By John Manzi
MONTICELLO August 30, 2002 When the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) holds its 44th Annual Awards Banquet on Sunday evening, October 27, the local scribes will honor U.S. Congressmen Ben Gilman.
Among his other outstanding attributes, Congressman Gilman also has been a great friend of the Standardbred Industry supporting harness racing not only at Monticello Raceway and Goshens Historic Track, but at other raceways throughout the nation.
Whenever there is a special event happening at The Mighty M or at Goshen, you can be sure that Congressman Gilman will be there. He always makes an appearance and a race presentation during the Grand Circuit Week at Historic Track and is a frequent guest at Monticello Raceway.
Many times during the July 4th holiday, Congressman Gilman has surprised Monticello Raceway management by presenting to them a U.S. flag that has flown over the Capitol in Washington, D.C. and he never misses addressing the attending crowds on Memorial Day Weekends.
Over the years, Congressman Gilman has often attended harness racing banquets, rarely missing the Hall of Fame Inductions at the Harness Racing Museum in Goshen. And he is usually among the attendees at the Monticello-Goshen USHWA Awards Banquets.
Almost annually, Congressman Gilman registers names of outstanding harness racing personnel in the Congressional Record and has on numerous occasions presented Congressional Citations at the various banquets and racing functions.
A great politician and a wonderful friend, Congressman Gilman will be presented with the Monticello-Goshen Chapters inaugural Appreciation Award later to carry his name and be presented to deserving individuals who support the wonderful sport of harness racing.
The Monticello-Goshen Chapter Banquet produces a charity journal with the proceeds from that journal donated to Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Anyone wanting to congratulate Congressman Gilman, or to send their best wishes via a journal ad, can do so by contacting me at the raceway calling 794-4100, ext. 455.
And tickets to the banquet, which is always a gala affair, are available for $50 each and can also be secured from me.
Parker, Jr. Returning
To Mighty M
You may have seen his name adorn our racing programs sporadically during the season, but now Billy Zeke Parker, Jr. is coming home to race at the Mighty M on a regular basis for the remainder of the year.
For the past seven years Zeke has been competing regularly at Yonkers Raceway and has won several driving titles while racing there.
He told me the other day that hes tired of traveling back and forth to Yonkers on a daily basis.
Going up and down the Thruway every day for the past seven years has worn me out, he related. Oh, Ill still race there on Saturday nights but Im tired of the traveling. And besides, with all the traveling I do I hardly ever got a chance to spend time with my family.
Many years ago Zeke married the former T.J. McCullough and together they have a beautiful son, Brandon. After their marriage, Zeke purchased some land on the Cold Spring Road in Monticello and has made it into a horse farm where they now reside.
Parker assured me hell be racing here on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, forgoing the travel to Yonkers.
In returning home Zeke adds a lot of power to an already outstanding driving colony. During his years at the Mighty M, Parker won more races here than any other driver, over 4,000 at last count.
He holds numerous records here, including 11 driving titles, the most wins (526) in a single season and the most wins (9) on a single program. And numerous times Zeke has been among the winningest drivers in the nation.
In his illustrious career Zeke has driven more than 7,800 winners, which currently ranks him 10th all-time in the sport.