P.J. Lutman III emerged victorious Wednesday in Monticello Raceway’s “Race for the Matzohs.” Granted, Lutman is not a Jewish name but the 27-year-old horseman whose mother was Jewish, took home the box of Matzohs when he guided Famous Last Words to a 2:01.2 victory in Monticello Raceway 11th Annual Passover Pace.
Lutman, the recipient of the local scribes Max A. Brewer Award as the best young driver here last season, bided his time with his pacer and rallied him late to take command on the final turn and then hold off a fast closing Diaper Dandy, driven by Jimmy Shields, who, by the way, had the same mother as Lutman.
Their mom, Sherry “nee Turick” Lutman, was a longtime trainer here before her passing a few years ago.
With the late scratch of My Miracle, seven pacers went to post and Kid Carrots with Alan Schwartz aboard took command with Mike Kimelman and Wild Willy Magoo lining up behind them in the two hole. Before the quarter was reached Schwartz allowed Dempsey Blue Chip and driver Murray Bassen to take command and they led the field to the half at which point Lutman moved Famous Last Words first-up and they began to gain ground on the leaders.
As the field straightened in the backstretch and headed for the three-quarters Famous Last Words wore down the leader and took command on the final turn. And through the stretch the two bothers battled with Lutman’s horse turning back Shields's pacer to be victorious. Wild Willy Magoo finished third.
It marked the first Passover Pace victory for Lutman and his pacer's clocking of 2:01.2 was two and one-quarter seconds off the series best of 1:59.1 turned in by Wild Fire King and driver Jack Rice in 2001.
Lutman, who comes from a long line of harness horsemen whose roots can be traced back in
“It was sweet and I’m thrilled that we won but the race didn’t go as I had figured,” Lutman said. “I had planned to leave but when everybody else did I took back and after Murray Bassen made the top I knew I wanted to be first-up. I waited until we headed to the half and then I moved and the old horse (Famous Last Words) knew what to do from there.”
Famous Last Words, also trained by Lutman, is owned by Megan Marie Gilmour of