Monticello, NY --- When the Monticello–Goshen Chapter holds its 55th annual awards banquet on Sunday evening (Nov. 17) at The Fountains in Middletown, N.Y., the Mighty M’s Senior Director of Racing, Eric Warner, will be the recipient of the Good Guy Award.
|Geri Schwarz photo|
On Labor Day 1992 Warner took the position of race secretary at Monticello Raceway and over the years he has been the director of the track's racing programs. Besides his daily duties of producing race programs, his efforts went hand and hand with the track's promotion department and together they presented races that drew national attention.
Perhaps the most fruitful promotion has been “the Au Revoir,” a race for 14-year-olds on Monticello Raceway’s final program in late December. Last year’s event produced the most interest of them all, so much so that the New York Times used a photo of the race favorite Tattler’s Jet and his amateur driver Gene Miller on the front page of their sports section. That photo was accompanied with a story that engulfed the entire page and put harness racing in a good light.
However, that wasn’t all. The following day, in spite of Tattler’s Jet finishing second, the results of the Au Revoir produced another half- page of copy.
Over the years Warner was, and continues to be, the point man behind the track's racing promos and he has the unenviable position of getting enough horses to fill races like the Little Grey Jug, the Battle of the Brain Trust, and the eight-race series of ethnic contests called the Heritage Drivers Series, to mention a few.
“Doing what he does is above and beyond his call of duty but that is the kind of guy Eric is,” said track GM Shawn Wiles of Warner’s participation in making racing promotions happen.
Eric Warner grew up in the harness racing industry. His grandfather Pat Provenzano started Batavia Downs in 1941 and on his passing Eric’s mom, Donna Warner, and her sister, Barbara Samberg, assumed ownership of Batavia Downs.
Warner, 49, began his illustrious career working at Batavia Downs, first as the track's stall man and then he moved to the race office as the assistant to race secretary Peter Koch.
In 1987, Warner took a position as assistant race secretary at Fairmount Park in Illinois. The next year he returned home to Batavia Downs, again in the position of assistant race secretary.
In 1990 he returned to Illinois to become the race secretary at Quad City Downs in East Moline and became the youngest race secretary in the country.
For the past 21 years Monticello has been Warner’s home and although he goes though his daily chores as director of racing his efforts have not gone unnoticed.
“I feel funny that the harness writers want to give me an award for just doing my job but I’m very appreciative,” Warner said.