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Pat Berry returning to Chicago
Friday, February 3, 2006 - from Meadowlands Media Relations

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Driver Patrick Berry will celebrate his 30th birthday with three drives at the Meadowlands on Saturday night, and then pack his bags and head back to Chicago.

“It's not the worst place in the world to leave, certainly not the worst thing I've ever done,” said a frustrated Berry.  “Everyone has been good to me, and I was given a chance.  It's a nice place to race and live, but right now I haven't been doing any good lately.  I'm keeping the door open for coming back."

Berry’s efforts yielded $143,643 in purse money in January, driving both at Freehold and at the Meadowlands, and he came off his best season of $3,171,002 in 2005 with 324 wins in 3,300 drives.

Each of the last three years, he has improved with $2,653,297 in purses in 2004 and $1,678,860 in 2003.

He also made a dramatic statement one Sunday in February of 2005 when he won with three $60 horses on the same Meadowlands card.

"I did better here last year,” Berry noted.  “If Eric [Ledford] couldn't drive a horse, I'd get it.  I had some horses from Freehold that were live.  But lately, I haven't even been getting checks.  Since November I've been in a slump.  In the past, I'd just drive through them, but I don't see this changing anytime soon here.

"I need to get a foothold somewhere, to go somewhere where I can win races,” he said.  “I have this 'thing' about winning races.  My wife [Shannon] understands and is happy with whatever I do.  She's happy with me coming home.  It's a transitional time for me.  I can drive in Chicago, but there are a lot of short fields there too at Maywood and Balmoral.  Things are uncertain in Chicago right now.  I would like to find a place where I can win races and make money and stick there.

"I may do some construction work with my father,” he added.  “He freelances and trains a few.  Conceivably, I could do both.  I'm happy I made the move here last year.  There are just so many good drivers here at the Meadowlands.  

“I guess it's going to be an unusual birthday for me, and turning 30 isn't easy for me either,” Berry noted.  “It's like, ‘What is there left for me’ kind of thing.  But I'll work it out."


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