Trainer Gary Messenger is again having a good year at Monticello Raceway. Yesterday alone, he harnessed four winners and he is keeping the pressure on Danny Gill and Bob Lounsbury. Now with 66 winners Messenger vaulted ahead of Lounsbury’s 63 and now trails Gill be just two victories.
It didn’t seem to matter if it was Jimmy Taggart, Jr. or Zeke Parker who drove for Messenger, both gentlemen won for him; Taggart drove three winners and Parker drove one.
Messenger’s first winner was with KJ Brent, the promising 2 year old pacing son of Art Major who zipped the lead from the two-hole and sauntered off to an easy two length victory in a time of 2:00.2 for Jimmy Taggart, Jr in just the colt’s second lifetime start.
“He was the only 2 year old in the field he handled them with ease,” Taggart said after the victory. “He’s got some class, is good gaited and is real handy.”
KJ Brent is owned by avid amateur driver Dr. Scott Woogen, a gastroenterologist from Virginia. He is one of the many horses that Messenger trains for the driving doctor.
Parker drove Messenger’s winner in the second race when he guided the 6 year old pacing mare Bet On Lindy home first in a time of 1:57.2. The Bettor’s Delight mare is owned by Brenda Messenger (Gary’s wife) and Dr. Scott Woogen.
The same combination of trainer and owners copped the third race on the card which gave Gary Messenger three straight winners to start the day. Messenger and Woogen’s 3-year old son of American Ideal, American Fighter, sat a two-hole trip and then rallied to a 2:00 victory in the pacer’s fifth lifetime start for driver Jimmy Taggart, Jr.
Taggart then won the seventh race with the Messenger-trained trotter, Monica’s Image, in 2:00. That victory gave the Messenger and Woogen partnership its third winner on the program.
“I’ve trained horses for a few other amateur drivers in the past but I’ve been training horses for Doc Woogen over 15 years. Together we own about 30 horses which includes broodmares and babies,” Messenger said. “WE got a full brother to KJ Brent who is just a yearling now.