2001 - HARNESS RACING
The "Winningest Driver of the
1990's," in the ratings of the Harness Tracks of America. Dave Palone,
has solidified his place among the top drivers in the entire world of
harness racing. He had the top winning percentage among harness drivers
in the last two years and is thus among the sports highest money
winners. In 2000, Palone had 728 wins and purses of $3,217,383. That
brought his lifetime totals to 7,581 victories and purses totaling
$89,689,857, placing him eighth in the world. He has been the winningest
driver at The Meadows track here for 11 straight years.
A native of Waynesburg, Palone was bitten by the harness racing bug at
age 15 when trainer Herman Hylkema let Palone jog a horse owned by
Dave's father, Butch Palone of Rices Landing. He went to work with
Hylkema after graduating from Jefferson-Morgan High School and became
Hylkema's second trainer before moving on to The Meadowlands in New
Jersey to continue his education as a trainer.
Returning "home" to The Meadows in 1987 and 1988 he established himself
as a driver with a future in the sport and in 1989 his 316 wins made him
the track's top driver. His success at The Meadows has resulted in his
being entrusted with a number of the top horses that visit here. In 1991
he went on the Grand Circuit with a three year-old trotter,
Dontellmenomore that won seven of ten starts before being shipped
overseas. Another top horse for Dave has been the pacing filly Maudlin
Hanover, trained by Dave's brother, Mike, who had seven wins and three
thirds in ten starts in 1998 with earnings of $135,610. In 1999 she had
six wins and winnings of $330,158. He was the exclusive driver of Miss
Nittany, a trotting filly that turned in seven wins and five seconds in
18 season starts, winning $194,085.
In the 1999 season, Palone won The Meadows' premier event, The Adios.
Piloting Washington VC to a 1:55 triumph in his $63,184 Adios
elimination. This dynamic combination then won the $284,331 final by two
and three quarters lengths over Triple Crown champion, Blissful Hall, in
a time of 1:52.3.