By john manzi
It was only one start but for Francesco Laosa a chance to drive a pacer proved fruitful when the Sicilian professional finished second in the one race that he drove at Monticello Raceway on Thursday, June 22.
According to his friend Marco Barone who doubled as his interpreter, the Italian speaking professional driver and his wife Carola are celebrating their honeymoon with a two week holiday in North America. And through some help from friends LaRosa made a connection with Monticello trainer Dan Gill who offered him a drive behind one of his pupils, Park it Park It, a 4-year-old altered son of Big Bad John.
Sent off at odds of 8-1 from the three hole in race five LaRosa allowed John DeSimone and Eye Candy to take the lead and then was comfortable with a two-hole trip all the way. However, in the lane Park It Park It flattened out and couldn’t gain on the pace-setter and finished second a length behind Eye Candy in the 1:57paced mile.
Asked how it felt to drive a pacer LaRosa replied through his translator, Barone:” It was smooth and steady,” and then added “the pacer was easier to handle than a trotter.”
A winner of a few hundred races in his homeland the opportunity to drive a pacer was special to the 30 year LaRosa since only trotters are raced in Italy, and for that matter all though continental Europe.
LaRosa and his dad handle a considerable stable based in Palermo, Sicily. Their horses compete at racetracks inPalermo, Siracusa, Garigliano and Naples as well as various racetracks in southern Italy.
After the Monticello race Francesco and Carola, along with Mario Barone and his son Rylee, were headed to the Big Apple . After a short stay in New York City the LaRosa’s will be on to California and then to Cancun, Mexico before returning home to Sicily The Barones will leave NYC and head back to their home in the upper peninsula of Michigan.