Monticello, NY --- Trainer Gary Messenger is again having a good year at Monticello Raceway. On Wednesday (June 18), he harnessed four winners and he is keeping the pressure on Danny Gill and Bob Lounsbury. Now with 66 winners, Messenger vaulted ahead of Lounsbury’s 63 and now trails Gill by just two victories.
It didn’t seem to matter if it was Jimmy Taggart Jr. or Zeke Parker who drove for Messenger, both gentlemen won for him; Taggart drove three winners and Parker drove one.
|Geri Schwarz photo|
|KJ Brent won the first race in a time of 2:00.2.|
Messenger’s first winner was with KJ Brent, the promising 2-year-old pacing son of Art Major who zipped to the lead from the two hole and sauntered off to an easy two length victory in a time of 2:00.2 for Taggart in the colt’s second lifetime start.
“He was the only 2-year-old in the field he handled them with ease,” Taggart said after the victory. “He’s got some class, is good gaited and is real handy.”
KJ Brent is owned by avid amateur driver Dr. Scott Woogen, a gastroenterologist from Virginia. He is one of the many horses that Messenger trains for the driving doctor.
Parker drove Messenger’s winner in the second race when he guided the 6-year-old pacing mare Bet On Lindy home first in a time of 1:57.2. The Bettor's Delight mare is owned by Brenda Messenger (Gary’s wife) and Dr. Scott Woogen.
The same combination of trainer and owners copped the third race on the card which gave Messenger three straight winners to start the day. Messenger and Woogen’s 3-year-old son of American Ideal, American Fighter, sat a two hole trip and then rallied to a 2:00 victory in the pacer’s fifth lifetime start for driver Taggart.
Taggart then won the seventh race with the Messenger-trained trotter Monica’s Image in 2:00. That victory gave the Messenger and Woogen partnership its third winner on the program.
“I’ve trained horses for a few other amateur drivers in the past but I’ve been training horses for Doc Woogen over 15 years. Together we own about 30 horses which includes broodmares and babies,” Messenger said. “We have a full brother to KJ Brent who is just a yearling now.”
That comment led Messenger to reflect on the 2-year-old KJ Brent, who won the first race.
"I love him,” he said. “He’s going to be a fast horse. He gets over the ground real easy and he has a lot of quick speed. Today on the final turn he opened up a quick five (lengths) and coasted to an easy victory.”