For The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. — Tyler Smith made harness racing history at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Tuesday as he became the youngest driver ever to reach the 1,000-win mark at the age of 20.
Smith came into Hoosier Park’s 14-race card Tuesday with 999 career driving victories and needed just one more victory to reach the career milestone and stamp his name in the record books. He accomplished that feat in Race 7, steering Dontgetbyme to a 1:53 romp. Trained by Virgil Morgan Jr., Dontgetbyme was able to take advantage of an aggressive front end trip to record the sixth win of the season. Owned by Carl Howard and Brian Kohen, Dontgetbyme has amassed over $40,000 through 20 seasonal outings.
The record was previously held by Doug McNair, who reached the 1,000-win milestone just two weeks before his 21st birthday. Smith will turn 21 on Jan. 23.
Smith has been making headlines as a driver since the age of 12 when he became the youngest male driver in harness racing history to record a sub-2:00 race, driving Look Lilly to victory in 1:59.1 in a matinee at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in his home state of Ohio.
The Washington Court House native started driving in 2009 and has since surpassed the $5 million mark in purse earnings and is quickly approaching the $6 million mark. Smith made his presence known in his home state, earning the Peter Haughton Memorial Award, an honor bestowed upon up-and-coming stars in the business, before making the move to Indiana. He has been amongst the top-10 leading drivers at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in his last two seasons. Smith is currently second on the leading driver board at Hoosier Park with 144 victories from 953 mounts, just eight behind leading driver Trace Tetrick who has 152 victories.
“I’m glad to have that win over with,” an excited Smith noted in the winner’s circle. “I wanted to get it here at Hoosier Park, and I’m really glad I did because they have done such a great job of promoting me. It feels amazing, and I am really looking forward to the rest of the year.”
In recent weeks, Smith has spent his time driving at Hoosier Park and The Red Mile, while making a return to Ohio last week to race at the Celina County Fair.
Hoosier Park’s vice president and general manager, Rick Moore, along with Smith’s friends and family were in the winner’s circle to congratulate and acknowledge his accomplishment.
“On behalf of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, I’d like to congratulate Tyler on win No. 1,000,” Moore noted. “It has been a pleasure watching him race and watch him make harness racing history here with us. Through his work with our Celebrity Standardbred driver promotion, his professionalism and attitude, Tyler is a great ambassador for our sport. We wish Tyler continued success for the remainder of this season and throughout his career. We look forward to watching him win many more races at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.”
It was a driving double for Smith as he also piloted Live The Extreme to the winner’s circle for trainer Steve Carter in the evening’s ninth race.