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Make It Hot, Four Starz F cop Billings trots at Monticello
Thursday, June 20, 2013 - by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

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Monticello, NY --- In C.K.G. Billings Series action on Wednesday (June 19), two amateur trots went to post at Monticello Raceway and when the results were official Howie “the Horse” Gelfand and Harvey “Doc” Stein each reined a winner in driving finishes.

Gelfand, a sales agent by trade from Mississauga, Ontario, won with Four Starz F in 2:02.3 while Stein, a veterinarian from Moreau, N.Y., got Make It Hot home first in a 2:04.1 clocking. Both races needed the photo finish camera to determine the winner.

In his division, “Doc” Stein was content to take a seat on the first turn and follow Mandinga as driver Tony “the Capo” Verruso cut the fractions.

"Doc" Stein heads back to the winner's circle with Make It Hot.

Stein stayed comfortably behind Verruso until the passing lane opened and then he angled his trotter to the inside and Make It Hot did the rest, overtaking the leader and then holding off a late charge on the far outside by Bobby “Rapid Rail” Krivelin and Ace High Hall to score a head victory. Mandinga faded and finished third, just a length behind the winner.

“This old guy will fool you because he likes to leave quickly but he’s no good on the front end and races way better when he follows,” Stein said of Make It Hot, the classy veteran winner of more than $275,000 in a great career which included a victory nine years ago in a 1:55.2 clocking -- his lifetime record -- in the Old Oaken Bucket over the lightning fast half-mile oval at Delaware, Ohio.

“I’ve had professional drivers handle him but he races better for me than for them because I know him best,” Stein added.

He went on to say that Make It Hot, a very gentle 12-year-old Self Possessed stallion, will have three of his colts in the sale at Morrisville, N.Y., later this year. And although it wasn’t meant as a reward, the old guy (the horse, that is) is scheduled to breed one of Stein’s mares, Congo Queen, tomorrow at his farm in Moreau, N.Y.

Owned by the Stein Racing Stable, Make It Hot scored his first seasonal victory and 26th of his career. Trained by Stein, the trotter paid $13.60 for win. And for Stein, it was his 24th win in his amateur driving career.

Geri Schwarz photos
Four Starz F was a 2:02.3 winner for Howie Gelfand.

Howie Gelfand, in from Canada, made his U.S. debut a winning one in a near triple dead-heat when he, too, used the passing lane for a victory.

After leaving from the five hole Gelfand sent Four Starz F to the lead on the first turn and then yielded to Dave “Yes It’s True” Offenberg with Whatnblazes.

Gelfand was content to trot along in second place until the top of the lane, at which point he sent his trotter down the passing lane and Four Starz F out-footed Whatnblazes to the wire and then held off Iroquouindianmagic and driver Alan “the Intimidator” Schwartz to score a short head victory in 2:02.3. Whatnblazes was just a nose behind the aforementioned duo in third place.

It was the third win of the season for Four Starz F, who is owned by John Wagner, Dr. Scott Woogen and Syl King, Jr. The trotter paid $13.60 for win. For Gelfand it was his 35th winning drive.

In other action, Monica Banca reined her third winner in just four lifetime starts when she guided Indescribable to a come-from-behind head victory over Tom Riddle and driver Steve Oldford in the fourth leg of the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club’s spring pacing series.

Banca, the lone lady in the contest, drove Indescribable to victory in a 1:58.2 clocking and returned a $16.60 win mutuel. She co-owns the pacer with Rick Dane, Jr.

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