Three races earlier, Hiteman drove his 7,999th lifetime winner with the 8-1 longshot Mikayla’s Rockette.
As it turned out Hiteman reached the 8,000-win plateau with a couple of days to spare.
|Dale Hiteman was greeted in the Maywood Park winner's circle on the occasion of his 8,000th victory|
When I spoke to Dale a couple of days ago he shared some of his thoughts with me.
“I remember when Walter Paisley and Daryl Busse got the 3,000 and 4,000 wins. Those were the guys I looked up to when I was a kid,” the 54-year-old Ohioan said. “Of course. things have changed a lot since. In those days we didn’t race year-around and most guys like himself both drove and trained horses. Now you have mostly catch-drivers.
“Back then that’s how I was raised. You trained and drove horses but there came a time I realized I couldn’t do it all, not with a wife and three kids. Something had to give, so I gave up training horses and concentrated on strictly on being a catch-driver.
“I like to think that through the years I’ve respected people. I like to think the race tracks and people like Phil Langley, a man who always ran a tight ship with no bull, gave me mutual respect. Phil is someone who for a long time has been a very important part of harness racing, and for that matter, he still is. I think people like Phil know that I’ve always gone out there and given it my best.
“In the racing business you’re going to go through a lot of ups and downs and if you don’t have that competitive fire in your belly you are not going to persevere and reach those high tides in your career.”
With 8,000 career dash wins and more than $61 million in purses won, Dale’s perseverance has certainly paid off.