Harness driver Dave Palone is only nine wins away from reaching the magical number of 15,000 career victories.
As of Friday, March 23, Palone has 14,991 lifetime wins to his credit from steering the winners of $102,511,482 since he first began driving over 30 years ago.
Only Herve Filion has eclipsed that mark as harness racing’s winningest driver in the history of the sport—a spot the Canadian native has held since 1971. Now 72-years-old, Filion has 15,180 career victories and last drove in 2010.
The 50-year-old Palone, who has reigned supreme at The Meadows racetrack in western Pennsylvania for the last four decades, has won at least 532 races every year since 1992.
A 2010 inductee into Harness Racing’s Hall of Fame, the Waynesburg, PA native is a six-time winner of Harness Tracks of America Driver of the Year Award and led all North American drivers in victories in 2004, 2000 and 1999.
“With all the years of hard work and all the horses I’ve gotten to race for everybody, it’s a satisfying accomplishment,” Palone told Harness Racing Communications. “I decided to stay here and grind it out in Pennsylvania, which turned out to be the right move for me. It’s always been nice because I’ve always been able to race a lot of the better horses here and the numbers speak for themselves. It’s pretty elite company.
Palone’s greatest triumphs in 2011 came with Breeders Crown winners Sweet Lou and Uncle Peter.
“I’m just a real competitive person. That’s what I loved so much about harness racing, it was something I could do and be competitive. If you’re out there and that trainer hires you for that race, that’s a pretty important race for him. He’s got to look at that horse seven days a week so it’s the least I can do to be prepared for the race and drive the best race possible. There’s no excuse for no preparation. I come in here and feel I’m pretty prepared for the race card.”