Day At The Track
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1 to 16 of 1977
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Monticello, NY-- On a pleasant afternoon with the sun peeking through the clouds and the temperature hovering in the mid-50's the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) kicked off its 37th season with a trot at Monticello Raceway and when the judges hung the official sign Joe Lee was victorious after he guided Soul Train to an easy triumph in a 2:00 clocking. After getting away with a slow start from the four-hole Lee was content to follow the leaders in the early going before he moved his charge off the pylons and then rallied to the lead which was theirs as the field trotted by the half mile marker in :59. "I felt I had the best horse so I didn't want to follow the leaders and after we passed the quarter pole I moved "Soul" off the pylons and headed for the lead," Lee explained. Sent off the odds-on favorite, Soul Train opened up daylight on the field and led Wygant Prince (Paul Minore) by the half way point in:59 and were still in command as they passed the third stanza in 1:29. After sitting in the cat-birds seat Brandos Muscle Man, with Peter Kleinhans at the controls, made their run at the leader as the field straightened for home . Although they trotted by Wygant Prince they came up short and had to settle for second money, 1-1/2 lengths behind Soul Train. Joe Lee, who during the major league baseball season is the New York Yankee's assistant clubhouse manager, was thrilled with his trotter's performance today. "He's such a pleasure to drive, Nothing fazes him and he's so handy. If you want to leave just ask him or if you need to find a hole he's responsive," Lee said of Soul Train. "An old veteran (a $410,000 career winner) he knows just what to do." Lee co-owns the 8-year old altered son of Trainforthefuture with Blindswitch Racing, Good Friends Stable and Santo Farina. He paid $2.80 for win. The second leg of this NAADA trotting series will take place at Yonkers Raceway next Thursday, MARCH 21.   by John Manzi for NAADA

Harness racing driver Austin Siegelman's favorite number recently has been 5, on 2 occasions already in the young 2019 season, 27-year-old Austin Siegelman has won 5 races at Monticello Raceway, today he did it again for the third time. It didn’t matter if he was starting from the rail or the 8 hole, Siegelman found a way to find the winners circle. The winners started in the first race where he piloted River Run for Ryan to a 1:57.3 win for trainer Arthur Jones, the son of Western Terror notched his first win of the year.  Badlands Palace took the 3rd race from post position 2 for his first pari-mutuel win of the year in 1:59.3 for Trainer Robert Lounsbury and owner Margaret Olmstead, the daughter of Badlands Hanover returned $3.10 to win.  Siegelman scored from the 8 hole with Woodmere Rondevous in 1:59.4 by a scant neck and paid $12.60 to win.  Reflexionofroyalty would account for the 4th win of the afternoon, the 4-year-old mare by American Ideal is trained by Allen Sisco (2:01 - $3.70) The last winner of the day was Yankee Devil (PP2) who scored a wire to wire win in 1:59.2 ($5.70) for trainer E. Bucky Angle Jr.  Yankee Devil a 14-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser was winless in 2018 in 14 starts. With a bit more luck Siegelman could have won 7 races, he was just nailes at the wire in the 7th race with the 3/5 favorite Histoire Eternelle in a tight photo. In the 8th race, post time favorite Ironbarbassy was scratched lame in the post parade. In the paddock after the conclusion of racing when asked about his day, the reserved  Siegelman said “I have been getting live mounts and I have been putting them in good spots” Siegelman is atop the leader board for leading Dash Winners with 65 wins, followed by Michael Merton (61) James DeVaux (47) Bruce Aldrich (46) and Jim Taggart Jr rounding out the top five with 30 wins $599,529 was wagered on the 9-race card, an average of $66,000 per race, live racing resume Monday March 11 at 12:50. By:Shawn Wiles

Last week it was Austin Siegelman who put on a driving clinic at Monticello Raceway, this week its Mike Merton. On Wednesday February 20, Merton dominated the snowy afternoon and drove 7 winners on the 12-race card. He started off hot winning the first race with Mamie Marc in a wire to wire win for trainer Patti Harmon in 2:00.4. In the 3rd he scored with Permanent Joy in a 7-length romp in 1:59 and paid $3.80 to win. Drive em Cowboy accounted for his 3rd win of the day in 1:56.3. Merton then went on to win races 7 - 10 Hi Ho Steverino won race 7 in 1:57 - $3.40. Zach Lee won in 1:56.1, giving trainer Andrew Adamczyk a training triple for the afternoon. And Patronne Seelster, a 5-year-old daughter of Bettors Delight was another winner for Merton (2:00.3 - $9.70). Rounding out the afternoon in race 10 was Caviar Court, the Jim Doherty trainee scored in 2:03.2 by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

