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Pocono To Honour Top Drivers, Trainers

Published: November 19, 2009 3:03 pm ET

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Pocono Downs will be paying tribute to its leading drivers and trainer during the afternoon of Saturday, November 21 when its 2009 harness racing season concludes.

A 16-race card will be conducted with a first-race post time of 1:00 p.m.

Honoured will be Joe Pavia, Jr., who will be winning his first driving title at Pocono Downs, while Jim Morrill, Jr. will be paid tribute as the leading percentage driver. Morrill, Jr. had been leading in the driver standings while here before deciding to take some time off. Morrill’s last drive at the Northeastern Pennsylvania racetrack was September 18, the 98th day of the 135-day meet.

Pavia, Jr. took advantage of his absence, producing many multiple win days, including a seven-victory night on September 23. Morrill, Jr. concluded his season with 217 wins, 145 seconds and 102 thirds on 828 starts for a Universal Driving Rating (UDR) of .400. He amassed $2,504,756 in purses at Pocono Downs. Pavia, Jr., going into the final two nights of the racing season, had 247 wins, 197 seconds and 179 third-place finishes for a UDR mark of .302 and $2,605,670 in purses.

Third in the driver standings in terms of wins was Andrew McCarthy with 165, followed by Anthony Napolitano, 138; Mike Simons, 133; Tom Jackson, 115; George Napolitano, Jr. 105; Greg Grismore, 79; Larry Stalbaum, 71, and Kevin Sizer with 69.

Besides the $2 million men in purses, six other drivers at Pocono Downs had purse earnings of $1 million or more, including McCarthy, Simons, Jackson, Grismore, Stalbaum and Anthony Napolitano. Brother George Napolitano had $984,103 going into the final two days of the meet.

Chris Oakes will be winning his first trainer title as far as wins goes and will also capture the Universal Training Rating (UTR) for the second straight year. With two days of races remaining, Oakes collected 113 wins, 61 seconds and 40 third-place finishes for a UTR mark of .483.

Carmine Fusco, who won training titles in 2008 and 2009 with 177 and 89 victories, respectively, had 105 wins with two days remaining. He was followed by Ron Burke’s 84, Bill Mullin’s 41, Pavia, Jr. with 41, Michael Rashkin, 39, Mark Ford, 37, Mickey Peterson, 35, John Butenschoen, 34, and Jake Huff and Anthony Napolitano with 29 each.

Ron Burke, North America’s leading trainer, was the closest rival to Oakes in the UTR race. He had a UTR mark of .416 followed by Mullin’s .333 and Butenschoen and Anthony Napolitano, each with a mark of .309.


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