary of its parent company, Empire Resorts, is granted one of the potentially two casino licenses soon to be awarded in the Catskill's region, the contract ensures nine full years of harness racing at the 56 year old oval, which offers a barn area and training track at the current site. Just as important, the contract provides for monetary payments which are millions of dollars in excess of that which the horsemen will receive via the hastily drafted statutory formula. When the casino enabling bill was debated, it was hoped that the legislature would continue the renaissance its carefully crafted VLT program brought to the harness industry. Rather than allow the horsemen a share of the huge profits anticipated to be generated by the new slot machines and table games, however, the law excluded the horsemen from receiving any casino revenue, even if the casino facility was operated by its management. Worse, the legislation left all horsemen throughout the state in stagnation by capping VLT revenues at 2013 levels. The future harm wrecked upon New York's racing and breeding industries is apparent, as the casinos will surely draw revenue from the dollars wagered on racing without allowing the racing and breeding industries to participate in the casino's growth. The racing and breeding industries in this state are a 4.4 billion dollar economic engine, and are responsible for the employment of 32,000 individuals in the largely overlooked agricultural aspect of our state. The horsemen at Monticello refused to accept the fate state government handed them, and fought hard to obtain the type of relief that would not simply ensure racing, but also purses sufficient to sustain racing. In addition to live racing, simulcasting and the forced cap amount grounded on 2013 VLT revenue, the horsemen were able to secure stock in Monticello's publicly traded parent company, along with a type of stock derivative called warrants. These investment vehicles, and the Association's right to sell stock as well as exercise warrants during the term of the horsemen's agreement, ensure millions of more dollars to the purse account. Moreover, the horsemen are guaranteed a certain floor amount from stock sales, thus ensuring several millions of dollars more in purse money than current law provides. Association President Alan Schwartz, who lead his Board during every stage of the arduous negotiations, declared the new agreement a victory for Monticello horsemen, "I want to thank each and every member of the Association for the sacrifices they made during the several long months of pain, when it wasn't clear if we would live to see another day of racing." Schwartz said. " Because of the courage the Monticello horsemen displayed in overwhelmingly supporting the Board, we have achieved a much better future than Albany provided us. In addition to our legal and accounting team, special thanks go out to Peter Gerry, who volunteered his time, effort and expertise during the delicate and extremely complex negotiations involving the acquisition of the stock and warrants, so as to ensure that a genuine economic benefit was actually realized. "While we were sometimes criticized for the stances we took," Schwartz added, "the financial reward now finally achieved for our horsemen was our only goal. It would not have been necessary if legislation was more thoughtfully considered in the first instance. "Now, however, Schwartz explained, "we are optimistic that Monticello Management and its horsemen will move forward and enjoy economic growth as partners, and that racing will continue to thrive here. As president of the Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association, I am extremely proud of the role our resilient group of horsemen took to ensure the continuation of harness racing as an integral part of New York State's agriculture industry." From the Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association

When announcer Howard Oil gave his last call in Monticello Raceway's ninth race on Thursday (Oct.30) he shouted "bombs away" to describe Edgar's trotting victory whose odds on the board were 99-1, which are the biggest numbers that are abled be posted on the Mighty M tote board. However, after the mutuel room computations were completed the horse's actual odds were 146-1 which produced a $294.50 payoff for every two dollar wager. Driven by Jimmy Marohn, Jr. , Edgar was third at the top of the stretch and rallied to a one length victory over 27-1 Montana Steel (Jim Taggart, Jr.) in the 2:02.1 mile. That 6-1 exacta combination paid a whopping $1374.00. Of course, odds of that magnitude aren't normal. In this case they were precipitated by the failure of 1-9 shot, Catman Dude's inability to get away trotting. Owned by Robert Dineman and trained by Delores Basilone, it marked Edgar's first victory of the season after 18 previous starts. As big as the payoff was it still was the biggest ever here at the Mighty M. That honor belongs to Cam Can Kadandy and driver Greg Annaloro when they won and paid $377.00 on September 26, 2012. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

