By John Manzi
MONTICELLO December 27, 2002 Zeke said he would, and he did!
Before the second edition of the Monticello Marathon, Billy Zeke Parker, Jr. not only bragged hed win Monticello Raceways 2-mile trot but in the process he said hed set a new world record. And he was right on both counts.
On December 24, Parker guided the Three Musketeers Stables, Staras Score to a neck victory over Bob DAgostinis Victorys Hero OM, establishing a new standard for trotters on a half-mile track at a distance of two miles. His victory erased the former mark of 4:19 set just last year by Rare Score in the inaugural Monticello Marathon.
Starting from the outside, Parker quickly gunned his trotter to the front and raced there the entire two miles.
Pine Bluff, with Bob Krivelin aboard, went off-stride at the start but by the mile marker which was passed in 2:11:1 he was challenging Parker for the lead. But another miscue by Pine Bluff left him out of contention.
However, after Pine Bluff went off stride again, DAgositini hustled Victorys Heron OM up tight behind Parkers Staras Score. And when the leaders came off the clubhouse turn for the final time, Victorys Hero OM trotted alongside Staras Score and the two raced as a team around the final turn and through the stretch.
Parker was all-out to keep Staras Score in front as both the trotters showed the wear of the two-mile distance.
He was getting tired, Parker said with a laugh after Staras Scores victory. Ya know, two miles is a long way!
Bs Classy Dude finished third for Andre Sinani.
In a field that was whittled to five by two late scratches, Staras Score paid $4.70 for the win.
On The Threshold
With less than a week remaining in the 2002 campaign, Jimmy Devaux is well on his way to capturing his first driving title at Monticello Raceway. He currently leads his brother-in-law, Bruce Aldrich, Jr., by 21 victories, 277 to 256.
Aldrich led Devaux by 25 victories back on October 28 but broke his elbow in a racing accident that day and has been sidelined ever since. Aldrichs mishap really opened the door for Devaux.
But take nothing away from Jimmy, hes a great talent and a threat to win every time hes in the sulky.
Enjoying his best season ever, Devaux, 35, is rapidly approaching 1,000 lifetime driving victories. Last year he finished second to Aldrich, reining 259 winners at the Mighty M.
In third place at this time is Kyle DiBenedetto with 226 winners. Kyle, as you may or may not recall, has won two driving championships here in his illustrious career.
And speaking about illustrious careers, scant few have had, or will ever have, for that matter, one as good as Billy Zeke Parker, Jr.
Zeke, a 10-time Monticello Raceway driving champion, became a regular here again in September and in about three months has registered 174 victories which ranks him fourth on the list.
Greg Merton, who was the meets leading driver two years ago, is fifth on the list with 149 driving victories.
Rounding out the current top ten are Claude Huckabone III (137); Mike Merton (105); Cedric Washington (103); John Gilmour (90) and Dave Marshall (65).