Merton gives thanks as winner of Mayflower Mile
June 29, 2010
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In what turned out to be a great horse race, Greg Merton drove Tradin Paint to a come-from-behind 1:59.3 victory in Monticello Raceway’s Mayflower Mile on Monday afternoon. The event, for drivers of British extraction, was the sixth preliminary leg in the tracks year-long Heritage Drivers Series.
When the wings of the mobile starting gate folded five pacers went out in search of the lead but it was Kyle DiBenedetto and Ms. Doff who gained command and forced Jordan Stratton and Pembroke Annie Mac to find a seat behind them as they paced around the first turn.
Bruce Aldrich Jr., who also had set sails for the front end with Button Road, never reached that position and was forced to race on the outside the entire way.
As the field neared the halfway point, Merton, who was traveling along in fourth position, eased out behind Aldrich’s charge and soon after there were four in and four out. The field got even tighter up the backstretch where only three lengths separated the leader from the last-place horse, My Aunt Margaret in rein to Zeke Parker.
When the field headed for the three quarters Parker and My Aunt Margaret made a three-deep sweep and went from last to first as the field headed into the final turn. But company was coming as Button Road then ranged alongside the leader and the two raced side by side around the turn at which point both Tradin Paint and Merton and Pembroke Annie Mac cleared the traffic and took aim at the leaders.
In midstretch Button Road never quite made it around My Aunt Margaret but when Merton kicked Tradin Paint into high gear they gained command and held off a fast charging Pembroke Annie Mac to score a head victory. My Aunt Margaret was three quarters of a length further back in third place.
“I really got the best of it because I slipped out behind Bruce (Aldrich Jr. with Button Road) at the half and he carried me all the way around the final turn where I finally got a shot to get clear. And when I did my horse dug in but we had to hold off Jordan (with Pembroke Annie Mac) who was coming like a freight train,” Merton said with a laugh. “Luckily my mare had enough I the tank to hold on (for the win).”
Merton, third on the local leaderboard with 124 wins, has had a hot hand of late. He had four wins here today and he even won three races last Saturday night at the Meadowlands.
Tradin Paint, owned by Jose Godinez and trained by Todd Marciano, paid $8.90 for win.
As a result of his victory Merton now will join the winners of the five previously contested Heritage Drivers Series preliminary legs in the series finale, the All-America Pace, which will be presented here in early October. (Monticello)