MONTICELLO NY---Beginning Monday, November 3 and continuing throughout the remainder of the year all post times at Monticello Raceway will be at 12:25p.m. "With the change to Daylight Savings Time we will begin our racing programs one-half hour earlier the before," noted assistant general manager of racing and facilities, Shawn Wiles. "We annually set post times earlier during this time of the year in an effort to get our races completed during the daylight hours." The Sullivan County oval offers live harness racing on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. However, on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27 there will be no racing. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Bruce Aldrich, Jr. and Jimmy Marohn, Jr. have been tough to beat on the racetrack and not leaving much for their competitors thus far this week at Monticello Raceway. Yesterday (Oct. 22) Aldrich won five races on the 10 race card which was just what Marohn did on the Tuesday program. And checking the Monday results one will find Aldrich's name atop four winners that day, too. "I'm a lucky guy getting first call to drive for trainer Bob Lounsbury," Aldrich said after Wednesdays card was completed. "When I get up behind a horse that he trains I know I have a chance to win." Aldrich began the soggy afternoon by winning the first race with Move Blue Chip ($2.60) in 1:59.3 for Bob, John, and James Dill. Then Aldrich didn't get his picture taken again until he won the sixth race with Go Go Buckeye ($7.10) for owner Woody Hoblitzell in time of 1:59.3. Aldrich came right back to cop the seventh with the Philip Schultz-owned and Bob Lounsbury-trained Vincent Fra ($3.60) in 1:58.1 which marked the claiming pacer's 15 seasonal triumph. After finishing third in the eight race Aldrich then proceeded to win the final two on the card. He won the ninth with Gray Thunder Stable's, The Perfect Dream ($6.50) in 2:02.3 and then romped to victory in the finale with Phillip Schultz's trotter Scottish Cross ($2.30) in 1:59.2, another Lounsbury pupil. Both Aldrich and Marohn have the luxury of driving for the top stables on the grounds, the former for Bob Lounsbury and the latter for Danny Gill. Jimmy Marohn, Jr. did win a race on the card with the Gill-trained Talldarknhandsome ($3.70) in 1:59.3 for owners Ed and James Hall. And speaking of Gill, the next win from his barn will be his 1000th as a trainer. Aldrich leads the local driving colony currently with 294 winners while Marohn is third best with 167. And both rank nationally; Aldrich's 493 wins places him sixth on the North American leaderboard while Marohn's 290 ranks him 25th. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

"I had a few good horses that were in the right spots," is how Jimmy Marohn, Jr. explained his five bagger on (Oct.21) at Monticello Raceway over a muddy track on Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 21). Still it wasn't the best day that Marohn ever had but it certainly was a very good one. "I once had six wins on one card but being covered with mud from head to toe like I am right now I can't remember where and when," Marohn added via a phone call from the race paddock Well it wasn't here Jimmy. You won five races on one card three times, once during 2012 and twice during the 2013 season. However,, five wins on a 10-race card is outstanding. Marohn started the wet afternoon winning both ends of the daily double. He scored with Brenna Gill's, Tylers Great ($8.00) in 1:59.3 in the first race and came right back to cop the second with Perfect Raider ($3.90) in a time of 1:59.1 to notch the pacer's 14th seasonal triumph. He, too, is owned by Mrs. Danny Gill. Win number three for the diminutive reinsman came behind Stanley Noga's, Bullville Kyle ($7.50) when he reined the pacer to victory in 1:58 in race number five. After a steady downpour Marohn then won the seventh race with trotter, Mac Atack Mac ($3.80) in 2:05 for owners Pine Forest Standardbreds which gave trainer Danny Gill a hat trick. Marohn's final triumph of the afternoon came in the very next race when he guided classy ole Noble's Grand Slam to the pacer's 40th career victory in a time of 1:57.3 ($3.70) for owner Larry Kittenplan. Trailing the driving leaders by over 300 starts here this season still Marohn, a former Mighty M driving champ, is currently third best on the local leaderboard with 168 winners. All told Marohn now has 294 winners this season.  you are hereby notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited. This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are considered privileged and confidential and may not be used by either party in any pending or future legal proceedings. