After the best year of his career where his 645 driving victories were tied for second best in North America, Bruce Aldrich, Jr. continues to be a force in the sulky. At Monticello Raceway on Wednesday (Feb.26) he reined four winners on the 10- race card to bring his track leading amount to 55 during the winter season here which has seen many race dates cancelled due to inclement weather. In spite of the fact that he has been consistently hot-handed, one of Aldrich's victories, Real Motivation (2:00.4) in the ninth race, paid $77.00, $84.20 and $15.20 across the board. That day he also reined the won the fourth race with Thunder Seelster ($2.90) in 1:59.2 and the sixth with Sir Dutch ($7.20) in 1:59.4. Aldrich's other victory came behind Working Stiffs where he did a masterful job after spotting the field some 12 lengths at the quarter then usung an overland route from the half to get in contention. But when he wheeled her three-deep on the final turn the mare bobbled but Aldrich got her back on stride and she zoomed by the leaders in the deep stretch to score a 2:00.4 triumph. "The weather has been real tough this winter and we lost a lot of days but still my 55 wins puts me in the top 15 this year( in races won). But now that Saratoga is getting ready to open I believe my win totals will increase since I will again be driving there and at Monticello," Aldrich said. On Wednesday he was in Saratoga to drive qualifying races there and afterward he planned to head to Monticello to drive several horses on the afternoon betting card but he got buttonholed when he had to be scratched off many of his mounts due to unusual traffic on the highways to the Mighty M. "Qualifiers finished late at Saratoga that day and besides getting a late start, traffic was terrible. Sometimes best made plans go awry," he reasoned. Also on the Mighty M Wednesday card the veteran trotter V I P won his fifth race of the fledling season when Jason Ryan guided him to a 2:01.3 victory which ties the trotter with five others for most trotting victories thus far this year. And V I P surely knows how to rack-up wins. Last year the 8 year old altered son of Muscles Yankee won 17 races. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway
At the recently completed national meetings of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) Monticello Raceway's Shawn Wiles was elected vice president of the organization. President Steve Wolf ended his two year term at those meetings which then opened the position of second VP as other officers moved up the chairs. Wiles will now serve in his newly elected capacity for two years. Presently the general manager of the Monticello Raceway, Wiles has been a longtime member of the Monticello -Goshen Chapter USHWA and currently is the chapter's vice president. "I am excited to work with the present youthful USHWA Board," Wiles said. They are an extremely capable bunch of young men, who I can learn from." Wiles is referring to his newly elected president, Chris Tully and vice president, Tim Bojarski, both of whom moved up the chairs to their current two year positions. Wiles has long been a director of United States Trotting Association from District 8 where he now serves as the chairman of that district. His career in harness racing started in the backstretch of Monticello Raceway during the 1970s where he worked as a groom for Richard Sturgis, Robert Camper and Jim Grundy. He then went on in search of a Grand Circuit stable to work for and found success with the famed trotting specialists of Continental Farms under the guidance of Hakan Wallner, Hall of Famer Berndt Lindstedt, and Jan Johnson. Wiles was the first American second- trainer to work for the famed Scandinavian trotting experts from 1980-1986. During his tenure as a groom he rubbed many top performers, most notably the crack stakes filly Dominant, and then worked for Castleton Farms from 1986-1988. Wiles joined Monticello Raceway in 1996, working under John Manzi in publicity and Bill Sullivan in operations. Wiles was initially promoted to assistant GM of Monticello Casino and Raceway, and lately promoted to General Manager of the entire facility. He was recently lauded by the local scribes on his tough stance on racing integrity. Wiles is actively involved in many civic and community oriented endeavors. He is a past president, now trustee, of the Fallsburg Central School District Board of Education, past president of the Woodridge Housing Association, and a longtime AYSO soccer coach as well as vice president of the Monticello-Goshen Harness Writers Association, The proud parents of Brody , 19, and Samantha, 16, Wiles and his wife, Lisa, Superintendent of the Ellenville School District, reside in Woodridge, N.Y. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway
