Delong Making A Name For Himself
By J.C. Trevino for Illiniharnessracing.com
Do you agree, that we have been flawed with great young catch drivers like; Tim Tetrick, Pat
However, in all fairness asking Delong to try to pinnacle some of those guys mention earlier would absolutely be unfair, although it would be a great accomplishment. Nonetheless let’s be realistic, it’s really asking a lot from someone to try to top the all-time winnings dash winning driver in a single season.
Really, let’s think about it. If the “who’s- who’s” of harness racing-- presently have a hard time with keeping up with guys like that. How, is a twenty one year old; that has only been driving professional for just three years going to be able to? That's really asking a lot from him.
So let’s be realistic about this and see what John Delong has really done. Along the way he has been getting wisdom and at the same time has been trying to make a name for himself-- in a sport that is so demanding and heartbreaking at times. Even though for those that stick with it,and work hard at it--the rewards can be astonishing.
Delong quietly has won over 348 races in addition 1 million in purses in less then five years. Now that’s appealing for a twenty one year old who was racing in amateur races plus also mainly just racing in county fairs in Wisconsin, Iowa as well as Illinois for the first three years when he first started. In reality almost 99% of all drivers start out that way--racing at fairs. We do have to remember as a 16 year old in 2005 Delong went 4 for 41 and earned only $12,471 in purses, while only racing twice in the Chicago-land circuit as an amateur. So, in all sincerity this kid has come a long way in such a short period of time.
After amateur races and some fair racing, it wasn’t until 2007 that Delong was seen again competing in the
And sure enough on the fair circuit and at Prairie Meadows in 2007 a little of that knowledge paid off, as it was a different story for the young “P" driver going 67 for 268 plus earning $147,000 in purses. That year at Prairie Meadows Delong finished second only to veteran reins men Craig Banks with 21 wins to 25 wins.
When 2008 came around in the
Some of the early lessons,frustration, and hard-work started to pay off in 2009 as the twenty year old was now preliminary getting more opportunities in the
With a successful season at Running Aces along with trying to get established in the Windy City as well as Prairie Meadows only having a short meet, it was best for him not to compete at Prairie Meadows and take a chance of losing some of his potential clients he had worked so hard to get in Chicago. Therefore, Delong skipped the meet, stayed in the Windy City and finished out 2009 with 123 wins along with over $427,000 in purse money won.
Several folks might say it didn’t work out for him, as from November 1st until May 11th Delong has only won on 27 of 340 opportunities in the
And when you start driving for stables like this an opportunity will take place every now and then, and April has been a month in 2010 that this young catch-driver will never forget. On the 16th he steered Delco Willobee to a stakes victory in the Sportsmaster stakes at
I speculate good horses like Delco Willobee & Thisbigdogwilfight will make someone look
excellent; nevertheless they will also help somebody make a name for themselves, and yes John
Delong is making a name for himself in