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John Gilmour wins the St. Paddy Pace at Monticello

March 18, 2010

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When Monticello Raceway presented its 10th Annual St. Paddy Pace on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17 Irish eyes were smiling  and  mostly they were smiling on John Gilmour who reined Gemini Jon, a rare free-legged pacer, to a head victory over 27-1 shot Bolero Artifice and driver Curtis Carey in a time of 2:00:4. However, though Gilmour took home the trophy had the race gone another 25 feet Curtis Carey would have been the winner.

For Gilmour it was his second triumph in the St. Paddy Pace. His initial victory was with Irish Lad in the 2002 edition.

Jimmy Marohn Jr. and Top Flite Rocket cut the early fractions and Marohn  played hardball when he wouldn’t let  John McDermott and Hardcore take the lead. Instead of yielding command Marohn kept McDermott parked out.

As the field headed for the halfway point with Hardcore still on the limb, Gilmour rushed Gemini Jon up behind McDermott’s pacer and then went around him to challenge Marohn for the lead.

Once alongside Top Flite Rocket the two pacers raced head to head to the three quarters at which point   Gemini Jon circled the leader and then braced for challenges from behind. And they came; first Kevin McDermott and Cagey, who shadowed then pacesetter, took their shot at Gilmour’s pacer but Gemini Jon was still too strong to be overtaken. Then Curtis Carey got big Bolero Artifice in motion and the  8 year old Cams Card Shark gelding kicked into another gear and put on a series stretch run.

 Bolero Artifice rallied down the center of the track and he and Gemini Jon came to the finish line heads apart. But after the judges review of the photograph they declared Gemini Jon the winner.

“I knew he Curtis (Carey with Bolero Artifice) was coming at us at the end (of the mile), and man was he coming like a freight train, too” Gilmour said with a laugh. “My horse went a long trip and when we crossed the wire I wasn’t sure who the winner was. It was really close….. but I got lucky.”

For Gilmour, who’s in his sixth decade as a harness driver, it marked his first victory of the 2010 season. However, in his illustrious career he reined a total of 4468 winners prior to today’s triumph and along the way he won seven Monticello Raceway driving titles over the years.

The St Paddy Pace, for drivers of Irish descent, was the third leg of the Mighty M’s 2010 Heritage Drivers Series.  The series will continue on April 5 with the “Race for the Matzoh’s” the 12th Annual Passover Pace.(Monticello)

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