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Morrill, Jr. Mulling Pocono Return

Published: September 24, 2009 12:12 pm ET

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Pocono Downs' leading driver Jim Morrill, Jr. has had second thoughts as to whether he is going to 'shut down' driving at Pocono for the remainder of the season -- and is not because Joe Pavia, Jr., his nearest rival in the standings, had seven wins last night.

The Pocono season runs through November 21.

After driving at the Northeastern Pennsylvania racetrack last week, Morrill was seriously considering giving up his Pocono catch driving. After further review, he said he would like to make appearances two days a week, preferably on Wednesdays and Fridays.

“I don’t want to shut down too early,” Morrill stated yesterday morning, prior to driving in Delaware, Ohio. “I’d go stir crazy.”

There’s one big catch to his coming to Pocono for the remainder of the season, and that is his wife, Molly.

“After the New York Sire Stakes on Saturday, I’m going to take a week off, take my wife to a good dinner and ask her what she thinks about me continuing to drive at least two days week at [Pocono],” he added.

Morrill, who won the $350,000 Jugette yesterday in Ohio, is having a fabulous year at Pocono, having won 26.2 per cent of his races. Coming into this week’s action, he collected 217 wins and 145 second-place and 102 third-place finishes at the Wilkes-Barre area racetrack for a Universal Driving Rating of .400 and $2,504,756 in purses.

He seized the opportunity when Pocono went back to evening racing, and knew premier drivers like Tim Tetrick and Tony Morgan wouldn’t be competing here on a regular basis. The prior year, Morrill only came on to the scene late in the meet and raced two days a week.

“I made the right decision to come to [Pocono],” said the track’s leading driver. “It was better than I thought it would be. I’ve been lucky since I drove for the likes of trainers like Chris Oakes, the leading trainer there.

“I’m really looking forward to returning next year. The racing surface is super and there’s a great bunch of drivers to compete against. I knew most of them before coming. Drivers like Tom Jackson, Mike Simons, Jim Taggart, Jr. and Joe Pavia, Jr.”

A resident of Hamburg, New York, near Buffalo, Morrill has another passion besides driving standardbreds. When he does shut down for the season he will resume his passion of playing hockey and skiing during the winter months.

“I’ll skate five days a week from one to three in the afternoon,” Morrill said. “It really keeps me in shape. I would have loved to become a professional hockey player but wasn’t quite good enough.”

(With files from Pocono)


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