Monticello, NY - No, it's not a typo, yesterday at Monticello Raceway harness racing driver Austin Siegelman won 5 races and today he duplicated the exact same feat. Siegelman won the second race of the afternoon with Reflexionofroyalty from the rail in 2:00.1 and returned a $8.50 win pari-mutuel, it was the first win of the season for Reflexionofroylaty. Histoire Eternelle (PP4) gave Austin his second win of the day, as he scored a wire to wire win in 1:57 for trainer Chris Petrelli. He came right back in the following race to score with Victory Singer (1:59.4 - $2.60) it was the 3rd win a row for Victory Singer. In the 7th race it was Sky Guy from post position 8, to win by 3 lengths after cutting the entire mile in 1:57.1, the son of Sportswriter is trained by Thomas Merton. The last win of the afternoon came aboard Celtic Art, the Joe Moeykens trained son of Artiscape won in 1:59 and paid $10.40 to win. The top 4 drivers are in a bottleneck for leading dash winner with 3 drivers Bruce Aldrich Jr. Michael Merton, and James Devaux all tied with 34 wins, Austin is in close pursuit with 33 wins. Over $780,000 was wagered on the 10-race card. Live racing returns on Monday with a 12:25 post time. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway  

At Monticello Raceway on Wednesday February 13, Austin Siegelman won half of the 10-race card as he steered 5 winners to the harness racing winner's circle. The Rick Dane Jr. trained Brandos Muscle Man ($13.00 - 2:00.4) got things going for Siegelman in a wire to wire effort from the 7 hole. Virtuous Dragon PP2 won the 4th race ($15.40- 1:58.2) A and C Artist ($1:59.2 - $6.70) - Ironbarbassy ($3.80 - 1:59.2) -and Law of Attraction ($9.00 - 2:00.2) The 26-year-old Siegelman is in 4th place for leading dash winning drivers, and sports a respectable .298 UDRS by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway  

Due to Winter Storm Maya, Qualifiers will be held on Thursday February 14, the box closes at 11:45 on Wednesday. Please contact the Race Office at (845) 794 - 4100 EXT 557 by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

Due to the timing of the snow that is expected to canvass the areas tomorrow morning, which will make for hazardous conditions for horses located at nearby training centers and farms, live racing has been cancelled for Tuesday February 12. Live racing will resume on Wednesday February 13. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

Austin Siegelman put up career-best numbers in 2018 and is looking to parlay that success into even bigger numbers this year. Siegelman, who turns 27 on Feb. 27, won 314 races and $2.19 million in purses last season. His win total ranked 26th among all harness racing drivers in North America. "I think I had a pretty good year," Siegelman said. "I think it was a step in the right direction if my career is going to go forward. I really didn't expect it to happen because I didn't have a steady barn to drive for, and I kind of still don't. I'm just going to take it for what it is. Hopefully I can build off it and it gets a little better this year." Siegelman enjoyed the majority of his success at Monticello Raceway, where he finished third in the driver standings with 229 victories despite missing three weeks as the result of an accident. His 18-percent win clip was also third among regulars at the upstate New York half-mile oval. In September, Siegelman added New Jersey's Freehold Raceway to his schedule. He won 32 races there during the remainder of the year, a total that was fourth best at the track. He also had wins at The Meadowlands, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Tioga Downs, and Yonkers. "It was nice to get 200 wins at Monticello," Siegelman said. "It was nice to get into Freehold towards the end again. It was really nice to break into Yonkers a little bit. That's where I'm looking to go." Siegelman is currently focused on driving at Monticello, Yonkers, and Freehold. He began racing regularly at Yonkers last July and has won 38 races there. "I'd like to drive at the Meadowlands more, but my schedule is nice and tidy with Monticello Monday through Thursday, Freehold on Friday and Saturday, and Yonkers the five nights," Siegelman said. "It's a full book. "I'd like to pick up a little more quality work at Yonkers and cut down a little. That way it's not just a mad rush every day. It's tough. It's tough on the body, it's tough mentally. Sunday is my only day off now and I don't want to do anything." Siegelman, the son of trainer James Siegelman, received the 2013 Rising Star Award from the Monticello-Goshen chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association. Last September, he got career win No. 1,000, which came at Monticello. "For sure that was the highlight of last year," Siegelman said. "That was nice." Siegelman does not set many goals each year, other than continuing to improve. "I watch replays when I'm off. I watch races. It doesn't stop," he said. "I want to learn. I know the mistakes I make when I'm out there. As soon as I make them I'm like, oh no. It's not a good feeling. "I think I'm finally learning to be a little more patient and play the gate a little better. I used to have it in my head before the race what I was going to do - if I was going to leave, or if I wasn't - and now most of the time I let the horse decide. I think I'm starting to get a little more polished. I'm still not there yet." Patience can be difficult for young drivers to achieve, especially as they strive to make a name for themselves. "I want to win every race that I'm in," Siegelman said. "It's a tough pill to swallow that I can't." Still, Siegelman is happy with the progress he has made so far in his career. "I'm finally getting to a point where I'm happy with where I'm at," he said. "I just take it day-by-day." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

