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Stratton To Receive USHWA Award

Published: September 30, 2010 12:38 pm ET

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It may seem odd to some that this year the recipient of the United States Harness Writers Association Monticello-Goshen Chapter’s Amateur Driver of the Year Award is no longer an amateur driver. Although, Cory Stratton is not the first to use the amateur ranks to vault into the sport as a professional harness driver.

Just last year, Harry Landy did the same. In the past, Greg Merton, Mike Merton and many others, including Cory’s older brother, Jordan Stratton, began their driving careers with local amateur clubs. But unlike most of the aforementioned, Cory moved on to the Grand Circuit of Amateur Racing when he joined the C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Championship Series this past spring. However, just as soon as he turned 18 years of age on August 12, he applied for, and received, his provisional license and turned pro.

While competing in the Billings Series, Cory showed he has what it takes. When he departed he was the points leader in the Eastern Region, and still now, nearly two months later, his name still adorns the Billings East Region leaderboard in seventh position.

Cory got his first career win on May 9, when Invocation triumphed in 1:59.2 in the Billings Amateur Series at Meadowlands Racetrack. The 17-year-old Cory notched the pari-mutuel victory in his eighth lifetime start.

“It’s a great feeling,” Cory was quoted as saying after his first win. “Words can’t describe the feeling. I’ve always wanted to (drive) since I was a little kid. Since I can remember, I’ve been at the races. I used to stand by the fence and run with the horses. It’s been my lifelong dream.”

Jordan is one of the sport’s up-and-coming drivers. Last year he received the Rising Star Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association. The 22-year-old Jordan has won 1,672 races so far in his career and he is one of only three drivers in history to reach 1,000 wins prior to the age of 22. “He’s my idol,” Cory said. “I look up to him. Anytime I need something, I go to him. He’s helped me out with everything. Jordan and my dad (trainer Dave Stratton) have been a lot of help. My whole family has been very supportive.”

Cory has also raced in the North American Amateur Drivers Association and the Catskill Amateur Driving Club in addition to the Billings.

“It’s a good stepping stone,” Jordan said about starting in the amateur events.

After his victory at the Meadowlands, Cory later won another Billings trot at Tioga Downs and added a few more wins in amateur races at Monticello Raceway.

Then, in early August, the local presiding judge signed for Cory’s provisional license. Shortly thereafter, he took a string of horses and moved to Colonial Downs in New Kent, Virginia, where he is now training and driving on his own as a professional.

Cory will be presented with his award on October 24 when the local scribes hold their 52nd annual Awards Banquet at the Monticello Casino & Raceway.


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