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Young guns Cushing, Siegelman at Big M

December 15, 2017
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Two names that might not be familiar to Meadowlands regulars will be appearing in the program more and more during the winter months, and Mitchell Cushing and Austin Siegelman are prepared to do what it takes to make it on the sizable Big M stage.
 
The first of these two youngsters is 19-year-old Cushing, who was actually contacted while making his way from his Albion, Maine home to the Meadowlands Thursday night.
 
"I'm on my way there now," said Cushing, who graduated high school in June of 2016. "It's about six hours to get there. It'll be my second time driving at the Meadowlands. Last week, I drove one horse."

Six hours in the car for one drive. Why?

"For the love of the sport," said Cushing, who has been driving regularly for a year and a half in Maine and Massachusetts. "It's always been a childhood dream to drive at the Meadowlands."

It may not be a six-hour trip, but when Pocono Downs races, Siegelman drives four days a week from Pocono to Monticello and back. On days such as Thursday, once Monti is done, it's 90 minutes one way to the Big M.

Siegelman has been driving full-time for about four years. His father James has horses at Pocono that Austin drives, but with Pocono dark for the winter, the 25-year-old is taking another shot at Big M glory after trying the mile oval a year ago with limited good results.

"It's the Meadowlands," said Siegelman. "Who doesn't want to drive there?"

Siegelman has an alliance with trainer Chris Marino, so he'll get some drives there, as well as for his dad. Other than that, he'll be relying on himself.

"I'm not a big phone guy," said Siegelman. "So how much work I get will be based on performance and people I know."

It'll be tough for the two youngsters, who both plan to be around until March, and they are keeping expectations muted.

"Try to make as much money as possible," said Cushing, whose dad Ron has been a long-time trainer. "But that depends on what horses you have. To have people say, 'Did you see this kid, he did a good job'. Then, if a big trainer were to come to Plainridge this summer, he might consider me. It would be more than enough to be be known and respected."

"I don't have a lot of expectations," said Siegelman. "Just put in some good efforts. I'd like to win some races. The Meadowlands is the place to be. Everybody watches the Meadowlands."

And now everybody will be watching Cushing and Siegelman. (Meadowlands)

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