Beginning Monday, March 3 and continuing with just one exception through October 31 all post times at Monticello Raceway will be at 12:50 pm. The exception occurs on Thursday night July 4 when post time will be at 5:30pm to allow for the annual fireworks extravaganza after the races. After the special Monday, March 3rd card live racing during the month will continue four times weekly on the afternoons of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. "Now that the days are getting longer we will be able to begin our programs a little later in the afternoon and still complete our race cards prior to the darkness," said General Manager, Shawn Wiles. Simulcast wagering on thoroughbreds-as well as some other harness tracks-will be available during the afternoons while the evenings are largely devoted to harness simulcasts. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway
The following letter is a response to Alan Schwartz, president of the Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association from Erin Dennin, Director of Communications, New York Gaming Association. The president of the Monticello Harness Horsemen’s Association (MHHA) recently issued comments that were highly critical of the New York Gaming Association (NYGA.) There was no basis in reality for these comments. They were misinformed and unprofessional. Throughout NYGA's existence, our members have sought to work collaboratively with the horsemen and to the mutual benefit of our respective industries. There is a long record of results in this regard: From 2004 to 2013, NYGA members have generated $1.1 billion in support of the racing and breeding industry. This includes $235 million in 2013 alone, a full 12 percent of gross gaming revenues. These funds support more than 4,000 full-time equivalent racing and breeding jobs and help to sustain New York’s 2,300 breeding, training and racing facilities, in addition to 23,000 family owned farms. Just last year, NYGA members generated $101 million for the standardbred racing and breeding industry. Since 2004, our facilities generated $625 million to purses for standardbred racing. That’s two and a half times the amounts in Kentucky and Ohio combined given the most recent data available. Furthermore, NYGA members provide a venue for New York’s racing product offering more race dates than any other state in the northeast. Without the financial support of NYGA member facilities, there would be no more racing in New York State. Mr. Schwartz has tried to paint a picture that our members are trying to kill racing. He even went so far as to claim that NYGA members “engineered a law that will for all intents and purposes, freeze our industry out of existence…”. To be clear, NYGA members don’t “engineer” laws. Lawmakers do. Indeed like many others in the racing and gaming industry, NYGA does support the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act. The legislation provides for continued support of the standardbred industry, both by maintaining payments at 2013 dollar amounts and by guaranteeing any necessary future support from additional commercial casinos. These provisions will help to ensure the continuance of current payments to the standardbred industry, and more importantly will offer protection against any future losses in the face of cannibalization of Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) revenues. Three of our nine members have stated an interest in obtaining commercial casino licenses, and all three of them have planned improved tracks and grandstands to enhance their racing product. This will be a significant investment in the racing industry on their collective parts. No NYGA member has ever advocated or worked against either the standardbred or thoroughbred industries - contrary to what Mr. Schwartz and his allies may try to make you believe. In addition, Mr. Schwartz also alleges that in an effort to “hasten the end of racing”; the track operators do not market the sport. Our track operators and their horsemen have a collaborative relationship and in many instances combine their marketing efforts for the betterment of the industry. Throughout any given year, track operators will expend marketing funds to cross-market both racing and gaming. NYGA members have enjoyed a long and successful relationship with New York’s racing and breeding industry and plans to continue that partnership into the future. The nine member tracks of the New York Gaming Association are proud of their long standing record of generating funds for education, creating jobs at their facilities and in their local communities and of course supporting New York’s storied racing and breeding industry. Erin Dennin, Director of Communications, New York Gaming Association
