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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

There are some who are hard to beat here at Monticello Raceway; two are horses and the other is driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. On Monday afternoon, Sept. 15, Shortest Distance notched her 20th seasonal victory and Diamond Tiara racked up win number 19, and leading driver Bruce Aldrich, Jr. reined five winners on the 10 race card and continues to lead the driving colony in victories. The veteran pacing mare Shortest Distance seems nearly impossible to beat in the $7500 claiming ranks and she continues to lead all Standardbreds in wins in North America this season. Her victory on Monday was a cake walk for the 9 year old Park Place mare when Bruce Aldrich, Jr. sent her to the front even though Shortest Distance had to pace a swift :27.1 first quarter to gain command. But once on the engine Aldrich got her to the halfway point :57.2 and from there Shortest Distance cruised to an easy five-length triumph in a time of 1:55.4. Latin Lyric (Jimmy Devaux), who forced Shortest Distance to pace that :27.1 first quarter, finished second. "She's about as tough as they come," Aldrich said of Shortest Distance. "Now we have our sights set on the (Monticello) track record of 22 wins and if she stays sound we have a chance at that (mark)." Aldrich referenced the 22 wins complied here by Golden Storm GB back in 1985 and although a few have come close no one has beat it, yet. But Shortest Distance isn't the only one chasing the Mighty M track record for victories. Add to the list Diamond Tiara, who was nearly unbeatable earlier this season. On Monday afternoon the 7- year- old McArdle pacing mare visited the winners circle for the 19th time this year, but under unusual circumstances, this time. She made it there via a disqualification. Actually, after being roughed-up during the first quarter, Diamond Tiara and driver Jimmy Taggart, Jr. gained control and led the field all the to the top of the stretch where it appeared that she would once again go on to victory. However, with the field tightly bunched coming off the final turn Jimmy Marohn Jr. slipped 25-1 shot Machs little Filly up the inside and in the lane they paced on to to a one-length 1:57.4 triumph over Diamond Tiara. But wait.....immediately after the finish the judges flashed the inquiry sign on the tote board and upon careful and lengthy review it was deemed that Machs Little Girl went inside three pylons at the head of the lane and because of that she was placed second and Diamond Tiara had her 19th seasonal victory. She, like Shortest Distance, has been claimed four times thus far this year and now Diamond Tiara is back in the Mike Watson stable And Aldrich's five winners on the Monday card give him 415 for the year, good for sixth place on the North American driver leaderboard. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Rose Run Nash scored his 18th victory of the season at Monticello Raceway on Wednesday afternoon when Jimmy Marohn Jr. drove him to s 1:57.4 triumph over On The Podium driven by Bruce Aldrich, Jr. Now the 5-year-old altered son of Trainforthefuture has moved four victories ahead of Too Salty and continues to lead North America in races won this year by a trotter. In fact Rose Run Nash trails Mighty M pacer Shortest Distance by just one triumph for most victories by any standardbred in 2014. Coming into the contest off a 1:57.4 victory last week Rose Run Nash repeated that performance with a gutsy victory today (September 10). The race began with Larry Stalbaum sending Mr. Invincible to the front and carrying Marohn's trotter to a :27.4 first quarter before they relinquished command. Once on top Marohn kept the pedal to the metal and had a two-length lead at the half as the timer tripped :58. Up the backside the betting favorite On The Podium, in from Saratoga Raceway, trotted by Mr Invincibe and was in second position behind the pace-setter as they trotted by the third stanza in 1:27.4. When the field headed for home Rose Run Nash had already held off a challenge from Typical Newyorker (Mike Merton) and still had a one length lead. However, by mid-stretch Rose Run Nash was visibly tired but he was dead game when On The Podium rallied along the pylons. Rose Run Nash was giving such a great effort that his head swung from side to side like a pendulum with each hard fought stride toward the finish line. So much so that the