Day At The Track
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Harness racing driver Cory Stratton will be in the sulky Saturday (March 16) at Meadowlands Racetrack, but it is a seat he plans to take less often as he focuses on building his own training stable. The 26-year-old Stratton, the younger brother of driver Jordan Stratton, started his barn in 2018 after spending several years helping manage other stables and working for other trainers. He has 10 horses and is based at the Mark Ford Training Center, not far from his Middletown, N.Y., home. Stratton was the Monticello-Goshen chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Amateur Driver of the Year in 2010 and its Rising Star Award winner in 2012. He was driving at Monticello Raceway this year but stopped last month to focus on training. "I enjoy driving, but it came down to turning down more horses or giving up Monticello," Stratton said. "I just enjoy training more. I enjoy working with them all week and when they do well you know you've accomplished something. It's nice to see your horses do good." Stratton was working for trainer Travis Alexander when he decided to branch out. Another conditioner, Peter Tritton, helped Stratton get started by recommending him to an owner that had asked Tritton to train one of his pacing mares. "I didn't want to extend my stable," Tritton said. "I said (Stratton) would do a really good job. He's a hard worker. I know he's got ability. I told people I think he's worth a chance. He's young and keen and he does the work himself. It's always good to help the young people in the sport. I'd recommend him to anyone looking for a trainer." The 7-year-old mare sent to Stratton, Best Of Jenna, won eight of 25 races with him last season and has added two more victories this year. "She's kind of a nice mare," said Indiana's Jacob Graber, who helped his son, Mark, find Best Of Jenna's new trainer. "She's had some issues; she's hard to deal with. I didn't know Cory from Adam, but (Tritton) told me Cory would do a good job. He told me that if Cory can't get the job done nobody else will, and he was right. We're very pleased with Cory. There are other people in my area that notice that too. Cory is a nice guy and his brother Jordan is too. They're very nice people." Stratton credited his dad, Dave, brother Jordan, Tritton and Alexander as influences on his career. "I was happy working for Travis, it was good to work under him, but everybody wants to be their own boss," Stratton said. "When the opportunity came up I wasn't passing it up. "My dad was a really good trainer so I learned a lot from him. Peter Tritton has helped me out. He is one of my go-tos and he's a great guy as well. Having Jordan drive for me has definitely helped as well. Without him I wouldn't be where I am." Stratton won 17 of 66 training starts last year and $191,441 in purses. He entered Thursday with five wins in 34 races this season. "I'd like to keep growing, keep succeeding and doing well," Stratton said. "Mark Graber is a great owner and he really helped me. Without Peter Tritton and him getting me going again it would have been difficult. They sent me some quality horses. "Obviously it would be nice to have some stakes horses down the road or some sire stakes. But I'm happy just racing at the big tracks and doing well. I'm hands on, I work with the horses every day. I race them where they can win, in the right conditions. I'm not afraid to ship them around if I have to. If they're not racing good somewhere, I'm not afraid to take them somewhere else and freshen up their attitude. I'm not afraid to try things." Stratton will drive Swift As A Shadow, a horse he co-owns, on Saturday at the Meadowlands. He starts from post 10. "The horse drew the 10 hole, but he's been razor sharp," Stratton said. "He kicks home good, so I'll hope that the cover flow is good and he'll sprint home pretty good." On Friday (March 15) at the Big M, 5-year-old pacer On Cruise Control makes his second start for Stratton after arriving from Canada. The horse is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line in a GSY Amateur Series event. "He wasn't that great in his first start, but he was off a couple weeks," Stratton said. "He should be all right in there. I don't see why he can't do good. It could be a pretty good weekend." Regardless of what happens this weekend, Stratton is happy with his career decision. "I'm loving it," he said. "I'm enjoying the ride. Hopefully it never ends." Ken Weingartner

