Monticello, NY --- On Presidents' Day, with well over two feet of fresh snow on the ground, much of it piled along the inside and outside of the racetrack, Monticello Raceway was still able to present its Not Quite Presidential Pace despite the fact that three horses were late scratches.
|Geri Schwarz photo|
|Howard Taylor and Red Carpet Tonight were easy 1-3/4 length winners.|
“That we lost three horses to scratches was something we didn’t figure on,” said Eric Warner, the track's director of racing. “When you have drivers coming in from out of town there is always a possibility of losing someone along the way, especially when the weather is bad, but losing three horses in the race was something we didn’t figure on.”
And perhaps it was because of the short field that Howard “Zachary” Taylor altered his driving strategy and sent his charge, Red Carpet Tonight, to the front and together they made every pole a winning one en route to a 2:04 triumph over Space Chalet, driven by Don “Herbert” Hoover and She’s A Screamer, with Peter Gerry aboard.
“I left with her (Red Carpet Tonight) because I watched replays and she threw her head when she was grabbed into. Therefore I decided to roll her out of the gate so that I didn't have to grab her and that we had a short field seemed like the right time to put her on the front end,” Taylor said, after being contacted in the paddock after the race.
When the wings of the mobile gate folded Taylor sent Red Carpet Tonight to the lead and opened up a three length lead as they passed the first quarter in :29.1. From there, Taylor and Red Carpet Tonight had open lengths on the field at every other stanza and at the top of the lane they were five lengths in front.
“We had a good lead as we headed for home and although my mare was tiring she held off a late charge by Don Hoover’s pacer to win,” Taylor added.
Owned by Leonard Segall and trained by Steve Moore, Red Carpet Tonight paid $10.80 for win.
Because it was the Presidents' Day Holiday the Not Quite Presidential Pace was carded and mainly relegated to drivers with U.S. Presidential names although Peter Gerry became eligible since his five-times removed great grandfather Elbridge Thomas Gerry was a U.S. Vice President under the fourth President of the United States, James Madison.
Others who participated in the five-horse race were Dennis “George” Washington, who finished fourth and “Harry” Truman Gale, who was fifth.