Monticello, NY --- Jimmy Marohn, Jr. and Danny Gill won 2012 titles for the leading horsemen at Monticello Raceway.
Marohn had a big year in the sulky in 2012. The diminutive reinsman scored his first ever driving title at Monticello when he finished the season with 271 wins, some 15 better than runner-up Billy “Zeke” Parker’s 256.
Earlier this year, during the summer meet at Tioga Downs, Marohn raked in his second consecutive dash win title there and now after garnering the Mighty M crown one wonders how long it’ll be before he moves on to the bigger offerings at the racetracks in metropolitan New York.
Trailing Marohn and Parker in driving victories were Greg Merton (237), Jimmy Taggart, Jr. (229) and Mike Forte (213). The 2012 season marked the first time that the top five driving leaders all topped 200 wins.
On the training side, Marohn’s main patron, Danny Gill, -- whom he drives exclusively for -- scored a victory from his barn on Dec. 31 to become top trainer with 118 winners. In what was a very tight three-way race to right to the end, Gill’s victory on the last day of the Mighty M season solidified his championship by just a single triumph, one more than Pete Pellegrino’s 117 wins and four more than Gary Messenger’s 114 victories. Bob Lounsbury’s 86 winners was fourth best while Elisha Lafrenier’s 80 ranked her fifth among last year’s training colony.
Greg Merton, who did most of the driving for Pete Pellegrino, finished as top percentage driver with a .387 average, some 44 points better than runner-up Bruce Aldrich Jr.’s .343. Rounding out the top five were Marohn (340), Parker (.333) and Alan Schwartz (.286).
Pellegrino was the meet's leading percentage trainer with a whopping .506 average. Runner-up Lounsbury finished with .395 followed by Gill’s .376. Lafrenier (.363) and Messenger (.338) completed the top five.
No driver had $1 million in purse earnings, probably because the playing field was leveled by with five drivers who had seasonal wins ranging between 213 and 271. Still Marohn was tops in purse earnings with $781,943 while Parker’s $758,071 was second best. Taggart’s $695,916 ranked him third ahead of Forte’s $690,191. Fifth place went to Merton with $594,457.
Among the trainers, Messenger’s purse earnings of $396,604 was tops and some $78,000 more than Gill’s $318,295. Third place in purses won by a trainer went to Pellegrino with $348,262. Lounsbury ($218,867) and Bruce Aldrich, Sr. ($203,335) rounded out the top five.
Taggart had the most starts of any driver with 1,716 trips to post. Among the trainers Messenger’s 678 starters was tops.