Yesterday didn’t start out so well for Mike Merton at Monticello Raceway, but things sure got good in a hurry later on.
During the morning qualifiers Merton was up behind a pacer by the name of My Hot Pip and got dumped out on the first turn
“I had a broken line and I couldn’t control my horse and we ran up on the back of Pete Stratton. When that happened someone hit me from behind and I got knocked off the bike. I wasn’t hurt and neither were the other guys involved in the accident,” Merton related. ”They remained seated and my horse was quickly caught.”
Merton got back up after the mishap and drove in later qualifying events. So much for the bad news.
When the betting got underway things went from the ridiculous to the sublime for Merton. He won the first five races on the card.
“I landed on my head and it must have done something for me,” Merton said jokingly. “I had my best day in years.”
Merton started the afternoon program with a decisive 1:56.4 six-length victory with Blue Boy and then won the second race trot behind Marquee T in 2:02.1.
The third race produced win number three for Merton when he guided Get Out Of Tune home first in a time of 1:58.4. Still red hot, Merton then delivered another victory in the fourth this time with 17-1 longshot Dont Call Us.
His fifth consecutive win came next when he hustled Straightistheway to a 2:00 triumph. He also had a second and two thirds and was off the board only once in nine starts.
When asked if he has ever had a better day than today Merton thought a moment and said: “I won five races (on one card) three times before but I never won five in a row.
"So yes, considering everything, I think this will be my most memorable day thus far, especially after having been in a wreck in a qualifying race in the morning.”
Recently Merton passed the 2000 win plateau, now with 2017, and his five victories on Thursday’s card raised his seasonal total at Monticello to 87, good for sixth place on the local leaderboard.