You may have heard the baseball song; ‘Mickey, Willie and the Duke’‘, which was written and performed by Terry Cashman in the late 1970’s . On Thursday night (May 22) Yonkers Raceway had a similar version namely; ‘the Headhunter’ and ‘the Capo’.
What you might ask quizzically? For the record they are nicknames for the drivers who won their respective $6000 C.K.G. Billings divisions at the Hilltop oval on Thursday. Bob “the Headhunter” Hechkoff, an executive recruiter by trade, scored a 2:00.2 trotting victory with Get Packin while Tony “the Capo” Verruso, the president of the Billings Series, won his split with Sam’s Honeybee in a time of 2:01.2.
Hechkoff took no prisoners and went down the road with Get Packin and in doing so he played hardball when he kept “Coach Paul” Minore and Wygant Prince on the limb the entire mile. Maybe that was a needed move or maybe it wasn’t, but either way Hechkoff emerged victorious a by a length over Wygant Prince, who went a game trip to be second. Third place went to Browner Shuttle driven by Bobby “Rapid Rail” Krivelin.
Hechkoff, who now has 46 driving victories, owns the winner who’s trained by Brandon Simpson.
In the other split Verruso worked out a perfect trip after he started from the pole position with Sam’s Honeybee. He trailed along in third position nearly the entire mile, that is, until he took aim at the leader L F Topaz and driver “Tough Tony” Ciuffetelli at the top of the stretch. Sam’s Honeybee then trotted by LF Topaz and held off a fast closing Mr. Jim Dandy and driver Dave “Yes Its True” Offenberg to score a 2:01.2 victory. Catalyst took home the show dough for Mark “Wakefern” Schullstrom while LF Topaz faded and finished fourth.
“She Sam’s Honeybee) usually doesn't leave very well but I wanted to try and keep the hole closed so I would get the pocket trip,” Verruso explained after his driving victory. “I considered pulling up the backstretch going to the 3/4 pole but I saw the horse on the lead still had something left so I was pretty sure he would carry me to the top of the lane. Even though my horse prefers to go outside the passing lane was my only option so I took it.”
Like many amateur Verruso owns Sam’s Honey who’s trained by Carl Gillespie. For “the Capo” it was his second driving victory of the season and the 50th of his amateur career.