07/16/2013 4:12PM

Monticello: William Parker, Jr. drives his 11,000th winner

Geri Schwarz
William Parker Jr. has won over 20% of his 54,000-plus lifetime drives.

On Tuesday afternoon (July 16) at Monticello Raceway, driver William Parker, Jr. reached the 11,000 win milestone behind Topgun Raider.

Parker needed two victories to get over the hump and scored in race three with How Forever Feels in wire-to-wire fashion to move within one win of 11,000. He would have to wait until the 13th and final race on the card to reach the winner’s circle again.

Topgun Raider and Parker sat the pocket through fractions of 28 4/5, 58 4/5 and 1:27 4/5 before edging off the cones in the stretch. The pair took aim on pacesetter Paulimony and wore that foe down just before the wire in 1:56 3/5.

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Parker took a long slow tour of the track on his return to the winner’s circle and was greeted by friends, family, fellow horsemen and management eager to congratulate him on the historic achievement.

“I was and I was pushing at the end," said Parker to track publicity director John Manzi on being nervous as he neared the milestone. "I’m glad it’s over and I’m proud. 11000 is a lot of wins."

Parker’s win total ranks him seventh all-time, just 38 victories behind Walter Case, Jr. in sixth-place. Dave Palone leads all drivers with 15,875 career trips to the winner’s circle (as of 7/15/13).

A native of Maine, Parker, 59, currently resides in Monticello. He began his career in the early 1970s and has raced in over 54,000 races during his 37-year career. Despite that lofty total of races, Parker’s milestone of 11,000 wins looks even better when you consider that his workload has paled in comparison to top drivers now and some who lead him in total victories.

Parker has only eclipsed 2,000 starts in a year twice during his career while Palone has done it 21 times over the last 30 years. Herve Filion, second in career wins with 15,183, has 17 seasons with more than 2,000 starts since 1977 and some with more than 4,000. Tim Tetrick, one of the leading drivers in the sport, has averaged over 3,300 drives per year over his past 10 seasons.

Also a licensed trainer, Parker has won at least five races in every year since the USTA started keeping trainer records back in 1991. He has amassed 1,223 training wins during that time.