Day At The Track

Eric Warner named local USHWA "Good Guy" winner

06:50 AM 23 Oct 2013 NZDT
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Eric Warner, harness racing
Eric Warner named 'Good Guy" award winner
Geri Schwarz Photo

When the Monticello –Goshen Chapter holds its 55th Annual Awards Banquet on Sunday evening, November 17 at The Fountains in Middletown NY  the Mighty M’s Senior Director of Racing, Eric Warner, will be the recipient of the scribes Good Guy Award.

On Labor Day 1992 Eric took the position of race secretary at Monticello Raceway and over the years he has been the director of the tracks racing programs.  Besides his daily duties of producing race programs his efforts went hand and hand with the tracks promotion department and together they presented races that drew national attention.

Perhaps the most fruitful promotion has been “the Au Revoir”, a race for 14 year olds, only, on Monticello Raceway’s final program in late December. . And last year’s event produced the most interest of them all, so much so, that the New York Times used a photo of the race favorite, Tattler’s Jet and his amateur driver Gene Miller, on the front page of their sports section.

That photo was accompanied with a story that engulfed the entire page and put harness racing in a good light. However, that wasn’t all. The following day, in spite of Tattler’s Jet finishing second, the results of the Au Revoir produced another half page of copy.

Over the years Warner was, and continues to be,  the point man behind the tracks racing promos and he has the unenviable position of getting enough horses to fill races like, the Little Grey Jug, the Battle of the Brain Trust, and the 8-race series of ethnic contests called the Heritage Drivers Series, to mention a few.

“Doing what he does is above and beyond his call of duty but that is the kind of guy Eric is,” track GM Shawn Wiles said of Warner’s participation in making racing promotions happen.

Eric grew up in the harness racing industry. His grandfather Pat Provenzano started Batavia Downs in 1941 and on his passing Eric’s mom, Donna Warner and her sister Barbara Samberg assumed ownership of Batavia Downs.

Warner, 49, began his illustrious career working at Batavia Downs; first as the tracks stall man and then he moved to the race office as the assistant to the tracks then race secretary, Peter Koch.

In 1987 Eric took a position as assistant race secretary at Fairmount Park in Illinois. The next year he returned home to Batavia Downs again in the position of assistant race secretary.

In 1990 he returned to Illinois to become the race secretary at Quad City Downs, in East Moline and became the youngest race secretary in the country.

For the past 21 years Monticello has been Warner’s home and although he goes though his daily chores as director of racing his efforts have not gone unnoticed.

“I feel funny that the harness writers want to give me an award for just doing my job but I’m very appreciative,” Warner said.

by John Manzi for Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA


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