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Monticello Raceway PR-man John Manzi, left, congratulates Doc Gill after he reined Miss Gibbons to a 1:57.3 track record victory during the 2005 season. The 84-year-old Gill will be one of the drivers participating in The Metamucil Mile this Sunday afternoon, Dec. 19 at Monticello Raceway.

Old timers set for
The Metamucil Mile

By John Manzi
MONTICELLO — December 17, 2010 — On Sunday afternoon, Dec. 19, eight veteran horsemen will don their racing silks and compete in The Metamucil Mile at Monticello Raceway with the winner being tabbed as the “Senior Driver of the Year.”
The Metamucil Mile will feature drivers who are at least 65 years of age. The oldest, Howard (Doc) Gill, is 84 and the youngest – the baby of the group – Alan Schwartz is a mere 65.
The combined age of the eight participating drivers is 565.
The Metamucil Mile is slated as race number five on the 10-race special afternoon card on Dec. 19.
Headlining the event is seven-time Monticello Raceway driving champion John Gilmour. Now 72 years of age, Gilmour is in the twilight of his wonderful career – one in which he has recorded 4,477 driving victories.
Sep, as Gilmour is known on the backstretch, has drawn 5-1 shot Donnina Hanover and they’ll start from the coveted pole position in the Metamucil Mile.
The early line 5-2 favorite, Haley And Terror from post four, will have Alan Schwartz at the lines.
Schwartz, one of the best amateur drivers of all-time with 398 career wins, is also the President of the Monticello Harness Horsemen’s Association, whose second annual Fantasy Holiday Party free for all children from toddlers to 12-year-olds will also be presented on this coming Sunday afternoon.
Gerry Fielding, 67, another talented amateur driver with 57 career wins, has the 3-1 rated co-favorite Trust Fund and they will leave from the seven hole.
Arguably the sentimental favorite will be Doc Gill, who now at 84 years old has slowed down considerably. However, during his wonderful career he not only was an outstanding veterinarian but, by his own admission, he’d rather drive horses than do almost anything else.
A few years ago, fans may remember Doc Gill and his great trotting mare Miss Gibbons, a New York Sires Stakes standout who set a 1:57.3 track record here at the Mighty M in 2005.
Doc, who’ll handle 4-1 rated Little Rosey from post five, has reined 350 winners while driving part-time and usually his own stock.
Another veteran driver still competing with regularity is General “Bubba” Washington Jr. Now 71 years of age, Bubba has spent his entire life in harness racing and over the years he’s hustled home 321 winners.
Washington drew 10-shot J L Lucy and they’ll leave from the three hole.
Alex (Doc) Savran,72, a retired oral surgeon and longtime Billings amateur driver who has 22 winners to his credit, will handle 12-1 shot Elegy Hanover and they’ll start from post position two.
Richie Campolong, who mainly is a trainer, will drive 9-2 rated Call For Grace from his own barn. Though he rarely drives, over the years he did produce 20 winners.
And owner-trainer Paul Moore rounds out the field. Moore, who usually leaves the driving to others, has won seven races from a very limited amount of starts. He’ll drive his wife’s 8-1 shot Rising Debt and start from the eight hole.
“This is our second annual Metamucil Mile, but last year’s winner, Greg Decker Sr., has opted to watch this year’s contest,” said Eric Warner, the track’s Director of Racing. “The horses in the race are fairly well-matched and driving strategy will probably determine the winner. Wouldn’t it be great if it was an eight-horse dead-heat?”

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