12/15/2016 6:10PM

Meadowlands: Driver Drew Monti set to make Big M debut

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“Wicked cool man.”

Those three words perfectly sum up the youthful excitement of Drew Monti when asked how he will feel next Thursday when he is scheduled to make his Meadowlands driving debut.

The 22-year-old, who will wrap up the driving title at Batavia Downs when its season concludes this weekend, will not only drive at the Meadowlands for the first time, but will also visit the legendary New Jersey oval for the first time.

“It is just incredible,” said Monti, who graduated from Canisius College in May with an economics degree. “The Meadowlands is the place you watch on TV growing up. If there’s anywhere to be, it’s there. It’s just an honor to have the opportunity to race there. I just want to hold my own, enjoy the entire experience, and learn as much as I can.”

Monti set a personal record with seven wins on one card at Batavia in October. While his expectations are slightly lower for his maiden voyage at the Big M, he wants to let fans and horsemen know he is not just coming to town for fun.

“It’s just like anywhere else, you need to get the power to do any good,” explained Monti. “No matter what your skill is, you can’t win without good horses. I’m excited because a couple of trainers such as Rick Dane and Joe Skowyra said they would help me out.  I think at first, I’ll have more of a conservative attitude because I don’t know the horses, don’t know the drivers. But I still want to be aggressive. I want to win races.”

Monti said he plans to race at the Meadowlands at least until Buffalo Raceway opens for its winter season on January 11. Monti will add to the growing Meadowlands driving colony that is under the age of 30 that already includes Joe Bongiorno, Vinny Ginsburg, Marcus Miller, and newest arrival Tyler Smith.

In the midst of a career year with more than 200 wins and $1.2 million in earnings, Monti figures to fit in nicely at The Big M this winter.

“I have been watching Drew the last couple of years in Upstate New York and I think he handles a horse very well in my opinion,” said Meadowlands GM and COO Jason Settlemoir. “I met Drew about a month ago and not only is he a good driver, but he also seems like an intelligent well spoken young man that loves our business. I think that Drew can quickly adjust to the Meadowlands racing and I wish him the best of luck.”

--edited release (Meadowlands)