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Nearing 14,000, Morgan heading to Northfield

February 15, 2012

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After posting one win on Tuesday’s card at Dover Downs, Tony Morgan is just three victories away from reaching the 14,000-win milestone for his career. Morgan is slated to drive at Dover on Wednesday and Thursday as he continues his quest for 14,000, but on Friday—Dover is dark on Fridays and Saturdays—he will be at Northfield Park where he is scheduled to drive in all 13 races.

The 53-year-old Morgan was born in Troy, Ohio, and won his first race at age 15 on May 13, 1973, at Celina, Ohio. Morgan told The Horseman on Tuesday afternoon that it was because of his Buckeye roots that a call was made to Northfield Park’s director of racing Dave Bianconi inquiring about the possibility of driving Friday night.

“I have a friend who races there and he asked about me driving. I told (Bianconi) I’d be there Friday and see how it works out,” said Morgan, who has led the national dash standings five times over his career, most recently in 2008. “My relatives all still live in Ohio. If it works out that I win the 14,000th there it would be nice as my family will be there.”

Morgan said also making the trip to Northfield on Friday will be his parents, Eddie and Sharon Morgan Jr., who live in Michigan.

This actually won’t be the first time Morgan traveled to Northfield Park as he neared a milestone. In 2006, shortly after he moved his base of operations from Illinois to Delaware, he drove at Northfield as he neared the 1,000-win mark for the year. Morgan drove on two late-December programs at the Cleveland half-mile track and reached the 1,000-win milestone on Dec. 29 at Northfield with the trotter Eden Rock.

“A few years ago when I was two or three wins short of winning 1,000 so I went there and raced two days,” remembered Morgan, who finished the year atop the national standings with 1,004 victories, joining Walter Case at the time as the only two drivers to reach that milestone. Tim Tetrick joined the exclusive club the following year when he won a record 1,189 races.

When asked about reaching the 14,000-win milestone in the coming days, Morgan—who is just shy of $108 million in career earnings—gave a laid-back response by saying, “It’s the next one after 13,000, I guess.”
Morgan will become just the fourth North American-based driver to reach the 14,000-win milestone, joining Herve Filion (currently 15,180 wins), Dave Palone (14,932) and Cat Manzi (14,365).
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