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Cat Manzi Retires From Driving

Published: March 28, 2014 10:01 am ET

Last Comment: March 29, 2014 7:05 pm ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

One of harness racing's all-time dash winning leaders, Hall of Fame driver Cat Manzi has announced his retirement from driving.

Manzi was involved in an accident at Freehold Raceway in January that came just four months after a previous spill at Freehold. In the past six months, Manzi has recovered from a broken pelvis (September), a punctured left lung and multiple rib fractures (January).

After decades of driving, Manzi told that he's reached a point in his career that he can't get back in the bike with the same mindset.

"Usually, all of the other times I would just wait, work on it, get better and go on. But I really can't take that chance anymore,” said the New Jersey resident.

After dominating the scene at Monticello Raceway in the mid-1970s, Catello "Cat" Manzi decided to try his luck in New Jersey and was one of the top drivers in the area, collecting titles at Freehold, Liberty Bell Park, and Garden State Park.

Manzi ranks third on the all-time list of North American dash-winning drivers with 14,811 and his career bankroll of more than $158 million places him fifth among the top money-winning reinsmen on the continent. He was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y., in 2002.

His career highlight came ten years years ago when he guided Mantacular to victory in the 2004 Pepsi North America Cup, the richest harness race ($1.62 million) ever contested on Canadian soil.

"I have been really lucky in that I have gotten to win races like the North America Cup with Mantacular for a good friend (Larry Rathbone) and other big races with horses like Winky's Goal, Harmonious and Artsplace," Manzi told "All of them were great, but it was just as special to be able to help a friend get a young horse or a longshot to the winner's circle. Winning a race is a great feeling no matter where you do it or who it's for.”

The 2005 season was Manzi’s finest ever as his lifetime best total of 727 wins ranked him first among all drivers in North America and at the age of 55, he was the oldest reinsman to ever wear that crown. His outstanding campaign earned Manzi the Driver of the Year Awards from both the Harness Tracks of America and the United States Harness Writers’ Association

Manzi is not walking away from harness racing by any means. He'll be working with the Cancelliere Brothers -- Tom and John -- as part of their team at Magical Acres in New Jersey.

"They have really done amazing things with their farm (Magical Acres), everything is state of the art,” said Manzi. "They are friends of mine and I went there to do some training and keep busy. I was so impressed by everything I saw there that when they asked me if I wanted to be a part of it, I immediately said yes. You know, it's one kind of pride to drive a horse to a win, but it's a different kind of pride to be a part of the team that gets the horse to that point. I enjoy that as well.”

March 29, 2014 - 7:05 pmCat,with out a doubt one of

Bill Keeping SAID...

Cat,with out a doubt one of the greatest any size track drivers of all times. All the best from Bill and Tracey

March 28, 2014 - 4:48 pmGood decision CAT and lots of

Good decision CAT and lots of luck. Have a good retirement.

March 28, 2014 - 1:43 pmCat, Good luck in your new


Good luck in your new endeavor. You must have thought about it .

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