cover photo by Fotowon
by Allison Conte
Montrell Teague is a Delaware native driver and regular at Harrington Raceway and Harrah’s Chester. He has spent his life learning the ropes from his father, renowned horseman George Teague. He was the youngest driver ever to pilot a horse in The Meadowlands Pace, at age 20, with 2011 contender Custard The Dragon, who amassed $778,000 in lifetime earnings with Teague at the lines in nearly all of his races.
Now 23, he has amassed 638 lifetime wins and counting.
How old were you when you first sat behind a trainer?
Roughly about 10-years-old.
Was it scary at the time?
No. I was sitting on Dad’s lap or right beside him, one of them, I can’t even remember, but he was right there with me so I knew nothing would go wrong.
Can you think of a specific moment that got you hooked on being a driver?
Just training at the barn when I was really young. When I first got to go to the bike I knew I’d always want to be a driver. Probably my first races, even the non-parimutuel races at the fairs, it was always fun.
Do you get nervous before a race?
Yeah. I mean, just he big races, pretty much every time. But right when I hit the track it all goes away.
What is your day-to-day life like?
Right now it’s just going to the barn in the morning, going to the races at night. Harrington Raceway and a little bit at Chester (Harrah’s Philadelphia).
What horse from your past have you learned the most from?
One of my dad’s first, best horses was Starter Hanover, and I would go to every single race he had and jog him sometimes when I was really young. I mean, I was probably about eight. That was one of the first horses I ever jogged by myself. Dad would just hook me up and then talk to him and say, “Take care of him Pops.” He was just a big kid, but like an old man, he was taking care of me.
Do you have a favorite moment of your career so far?
Winning the Hoosier Cup was the best moment I’ve had so far (with Custard The Dragon, 2011).
Have any goals for this year?
I don’t know, pretty much just to win as many races as I can and gain other trainer’s interest. Just keep on climbing up.
Do you have any horses that you’re particularly excited for this year?
Dad just had one win in 51, Wiggle It JiggleIt. He seems to be a top.
What’s been your favorite horse to work with?
It’s still Custard The Dragon. Just me and him, we were like a tag-team. Right when he started as a 2-year old was when I started driving him and I mean, we learned the ropes together. He’s one of the best horses I’ve ever driven and he always gave me everything he had. He made it fun in every single race.
What does harness racing mean to your family?
It’s the only thing that we’ve ever known. I’m the third generation so I was bred into it. I haven’t tried anything else and wasn’t interested in doing anything else. I always knew exactly what I wanted to do. I never met my grandfather, but my dad, he always had the passion for harness racing and I kind of got it from him.
Say hi to Montrell at the track & show your support! This interview is part of our new weekly features of faces in the sport, from fans to owners, trainers to grooms.