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Stratton and Marra are Billings winners at Tioga
Monday, June 28, 2010 - by John Manzi, for the Delvin Miller Harness Drivers Association

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Monticello, NY --- After a month of contests over half-mile tracks the members of the Eastern Region of the C.K.G Billings Harness Driving Championship Series convened at Tioga Downs on Saturday night, June 26, where two divisions of trots were contested over their five-eighths-mile oval and when they became official, Cory “the Teenage Terror” Stratton and “Gentleman Jamie” Marra each had won their respective splits.

Cory Stratton, looking to follow in the footsteps of big brother Jordan, scored his second seasonal Billings triumph with Invocation on a big track when he guided the Like A Prayer 4-year-old gelding to a 2:00 victory over Cherrio and driver “Big Don” Glowacki. Third place went to Anahar Charlie who was in rein to “Lightning Laura” Mac Namara, one of two women who competed in the Billings that evening.

After trotting along in third place as the field headed for the halfway point, Stratton moved Invocation to the outside and they gained command and rambled home an easy 1-1/4 length victor.

With the inactivity of Simeon “Hot Rod” Hunsdon -- he’s recovering from major surgery -- and Tony “the Capo” Verruso, who failed to have a mount at Tioga, Stratton has vaulted to the top on the Eastern Region leaderboard. Stratton’s current total of 57 points is now one better than Hunsdon’s 56.

The other Billings division saw Jamie Marra guide his own Banker Ablaze to a 1:59 triumph over a fast closing S A Poster Boy, driven by Alan “the Intimidator” Schwartz. An Angel For Earl took home the show dough for Barry “Beanie” Farber.

After following pacesetter An Angle For Earl to the half, Marra moved his trotter out to challenge and they sped away to a five length lead at the third stanza. And, in restrospect, they needed every inch of that lead when Schwartz and S A Posterboy came calling in the lane. The five lengths shrank to three at the top of the stretch and the margin of victory at the wire was just a neck, but enough.

The next Billings action will take place in the Cradle of the Trotter at Goshen’s Historic Track on Friday afternoon, July 2. Races there will be wild card events.

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