By John Manzi
MONTICELLO November 18, 2005 Greg Merton has become the first driver to reach the $1 million mark in purses won during a single season at Monticello Raceway.
Merton, who currently leads the strong driving colony at the Mighty M, has bankrolled $1,001,819 with the horses he has driven this year. Mertons total, which will undoubtedly increase before the curtain drops on the 2005 racing season in late December, surpassed the previous record of $703,008 set last season by Billy Parker Jr.
However, Parkers total during the 2004 campaign at Monticello Raceway included six months with the purses being supported by the video gaming terminals. Prior to the installation of the gaming terminals, the most purse money ever earned in one season was $593,815 by Jimmy Devaux during the 2002 campaign.
Merton, 31, is enjoying his greatest season ever in the sulky. Through Nov. 15, his 240 driving victories is tops at Monticello Raceway and his .363 Universal Driver Rating (UDR) is also the best in that department.
In all, Mertons seasonal victory total stands at 304. That total ranks the Monticello native, who is rapidly approaching his 2,000th career win, 25th best in North America.