Palone Sets Driving Record of 15,181 Wins

Palone Sets Driving Record of 15,181 Wins
Photo: Chris Gooden Photos
Dave Palone picks up victory number 15,181 at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino in western Pennsylvania July 5.

Dave Palone became the all-time leading Standardbred driver by victories at 15,181 when he won the eighth race at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino in western Pennsylvania July 5.

Herve Filion had held the record of 15,180, which some believed never would be touched.

Palone, 50, a native of western Pennsylvania, won his first race March 14, 1983, at The Meadows. In his 29 years of driving, Palone has compiled a Universal Driving Rating, which is similar to a baseball batting average, of .399, officials at The Meadows said.

Palone set the record while driving Herculottte Hanover, a 2-year-old pacing filly in her first career start for owners Up Front Racing and Joe Sbrocco. He had to hold off celebrating because of an inquiry.

"What could be better than this?" Palone said. "I have the most beautiful family in the world; they support me in what I do. I love my girls. It meant so much to do it right here. I've been so blessed with good horses and so lucky with my health that I was able to bounce back when I did get hurt.

"A lot of things have to go right, and they did. I just feel blessed."

Palone was joined in the winners' circle by Filion, 72, who topped the career win list win list for 31 years. Filion for years was a sought-after driver on the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania harness racing circuits.

"People used to tell me my record never would be broken," Filion said. "But the way they race horses anymore, a lot of races all around the country, I knew that Dave would get there one day. I feel good about it. Dave's a good guy, a good driver. He'll be an ambassador for the industry."

Palone won't be taking a break, but he did say he's glad the record chase is over.

"I've been dreaming this number for so long, to get it over with is great," Palone said. "I'm pretty burned out right now. I don't ever want to think about numbers again for as long as I live. If my number gets beat, that's great. That means harness racing is doing terrific."

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