After a false start last week, the Caretakers Classic is set to go this week at Monticello Raceway
“The race for grooms was curtailed last week because of a technicality, but we‘ve got our ducks in a row and now we’ll have one race on Wednesday and one on Thursday,” said Alan Schwartz, the president of the Monticello Harness Horsemen’s Association, which is the driving force behind the grooms' races. “Each day the Caretakers Classic will be presented after the fifth race on the betting card.”
This is the second consecutive season that the 'Mighty M' has presented races for the hard-working caretakers. Dan Houtaling, the winner of one of last year’s races, is now a full-fledged trainer with a small stable on the Monticello grounds.
The races will be contested over the usual one-mile distance. The caretakers will be driving in jog carts and will be steering without whips.
The first event will head postward on Wednesday, September 20. The caretakers set to participate in the dash are John Oney, Sr., Michael Farnum, Jeff Branning, Constance Lawrence, Daniel Chansky and Cody Houghtaling.
The Thursday, September 22 race will have the following caretakers at the lines: Ashley Banks, Carlton Oney, Adele Prince, Alain 'Chico' Diaz, John Houghtaling and Kip Banks.
Both contests will be exhibition races and there will be no wagering on them, but that doesn’t diminish the grandeur for the participating caretakers.
“I finished second last year and I’ll be all-out to win it this year,” said Carton Oney, who is the caretaker of Southbound Trucker, the Mighty M’s 2009 Horse of the Year.