Driver Catello "Cat" Manzi was born in Monticello, New York on June 29, 1950. He has competed in harness races since 1968 and has, to date, more than 9,500 career wins and over $85 million in purse earnings. Member of a well-known harness racing family, he ranks third in the list of all-time dashwinning drivers, trailing only Herve Filion and Walter Case, Jr. His career bankroll places him fifth among the sport’s top moneywinning reinsmen. He has won the Leading Driver award over twenty times and, through 2001, has taken top driving titles at Freehold Raceway fourteen times. He is the 2001 U.S. Driving Champion, besting David Miller, Stephane Bouchard and Luc Oullette, three of the most talented young drivers in the sport today.
The six foot tall Manzi has collected driving titles at Freehold, Liberty Bell Park and Garden State Park. Other major highlights in his career include winning all three driving titles during Freehold's 1989 summer/fall meet. That same year he won five divisions, in one night, of the Trendsetter Series at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Also in 1989, he won 687 races, to finish second in North America to Herve Filion in the leading dashwinning category.
Cat Manzi was the regular driver of the top trotting filly Winky’s Goal. Named the 1992 Two-Year-Old and 1993 Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year, Winky’s Goal won the 1993 Hambletonian Oaks in a time of 1:55.2. Other memorable victories for Manzi include the 1990 Zweig and World Trotting Derby with Harmonious and the Merrie Annabelle with Santa Royal. In 1991 he won the Trendsetter II Final with Nuclear Siren, and in 1992 he won the Cornell Memorial with CKS. The following year, Manzi won the Goldsmith Maid with Candy Victory. He took Bullville Victory to a win in the 1994 Yonkers Trot, and with Riyadh, the U.S. Pacing Championship. With Beat The Wheel, Manzi set a world record time of 1:51.4, erasing Mack Lobell's seven-year-old standard of 1:52.1. He took Back To Victory to the the winner's circle in the 1995 Kentucky Filly Futurity and the Bluegrass, as well as On Her Way in the Sweetheart and La Paloma. Manzi piloted Wesgate Crown to a win in the Maple Leaf Trot in 1996. That same year he took Scoot To Power to the Cane Pace winner's circle and became the seventh driver in the world to reach 7,000 career victories. Additional significant races won by Manzi include the 1997 U.S. Pacing Championship with Trump Casino and the Charles I. Smith with Allison Hollow, over Horse of the Year Malabar Man. He took the Three Diamonds with Mybrowneyedgirl. In 1998, with David Raymond, he won the American-National, the Zweig, and came in second in the Hambletonian final. With Pacific Fella, Manzi won the Driscoll (in 1:49.3), the Classic, and Graduate finals. His year-end tally made him the fifth driver in the world to reach 8,000 career victories. 1999 brought Manzi wins in the Valley Victory final with Fast Photo and the Matron with Nikki Cole Cole. In the spring of that year, Manzi suffered a serious head injury in a spill on the Freehold track, causing him to miss the fall meet. After a long recovery, he won his first race back and by the end of the year had become the only driver in harness racing to make 30,000 starts in the span of a decade.
In 2000 Manzi won the Hoosier Cup with Aces N'Sevens andf the Woodrow Wilson with Whitefish Falls. That same year he successfully piloted Syrinx Hanover to a 1:56 win in the Goldsmith Maid. Throughout his career, Catello Manzi has shown that he has world-class talent and remarkable consistency and determination, the qualities of a true Hall of Famer. Still as active as ever in the racing circuit's major league, Manzi lives in New Jersey with his wife Ellen and three children, Matt, Timothy and Jane.
Published in the Harness Racing Museum's 2002 Souvenir Journal