Yonkers, NY --- Driver Catello Manzi, who has sublet many a winner's circle during his stellar career, won the 14,000th race of his career on Tuesday evening (Dec. 14).
A blustery Yonkers Raceway was the site of the latest plateau, reached when Manzi barely lasted on the lead in the $12,500 12th race pacing finale with favored Berry Berry Fast ($5.30) in 1:58.1. It was indeed a Kodak Moment, as both Berry Berry Fast and Meat Loaf (Mark Lewis) hit the line together.
Before completing his appointed rounds, Manzi spoke of his latest plateau.
|Mike Lizzi photo|
|Cat Manzi won his 14,000th race on Tuesday at Yonkers.|
"I've never been a numbers guy," he said. "As I was getting closer, I was getting e-mail reminders from some friends, so it did cross my mind more.
"I just try to go out there, give it my best and let those things take care of themselves.
"That doesn't mean I'm not proud of the wins," the 60-year-old Harness Hall of Famer (Class of 2001) said. "I enjoy the competition, and more importantly, I'm healthy enough to stay at it."
Among Manzi's menagerie of stakes wins are a trio of Yonkers Trots -- 1994 (Bullville Victory), 2003 (Sugar Trader) and 2007 (Green Day).
"Hey, winning a Yonkers Trot is fun," Manzi said. "I remember getting a bit lucky with Bullville Victory -- he was just 'on' that night -- but the other two were really talented horses and I was fortunate to drive them.
"I like driving on the half (-mile track)," Manzi added. "I think I'm a better driver on them, probably because I grew up with them (his first win came at Pocono in 1968). I like to think that on the small tracks, it's not all about horse power. The driver might affect the race a bit more."
The Monticello, N.Y., native ranks third all-time in North American wins behind Herve Filion (15,180) and Dave Palone (14,131) and fourth in purses (more than $146 million), trailing only John Campbell, Mike Lachance and Ron Pierce. This season, his figures of 438 wins and more than $7.2 million in purses rank 17th and 15th, respectively, in North America.
Manzi, who moved his "night job" here from the Meadowlands a couple of seasons ago, is second in 2010's local driver standings, behind Jason Bartlett (466-322).