In anticipation of the extreme cold that is expected for tomorrow, live harness racing is canceled for Thursday January 31 Live racing will resume Monday February 4th, post time is 12:20 by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway  

Due to the extreme cold and concern for the health and welfare of the drivers and the horses, live racing on Wednesday January 30 at both Monticello Raceway in New York and The Raceway at Western Fair in Ontario, has been canceled.    .      

Monticello, NY - Due to deteriorating weather conditions and hazardous driving conditions, live racing has been cancelled for Tuesday at Monticello Raceway. Live racing will resume on Wednesday January 30 with a 12:20 Post time by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

New York casino operator Empire Resorts is shutting down slots operations at the Monticello Casino & Raceway to avoid cannibalizing its new Catskills property. On Tuesday, Empire informed the US Securities and Exchange Commission that the subsidiary that runs Monticello had told its staff that the property would close its video gaming machine (VGM) operations “on or about April 23, 2019.” Monticello’s harness racing operations will remain as they are, at least, for the time being. Empire CEO Ryan Eller was blunt about the reason behind the closure, saying the company needed to “improve revenue performance at our nearly Resorts World Catskills property,” the flashy $1.2b New York casino newcomer that opened its doors to the public in February 2018. Resorts World Catskills has so far failed to live up to its original revenue projections, as have the other three upstate commercial casinos the state authorized in 2015. Empire expected the Catskills venue to generate $277m in its first year of operations but the venue managed only half that sum in its first 11 months. The slots shutdown will leave about 160 Monticello staff with nothing to do, but Empire says these workers will be either offered jobs at the Catskills casino or receive severance packages. About 40 Monticello staff will remain at their posts to oversee racing operations. Monticello launched its casino in 2004 and currently features around 1,100 VGMs but the property had been on a lengthy losing streak that accelerated dramatically once the Catskills property opened. There’s some debate as to whether Empire has the authority to shut Monticello’s casino without state approval, given the company’s obligations to kick up a certain cut of revenue to the state and to continue to fund purses at the track. The New York Gaming Commission has yet to publicly comment on the news. Assembly Racing Committee chair Gary Pretlow told the Poughkeepsie Journal that he would examine the possibility of having the Catskill Off-Track Betting Corp take over Monticello’s casino operations. BETTING BOOST ON THE WAY? With the upstate casino market effectively saturated, New York’s commercial casino operators are more or less pinning their hopes on adding legal sports betting to their gaming palette. The 2013 legislation that authorized those casinos’ construction also allowed them to offer sports betting pending a change in federal law, which came to pass last spring. Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated that he wanted to bring betting to the upstate casinos in order to “generate activity” at the otherwise under-utilized venues. On Thursday, the New York State Gaming Commission posted the agenda for its next meeting on Monday (28) and “sports wagering” made the cut. The 2013 legislation doesn’t allow for anything other than land-based wagering, and while other states that have allowed only land-based betting have reported a traffic boost at casinos offering sportsbooks, New Jersey’s experience shows digital betting generating triple the handle generated by land-based operations. Regardless, all four upstate operators have struck prospective betting deals with bookmakers. The state’s tribal gaming operators, with whom Cuomo has frequently sparred, are also striking deals on their belief that they are entitled to retain product parity with the commercial operators. By Peter Amsel Reprinted with permission of the calvinayre.com site

