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Sarbak Wins Historic Track Scholarship Final

Published: June 20, 2011 3:21 pm ET

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Six high school seniors lined up behind the starting car on Father’s Day (Sunday, June 19) to further their college careers and have some fun driving horses. Both tasks were accomplished handily as the close finish at the wire provided fans and families with something to cheer about. A narrow length separated the winner, Marissa Sarbak of Warwick from her equally competitive place and show challengers.

Marissa, an avid equestrian rider who has been practicing driving harness horses for over a month, was content to sit back and let a speed duel play out on the front end. She won her elimination race on the front-end two weeks ago, with an exuberant George Brennan aboard as the co-pilot. This week she was teamed up with Gareth Dowse of the Ray Schnittker stable and sat back until the three-quarter pole and made her move going down the backstretch.

As Miss Sarbak urged her steed down the homestretch, she passed Gregory Hart (Tuxedo, who finished second) and Jess Velez (Florida, third) to get up for the win in 2:02.1. Second elimination winner Tyler Jones of Valley Central finished fourth. In a very charitable, humanitarian gesture, Jones announced that he was donating all of his grant earnings to a fellow Valley Central graduate and baseball teammate who had been diagnosed with Leukemia and is awaiting a bone-marrow transplant.

All the students in the final event earned $1,000 for their school district and at least a $2,000 grant for their own individual college requirements. For her efforts as the race winner, Marissa earned $5,000 toward her college tuition. In the winner’s circle the aspiring horsewoman exclaimed that, “Driving and winning with a harness horse has been the greatest experience of my life!” Starting her college career in the fall at SUNY Oswego, she plans on majoring in Communications.

Goshen Historic Track is proud to help support education in Orange County; however, the race would not be possible without the tireless fundraising efforts of Ray Schnittker, who single-handedly raised $100,000 over the last three years to maintain this great scholarship race program. Don’t miss the upcoming Grand Circuit race meet at the historic oval, July 1 through July 4, with New York Sire Stakes and the Landmark Stakes highlighting the four days of racing. Hall of Fame day is Sunday, July 3, 2011. For more information, check out the track’s website at

(Goshen Historic Track)

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