By John Manzi
MONTICELLO January 30, 2004 Conducting races for hunters, bartenders, dude ranchers, horse owners and people from many different ethnic groups is nothing new at Monticello Raceway. Now fresh on the heels of the Dr. Martin Luther King Pace, which was the first event in the Mighty Ms Heritage Series this year, is the second edition of the Lady Godiva Pace, a race strictly for lady drivers.
That event will be presented on Valentines Day, Saturday, February 14.
We are calling the lady drivers race the Lady Godiva Pace and presenting it on Valentines Day, the day when more chocolate candy is given to ones valentine than any other day of the year, noted track General Manager Shawn Wiles. Besides receiving a huge trophy, the winning driver will also get a big box of Godiva Chocolates.
At one time filling a race strictly for the ladies was a tough chore since many of the gentler sex didnt drive. But things have changed over the years and there is a growing number of women who enjoy racing harness horses.
According to Racing Secretary Eric Warner, he has nearly enough lady drivers currently competing at The Mighty M to fill a race. He said no fewer than six ladies compete here on a regular or semi-regular basis.
Leading the field is Monticellos all-time leading lady driver, Betsy Phillips, who ranks among the top five female drivers in North America in terms of victories. Last year, Phillips passed the 500-win plateau and currently has registered 528 driving victories.
However, Anne Wheeler, whose stable competes here regularly during the winter season, has reined even more winners in her career. At last count, Wheeler has 760 lifetime wins.
Other locals who are eligible to race in the event include: Lisa Krom, Jody Reidel, Veronica Merton and last years winner, Sherry Clouser.
However, this event would be tremendously enhanced if Jacquie Ingrassia can participate. Ingrassia ranks second in wins among lady drivers in North America and recently notched her 1,000th driving victory.
Thursdays Added To Schedule
Thursday race cards will be added to Monticello Raceways live racing schedule during the month of February.
Live harness action will be held five times weekly on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with all post times continuing at 12:40 p.m.
Wagering on thoroughbred and/or harness simulcasts will continue to be available seven days a week throughout the month.