Monticello, NY --- Steve “You’re Never Too” Oldford is hot. In his last six starts the talented amateur driver has had three wins and a second.
His first win over the last four days was at Lexington’s Red Mile on Thursday (Sept. 26) when he won the Billings Trot there with his own Magglio in 1:56.1 despite making a break at the start. Like the eight other Billings members, he was looking forward to racing north of the border on the weekend.
“It’s great that we are getting to compete in Ontario again,” said Oldford, the Billings Series vice president. “And speaking for the entire Billings membership we’re very appreciative of the opportunity.”
Since he was traveling to Canada for Billings competitions on Sunday and Monday, Oldford didn’t waste any space in his horse van and brought with him some of his other trotters, two of which he raced on Saturday at Hiawatha Horse Park. There he won an overnight trot with his own Miss Texas in 1:59.2 and finished second in another overnight trot with Dojea Delight.
The battling Billings boys ventured to Canada to compete in two races at Grand River Raceway on Sunday and will be at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday for two more contests.
At Grand River Raceway, Oldford used the front-end route with his 4-year-old trotter Garbarino to win his split but they had to hold off a fast closing Monroe Eden and driver Vladimir “Butch” Melnichenko to score by just a head in a 2:01.4 clocking. Farther back in third place was Tony “the Capo” Verruso with King Tut.
That victory was the 15th winning drive for Oldford this year and the 79th of his amateur career, which didn’t start in earnest until 2006. It was the third season's triumph for Garbarino, who paid $4.60 for win.
The other Billings split at Grand River Raceway was a pace. In that one “Dynamite Dave” Drew and Cold Shadow used a second over trip behind Howie “the Horse” Gelfand’s Lyons Trick and luckily for Drew, Gelfand’s cover carried him to the three-quarters at which point he moved out to challenge.
Lyons Trick and Cold Shadow raced side by side around the turn and when they straightened for home Drew’s charge opened daylight and then held off a pocket-sitting River Walk, driven by “Mighty Matt” Zuccarello. Third place went to “Butch” Melnichenko with Undersky El Passo.
Lyons Trick, owned by Wilbert Weatherall, paid $12.70 for win.
Although Drew has only driven seven times this year, this marked his third victory of the season and the 29th of his amateur career.