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Monti, Beback to receive UNY USHWA awards
Monday, December 02, 2013 - by Tim Bojarski, president, UNY USHWA

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Akron, NY --- The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association has announced that Drew Monti will receive its Rising Star Award for 2013 as the most promising up and coming driver in western New York and Ron Beback, Jr. will be recognized as the Comeback Driver of the Year.

Drew Monti

Since being granted his provisional license this past April, Monti’s career has not only been on the rise, it’s been meteoric. The affable 19-year-old reinsman scored his first pari-mutuel victory within days of getting the nighttime nod from the judges and has not looked back since.

Taking full advantage of the driving opportunities afforded him midway through the Buffalo Raceway meet, Monti has produced numbers that (according to USTA statistics) have made him the leading first-year provisional driver in the country. To date his 660 starts have produced 73 wins, 83 seconds and 92 thirds while depositing $367,294 in the coffers of the owners he drives for.

At the current Batavia Downs meet, “Drivin’ Drew” is seventh among all reinsmen for starts and wins and has become a very in-demand catch driver locally. A total of 52 of his 73 wins have been recorded at the Downs.

UNY USHWA photos
Ron Beback, Jr.

Ron Beback, Jr. was both trainer and driver of the year locally in 2008 and followed that up with career years in both 2009 and 2010. But as thing go in this business, the last two years were not as kind. With an influx of new drivers on the scene, Beback’s catch drives were diminished and his numbers dropped substantially.

However this past year saw some of those drivers move to other tracks and several more sidelined by injury. So local connections looked back to the crafty veteran for help and he did not disappoint.

Once again finding his groove, Beback posted gaudy numbers that put him back in the race for top driver at the current Batavia Downs meet. Year to date his 982 starts have yielded 153 wins, 146 seconds and 138 thirds for $721,997 in purses. Those numbers represent the second highest win and purse earnings totals of his career.

Beback has also conditioned 61 winners this year that bankrolled over a quarter million dollars in earnings. That output was also his best since 2010.

Drew Monti and Ron Beback, Jr. will be presented their awards during the UNY-USHWA “Night of Distinction” this Saturday night (Dec. 7) in the winner’s circle at Batavia Downs. Other year end award winners including horses and drivers of the year will be announced later this week.

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