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Frank Coppola Jr. drives 4,000th winner

September 26, 2008

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Frank Coppola Jr. reached the 4,000-win plateau on Thursday when he steered Lola Palooza through the wire first in the 10th race at Saratoga Gaming and Raceway.

Starting from post two, Lola Palooza led every step of the way en route to an easy victory, setting fractions of :28.1, :58, and 1:26.3 before coming home in :28.2 to post a two-length triumph in 1:55.

\"Right now, I’m just happy to have gotten this victory and to have reached this milestone,\" Coppola said following his winning drive. \"My family was here, and it was starting to feel like everyone was kind of waiting for it, so I wanted to do it for them and put it behind me.\"

A native of Teaneck, N.J., Coppola began plying his trade in 1977, visiting the winner’s circle twice in 53 starts. That number would increase steadily over the next six years, reaching triple digits for the first time in 1984 and peaking with a career-best 255-win season in 1993, which Coppola is on pace to surpass this year.

\"Throughout my career, I’ve always been lucky enough to keep my weight down and stay in pretty good shape,\" Coppola said. \"I’ve also been very fortunate to get plenty of opportunities to drive for some good people, and everything has really gone well for me.\"

Coppola has captured several driving titles at Saratoga Raceway, and after returning to the sulky earlier this year following a brief hiatus, the 48-year-old horseman currently sits atop the local standings while enjoying his most lucrative season with over $1.3 million in purse money won.

\"I’m happy that I was able to do much of my winning right here at Saratoga,\" Coppola added. \"This has always been a great place to live and a great place to race, and I’ve been here most of my professional life, so I’m glad this win was able to happen over this track.\" (Saratoga)

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