It is, as Yogi Berra once said, ‘de je vu all over again’ especially at Monticello Raceway where the quest for top training honors continues.
Last year’s stalwarts, Bob Lounsbury and Danny Gill, are again on top of the leaderboard in a continuation of the friendly battle that ensued during the 2013 campaign. The modern-era trainers, who leave the driving to the professionals, are back at it again and currently Lounsbury’s 18 winners are showing the way with Gill’s 14 in hot pursuit.
On the Monday afternoon card of February 10 Gill added a pair of victories to his totals when Jimmy Marohn, Jr. reined trotter Rose Run Nash to a 2:03 triumph followed by a 1:59.3 score with pacer Net Jet.
Lounsbury, on the other hand, had one winner when Bruce Aldrich, Jr. guided Working Stiffs to a 2:00.4 victory.
During the 2013 campaign it was Gill leading the way right from the reel and it appeared that he’d be the winner. But in December when he took a two-week Florida vacation Lounsbury got hot and took command and went on to score his first training title here.
“Danny and I had a lot of fun teasing one another and although he had a lead going into December my horses had a great month. Even when he was on vacation I’d tweet him saying ‘Danny I’m gonna catch you so you better hurry back soon,’ Lounsbury recalled with a laugh.
“We tied him in late December and went on to win the training title, my first ever. I felt real good about that because our light-hearted digs along the way helped to keep the pressure off. We both had a great year but I believe it’ll be hard to duplicate the (2013) numbers again this season.
At season’s end Lounsbury’s 202 winners were 10 more than Gill’s 192 and Lounsbury’s output marked only the second time a trainer had 200 or more winners at the Mighty M.
However, as good as a season that Lounsbury had , Joe Minieri’s 218 wins during the 1999 campaign remains the standard.