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Manzi Wins $10,000 Driving Challenge

Published: December 8, 2012 4:51 pm ET

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Hall of Famer Cat Manzi won the first ever $10,000 Driving Challenge at Freehold Raceway on Saturday.

Manzi started things off with back-to-back wins in the first two races of the challenge, followed by a second in the third. For the day, Manzi tallied five wins.

Manzi clinched the trophy and the $4,000 top prize with a win in the eighth race, driving the 3-2 favourite Kiasma. He totalled 201 points, with Eric Abbatiello coming in second with 191 points and taking home $2,000. Jim Marshall III finished in third place earning a $1,000 prize with 152 points.

The other five drivers in the challenge finished in the following order: Harry Landy with 88 points, Jeff Gregory with 79 points, Steve Smith with 62 points, Jim Pantaleano with 56, and Joe Bongiorno with 49 points. All of these drivers took home $600 a piece.

Each driver agreed to donate 10 per cent of their earnings to the Freehold Area Open Door. Freehold Raceway will be making a matching donation. Representatives from the Freehold Area Open Door collected non-perishable food items at the track and any patrons that donated received a free program.

The driving challenge was for races two through nine and was based on a points system devised by Race Secretary Karen Fagliarone. The winner of each race received 50 points and then it was 25 for second, 12 for third, eight for fourth, five for fifth, four for sixth, three for seventh, and one for eighth. A scratch received eight points as well.

Each driver got to pick first in one race of the challenge. The drivers picked a number between one and eight and that decided the order they would pick their drives. The picking order rotated for each race, with the first pick becoming the last pick for the next race and so on.

The sponsors for the $10,000 Freehold Raceway driving challenge were Trinity Financial Sports and Entertainment Management Co., LLC, the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey, and the Landy and Bongiorno Families.

Live racing resumes at Freehold on Thursday, December 13, with post time at 12:30 p.m.

(Freehold Raceway)

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