03/13/2014 10:22AM

Monticello: Siegelman continues to see his star rise

Geri Schwarz
Austin Siegelman driving one of his three winners at Monticello Raceway on Wednesday.

It was just a few years ago when a youngster by the name of Jordan Stratton displayed an innate talent for driving harness horses at a very tender age and Monticello Raceway fans watched the emergence of “the Kid”, who became the youngest driver to win a Mighty M driving title. He has moved on and  now competes, and very successfully, against the best drivers at Yonkers Raceway.

Shades of Stratton have again come to mind in the Catskills as fans watch another developing young talent in Austin Siegelman, who just turned 22 years of age late last month. Although he has yet to reach the heights that Stratton did during his tenure in Monticello, Siegelman appears to have the talent to do so. And since he has great aspirations, he may not stay here long enough to produce similar numbers.

On the Wednesday afternoon (March 12) card, the youngster again won three races, but this time it was on an eight-race card. It also happened to be his second hat-trick in the past two weeks. Now with 27 wins at the current meet, Siegelman is in sixth place on the local leaderboard.

His initial triumph yesterday (Wednesday) came behind Woody Hoblitzell’s trotter Samawinner ($17.60) in 2:01 3/5 in the first race and he followed that with a 1:59 victory with PB Racing Stables' Wheelchair Wendy ($8.70) in race four. Win number three came when he guided Julie Working’s Wild Request ($4.20) to a come-from-behind victory in a 2:01 2/5 clocking.

“I had seven drives yesterday and I long for the days when I have a drive on every race on the card,” Siegelman said.

A quiet kid who does his talking on the racetrack, Siegelman previously stated that he wants to compete regularly on his hometown track, Pocono Downs.  And that’s a great possibility even though he has recently had success competing at Yonkers Raceway, the Meadowlands and even at Saratoga Raceway.

Last fall the Monticello Goshen Chapter of USHWA presented Siegelman with their Rising Star Award, an honor also won recently by Jordan Stratton and Joe Bongiorno. Jimmy Marohn, Jr. was also cited with a Rising Star Award a few years ago.

“I’m in good company and I look forward to bigger and better things,” Siegelman said. “I love driving horses and I plan on being in this business for a long time. Hopefully this is just the beginning of some great things to come.” 

-edited release