DOVER DE - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), harness racing's principal organization for media workers, held its annual meetings this past Saturday and Sunday at the Dover Downs complex, with the weekend culminating in the Dan Patch Awards Banquet held Sunday (Feb. 23) night, attended by almost 400 people and streamed worldwide for live viewing. During the Saturday meeting, the Directors of the Association voted for Bob Marks and Kathy Parker to be on the Communicators Hall of Fame voting ballot this summer. Marks has been a leading force in many harness dimensions over his 50 years in the sport, most recently as Marketing Director for Perretti Farms, while Parker, from a prominent harness family, worked her way through the ranks at the Horseman and Fair World weekly magazine until becoming editor in 1995 and later general manager of the Horseman Publishing Company, positions she maintains to this day. At the conclusion of the meetings, the membership voted in their slate of association Officials for 2014-15. Chris Tully, an MBA marketing specialist and writer whose digital literacy and social media acumen has helped bring USHWA to the cutting edge of communications technology, was elected President of the association, succeeding Steve Wolf of Harnesslink.com; Tully's "first official act" was to present Wolf, who now becomes the Chairman of the Board, with a gold Lifetime Membership pin. Tim Bojarski, writer/blogger for the USTA, moved up a chair to 1st Vice President, with the 2VP position going to Shawn Wiles, Monticello Raceway chief racing officer and a longtime USTA and USHWA director. Judy Davis-Wilson, who is based in Dover and worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the weekend, especially the banquet, was returned as Treasurer; Alan Prince, who attended his 48th consecutive USHWA meetings weekend, remains as Executive Treasurer. Also elected was Jerry Connors as USHWA secretary. Much of the discussion during the two days of meetings focused on the sport's Halls of Fame in Goshen NY, where plans for renovation and modernization are starting to advance rapidly, and where USHWA makes a significant contribution. In addition to the physical reconfiguration of the Halls of Fame area, the directors and membership discussed several by-law and rules change relating to the Halls, especially the re-establishment of a Seniors category for both. Debate was plentiful, lively, and well-reasoned on all sides, and some of these matters were tabled until a Committee, soon to be appointed, can focus on the merits - and the eventual wording -- of the varied proposed changes. The attendees heard reports from the many committees that keep USHWA functioning throughout the year, and were glad to hear from Davis-Wilson, voted the organization's member of the year, that the treasury was in a very good shape, pointing to future success in USHWA's upcoming progressive efforts. The Dan Patch Awards Dinner was as always the highlight of the gathering, with superstar sophomore trotting filly Bee A Magician "finishing her unbeaten season" by being elected Trotter of the Year and then Harness Horse of the Year; her contemporary, the pacing colt Captaintreacherous, took down overall honors for that gait after a brilliant campaign showing speed and courage in equal amounts. Also honored were the quartet to be inducted into the Halls of Fame Sunday, July 6 in Goshen: Harness Racing Hall of Famers David Miller and William Weaver, and Communicators Hall inductees Carol Cramer and John Pawlak. by Jerry Connors for USHWA
TRACK USE BY HORSEMEN NOW LIMITED
Monticello, NY --- Monticello Raceway was forced to cancel the race card after the first race Thursday afternoon (Feb. 20), due to poor track conditions. Racing will resume Monday (Feb. 24) with post time at 12:25 p.m. Submitted by Monticello Raceway
It seems like the local scribes can spot talent. In recent years they cited Jordon Stratton and Jimmy Marohn, Jr. as Rising Stars for their driving prowess at Monticello Raceway. And just check their records. Both youngsters are now winning plenty of races and are developing into the future stars in harness racing. Last year, too, the area's harness writers chose 21 year old Austin Siegelman as their Rising Star at the Mighty M. And it appears that the scribes are on the money again. After he won the honor last fall Siegelman told a reporter of his hometown newspaper, the Citizen's Voice , "winning the Rising Star Award definitely gives me a lot of confidence going forward. I plan on being in this business for a long time and hopefully this is just the beginning of great things to come." On Wednesday afternoon at the Mighty M, the youngster had his first hat trick of the season. He scored with Carribbean Pirate ($6.40)in 2:00.3 in the first race and then came back to cop the second with My Cinnamon Girl ($12.00) in 2:04.4. Siegelman's third win came when he guided In Regal Attire ($5.10)home first in a time of 2:04.1. From a limited amount of starts thus far this season among Siegelman's 19 wins are victories in 'the big time' at Yonkers Raceway and the Meadowlands. Last season he began driving horses for veteran trainer Chris Marino and their union has been good for both. It was with one of Marino's horses that the 21 year old Siegelman became the youngest driver to set a track record here when he guided Mymomsablizzard to a 1:57 victory which equaled the mark for older trotting mares at Monticello Raceway. Again this season Siegelman is driving horses trained by Marino. "Chris has some nice horses and I'm lucky to be driving for him," Siegelman said. And Marino is high on Seigelman. "He's a nice young man and he was brought up right," Marino said of Siegelman. "Although he's young he drives a horse really well. I'm very satisfied with what he has done for me." Racing fans will definitely read about the future success of the 21 year old driver. And since he showed that he can handle himself against the leading drivers in Metropolitan New York all he needs now is the stock to compete again them on a regular basis. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway
