Monticello, NY --- When Monticello Raceway presents its 14th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Pace, a race which features the talents of African-American drivers, last year’s champ, Dennis Watson, will be back to defend his title.
This year’s MLK Pace will be presented on Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 21) and it will not only be Monticello Raceway’s annual tribute to the great civil rights leader, but the race will be the first leg of the track's 2014 Heritage Drivers Series.
Last year on the cold (12 degree) and windy afternoon of Jan. 22, Watson scored a decisive 2:04.2 victory with Ally’s Delight after a second over trip stalking the favorite and then rallying to his second victory in the race.
Watson’s initial triumph in the event was back in 2008 when he reined BJ’s Jetstream to a 2:00 victory, which is still the fastest of all the previous 13 Dr. King paces.
However, when the horses line-up behind the mobile starting gate this year Watson won’t be the only former champion back in action. Also slated to participate is Cedric Washington, a three-time winner of the Dr. King Pace who won the inaugural event and then was triumphant again in 2003 and 2011; and Bobby “Boonie” Williams, Jr., the winner of the 2012 event.
Others who have expressed interest in competing in this year’s Dr. King Pace included Julian Williams, Allan Johnson and James O’Farrow.
“However, we will still need eight (drivers) to have a full field and we’re still a few short so we have some room for some other drivers of African-American heritage who might want to be in the race this year,” said Eric Warner, the track's director of racing.
Any driver of African-American heritage, with a full or provisional license, interested in competing in this season's Dr. King Pace is urged to contact Warner in the racing office at 845.794.4100, ext. 557; or they can contact the track's publicity department at ext. 455.