Woodbine regular Jody Jamieson is looking to do some double or triple duty by driving on the big circuit as well as at Georgian Downs and Flamboro Downs. His thoughts are pretty level headed, “The opportunity is there for guys like me to drive, and I want to be known as a driver that did it when I had the chance.” He is absolutely right. In a time where people are getting laid off, governments are spending money like drunken sailors, the Dow is tanking, it is a great time to be a harness driver. You can make millions in a sport that is slowly fading away, if you want to go for it.
Beginning about six or seven years ago, slots money was proliferating, and tracks needed racedates, lots of them. The opportunity to drive many, many races was there for those who wanted to work at it. One that did was Tim Tetrick. In 2007 he hopped around like no man has ever been able to before. He drove in a mind-boggling 4728 races, something that 25 years ago would have taken a Doug Brown or Steve Condren three or four years to achieve. I was of the opinion at the time that with racedates we would see someone break that mark. I thought someone could, if they wanted to, drive over 5000 races in a year.
I think this year might be the year.
Driver Aaron Merriman is doing it, and doing it the hard way. He is doing double duty at the Meadows in Pittsburgh, then hopping on the highway to Northfield (near Cleveland). Unfortunately, unlike Messers Tetrick and Morgan, though, Aaron is entering the Palone Zone, and is part of a super-competitive driver colony at Northfield, so he has little chance to drive contenders every race. The win record is not in jeopardy. Regardless, we might be seeing something stunning. So far in 2009:
833 140 136 130 $557,728
He has driven 833 races in about 64 days. That works out to 13 drives per day. Over 365 days that would mean Aaron would drive more than Tetrick did in '07, and (if he finds a few double cards, and picks up more drives at the Meadows when Palone is on stakes engagements) can threaten the 5000 drive mark.
If he achieves this he must be made of steel. It will be fun to watch his progress.
As for the driver race, Morgan is in his usual spot at number one. Palone is hot on his heels, but with a ton less drives.