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Matthew Athearn Scores 1,000th win

Matthew Athearn makes most of his driving appearances at Saratoga and Plainridge Park. However, last weekend the 25-year-old from Maine made an appearance at Freehold Raceway. He made his presence known when he steered Brickyard King to victory and placed second with Uncontrolled.

One week later, on Friday (Dec. 15) he returned to the half-mile oval in New Jersey where he won for the 1,000th time in his young career. His winning mount was once-again Brickyard King for owner/trainer Ray Baynes. This time, the pair was 20-1 and paid $43.00 to win.

They left from post six and captured the early lead quite easily. They trot to the first quarter in :29.3 with no pressure until they reached the half in 1:00.4 and faced the first-over challenger, Captain Molly C, the 3-5 favorite. The challenger clearly underestimated Athearn and his mount because they could not clear the early leaders and remained parked passed the three-quarter pole, which was reached in 1:30.4. In the final turn, Captain Molly C and driver Vinny Ginsburg settled for a spot in second behind Athearn on the rail but broke stride shortly after tucking in. This gave Athearn ample opportunity to trot on and cross the wire 4 ΒΌ lengths ahead of the next competitor.

Athearn also had two second place finishes out of his five drives on the card. He looks to keep building on his win-count tonight at the Meadowlands where he is set to drive in eight races.

Freehold returns with more racing tomorrow (Dec. 16) including the second half of the Rosecroft-Freehold driving challenge. The first race is at 12:30pm.

 Matthew Athearn crosses the wire first for the 1,000th time.