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Winning races is nothing new for Bruce Aldrich, Jr. He wins plenty of 'em. Many days he has three or four winners on a race card but when he wins five it deserves notice. That's exactly what Aldrich did at the Mighty M on Tuesday afternoon, October 14. He won two, DC's Piggy Bank and Mixed Media, for trainer Bob Lounsbury who always uses Aldrich to drive his stock. Other winners were King Otra (1:55.4) for trainer Dave Russo; Riverboat Sue (1:58.4) for Eric Taddeo and one, What Rusty (1:56.4), for Elisha Lafreniere. Aldrich again tops the Monticello Raceway driver's leaderboard, something that has become synonymous with his name. Currently his 275 winners are tops and are 79 more than runner-up Jimmy Devaux's, 196. Aldrich came to Monticello in 1999 and over the first decade of the 21st Century he won more races than any other driver here, even more than Billy "Zeke" Parker, Jr. Since then Aldrich has a streak of three consecutive years-assuming his big lead will hold up by year's end- winning the Mighty M driving title and he's won five title here in the last six years. . But for Aldrich his seasonal stats began bulging when he gave up training and just concentrated on driving. That happened in mid- 2012 after he moved his base of operations to Saratoga Springs, NY where he bought a farm and became a regular at Saratoga Raceway. That year he finished the entire season with 289 winners. The following year Aldrich started the season here and was the leader in races won at Monticello Raceway, but when Saratoga Raceway - his new home track-opened in the early spring he decided to race at both Monticello and Saratoga. And that's been his MO since. Aldrich admits driving at two tracks, mostly on the same days, is grueling, especially when they are 145 miles apart. And that Monticello races during the afternoon and Saratoga mostly at night, would this venue even be possible. However, no longer is Bruce Aldrich just a regional stalwart, he has become a national contender. In mid-December last year we put together a driving competition between Aldrich and the then national leader, Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. whose home track is Northfield Park in greater Cleveland, Ohio. When Wrenn graciously agreed to participate we decided to call the competition the Aldrich-Wrenn Drive-off. Nothing unusual there you say? Well how about that after the 13 races were put together by director of racing Eric Warner and the post positions drawn, each driver-with the Racing Board's sanction -- would choose his own mount in every other race. And although the only winner was the racing public as they enjoyed the driving talents of two premier reinsmen, Aldrich finished with six winners and Wrenn had won four. Brucester, as I call him, had a hot-hand until the curtain came down on the 2013 season, so much so, that he finished the year tied for second-with Dave Palone- in races won (645) in North America behind Ronnie Wrenn Jr.s 714. This year again, Aldrich,46, is a factor. Currently his 471 winners ranks him in sixth place on the North American leaderboard. Still that puts him ahead of such steadfast reinsmen as Yannick Gingris(451 wins), Corey Callahan (429); Jason Bartlett (427) and Tim Tetrick (397). For the record Ronnie Wrenn Jr.is battling for the lead with Aaron Merriman and currently trails him by 16 wins, 645-629. Earlier this season, on June 23, Aldrich reined his 5,000th career winner and as of this writing his total is now 5221. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway  

He began the 2014 season at Monticello Raceway competing in $4000 claiming trots and yesterday Rose Run Nash extended his lead in races won over all trotters in North America when the 5-year-old altered son of Trainforthefuture notched his 19th seasonal victory. Once again trainer Danny Gill handed the lines to Jimmy Marohn, Jr. and the diminutive reinsmen responded with yet another victory, this time in 1:57.1 winning for the fifth time against $15,000 claimers and in the process equaling Rose Run Nash's lifetime best which was established earlier this year on September 4. "We were in a bit tough but we beat some nice trotters today and now we have a five-win lead," Danny Gill exclaimed, meaning that Rose Run Nash has five more seasonal wins than runners-up, Too Salty and Brother Gus. Sent off at odds of 5-1 from post four Marohn wasted no time in sending Rose Run Nash to the front and they gained command on the first turn and led the seven-horse field by the quarter in :28.2. From there, Marohn kept the pedal to the metal and the veteran trotter made every pole a winning one to score a three- length triumph over I'm Fabulous, a Gary Messenger pupil who was the betting favorite in the race. "He was super good today,"Marohn said after the victory. "He had been running out in his last few starts but recently Danny had the veterinarian work on him and today he was as straight as an arrow. He's a tough guy who gives his all every time." Although the Ohio-bred gelding took his lifetime record this year he was victorious in 1:59.3 as a 2-year-old and every year since Rose Run Nash won in 1:59.2 or better. To go along with his 19 wins this season Rose Run Nash also has seven seconds and two thirds in 34 starts and his seasonal bankroll in just short of $50,000. He's a nervous horse but he loves to race and he loves to win," Gill added. "You can see his head going from side to side like a pendulum when he's trotting and when he gets near the finish you can almost see him straining while giving all he's got." Owned by Gill's main patron, Ed Hall, Rose Run Nash paid $12.00 for win. John Manzi

