Griffs Under 40: Drew C. Monti '16

July 18, 2017

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Buffalo, NY - Driving a 1,200-pound horse at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour in heavy traffic requires athleticism, split-second decision-making and bravery.  Drew Monti has all the right stuff.

The 22-year-old is one of the top drivers on the Western New York harness racing circuit, winning 649 races and bankrolling nearly $3.5 million in purses.

Monti applies his Canisius economics degree to his driving career.  “Racing is my passion but make no mistake it’s a business,” he said.  “Drivers are self-employed and manage all aspects of their careers.” 

Harness racing is in Drew Monti’s blood - literally.  His father, Darrin Monti, and grandfather, Carl Monti, are longtime drivers still in the game as owners and trainers.

Monti took the reins at age 16 to drive the family’s Standardbreds on the New York fair circuit.  He proudly wears the family’s silks – brown and gold, decorated with stars.  A patch from the New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program marks Monti’s work with the organization and his commitment to horses well beyond their racing years.  

Monti began driving regularly in 2013 during his freshman year at Canisius. He notched his first title in 2016 as Driver of the Season at Batavia Downs, the youngest to do so.  Last December, Monti’s childhood dream came true when he was invited to line up next to the best in the business at the Meadowlands. Monti won his fastest race ever on the legendary New Jersey oval.

He’s experienced many career highs in his short career. 

“It’s always a thrill when you drive a longshot for a win, and there’s nothing like driving a $200,000 horse,” said Monti.  “When a driver and a horse come together at the top of their games, it’s magic, truly magic.”