Sam Schillaci drives 3,000th career winner
May 05, 2015
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Sam Schillaci scored the 3,000th win of his driving career aboard Pay The Winner in Northfield Park's opening race on Monday evening. They boldly loomed from far back to pass their rivals, besting the competition by 8 1/4 lengths in 1:58 over a sloppy surface.
Schillaci grew up in the horse business. His father owned harness horses and his uncle and cousin were trainers. Schillaci, 52, drove his first race in in 1979 behind the pacing mare Jenny Roe Gill. She was not only his first drive, but was also the first horse that returned to the winner's circle sporting Schilliaci's maroon and gold colors.
Schillaci's richest win was aboard Memphis Flash in the 1998 edition of the $215,300 Cleveland Classic at Northfield Park. Sam credits Memphis Flash as being the best horse he has ever driven. Teeth Of The Dog posted Schillaci's fastest win in August, 2000 when he won the $11,000 Invitational Pace in 1:51.3. His drives have amassed over $11 million in purse earnings.
Having been involved with harness racing all his life, Schillaci does a lot more than just catch-drive at Northfield Park. The Macedonia, Ohio, resident works very hard and has turned the sport into a way of life. He trains a stable of 32 horses with Jodi, his wife of 15 years.
"I have not driven a whole lot for most of the last decade,” stated Schillaci. "I had lost most of my interest in driving for the most part, but with racing coming back like it has and the nice purses here at Northfield I have regained my interest and passion. I am now looking forward to my 4,000th win.” (Northfield Park)