In his career Cedric Washington has reined 1,795 winners and now having drawn the early line favorite, Blissfull Doll--and the pole position--in Monticello Raceway’s 11th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pace slated to go to post on Monday, Jan. 17, his chances of adding to his lifetime win total seem likely.
Each year since 2001 the Mighty M has featured the Dr. King Pace not only to pay tribute to the great civil rights leader but to showcase the talents of African-American drivers.
On Monday a field of eight will go to post in race number six with five of the competitors former Dr. King Pace winners and of the five, Cedric Washington has been a two-time winner. Others winners include Cedric’s dad, General "Bubba" Washington Jr., Don Simmonds, Dennis Watson, and the defending champ, last year’s champ, George Polk Jr.
Washington’s mount, Blissfull Doll (5-2), won 11 races last year, the fastest in1:55.4 at Pompano Park and figures to be the one to beat.
Watson will handle the second choice in the event, Koles Return (3-1), a 1:58.4 winner last year and start from the seven hole. Watson won the Dr. King Pace in 2008 with BJ’s Jetstream in 2:00, which remains the fastest clocking in the event.
Third choice on the early line, Celeriter (7-2), will have James O’Farrow at the controls when the mare starts from post position three. Celeriter’s fastest victory last season was in 1:59.3 here at the Mighty M.
Then there’s Yogi Sheridan with Rising Debt, a 1:57.4 winner last year at Tioga Downs from post six, and Fox Valley Marissa, whose 1:55.2 triumph last season at Tioga Downs was the fastest of any of the starters. Simmonds, who won the 2007 edition, will drive.
"Though Cedric (Washington) has the favorite every horse in the race has a chance to win with a good journey, " noted Eric Warner, the track's director of racing. "Racing luck will probably determine the winner."
Eve Freeluck, from post two, will have Bobby Williams Jr. at the controls; Carolina Storm, with Polk, will leave from the five hole; Cutting In Line, will be on the far outside in the eight-hole with Bubba Washington slated to do the driving.
Like post positions, drivers were assigned to their horses by a lottery drawing. Post time for the 13-race card will be at 12:25 p.m. (Monticello)