The Zeke Parker countdown is over. On Thursday afternoon, Parker won a pair of races at Monticello Raceway and in doing so he passed Walter Case Jr. in career driving victories and became the sixth winningest driver in the sport.
Parker now has driven 11,039 winners in his career, one better than Case's total.
A 2:01.1 victory with trotter Hardrock Kid in the fifth race brought Parker even with Case at 11,038 and Zeke's milestone triumph MD Bee Bee gave him sole possession of sixth place on the North American career leaderboard.
The pacer, owned by John Stubits of nearby Liberty, N.Y., was sent off the prohibitive favorite in the race in which a sudden cloudburst, with thunder and lightning sent the parading horses back to the paddock until the downpour passed.
Back on the track the pacers headed for the starting gate and when the race was off Parker and MD Bee Bee paced to the front and made every pole a winning one en route to a 1:56.2 triumph.
"I am proud of what I have accomplished so far and hope to continue driving for many years,” said the 59-year-old Maine native. "Being sixth all-time is a great but I feel bad for Casey. Except for a few a starts at Plainridge a few years ago he has driven a horse in nearly 10 years. Imagine how many races he would have won if he was still driving.”
Although Parker stole the headlines of the day, Jimmy Taggart Jr. had an outstanding afternoon by reining five winners on the card. He won with Mike Sorentino and Frank Canzone's Game Jocko ($6.20) in 1:57.1 in the third and came back in the next race to rein Winbak Farm and Rebecca Williams' sophomore trotter US Goalie to a 2:03.1 triumph
Taggart then won the eighth with Brenda Messenger's Lauxmont Capri ($5) in 1:55.3 and then copped the ninth with 3-year-old trotter Let's Just Dance ($15.80) in 2:03.4, who is also owned by Messenger.
Taggart finished his afternoon win skein witjh 2:00.2 victory with Jack and Rose DeLuca's Another Mike ($5.30).
With his five victories on Thursday, Taggart has reined 182 winners this year and raised his lifetime total to 3,051.
Also of note was Bruce Aldrich Jr.'s four-bagger on the card. With those wins Aldrich is now fifth in races won on the North American leaderboard with 419. (Monticello)