Paul “the Coach” Minore and Bob “the Headhunter” Hechkoff made it two victories in a row in amateur contests when each won a division of the CKG Billings trot at the Meadowlands on Friday night, July 17 after the former won a NAADA trot and the latter a Billings event both at Monticello Raceway the previous day.
Coach Minore was victorious at the Big M with Hallanet in a time of 1:57.3 while Hechkoff romped to a 1:54.4 triumph in a Billings split with Keystone Thomas. And both drivers made a quarter pole move to the lead after the first few furlongs and then each cruised on to open lengths victories. Minore’s trotter was three lengths ahead of “Mighty Matt” Zuccarello’s Gray N Cloudy while Hechkoff guided his charge to an easy six length victory over Current Crisis driven by Dein “the Jupiter Gem” Spriggs.
In his contest Minore and Hallanet left from the pole position and parked Zuccarello and Gray N Cloudy by the quarter in :28.1 and thenMinore retook command and Hallanet raced relatively unchallenged the rest of the mile. They had a comfortable four length lead as the field headed for home and at the wire Hallanet was a 3-1/4 length victor over Gray N Cloudy. Pixel Queen finished third for “Joltin Joe” Pennacchio.
Hallanet is owned by his driver and trained by Taylor Gower. Sent off at odds of over 13-1 he paid $28.20 for win.
Hechkoff’s Keystone Thomas went a whale of a race after he left hard from the 10-hole and followed “Yankee Joe” Lee and Dream Rocker’s cover on the limb as Dave “Linemaster” Ehrenberg and Fuel Cell parked both trotters to a :27:2 first quarter.
After Lee cleared with Dream Rocker Hechkoff gained command with Keystone Thomas and the ball game was nearly over as the veteran trotter passed the half in :56.1 and then went on to a oh-so-easy six length triumph over Current Crisis. Dream Rocker held on for the show dough.
It was two-wins-in-a-row for Keystone Thomas after “the Headhunter” drove him to a 1:55.4 victory in his last start in the GSY Series also at the Big M in early July.
Keystone Thomas, owned by Hechkofff’s R.B.H. Ventures and Kyle Spagnola and the latter doubles as the horse’s trainer. He paid $8.80 for win.
Amazingly, or maybe not so amazing, is the fact the overwhelming majority of the 20 trotters slated to start in the Billings Series at the Meadowlands on Friday are all owned by their amateur drivers.