Alan Schwartz, President of the Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association, today issued a final statement explaining the horsemen's position on New York State's recently enacted casino enabling legislation in response to statements from Monticello Casino & Raceway management regarding negotiations: "The negotiations currently taking place between the horsemen and management at Monticello Casino & Raceway are about nothing less than the very future of a racing and agriculture industry in New York State that employs more than 32,000 New Yorkers and is central to the economy of many of our towns and counties. While Monticello management is absolutely correct in stating that we don't like the casino enabling legislation passed last year, they are mistaken in suggesting that we are somehow "attempting to amend the law" through our negotiations with them. All we are doing with Monticello is seeking to secure a contract between two private entities that acknowledges the value and role of our industry and allows it to grow and succeed along with Monticello, should they be granted a full casino license. And while we have had to make some very difficult decisions during these negotiations, the stakes for the future of our game are high and demand that we do the right thing for racing and for our members. The fact is that the majority of New York's harness horsemen did not support the casino enabling legislation because while it did include a "floor" on payments to horsemen from racinos that receive full gaming licenses, it also included a hard "cap" on industry support payments at the 2013 level - regardless of how well the expanded, full casino does or how much revenue they generate or profit they make. This "cap" on racing payments will essentially serve as a hard cap on any future additional growth in racing and agriculture and will send a message to potential investors that while New York may be doing well now, it is closed for future business and has no horse breeding or racing growth investment opportunities available moving forward. Other competing racing states have recognized this basic truth - and understand that racing and breeding should grow right along with casino gaming where both on and off track casinos are sited - and so therefore have mandated additional payments from full casino gaming to racing. That is why New York horsemen are continuing to advocate in Albany for amendments to this aspect of the enabling legislation. In the meantime, and separate from these ongoing efforts in Albany, our Monticello horsemen have simply proposed - as part of a contract negotiation between two private entities - that Monticello make some level of additional payments from their own revenues/vendor's fees to racing, should they be granted a full casino gaming license. As noted above, while our purses now have a hard cap imposed on them, the Monticello Casino will have no similar cap imposed on their revenues or their profits, and so we are simply seeking a reasonable opportunity to continue to grow the agricultural/farming and racing industry and work together to succeed right along with them as we had when we partnered with the tracks to start a VLT program in NY.. In terms of context and precedent for such a "shared success" approach, it seems that Monticello management has completely forgotten about the horsemen's decision at the outset of the VLT initiative more than a decade ago to accept - as part of a negotiated contract - purse payments which were, in fact, lower than the VLT law at the time mandated. Recognizing that horsemen and management should work together and that our successes were mutually entwined, we took lower percentages than the law granted us at tracks such as Monticello, Vernon and Yonkers - and allowed them to keep more of the revenue - in order to ensure that the VLT initiative would work and that "all boats would rise together." Therefore, management's recent statements that hide behind this new casino enacting legislation - "hey, it's not us, it's the law that sets their payments" - conveniently ignores this history and the fact that the track can negotiate any additional payments to racing that they want in order to ensure continued, mutual, shared success, just like the horsemen did for them in leaner times. If they aren't interested in such shared success, and don't care about the future of agriculture and racing in New York, that's absolutely their prerogative and they can continue to espouse that position at the negotiating table. However, we will continue to stand up for what's right for horsemen, agriculture, racing and the state's larger economy and we simply hope that Monticello management will at least be honest about their so-called "good faith" negotiating position moving forward."