head swinging was visibly noticeable to the rail birds who got to see a determined veteran equine give his all to win a race, something that Rose Run Nash has done 17 times previously this year. "He was running out in the stretch and I let him do it so as not to interfere with his determination to win. And I wasn't jerking his head from side to side, he was doing it himself reaching down for something extra with each of his final strides," Marohn said in the winner's circle as trainer Danny Gill held his pupil's head and kept chipping "number 18-number 18" referring to Rose Run Nash's season win total. "I've driven a lot of horses but I don't think I ever felt the determination that Rose Run Nash showed in his victory today," Marohn added. "Maybe he is used to winning but he surely gave his all in victory today. And people will tell you they (horses) are dumb animals, but when you are around them you know better." Rose Run Nash is owned by Ed Hall. He paid $4.40 for win. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

It wasn't a battle of the titans at Monticello Raceway on Monday afternoon (Sept 8), it was, however, a confrontation between Diamond Tiara and Shortest Distance, the two harness racing horses with the most victories, (18) in North America this season. Actually the two had confronted one another back on August 25th and both finished off the board. But on Monday, Shortest Distance prevailed and her 19th seasonal triumph makes her the clear leader in races won by a Standardbred tin 2014. Bruce Aldrich Jr. was again at the controls behind the 6 year old Park Place mare as they easily scored a five length victory in 1:55.1 after starting from post position three. Future Rock Star and Zeke Parker finished second while Givemybest Hanover was third for Larry Stalbaum. After the race an excited Aldrich chirped "I did it my way" which he referred to racing Shortest Distance out of a hole. "We had the three- hole and they wanted me to go to the front around Diamond Tiara (post 2) and Jimmy's (Devaux) mare (Latin Lyric on the pole position) but they were head-to -head and wide open on the first turn so I ducked in along the pylons behind them. But as I was doing that I was thinking, if this doesn't work it would be all my fault (for not winning the race) since Al (Annunziata-the mare's trainer) wanted me to race her on the front-end." Devaux finally allowed Jimmy Taggart, Jr. and Diamond Tiara to take command as they passed the first quarter in 28.2. From there Diamond Tiara had command all the way until the three quarters where Shortest Distance zoomed by her and went on to an easy victory. In the lane Diamond Tiara had broken equipment and barely finished when Taggart got off the bike and had assistance taking the sulky off the mare who moseyed home and finished sixth. In the winners circle trainer Al Annunziata acknowledged he wanted Aldrich to race his mare on the front-end but he was smiling and happy with the results just the same. Shortest Distance, owned by Marissa Godinez, returned a $5.10 win payoff. And for Bruce Aldrich, Jr., it was one of four winners on the card for him and his seasonal total of 399 driving victories currently places him sixth in races won in North America. There must be something in the Catskill Mountain air that again this year Monticello Raceway, in the county Seat of the former Borsht Belt, has the horse with the most victories this season like it did with Tracy's Song until the final night of the 2013 campaign. But this year there are three at the top of the lists. The other, a trotter, Rose Run Nash from the Danny Gill barn, has 17 wins is tops in the trotting division. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

With Jimmy Marohn, Jr. sidelined by a racing accident at Tioga Downs last weekend, Monticello Raceway based trainer Danny Gill, who uses Marohn almost exclusively, had to scramble to fill the gap behind his pupils this week. However, on Thursday (Sept. 4), when Gill had six horses in to go, he split the driving chores between three talented chauffeurs; Bruce Aldrich, Jr. Larry Stalbaum, and Johnny Desimone. And Gill finished with a good day with two wins and two seconds from the six starters. Most productive was Desimone who won two races for Gill, both trotting events. First, and foremost, Johnny D scored a 1:57.1 victory with Rose Run Nash ($5.30) which was the 6 year old Trainforthefuture gelding's 17th victory and is tops by a trotter on the continent this