2019 was a very good year for Michael Merton, the 47-year-old Monticello native earned his first ever Leading Dash winner title at his hometown track Monticello Raceway with 267 wins, former Monticello Raceway dash winner Bruce Aldrich Jr. finished 2nd with 235 wins, followed by the young Austin Siegelman with 228 trips to the winner circle. The Monticello native was reared in the backstretch of Monticello Raceway as a youngster and is no stranger to the Catskill Mountain oval. Merton hit the road hard this summer as he also won the leading dash driver at Tioga Downs with 82 wins. Between Monticello Raceway and Tioga Downs, Merton amassed over $1,440,971 in purses and 349 wins. Merton's combined season tally of 382 ranks him 16th in the nation for wins Bob Lounsbury earning his 4th overall leading trainer title at Monticello Raceway with 93 wins, Gary Messenger was second with 80 wins. Bob Lounsbury also won the leading training award in 2013, 2014 & 2015. He also ranked nationally, in 2013 and 2015 he was the % leading trainer in North America for trainers having over 500 starts. The Bob Lounsbury Stable earned over $305,797 in 330 starts, an average of $926 per start for the 2018 season at Monticello Raceway.   Shawn Wiles  

Monticello Raceway Race Secretary, Eric Warner was successful in putting a race together for six harness racing veteran campaigners that will go behind the starting gate for the last time. The 6 starters sport an impressive overall body of work, between them they have amassed a total of 2202 lifetime starts, 369 wins and over $2,435,000 in career earnings. On Monday afternoon, this bunch of hardy campaigners did not show any signs of aging, as the gate, a trio of aged pacers left the gate hard with Esprit De Kayjay A getting the lead and taking the field past the ¼ in 28.1. Delco Tross was first over at the half in 58.2 and took the field past the ¾ in 1:28.2 and was on top by 5 lengths, at the top of the lane Delco Tross (Mike Merton) appeared to be on his way to victory, but Rick Harp and Mayflowermoonshine rallied in deep stretch to overtake Delco Tross in 1:59.4, B Blissfull (Bruce Aldrich Jr.) finished 3rd. For Mayflowermoonshine it was his 7th win of the season, giving him 52 lifetime wins, the 14-year-old son of Pilgrims Punch is owned and trained by Dennis Lacey of Aurora, NY and was bred by Elmer L Yoder. Mayflowermoonshine lifetime stats include over 426 starts, a record of 1:51.2 taken at 3 with lifetime earnings of $653,000. By Shawn Wiles

The month of December seems to be to harness racing driver Jimmy Devaux's liking, it was only 10 days ago that he won five races on the afternoon. On Thursday afternoon December 27, Devaux did it again. The wins started in Race two where he scored with RCS Ready (2:04.1-$9.70) for trainer Wesley Miller. It is rare to see Devaux go off at odds of 30/1, as he pulled off a shocker with NY Whitesox in 1:58 and paid $63.50. Jim came right back in the next race and visited the winners circle with Quality Closer in the Winner Over event, scoring an easy 6 length win in 1:54.4 for Monica Banca, Zack Lee won the 10th race for owner Gary Haas in 1:57 - $5.50. Drive Em Cowboy capped off the 5 bagger in race 11 to win in 1:57.2 and paid $13.20 for win. Devaux just missed his 6th winner of the day but fell short finishing second in the last race. The five wins added to DeVaux's yearly tally, giving him 211 wins at Monticello Raceway, placing him 4th in for leading dash winners and $796,076 in earnings, over $776,000 was wagered on the 12-race card. By Shawn Wiles

Decades ago the great PR guru John Manzi came up with the idea of conducting a race for 14-year-old equines for their last start of their harness racing career. This unique niche event has been duplicated many times over the years by many tracks. Monticello Raceway Race Secretary Eric Warner is searching for 14-year-old pacers to participate in an Invitational Pace on Monday December 31 for a purse of $5000, check the Condition sheet for more details. Anyone interested should contact the Racing Office at 845 794 4100 ext. 557 or ewarner@empireresorts.com By: Shawn Wiles

1 to 16 of 1977
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