Monticello, NY --- On the warm and balmy fall afternoon of Oct. 2, Monticello Raceway presented its ninth edition of the Munich Mile, the sixth leg of the track's year long Heritage Drivers Series. The race was for drivers of German descent and was enhanced this year by the presence of four native German drivers.
“They are here as guests of the North American Amateur Drivers Association to compete against NAADA drivers at three different racetracks so we postponed our Munich Mile to coincide with their arrival in order to have native Germans in our race,” explained Eric Warner, the track's director of racing. “We were pleased to have them participate and they were glad to be able to drive in this race.”
|Geri Schwarz photo|
|Mike Merton took advantage of the passing lane to rally to victory.|
When the gate sprung Chuck Poynton sent front-running Tommy Ray CMJ to the lead and Mike Merton commandeered the two hole with Snap Out Of It and he stayed covered while Germans Martina Bredlau and Peter latzer got plenty of Catskill air while on the limb with their pacers, Spectacular Man and Keltic Dragon, respectively.
Poynton and Tommy Ray CMJ took the field all the way to the top of the lane, which was ideal for Merton. When the trailing horses swarmed in on Poynton’s pacer Merton took the unblocked short route up the passing lane to score a two length victory with favored Snap Out Of It in a 1:58.2 clocking.
Sammy Savannah and German driver Andreas Schwarz rallied to be second and they held off Pat Beeler with Foomanchu, who ended up third. Tommy Ray CMJ faded and finished fourth.
“It worked out great for me,” Merton said after his victory. “I had a perfect trip behind the leader and he carried me all the way to the top of the stretch and when the passing lane opened headed for home unrestricted.”
Owned by Paul Felsher and trained by Bill Kapinos, Snap Out Of It scored his fifth seasonal victory and returned a $4.10 win mutuel.
Hechkoff, Yarock are Billings winners
As the seven month C.K.G. Billings Harness Drivers Series heads into the homestretch, two trots were staged at the Mighty M on Wednesday.
In the first Billings split, Bob “the Headhunter” Hechkoff had his veteran trotter Tremendous Hit on the pole and they took the lead on the first turn although Terry “the Dairy Queen” Donnelly with Canadian Princess also wanted that location. However, Hechkoff had other thoughts.
He not only parked Donnelly past the quarter but he kept her on the limb the entire mile through relatively stiff fractions but neither Donnelly nor Canadian Princess quit.
They were still second on the outside at the three-quarters and at the top of the lane Donnelly’s mare finally tired but didn’t give it up as Tremendous Hit finally drew off by two lengths to win in 2:01.4. “Chicago George” Bonomo, with Upfrontstrikesgold, rallied to be second while Canadian Princess hung on gamely for third money.
“He’s a great old guy and such a pleasure to drive,” said Hechkoff, an executive recruiter by trade. “I love this horse.”
Sent off as the favorite in the race, Tremendous Hit, owned by Hechkoff’s RBH Ventures, paid $4.40 for win.
The other split saw Dave “Steady As” Yarock and Guiding Light bide their time in the pocket and move forward as others in front pulled off the pylons.
At the top of the stretch they were second on the inside but still some two lengths behind the pacesetter, Two Shot Lead, driven by Alan “the Intimidator” Schwartz.
It appeared that Two Shot Lead would get the job done but in the deep stretch his strides shortened and Guiding Light went charging by and went on to defeat him by a length in 2:01.2. Northmedo Wine Guy and “Mighty Matt” Zuccarello took home the show dough.
Jim Doherty, Jr. trains Guiding Light, owned by Yarock, who is a financial planner by profession. Sent off at odds of 6-1 the veteran 9- year-old trotting gelding returned a $14.20 win payoff.