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Siegelman wins five at Freehold, now only one away from leading driver title

The new year is rapidly approaching, which means that 2023 is coming to an end just as quickly. It is time for year-end honors but this year at Freehold Raceway, the title for leading driver has come down to the wire. Jimmy Marohn Jr. was in control of the lead for much of the year, but an injury from an accident at Yonkers in November halted his progress at 131 wins in 2023. Siegelman began the day (Dec. 29) at a total of 125 wins, just six behind Marohn. With the final weekend of racing at the half-mile track upon him, Siegelman decided it was time to kick things into high gear and close the gap. He did so successfully, winning five races on Freehold’s eleven-race Friday afternoon card. This puts his total wins up to 130, just one behind the leader.

He wasted no time getting to the winner’s circle as his first win of the day took place in race one where he steered even-money co-favorite J M Speak Easy to victory out of post four. After being parked for most of the first quarter, Siegelman cleared to the lead aboard his Scott DiDomenico trained mount. It was smooth-sailing the rest of the way as they paced to victory in 1:59.2.

In race three Siegelman crossed the wire first with The Boxer but he had broken stride shortly before the finish. This resulted in being placed third by the judges.

Siegelman didn’t get discouraged, he came back to win race four with 9-5 Reachin For Heaven for owner/trainer Gricelda Orantes. He started from post four and found a spot in third on the rail when the race got underway. In the third turn he pulled his filly and went right around the early leaders and continued to float away from them. Then crossed the finish line first by 3-1/4 lengths in 1:57.3.

In race six Siegelman left from post five with Mahone Seelster and captured the early lead and was the wire-to-wire winner at 1-5. They trot the mile in 1:56.2 for trainer Chris Height.

He continued to work his magic in race eight aboard 3-2 LA Magic. They left from post five and cleared to the lead after the first eighth of a mile. They continued to cruise in the lead, not facing any pressure until the final turn where a challenger rallied from first-over and then others found some late trot in the stretch. The Edwin-Quevedo trainee was able to fend them off and win in 1:59.3. This put Quevedo’s win total at Freehold for the year up to 35, which is enough to earn him the title of leading trainer for 2023.

In the final race of the day, Siegelman piloted Brighten Your Life from post four for trainer Jenna Cornelison. Early on, he settled for a spot fifth on the rail. After a few missteps at the quarter pole forced him to pull outside, he decided to keep pacing on from first-over. This resulted in the pair getting parked out for the remainder of the mile. Despite this, the10-year-old mare still had enough gas in the tank to get the job done and give Siegelman his fifth win of the day. Not only did she survive a tough trip, but it was also an upset victory as she was 11-1.

Siegelman commented, “Every horse I drove was super and I couldn’t be happier with the day. It’s nice to drive one winner, let alone five, so thanks to the trainers for having faith that I’m the guy to get the job done.” He is slated to drive nine more times in the final card of the year at Freehold tomorrow (Dec. 30). One win will tie him with Jimmy Marohn Jr. for the leading driver title, and two or more will win him the honors. Action begins at 12:30pm.