Monticello, NY --- Among the array of unusual races that Monticello Raceway has presented over the years are events for bartenders, hunters, dude ranches, horse owners, and lately for different ethnic groups. Now continuing along those recent guidelines and fresh off the heels of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Pace, the Mighty M will present the 11th edition of the Lady Godiva, a race strictly for lady drivers.
The Lady Godiva, which will be the second leg of the track’s Heritage Drivers Series 2013, will be presented on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, Feb. 14.
“Being that the race is on Valentine’s Day, and that all the horses will be driven by lady drivers, besides a trophy, the winning driver will also receive a big box of Godiva Chocolates,” noted Shawn Wiles, the raceway’s general manager.
At one time filling a race for the ladies was a tough chore since most of the gentler sex didn’t drive very often. But things have certainly changed over the years and there’s a growing number of women who enjoy racing harness horses.
Some of the most famous women drivers who have competed in North America are the long-retired Bea Farber; the forever youthful, Jackie Ingrassia; and, of course, the Canadian pioneer Mildred Williams.
Although Farber hasn’t driven competitively since 1995, she still leads the pack with 1,801 winners while Ingrassia is the reigning queen with 1,093 driving victories. Williams, with more than 500 wins during the 1950s and 1960s, was instrumental in getting the United States Trotting Association and the Canadian Trotting Association to license women to drive in harness races.
Director of Racing Eric Warner has a few women drivers currently competing at Monticello Raceway; among them is the Mighty M’s all-time leader Betsy Phillips with 550 career victories, as well as Lisa Krom, who not only is the defending champion, but the winning driver in the last two Lady Godivas.
Other possible participants include former Lady Godiva champions Jody Riedel, Jennifer Lappe, Terry Donnelly and Charlene (Sherry Urquidez) Cushing; and any lady who has a “P” or “A” drivers license from the U.S. Trotting Association.
Warner is currently seeking lady drivers for the upcoming Valentine’s Day event. In order to participate, or for further information, interested parties are urged to contact Warner by calling the track's race office at 845.794.4100, ext. 557; or they can contact the raceway's publicity office at ext. 455.