Shawn Gray secured a driving triple on Wednesday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway as the Maine native completed his hat trick with young trotter HS Certified (Credit Winner). The four year old mare pulled off a mild upset for Gray and took advantage as several front runners made breaks throughout the first half. HS Certified emerged with a lead of nearly a half dozen and the Cory Stratton trained trotter tired a bit late before holding on to win in 2:00.2 in the evening’s $6,000 trot. Gray also scored victories with trotter Rogan Seelster and claiming pacer Duke Of Gannon on the thirteen race card. Gray currently sits in fifth in the local driver standings. Live racing continues on Thursday night at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post. by Mike Sardella  

Management is pleased to report that all of the horses and drivers involved in the Wednesday night harness racing wreck at Saratoga are doing ok. Three of the four drivers involved in the ugly incident were back driving on Thursday night as Bruce Aldrich Jr, Billy Dobson and Cory Stratton all suffered some bumps and bruises but were back in the bike on Thursday. Brian Cross didn’t fare as well as the veteran reinsman reportedly suffered a concussion along with several cuts and bruises but was home resting on Thursday. He will be sidelined indefinitely. All of the horses involved came out of the accident as well as could be hoped for. Aldrich piloted the winner in the Thursday night feature as Legerdepan (The Panderosa) recorded her first Open victory as she came on to beat the favored The Last Laugh (Tyler Buter) in the final strides. For Legerdepan, it was her third consecutive win but the first while competing in the $18,000 Open for Fillies and Mares. The victory in the feature came in 1:54.4 for the Jose Godinez trained pacer. The Last Laugh had her lengthy win streak broken but finished a strong second in her local debut while Blows Me Away (Stephane Bouchard) closed to finish third. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Friday night with a 7:05pm first post.  by Mike Sardella

Wednesday night race card at Saratoga was marred by a bad looking accident that took place in the evening’s ninth race. Just past the three quarter pole, pocket sitting Rozewood (Billy Dobson) was starting to fade and appeared to go down to his knees, causing an ugly chain reaction that resulted in four drivers being unseated and four horses that did not finish. While all four horses were corralled without major incident, the extent of the injuries to the drivers involved is currently unknown. It appeared that Dobson and Brian Cross got the worst of it while Bruce Aldrich Jr.and Cory Stratton, who were also unseated, did appear to walk away without major injury. All drivers involved in the accident were transported to the local hospital. Further updates will follow in the coming days. Best wishes to all involved in the spill. To view the accident click here.     Live racing continues on Thursday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella  

The 103rd Grand Circuit meeting got underway with heavy humidity and sunny skies and temperatures in the 90's on July 4th with 10 races featuring the 2 and 3-year-old pacers and trotters in the County Fair Division of the NY Sires Stakes.

For the first time in 54 years of presenting awards banquets the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA held their annual affair in Middletown, NY at The Fountains on Sands Road on Sunday, November 18.

Cory Stratton is a happy young man. And why shouldn't he be? After all, the 20-year-old harness racing driver just reined two winners on the October 2nd racing program at Monticello Raceway and now has 47 wins this season which ranks him in the top 12 on the local leaderboard.

Promising New York harness racing driver Cory Stratton has won the 2012 Monticello Raceway Rising Star Award - an award which his older brother Jordan also won a couple of years ago.

On Monday, June 30 Monticello Raceway will present the Munich Mile, a race for harness racing drivers of German extraction which is the fifth leg of the track's Heritage Drivers Series.

Even Jeanine Harthorn-Stratton admits that if she was one of her beloved horses she could very well have been a champion broodmare. You see Harthorn-Stratton is the strong hard-working female in a three-man harness racing family.

During his 2009 harness racing campaign Southbound Trucker was the Horse of the Year here at Monticello Raceway. He performed well last season but raced mostly out of town and this year having bankrolled just $22,000 the grand ole campaigner's numbers were running far behind his previous seasons outputs.

Jordan Stratton never had a 'Plan-B' in life. In fact when his English teacher told him to complete an assignment outlining his Plan A and B in life he simply said - 'There is no Plan B - Just a Plan A - a life of harness racing!

Don't be surprised if Cory Stratton quickly follows his older brother Jordan into the harness racing limelight. The 19-year-old has been compared to his sibling by many people in the game, and after just two seasons in the sulky Cory is already starting to announce himself on the harness racing stage.

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