Amateur driver Alan Schwartz is having a banner year. Not only did he rein his 57th winner of the season at Monticello Raceway on Monday, but that triumph was Schwartz's 500th of his amateur driving career. Schwartz's milestone victory came behind Space Chalet in 1:58.1.
That makes him one of the most prolific amateur drivers of all time, ranking him second in races won by an amateur driver behind Walter "Boots” Dunn's almost insurmountable 1,152 wins. However, Harrison Hoyt, who won the Hambletonian in 1948 with Demon Hanover, arguably may have more wins than the 123 posted on the USTA driver/trainer performance report since he drove horses long before records were accurately kept.
Although he maintains amateur status, around the Mighty M local fans don't consider him an amateur. And rightly so. His 57 driving victories--mostly against professional drivers--in 321 starts ranks Schwartz 12th on the local leaderboard.
In recent years Schwartz has raced his own stock and has operated a small public stable at the Mighty M where he doubles as the president of the Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association.
Bolstered by his seasonal—and lifetime stats--Schwartz once again was chosen as this season's Amateur Driver of the Year by the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA .
For the record, Schwartz has now garnered the local Amateur Driver of the Year Award three times over the past decade. He was also the National Amateur Driver of the Year during the 2000 campaign, an award which was selected and presented by the National organization of USHWA.
A former businessman who owned and operated Coast To Coast Moving and Storage for many years, Schwartz got bitten by the harness racing bug back in the 1980's. He was strictly an owner back then, even had one of the most outstanding pacers racing on the old New York-metropolitan circuit: a pacer named Curragh.
"He (Curragh) was the catalyst for me getting involved as a driver,” Schwartz explained. "I got my amateur license in 1988 and though I've had an "A” (full) license for years I continue to remain with amateur status.”
Schwartz joined the C.K.G. Billings Amateur Driving Series in the late 1980's and has been a force to be reckoned with ever since. He was the overall Billings Champion in 2000 when he won the Gold Cup Final. But he has also won the Silver Cup Final in 1997 and 1998 and each and every year he either wins the points championships in his region or is among the leaders.
As an officer in the North American Amateur Drivers Association Alan occasionally gets to travel abroad to compete in amateur driving competitions. He has driven in many European countries--Russia included--as well as in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia and usually with good success. Moreover, he has represented the United States three times in the prestigious World Cup of Amateur Racing. And few years ago he represented the United States against professional drivers in Russia. (Monticello)