by Victoria Howard
In our sport, drivers from Down Under have taken our country by storm in the last few years. The McCarthy brothers, Andrew and Todd, along with the phenomenal Dexter Dunn, made their United States debut = and immediately began winning races in a big way.
The trio each made quite a name and the next to do so is a young woman named Lauren Tritton. Born in Australia, Tritton is here representing women drivers from her continent.
“Although none of my family was involved in harness racing, my mother and I competed at high levels in equestrian riding. My career in harness racing started when I jogged a horse one day for people who lived behind me, and it was all over. I was immediately hooked and that’s all I wanted to do.
“I began working for Australian trainers Josh and Terry Ball before and after school at their farm. They eventually gave me my first two race drives, where I finished first and second.
“I love to drive. I’ve driven in three countries, every state in Australia, the north and south island of New Zealand and now in the United States.”
Married to Shane Tritton, also a trainer, the couple train as a team.
Currently stabled at the Pine Bush Training Facility in Pinebush, NY, the Trittons currently operate a stable of 20 but are hoping to increase that number to 30.
“At one time, my husband and I were training 93 horses in Australia. It was a tough lifestyle for we are the parents of two small children and we like to spend a lot of time with them.”
As for some of her awards and driving highlights, Tritton said, “I have won the drivers premiership twice. I was the first female to win the open premiership, the youngest driver to win 500 races and I drove four winners at one meeting 21 times.”
As far as her fastest drive, it was 1:48.3 with a horse named Anything For Love at Menangle in Australia. And in the United States she won with Springsteen in 1:50.4 at Tioga Downs. He just happens to be her all time favorite horse.
On July 13, 2022, Tritton finished second with 2-year-old colt It’s a Me Mario in the New York Sires Stakes at Buffalo Raceway. The time of the race was 1:55.1— a new track record.
But her most thrilling times in the sport was winning the International Monte Trot under saddle and coming back to win a race in the bike the next race.
Tritton does it all. She trains, drives, rides under saddle and is a wife and mother. She drives both trotters and pacers — preferring pacers.
“There is nothing better than to sit behind a nice trotter.”
Her resume is strong for Tritton’s won over a dozen Grand Circuit races, including some of Australia’s biggest mile races: including the Breeders Crown by three lengths on Marty Monkhouser A and the Victorian Derby with Muscle Factory A (which is equivalent to the Meadowlands Pace).
Tritton has represented her state and Australia driving championships, won the award for “most successful UDR” and has been the leading driver at three different tracks.
HOW IS HORSE RACING DIFFERENT IN THE U.S. THAN AUSTRALIA?
“The main thing is prize money. Purses are much better in the States, for Australian racing isn’t run from casinos, but instead, it comes from punters. In Australia, they race a lot over a mile and a half; they don’t race as often in Australia as they do in the States. And in my country a woman has been in the top five drivers every season.”
WHY ARE THE MCCARTHYS AND DUNN DOING SO WELL HERE?
“Horsemen from Down Under have a very good foundation for young drivers. They get a lot more opportunities there to learn by driving against professional drivers from the very start of their career, which I feel produces better skills for the future and gives you confidence that you’re looking for.”
As far as Tritton’s goals and aspirations, she said, “I want to continue our racing operation as a family, to stay happy and healthy, make all our dreams come true and keep inspiring women to be the best they can. And I want to add that women are superheroes and can do anything they put their mind to. Don’t look back and go get them.”