On Presidents Day, with well over two feet of fresh snow on the ground, much of it piled along the inside and outside of the racetrack, Monticello Raceway was still able to present its "Not Quite Presidential" Pace despite the fact that three horses were late scratches. "That we lost three horses to scratches was something we didn't figure on," said Eric Warner the tracks director of racing. "When you have drivers coming in from out of town there is always a possibility of losing someone along the way especially when the weather is bad, but losing three horses in the race was something we didn't figure on." And perhaps it was because of the short field that Howard "Zachary" Taylor altered his driving strategy and sent his charge, Red Carpet Tonight, to the front and together they made every pole a winning one en route to a 2:04 triumph over Space Chalet, driven by Don "Herbert" Hoover and She's A Screamer with Peter Gerry aboard. "I left with her (Red Carpet Tonight) because I watched replays and she threw her head when she was grabbed into. Therefore decided to roll her out of the gate so that I didn't have to grab her and that we had a short field seemed like the right time to put her on the front-end," Taylor said after being contacted in the paddock after the race. When the wings of the mobile gate folded Taylor sent Red Carpet Tonight to the lead and opened-up a three- length lead as they passed the first quarter in :29.1, From there, Taylor and Red Carpet Tonight had open lengths on the field at every other stanza and at the top of the lane they were five lengths in front. "We had a good lead as we headed for home and although my mare was tiring she held off a late charge by Don Hoover's pacer to win," Taylor added. Owned by Leonard Segall and trained by Steve Moore, Red Carpet Tonight paid. $10.80for win. Because it was the Presidents Day Holiday the" Not Quite Presidential" Pace was carded and mainly relegated to drivers with U.S. Presidential names although Peter Gerry became eligible since his five -times removed Great Grandfather Elbridge Thomas Gerry was a U.S. Vice President under the fourth President of the United States, James Madison. Others who participated in the five-horse race were Dennis "George" Washington, who finished fourth and "Harry" Truman Gale was fifth. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway
From Charles Degliomini, Executive Vice President of Empire Resorts/Monticello Casino & Raceway Monticello Casino & Raceway (“MC&R”) continues to support the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act (“Gaming Act”). When they authored the Gaming Act, the Senate, Assembly and the Executive protected the Monticello Harness Horsemen’s Association (“MHHA”), and the entire racing industry. As New York State moves toward approving four casinos in upstate New York, future revenue for the horsemen is governed by the Gaming Act, and current revenue is governed by the New York State Lottery for Education Law. It is sad and unfortunate that we are being attacked for legislation that actually protects harness horsemen’s interests. While MC&R continues in good faith, through negotiation and mediation, to attempt to secure an agreement with MHHA, the MHHA is now attempting to amend a law that they don’t like by unfairly punishing our business, our employees, our loyal customers and even their own members. We are simply track owners, not elected officials. The MHHA should stop this destructive behavior and turn the simulcasting signal back on.
The following Open Letter is from Alan Schwartz, President of the Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association I offer this to help those who are concerned about the future of harness racing in New York State. Please allow me to answer some of the queries I have received from horse racing fans and others about the contract stalemate with Empire Resorts at Monticello Raceway. The Monticello stalemate is about saving our industry from those private New York racetrack operators who want to morph into standalone casinos. It is about an effort to stop the track owners from destroying harness racing by actively telling legislators and other government officials in Albany that increasing the track operators' profits and shortchanging racing is the right thing to do. The New York Gaming Association (NYGA) members (consisting of all seven NY harness track owners, as well as the owners of Finger Lakes Racetrack and Resorts World in Queens) are hell bent on maximizing profits for themselves through the death of the Agriculture and Racing industries. They do this by pointing to racing deficiencies they themselves are orchestrating. Consider that, despite the fact that New York State offers racino operators a dollar for dollar reimbursement for marketing racing, most don't spend a dime marketing the sport. Worse still, the track operators blame the horsemen for not cutting purses to market the sport; of course, unlike the track operators, the horsemen would receive no reimbursement. By not marketing racing with money literally given to them by the state, the tracks simply seek to hasten the end of racing. The sooner they get rid of racing, the more money will flow into their pockets from VLTs, and soon slot machine and table game revenue. The tracks continue to receive roughly