10/22/2015 10:19PM

Saratoga Harness: Coppola, Beckwith join 5,000 win club

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Melissa Simser
Jericho helped Mark Beckwith pick up his 5,000th career win.

Coming into Thursday afternoon there were 102 drivers in the history of harness racing to pilot 5,000 winners in their career. That number grew by two as a pair of the local regulars at Saratoga Casino and Raceway reached the 5,000 win plateau on the evening card.

Frank Coppola Jr. drove claiming trotter Diamond Tough (Angus Hall) to a wire-to-wire victory for trainer Kyle Spagnola and returned to the winner’s circle to a host of supporters. The 55-year-old Coppola is the second winningest driver in Saratoga Harness history behind only Dan Cappello Jr., and joined Cappello as the second local driver to hit the 5,000 win mark. With more than 4,800 of his career victories coming at Saratoga, Coppola is certainly a “hometown guy” and was recognized in the winner’s circle with a presentation made by race secretary PJ Iovino.

Coppola was soon joined by reinsman Mark Beckwith, who drove young trotter Jericho (Credit Winner) to victory for win number 5,000 of his career. The 49-year-old Beckwith, who became a regular at Saratoga in 2009, did the majority of his winning at Yonkers Raceway from 1997-2006. Like Coppola, Beckwith was surrounded by his fellow drivers who came down from the paddock to recognize the milestone win.

History was made as Thursday marked the first time in harness racing history that two drivers hit the 5,000 win plateau on the same day at the same track. 

(edited release--Saratoga Raceway)