year. Now, Rose Run Nash is just one victory away from tying pacers Diamond Tiara and Shortest Distance, who co-lead North America with 18 wins. And strangely, all three horses are Mighty M regulars. Desimone also reined Gill's other trotter, Sir Siro ($9.50), to a gate to wire to victory in a time of 2:00. "Desimone is good with trotters that's why I used him today, "Gill offered. "He used to work with (Gary) Messenger who always has a lot of good trotters." Gill is also in a fight for leading trainer honors with Messenger and Bob Lounsbury. "We each won two races yesterday," Gill added. "But Messenger is still the leader." Messenger's 102 winners is currently tops while Lounsbury and Gill are in hot pursuit; Lounsbury with 95 wins and Gill with 94. On the driving side Bruce Aldrich Jr. continues to lead the local colony. On Thursday he added three more victories to his seasonal totals and currently leads runner-up Jimmy Devaux by 34 wins; 224 to 190. However, Aldrich is again among the leaders in North America in races won. Driving basically at two tracks, Monticello and Saratoga, many days simultaneously, his 393 winners ranks him sixth at this time. Last year Aldrich's 645 victories tied him for second place nationally with Dave Palone. Ronnie Wren Jr. copped the title last year with 714 wins. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Monticello Raceway hosted the final leg of the New York Sire Stakes and the Excelsior Series for 2 year old filly trotters on Wednesday (Sept. 3). There were three $37,000 splits in the sire stakes and five short fields in the Excelsior Series. And despite eight of the 12 races on the card featuring the up- and -coming freshmen trotters still wagering was good. The owners of all the winners could stand tall especially Braxton Medical AB, the proprietors of Shaqline who, in only her fourth lifetime start, equaled the track record for freshmen trotting fillies when Jimmy Takter guided her to a 1:59.2 triumph in her NYSS split. Shaqline now shares top honors with Lady Riviera who also was victorious in 1:59.2 for Ronnie Pierce in 2012. Takter, driving more now and enjoying it immensely, sent the daughter of Credit Winner-Vivaca Hall to the lead from the pole position and they raced unchallenged on the front- end until the final turn. There, after shadowing Shaqline all the way from the get-go, Mark MacDonald moved Nunkeri out to contest the leader but all Takter had to do was give his filly her head and she remained in front as she trotted a final quarter in :28.4 en route to her track record equaling performance. Nunkeri was three lengths back in second place and Dancewithmechuck took home the show dough for Charlie Norris She's a real good filly," Takter told those who joined him in the winner's circle.. He was asked why this was only Shaqline's fourth career start to which he replied; "She had an entrapped epiglottis and it took three surgeries before the problem got fixed. She's breathing great now and she's going to be a real good 3 year old." Shaqline is a pretty nice 2 year old now, Jimmy, and she'll be the one to beat in her $225,000 NYSS Final at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday, September 13. Sent of the favorite in the betting Shaqline paid $3.80 for win. The finale will be no cake walk when Shaqline faces some of the other division winners along the way, especially Concentration and Kaliska, who each were victorious in NYSS action at the Mighty M on Wednesday. Concentration, a daughter of Conway Hall-Super Starlet, had driver Chris Lems smiling in the winners circle after they scored a 2:00.1 victory over Summer Scent and driver Dan Daley. After a slow start Lems put Concentration on the pylons in third position and they were five lengths off the lead set by Daly and Summer Scent as they passed the quarter in :30. Lems followed the leader until he moved his filly out to challenge up the backside. They easily gained command and at the third stanza in 1:30 they had two on Summer Scent. From there it was catch me if you can, and no one could, as Concentration coasted home a 1-1/4-length winner in 2:00.1. Daley's filly was second and Ray Schnittker got Summers Windsong up for third place. "She's a nice filly and if we get a good (post) position in the final I think she'll be heard from,' Lems added through his smiles. Trained by George Ducharme for owner Chip Campbell, Concentration paid $5.20 for win. Schnittker also got a chance to have his picture taken