half of all racing and simulcasting revenue, but that apparently isn't good enough for them. Think again about these racetrack operators going to Albany and hiring virtually every lobbyist in the state to sell a bill of goods. They argue that the state should limit the future of the agriculture and racing industries by capping payments and stifling the growth of a 4.2 billion dollar industry and the livelihoods of 32,000 people. Then they argue for a better tax rate for themselves on casino games. All the while, they have the audacity to trumpet their support for racing and agriculture on their website. They are fooling no one. NYGA argues that the renaissance in racing should be stopped because the horsemen are getting too much from the expanded gaming revenue the VLTs have brought to New York. They selfishly hide the fact they make three-fold the amount the horsemen receive. That doesn't account for all of the related sales they make, like on a $4 bottle of water. Funny, but the law they lobbied for doesn't cap their revenue. Putting a cap on the future of racing is today's latest assault on our industry. As the harness track operators gain casino growth and exponential power in the state's capitol, don't be surprised if you see deeper racing industry cuts in the future. Plug in any state capitol you want; Albany; Harrisburg and, don't be fooled, Trenton too. Monticello is the first to face this challenge directly. The Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association supported a casino here, thinking we would not be neglected. We extended our agreement with the track for at least eighteen months before the stalemate in an effort to try to work things out. First, we want to see what the law would provide. Then, we waited to see if the statewide casino amendment would be approved in early November. Later that month, Monticello slammed the door in our face. Obviously, NYGA has drawn the line. The hope was to negotiate something fairer than a 2013 purse level cap and a yearly consumer price index (CPI) increase. The yearly CPI is negligible, hovering at about 1.4%. In one recent year, it was actually a negative number. Think about how much the price of diesel or a bag of sweet feed has gone up in recent years. The cap and CPI 'increase' would assure our destruction. Realize that instead of growing purses at the current 8.75 % VLT level (and N.Y. Sire Stakes by 1.25%), the tracks will now have slot machines; this permits them to get rid of VLTs and the horsemen and breeders' percentages that flow from them, while the tracks increase revenue and grow. These track operators engineered a law that will, for all intent and purposes, freeze our industry out of existence in the long term. Tell your supplier of feed, your vet and blacksmith that they can't raise their prices above 2013 levels in the years to come because of the selfish action of the NYGA track owners. Think about all the free play money doled out to the VLT players, while a handicapper gets but a torn up ticket on a horse race at the same venue. As was said not too long ago "If you don't fight for your future, you may wake up one day and wonder why you don't have one." MHHA's leadership has tried, and continues to try in good faith to negotiate with management something that is fair and reasonable. We seek to moderately share in their casino revenue success above the cap foisted upon us by them in the latest version of the law. The MHHA has very few weapons in this fight, but we would be even more foolish after eighteen months of failing to realize some progress not to use them. We are aware that the exported simulcast signal and its pools are important to the loyal fans of the daytime harness racing Monticello and its horsemen provide. We are also acutely aware of the loss of revenue to the track, the horsemen and the industry. Yet, we have pondered just how much money these track operators strive for while they jeopardize and entire industry for their own profit; a racing industry that worked hard to spawn the birth of VLTs at tracks in this and other states. We cannot just sit by and watch an industry get swallowed up by a handful of track operators professing to be concerned about our sport, whose ultimate goal is to kill it. The right to withhold the export of signal from Monticello across the N.Y.S. line is a right granted to horsemen by Federal law. That 1978 law very wisely recognizes that the horsemen at a host track are the real guardians of this sport. It armed the horsemen with the important tool to use only when they perceived a crisis threatening the very existence of the game. It has been used very sparingly and with the utmost of caution. I recall the law being invoked in 1987/88 by the horsemen at Roosevelt Raceway when management refused to sign a contract with anyone in order to clear the path to closing its doors. Ultimately, management not only closed, but stole the overnight purse account on the way out the doors. Also, as an MHHA board member in 2006, we withheld simulcasting consent here at Monticello. At Roosevelt, had permission to simulcast been granted, its Management would simply have taken even more money from the horsemen's pocket when its plan to close was realized. At Monticello, we have watched these developments over the years. We can no longer support a casino here that excludes the growth we have all; agricultural; racing and breeding shared, over the years. We will not fold up our tents and watch our game be destroyed by greed. We remain hopeful that the N.Y.S. mediator, appointed by the Gaming Commission, will continue to work to bring us to some common and sensible ground upon which to preserve each other's goals in a reasonable, and not one-sided, fashion. After eighteen months, we would welcome some progress. Hopefully, the next time you hear from me, the news will be better for our game. -
