By John Manzi
MONTICELLO October 17, 2003 Greg Merton of Monticello put on a driving clinic Sunday afternoon, October 12 at Monticello Raceway by scoring six victories in seven drives on the 10-race card.
Merton, 29, a former Mighty M driving champion he was the tracks leading driver three years ago has had some good days in the sulky, but Sundays win total equals his most driving victories on a single program.
Three years ago I won six races on the card, but I drove in 10 races that day, he explained.
Merton, who hasnt been getting as many catch-drives since Zeke Parkers return, still had driven 94 winners in 471 starts this year prior to Sunday.
His first victory of the day came behind Car Lin Breezy To ($8.00) in 2:01.1 in the third race and then proceeded to notch five consecutive triumphs in races five through nine. He won race five with Shady Lane ($3.20) in 1:56.2; race six behind Niorhythm ($10.00) in 2:01; race seven with Wise Guy ($32.00) in 1:58.3; race eight with Chatham Hoochie ($3.00) in 1:58 and capped the afternoon by reining Aquila Nero ($5.00) to a 1:59 victory in race nine.
I thought I had a chance to win a few races [on Sunday] because I had quite a few live mounts, Merton said. But I was surprised by Wise Guys victory in the winners over pace. Hes been pretty sharp lately [three wins and two seconds in his last five starts] but usually he only likes being on the front-end and that he won out of a hole surprised me.
Not training a stable and only catch-driving, Merton relies on the local trainers for mounts.
I really want to thank the trainers for putting me up [to drive], Merton added. I appreciate a chance to drive their horses and feel great when Im able to produce [good results] for them.