By John Manzi
MONTICELLO January 1, 2002 On December 24 Monticello Raceway carded a pair of two-mile trots seeking a world record over a half mile track. And the mission was accomplished.
When the official sign was hung after the $5000 open division of the Monticello Marathon, Rare Score was posted the winner establishing a world record of 4:19 over the two miles.
But his victory was bittersweet as the judges declared him the victor when the race leader, Make It Real, went off stride approaching the finish line.
After leading for nearly the entire two-mile distance Make It Real, with Bruce Aldrich Jr. aboard, got leg-weary approaching the finish line and made a costly break. He was lapped-on by Rare Score.
I had already put my whip away because we weren't going to catch Make It Real, said Rare Scores driver, Drew Chellis. But about 50 yards from the finish line I saw Make It Real go off stride and we ended up lapping him at the wire. I always said Id rather be lucky than good.
It was a shame for the backers of Make It Real as the four-year-old son of Mack Lobell trotted the first mile in 2:13:2 and then covered the next mile in 2:05:3. He still was the first horse under the wire, but Rare Score was at his saddle pad at the finish necessitating a judges placement.
And though he made a break as the wings of the mobile starting gate unfolded, the Dave Marshall-driven, Ras Action regained his stride to finish third in the featured 2-mile trot.
Another division of the Monticello Marathon went postward two races earlier. Going for a $2500 purse the event was for the lesser caliber trotters but nonetheless just as interesting.
When that race took place the track was still muddy, from rain which ended just hours before the first race went to post.
Paper Donerail, driven by Cedric Washington, shadowed the pace-setter Billy The K until the 1-3/4 mile marker, then trotting by him to score a three length victory in what was a world record time of 4:26:1, defeating Hi Pocahontas (Jimmy Clouser) and White of The Eye (Kenny Devaux). However, the world record only lasted for 35 minutes before being shattered by Rare Scores clocking.
Monti Tops $1 Million Again
Like the famed baseball player of the 19th century, Wee Willie Keeler, Monticello Raceway continues to hitem where they aint.
One of the few racetracks, and maybe the only harness track, to have live racing on Christmas Eve Day, total wagering at Monticello Raceway again topped the one million dollar mark.
On December 24, the same day that the Mighty M presented a pair of two-mile trots, fans, both on and off track, wagered a total of $1,086,928, producing the second largest wagering day in the 43-year history of the Mighty M.
Our wagering total on December 24 this year eclipsed the $1,080,465 wagered on December 24, 1993, which was our former record prior to the big day we enjoyed less than two weeks ago, noted mutuel manager, Maureen Flynn.
Earlier, on December 12, the little racetrack nestled in the Catskill Mountains, set an all-time wagering record of $1,191,895 and now has enjoyed its second million dollar-plus day this month.