Who can win Monticello Raceway's "Not-Quite Presidential" Pace on Presidents Day, Feb. 17? The race appears to be so wide open that even John Flynn, the tracks longtime morning line odds-maker, pondered over the decision as to who he should make the favorite. "It may be a field of lesser caliber pacers but wow, I had a hard time deciding who should be the early line favorite," Flynn said. "The more I looked over the field (of horses) the more I thought it could be anyone's race (to win)." After constantly reviewing the eight -horse field Flynn's eyes finally centered on Red Carpet Tonight and Space Chalet, and when he made his final decision the former got posted as the favorite at odds of 5-2 while the latter was second choice at 3-1. Top Philadelphia lawyer and prominent horse owner, Howard "Zachary" Taylor, will make the trek up from the city of Brotherly Love to drive the favorite while Saratoga Raceway's racing secretary, Don "Herbert" Hoover will handle the driving chores behind Space Chalet. Although the aforementioned are considered the favorites in the race anyone of the other six other pacers have an equally good chance at visiting the winners circle according to Flynn. Even the number eight horse, Act of Heaven, driven by Dennis "George" Washington, was rated 7-2 on the morning line by Flynn. "This should be a great betting race because there are no clear-cut favorites," Flynn added. Even the Mighty M's director of racing Eric Warner concurs with Flynn, who is also the tracks program director. "This is one of the most evenly-matched field of horses we've had in quite some time," Warner said. "It should be a good battle and with no standouts in the race the horse that gets the best trip will probably be the winner." Other drivers in the event include: "Harry" Truman Gale, J. Scott "Zachary" Taylor, George "James K." Polk, Jr., Cedric "George" Washington and Peter Gerry. For the record, the drivers competing in the "Not-Quite Presidential" Pace have the same names as U.S. Presidents, save one, Peter Gerry. Nevertheless his family line fits the race conditions since his grandfather-four or five generations removed-Elbridge Thomas Gerry, not only was a signer of the Declaration of Independence but he was also the fifth vice president of the United States serving in the second term of President James Madison. The Not Quite Presidential" Pace is slated as race number nine on the Presidents Day,(Feb. 17) 10-race program. First post will be at 12:25PM with 3:45PM the approximate post time for the featured event. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway
East Rutherford, NJ - Due to the winter storm and treacherous travel conditions, racing at The Meadowlands has been cancelled for tonight. Please make note that the entire racing card, including the first round of Charles Singer Memorial will be carried over to next Thursday, February 20th. Therefore, if your horse was entered to race tonight at The Meadowlands, he or she is now in to go at The Meadowlands Thursday, February 20th. With the cancellation, the first round of the Charles Singer Memorial trotting series will be pushed back to Thursday, February 20th. The second round will now take place on Thursday, February 27th with the Final on Saturday, March 8th. In addition, both The Meadowlands and Winners Bayonne are closed for simulcasting today as well. At present, both facilities are scheduled to re-open Friday at 11:00 A.M., with live racing at The Meadowlands scheduled to resume on Friday at 7:15 P.M. Monticello, NY -- Already with over a foot of snow on the ground and a forecast of 12-18 inches more tomorrow, Monticello Raceway has cancelled its Thursday (Feb. 13) racing program.Along with racing, simulcast wagering is also cancelled. Live racing will resume on President's Day, Monday, February 17 with first post slated at 12:25PM. Freehold, NJ – Freehold Raceway announced that live racing scheduled for Thursday, February 13 had been cancelled due to weather conditions. Conditions permitting, live racing will resume on Friday with first race post set for 12:30pm. YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, February 12, 2014—Stop us if you’ve heard this one before…Yonkers Raceway has cancelled its live racing program and all simulcasting for tomorrow (Thursday, Feb. 13), due to another impending snowstorm in the greater New York area. Live racing (and afternoon/evening simulcasting) is scheduled to resume Friday (Feb. 14), with the usual 7:10 PM first post. Horsemen are advised that there is no draw tomorrow (Wednesday). A double-draw for Tuesday and Thursday (Feb. 18 and 20) shall be conducted Friday (Feb. 14), with the entry box closing at 4 PM. For more information, please contact the race office at (914) 457-2627.
