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Contributed Photo | Geri Schwarz

Monticello Casino & Raceway Vice President of Marketing Jim Rafferty, right with trophy, and Monticello Raceway Public Relations Director John Manzi, left, hold the blanket in the presentation as friends of John Gilmour look on.

John Gilmour wins St. Paddy Pace with free-legged pacer Gemini Jon in 2:00.43

Contributed Story
MONTICELLO — March 19, 2010 — When Monticello Raceway presented its 10th annual St. Paddy Pace on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, Irish eyes were smiling.
And they were smiling on John Gilmour, who reined Gemini Jon, a rare free-legged pacer, to a head victory over 27-1 shot Bolero Artifice and driver Curtis Carey in a time of 2:00.4.
However, though Gilmour took home the trophy, had the race gone another 25 feet, Carey would have been the winner.
For Gilmour, it was his second triumph in the St. Paddy Pace. His initial victory was with Irish Lad in the 2002 edition.
Jimmy Marohn Jr. and Top Flite Rocket cut the early fractions and Marohn played hardball when he wouldn’t let John McDermott and Hardcore take the lead. Instead of yielding command, Marohn kept McDermott parked out.
As the field headed for the halfway point with Hardcore still on the limb, Gilmour rushed Gemini Jon up behind McDermott’s pacer and then went around him to challenge Marohn for the lead.
Once alongside Top Flite Rocket, the two pacers raced head to head to the three-quarters, at which point Gemini Jon circled the leader and then braced for challenges from behind. And those challenges came. First Kevin McDermott and Cagey, who shadowed the pacesetter, took their shot at Gilmour’s pacer. But Gemini Jon was still too strong to be overtaken.
Then Carey got big Bolero Artifice in motion and the 8-year-old Cams Card Shark gelding kicked into another gear and put on a serious stretch run. Bolero Artifice rallied down the center of the track and he and Gemini Jon came to the finish line heads apart.
But after the judges’ review of the photograph, they declared Gemini Jon the winner.
“I knew he [Curtis Carey with Bolero Artifice] was coming at us at the end [of the mile], and man was he coming like a freight train, too,” Gilmour said with a laugh. “My horse went a long trip and when we crossed the wire, I wasn’t sure who the winner was. It was really close, but I got lucky.”
For Gilmour, who’s in his sixth decade as a harness driver, it marked his first victory of the 2010 season. However, in his illustrious career, he reined a total of 4,468 winners prior to this triumph and along the way he won seven Monticello Raceway driving titles over the years.
The St. Paddy Pace, for drivers of Irish descent, was the third leg of the Mighty M’s 2010 Heritage Drivers Series. The series will continue on Monday, April 5 with the “Race for the Matzohs,” the 12th annual Passover Pace.

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