after he won the final $37,000 NYSS division with Kaliska in 2:00. But he had to work hard for it. After they fell into the two-hole on the first turn behind Dan Daley and Cherry Crown Jewel that duo led the field by the quarter in a swift :28. When they passed the half in :58 Schnittker was out and going and Kaliska took command up the backside. They kept the lead until the finish and Schnittker had to steadily urge his filly but Kaliska held off a late rally on the far outside by Mark MacDonald and Duolectra to win by a neck. Favored Pig Hunt was third for George Brennan. "She's green and I had to keep after her because she tried to pull up three times in the stretch," Schnittker expounded after the mile. The Credit Winner-Armbro Vivian filly is trained by Schnittker and owned by Schnittker, Tom Spatorico, the Pepin Stable and Fam Alber Horse Racing LLC. She paid $10.00 for win. The undercard featured five divisions in the Excelsior Series also for freshmen trotting fillies. Winners included: I'm Very Lucky (Sam Schillaci) in 2:08.4 ; Barn Girl (Jeff Gregory) in 2:00; Morcredit Bluechip (Jeff Gregory) in 2:00.2; Teacher Pat (Chris Lems) in 2:02.3 and Waiting Room (Jimmy Morrill, Jr.) in 2:01.1. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

The cream of the freshmen and sophomore pacers and trotters on the NYSS County Fair circuit convened at Monticello Raceway on Tuesday afternoon, September 2. Eight $10,000 divisions awaited the influx and by days end the champions were crowned in each division. "It was an enjoyable day of racing watching the youngsters go head to head in each of their divisions," noted Eric Warner the tracks director of racing. "And with limited amount of charted lines on many of the entrants still wagering on the card was good." Driving Me Lindy and Truman Gale kicked off the program copping the event for 3 year old trotting fillies winning by nine lengths in a creditable 2:00.2 for trainer Andy Gardner. Owned by Michael Eulo, it marked the Crazed filly's 10 triumph and raised her seasonal her bankroll to $33,484. The 2 year old totting filly final ended in a romp for Ron's Coren when Fern Paquet, Jr. guided the Cash Hall miss to a 2:04 victory. She's trained by Jessica Okusko for owner Ronald La Clair. The pacing final for freshman fillies saw Kruella score her ninth seasonal triumph when Kirk Desmond used the front-end route to score a victory in a time of 1:59.2 for trainer Joe Robbins Jr. The daughter of American Ideal, co-owned by her trainer and Bonnie Kowalcyk, won for the ninth time in 10 lifetime starts. Inside The Glass, locally owned by Rosemarie Moore, recorded the fastest mile of the NYSS County Fairs Finals when Larry Stalbaum sat back off a quick early pace and rallied late to win the 3 year old pacing filly division in 1:57.3 for trainer Paul Moore. The 3-year-old trotting colt final followed and saw Harold Smith's Stirling Cadet romp to a 15- length triumph in 1:58.4 for driver Jimmy Devaux. The Conway Hall gelding scored his 11th victory and increased his seasonal bankroll ---all on the county fair circuit-- to $37,380. Devaux also won the freshman colt and gelding pacing final with Harold Smith's, Adonis Bay in a time of 1:59.3. Although Smith drove his colts at the fairs the 80 year old accomplished horseman turned the lines over to the accomplished professional, Jimmy Devaux. Another NY county fair stalwart, Doug Ackley, won the trotting final for 2 year old colts and geldings with J A T O in 2:04.2 despite making a break before the start. The son of Big Apple Deli scored his ninth victory in 10 lifetime starts for owner-trainer Margaret Butler who shares ownership with Amy Butler. And Larry Stalbaum scored his second victory in the NYSS County Fair Finals when he guided Kings Maninblack to a 1:59 triumph in the event for sophomore colt and gelding pacers. The altered son of Riverboat King is trained by Joe Chindano who co-owns with Gianfranco Pozzolini. Perhaps overshadowed by the interesting card of county fair youngsters, Diamond Tiara moved back to tie Shortest Distance for the most races won in North America this year when Jimmy Taggart Jr drove her to a 1:55.4 triumph which was her 18th victory. Also on the card, Shortest Distance was looking for win number 19 but she got collared at the wire by Rusty's Flying (Fern Paquet, Jr) and had to settle for second money. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

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