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Thursday, December 11, 2014

The End of An Era

With the retirement of Monticello Raceway's John Manzi, an era comes to a close in harness racing.  Forget about the additional groups he was publicity director for; too many to list here, he was a publicity director who always sent out a press release daily (if not more often) and before the Raceway became part of Monticello Raceway and Casino where racing was de-emphasized and austerity undoubtedly became the mantra of the ownership, Manzi never flinched away from promotions for getting people into the seats at the track.

My favorite promotion was the New York Legends Day, when some of the stars from the 1970s Roosevelt and Yonkers Raceway came to the track to sign autographs and participate in an old-timers race.  I was like a little kid in the candy store when I saw some of the heroes of my youth.  Then there were the numerous Ms. Monticello beauty pageants which may have been too successful because I remember a lot of people there, but they weren't paying attention to the horses if you know what I mean.  Then who could forget the Elephantonian?  Maybe they weren't all hits, but darn it if he didn't keep trying.  When you saw John in the winners circle you saw a person who had much enthusiasm for his job.

While Manzi has agreed to do some work for the Raceway in his retirement, I hope he has a wonderful retirement; time to do the things he wants.  Congratulations John on your retirement.  You will be missed.

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