What’s going on here? Another new track record at Monticello Raceway? “That’s correct,” said the raceway’s announcer Howard Oil. “This one is the 10th new harness racing track records this season and that’s the most we ever had in a single year.” On Tuesday afternoon, September 30, with the leaves turning shades of red and yellow and beginning to fall to the ground, O’Sundland paced to a new track record for 4 year old stallions when Larry Stalbaum  guided him to a romping six-length victory in a time of  1:53 which established a  new standard for horses of his age and gait. O’Sundland’s victory was one and one-fifth seconds faster than the old mark of 1:54.1 set just two weeks ago on September 16 by Twin B Famous and driver Mike Merton. It was the first start here for the son of Ponder after coming in from the Midwest where he was racing at the Red Mile and Balmoral Park. “My buddy, Bobby Williams, Jr., just sent him to me,” Larry Stalbaum said of O’Sundland via telephone from the paddock.  Williams has had a lot of bad luck recently, lost his son and his good friend, Ken Sundland, for who(m) the horse was named for. “He told me he thinks O’Sundland is a good horse and after the way he  raced today, ya’ know, I believe he’s right.” After starting from the six- hole Stalbaum gunned O’ Sundland toward the front but they didn’t gain command until just before the quarter which was timed in :27.4. From there Stalbaum let his pacer breeze and they passed the halfway point in :57, two lengths in front of the field. Up the backside O’Sundland kicked in a 28-second quarter and they were three in front at that panel.  O’Sundland kept pouring it on and paced a 28-second final quarter en route to an eased-up six-length 1:53 victory. “We went down the road and he was well in-hand at the finish,” Stalbaum said using racetrack vernacular in conveying his thoughts. Odds-on favorite Mixed Media was second for Bruce Aldrich, Jr. Kennanskingwilliam and Jimmy Taggart, Jr. finished third. “Since I got him he’s been at the farm running in the paddocks and I didn’t even train him. But he’s a speed horse and he doesn’t need much training, anyway. Still I was really surprised how easily he did it today,” Stallbaum added. “I was swinging on him in the lane and I know he’ll go a lot more before it’s all over.” Owned by Bobby Williams, Jr. and trained by  Kimberly Asher, O’Sundland had four previous victories in 10 starts. He paid $5.30 for win in his Mighty M debut. In a year with multiple track records, O’Sundland’s 1:53 victory was one of the fastest miles at the Mighty M thus far this year. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Scottish Cross trotted to a new track record for older trotting mares at Monticello Raceway on Wednesday, September 24 when Mike Merton guided the 9 year old daughter of Angus Hall to a 1:56.4 triumph. That clocking erased the former standard of 1:57 co-held by Aren't I Hanover and Mymomsablizzard, both set last year. It marked the second time in just a week that a track record was lowered. On September 17, Bruce Aldrich Jr. drove On The Podium to a 1:56.2 victory which was a new standard for older trotting geldings. In all, thus far during the 2014 season here nine new track marks were established. Scottish Cross came to the Mighty M three weeks ago from Canada with trainer Carmen Auciello where she had been racing splendidly in claiming races. Mike Merton picked up the catch-drive behind her and in her first start here on September 10 Scottish Cross was victorious in 1:58 while racing against $10, 000 claimers, she with a $12,000 claiming allowance tag. A move up to the $15,000 claiming ranks -she raced for $18,750 with her allowance-- the following week resulted in a third place finish behind On The Podium's 1:56.2 track record. But yesterday (Sept. 24), back down and with a $12,500 claiming tag, Merton let Scottish Cross air-out as they trotted to an oh-so-easy nine-length track record victory over Bertos Angel and Jimmy Taggart, Jr. "She was pretty handy," Merton said of Scottish Cross who raced on the front-end from the get-go. "I was just sitting on her as we passed the half (in :57.4) and we were just a length in front at that point but as we headed up the backside I asked her a bit and we began to open daylight and the farther we went the more of a lead we had." At the wire Scottish Cross was nine lengths in front of runner-up Bertos Angel. Third place in that six-horse field went to Sir Siro (Jimmy Marohn, Jr.) However, as famous newscaster Paul Harvey often said, 'now for the rest of the story'. Trainer Bob Lounsbury's patron, Philip Schultz, plunked down the 12 large and they took her from her previous owners, Denarben Stables and Rocco Auciello. Sent off as the betting favorite in the race Scottish Cross won for the 12th time this year and returned a $3.20 win payoff. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Bruce Aldrich, Jr.and Bob Lounsbury are at it again. Two years ago here at Monticello Raceway that driver/trainer combination had 18 consecutive victories with a claiming pacer by the name of Tracy's Song, and currently they're running another string with Burlesque, also a claiming pacing mare. On the Monday afternoon card of Sept. 22 Aldrich guided the Lounsbury-trained Burlesque to an easy 1:57.3 victory over Rusty's Flying (Jimmy Marohn, Jr.) which was the mare's seventh win in-a-row. It's true that seven is a long way from 18 but, as Aldrich said referring to the mare's winning journey, "we'll take it one step at a time, although honestly, it'll be nearly impossible to win that many in a row." Actually Burlesque showed shades of brilliance earlier in her career but she could never could get it all together. She amassed nearly $100,000 in purse money at two and three but wins as came sparingly. "Phil (Schultz) claimed Burlesque for $12,500 in Canada earlier this year but he was not happy about with her after he claimed her, "Lounsbury said. "She didn't want to race so finally Schultz sent her to his other trainer, Mike Watson, and told him to put her in at Monticello Raceway for a $4000 claiming tag." Watson also trained Diamond Tiara for Schultz but he stables his horses in Wind Gap, Pa. some 90 miles from Monticello Raceway. "With shipping bills around $200 every time she raced at Monticello it didn't pay Phil to have Watson keep trucking her here since she wasn't racing very well," Lounsbury explained. "I've trained horses for Phil before so he sent her to me to stop the shipping costs. "She didn't race well for me either, at first. I know she was sour because she'd try to runoff the track when we jogged her so we began feeding her 'Dr. Green' (turning her out in a pasture) a few days a week and that she seemed to sweeten up." Lounsbury won his first race with Burlesque on June 10 when Aldrich sat a two hole with the 4-year-old daughter of Mach Three and then rallied her to a 1:56.4 victory. Her only other triumph prior to that was a 1:53.3 mile on February 24 for Jonathan Drury while racing for a $12,500 tag at Woodbine. However, after Schultz claimed her, Burlesque refused to race at all so he sent her to Mike Watson and he told him to put her in for $4000 (claimer) at Monticello Raceway. "She (Burlesque) only picked up a few small checks in her first three starts for Mike so he sent her here to me so there would be no more shipping costs," Lounsbury explained. Once at the Mighty M and under the tutelage of Lounsbury, Burlesque won her first race on June 10 and since then she has won 9 more times for Lounsbury-Aldrich combination, every time racing for a tag which was continually magnified by her being a mare and a four year old. "She's not a mean mare but she's temperamental and being here where she can get away for the race track a few days a week helps to sweeten her up," Lounsbury added. "She has a mind of her own but Bruce(Aldrich) gets along real well with her." by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

In what turned out to be one of the fastest miles ever trotted at Monticello Raceway On The Podium rambled to a 1:56.2 triumph winning the featured race on Wednesday afternoon, (Sept. 17). That mark erased the former standard of 1:57 co-owned by Cornishman N in 2011 and Rompaway Alan in 2013. Bruce Aldrich, Jr. drove the winner for trainer Jose Godinez and strangely it was On The Podium's first seasonal victory in 22 starts although the Donato Hanover 5-year-old gelding had five seconds and three thirds which previously earned owners Blindswitch Racing and Anthony Nicometo nearly $30,00 this year. On The Podium's new standard followed a 1:54.1 new track record for 4 year old pacing gelding set just the previous afternoon by Twin B Famous and driver Mike Merton . However, On The Podium's surprise track record was unexpected as all eyes were on Rose Run Nash (Jimmy Marohn,Jr.) who was seeking his 19th seasonal victory and was sent off as the betting favorite in the race and after finishing fourth Rose Run Nash will have to wait for another day to extend his North American leading 18 wins. The 1:56.2 track record by On The Podium was even more amazing that it came in a six-horse field but it was set-up by the early speedy fractions (:28, :57.4, 1:26.3) driver Mike Merton set with Scottish Cross. On The Podium started from the three hole and after settling in along the pylons he was the first to move when the field approached the halfway point. By the third panel Aldrich's trotter was nose-to-nose with Scottish Cross and on the final turn they opened-up daylight and had three lengths on the field. As they headed for home the margin was extendedto eight lengths when they crossed the wire. Scottish Cross was collared by I'm Fabulous (Jimmy Taggart, Jr.) who came from way back finish second a nose ahead of Scottish Cross in third place. Even-money favorite, Rose Run Nash, came into the contest off two consecutive 1:57.4 victories but never got unwound and finished fourth nine lengths, behind the winner. The victory was one of three on the card for Bruce Aldrich, Jr. who was elated after his track record triumph with On The Podium. "Last week we fell short by a head and finished second to Rose Run Nash and with him on the rail (pole position) I figured he'd be tough to beat in here," Aldrich acknowledged. "I knew my horse had lots of trot when he warmed up good today but I never expected he'd set a track record. What a nice surprise." by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

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