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Palone wins 15,000; returns standing in sulky

March 27, 2012

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Dave Palone did a couple of imitations of Herve Filion on Tuesday afternoon at The Meadows. First, he won race 10, which was his 15,000th winning drive. Then, with Filion in attendance, he stood in the seat of the sulky as he brought his horse back to the winner's circle, something Filion was also famous for doing during his driving career. Filion is harness racing's all-time winningest driver with 15,180 victories. Filion and now Palone are the only two drivers to win 15,000 races.
"I can't tell you how happy I am,” Palone said in a trackside interview with Meadows track announcer Roger Huston. "I knew my family was here and I saw management here-- and to know this guy (Filion) was here, I didn't want to let him down.”
As for his Filion-esque return to the winner's circle, Palone said, "I did that as a tribute to my hero here,” Palone said. "I've never done it before. It was like water skiing.”
Palone has won at least 532 races every year beginning in 1992-- a span of 20 seasons. No one in North America has won more races during that period. Six times he has won or shared Harness Tracks of America's Driver of the Year Award: 2009, 2008, 2004, 2003, 2000 and 1999. He led North America in wins in 2004, 2000 and 1999.
Palone teamed with the 11-year-old Boo's Boy, trained by Kent Sherman, for the milestone victory. Boo's Boy, who was the morning line favorite, paid $3 to win at odds of 1-2. It was his fourth winning drive of the day. He put Boo's Boy on the front, was passed at the quarter pole, but then re-took in front of the stands and held on for the win over Fisher's Character.
Palone will now be taking aim at Filion's all-time record of 15,180 wins. It's going to be tough. I was nervous today; I can't imagine when I get close,” Palone said. "Herve's always told me, ‘All you need is power, kid.'”
Filion arrived at The Meadows on Monday in case Palone hit the milestone on that day's card. "It is quite an honor to be here to congratulate (Palone) on the accomplishment,” said Filion, who notched his most recent win in 2010. "It is well deserved. Believe me, I know what I'm talking about, it's not easy. You've got to have Lady Luck on your side."

Click here to watch the video of the race.

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