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Thursday, July 5, 2012

All Hail King Palone

North America has a new all-time dash winning driver and his name is Dave Palone. This afternoon, the Hall of Famer passed the legendary Herve Filion's 15,180 dash wins by driving the 2yo Herculotte Hanover to victory at the Meadows, his home track for his entire career since 1982, to put him over the top with 15,181 career victories.

Update: Palone won an additional three races (a total of five on the day) on the card, giving him 15,184 career victories.

Dave Palone (USTA Photo/Ed Keys)
Some will argue Palone's not racing at the Meadowlands diminishes his accomplishment, but they would be mistaken Would it have taken Dave Palone longer to get to this point? Likely yes, but to minimize his efforts by racing at The Meadows would be doing a huge disservice to Palone and The Meadows community. After all, many a top driver has raced on the Meadows circuit at one time or another before they headed east, plus it takes a lot of hard work and resilience to accomplish what Palone has done in these 30 years. Not everyone thrives on the top stage and it often is not a question of wanting to be the king of the pond at a smaller track instead of being a minnow at the big track. For some, it is quality of life which matters; money is not the deciding factor to them, it's family. Besides, when you win roughly $105 million in purses over your career, no one needs to take up a collection for you.

To give you a perspective on how good Dave Palone is as a driver, John Campbell, the ambassador of harness racing has won roughly 300 starts per a year over his 35 years career, while Palone has averaged approximately 506 wins per year, basically 200 more victories each year.

Congrtulations to the new King of North American harness racing as he continues to add wins to his record breaking total and takes aim at the world record holder German driver Heinz Wewering, who is credited with 16,000+ wins (the exact number is not readily available).