It was no easy task but Monticello Raceway has put together a field of drivers whose names are Presidential and that race, dubbed the "Not-Quite" Presidential Pace, will presented on Presidents Day, Monday February 17. "We've searched hard to find drivers with presidential surnames and had to reach way down but we did fairly well, "noted Eric Warner, the track's director of racing "We could come up with six drivers with presidential surnames who consented to participate but in order to get an eight horse field together we used Truman Gale, whose first name Is certainly presidential, and then reached out for Peter Gerry, who said he'd be glad to drive in the race, if he was needed." Although Gerry is not a presidential name, it is however, a vice presidential name. Elbridge Thomas Gerry, Peter's grandfather five or six generations removed, was selected as Vice President under James Madison . He was also one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Joining Truman Gale and Peter Gerry in the Presidents Day race will be Scott Taylor, Don Hoover, Cedric Washington, George Polk, Jr., Howard Taylor, and Dennis Washington. Also asked to be in the race were Tom Jackson and Allan Johnson but both had a conflict on February 17. The "Not-Quite Presidential" Pace is slated as race number nine on the Monday (Feb. 17) 10-race card. First post will be at 12:25 PM It should be noted that driving assignments as well as post positions were drawn by lot. 1. NF Wind Chimes (Truman Gale) 2. Fancy Creek Iris (Scott Taylor) 3. Space Chalet (Don Hoover) 4. She;'s A Screamer (Peter Gerry) 5. Bouncy Three (George Polk, Jr.) 6. Red Carpet Tonight (Howard Taylor) 7. Little Carmen (Cedric Washington) 8. Act Of Heaven (Dennis Washington) by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway -
It is, as Yogi Berra once said, 'de je vu all over again' especially at Monticello Raceway where the quest for top training honors continues. Last year's stalwarts, Bob Lounsbury and Danny Gill, are again on top of the leaderboard in a continuation of the friendly battle that ensued during the 2013 campaign. The modern-era trainers, who leave the driving to the professionals, are back at it again and currently Lounsbury's 18 winners are showing the way with Gill's 14 in hot pursuit. On the Monday afternoon card of February 10 Gill added a pair of victories to his totals when Jimmy Marohn, Jr. reined trotter Rose Run Nash to a 2:03 triumph followed by a 1:59.3 score with pacer Net Jet. Lounsbury, on the other hand, had one winner when Bruce Aldrich, Jr. guided Working Stiffs to a 2:00.4 victory. During the 2013 campaign it was Gill leading the way right from the reel and it appeared that he'd be the winner. But in December when he took a two-week Florida vacation Lounsbury got hot and took command and went on to score his first training title here. "Danny and I had a lot of fun teasing one another and although he had a lead going into December my horses had a great month. Even when he was on vacation I'd tweet him saying 'Danny I'm gonna catch you so you better hurry back soon,' Lounsbury recalled with a laugh. "We tied him in late December and went on to win the training title, my first ever. I felt real good about that because our light-hearted digs along the way helped to keep the pressure off. We both had a great year but I believe it'll be hard to duplicate the (2013) numbers again this season. At season's end Lounsbury's 202 winners were 10 more than Gill's 192 and Lounsbury's output marked only the second time a trainer had 200 or more winners at the Mighty M. However, as good as a season that Lounsbury had , Joe Minieri's 218 wins during the 1999 campaign remains the standard. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway