By john manzi for NAADA
There are few amateurs who log as many miles as Steve Oldford. The automotive manufacturers rep from Croswell, Michigan thinks nothing of hopping a plane to race in an amateur contest no matter where it is.
On Thursday, July 23 Oldford winged his way to Monticello Raceway to drive in the final leg of the 10-race NAADA Spring Series and his efforts paid dividends when he guided the Dan Gill-trained Up Front N Crazy to a romping 14-length victory in a time of 2:01.
Although Up Front N Crazy was sent off at odds of over 9-1 he won like a 1-5 shot. But there were extenuating circumstances. When Matt Zuccarello’s trotter Gray N Cloudy-- 5-2 on the tote board—made a break on the first turn it scattered the field and allowed Oldford’s charge to open up daylight on his competitors.
However, Oldford’s luck continued when Joe Pannacchio’s Sir Winston, who was following just two length behind Upfront N Crazy as the two passed the half in 1:00.4 had nothing in the tank.
“My horse was empty at that point,” Pennacchio said of his veteran trotter who came into the race with two consecutive wins in the NAADA Series. “He must have bled?”
Pennacchio assumption was correct because at the third stanza Oldford’s trotter had a seven length lead which was opened to 14 lengths at the finish.
“I skirted the trouble in the first turn and we trotted clear and when there was no one around me as we headed for home I actually thought there might have been more problems for those in the rears,” Oldford said after the race. “But thankfully there were no more trouble.”
With Sir Winston fading as he headed to the three quarters it allowed the trotters in the back of the pack to gain ground quickly on him. Dave Yarock rallied the strongest with CSI What’s My Name and they finished in second place while Nice Dream, driven by Gerry Fielding caught Sir Winston yards before the wire to take home the show dough. Sir Winston held on for fourth money.
For the record, Picture Perfect, the betting favorite in the race driven by Hannah Miller, was interfered with by Zuccarello’s breaking horse on the first turn and went off-stride vanquishing any hope of victory for Miller and those who wagered on him.
Up Front N Crazy, owned by Edward Hall, paid $20.60 for win.
A condition to the series stated that the drivers with the most points who participated in six of the 10 legs would be eligible to draw for an all expense trip to Mallorca and join NAADA team who will race against their Spanish counterparts in a Friendship Competition in mid-September. However, that drawing, which is forthcoming, will be announced at a later date by NAADA president, Joe Faraldo.
As for Oldford, he’s back on the road this time to drive in the CKG Billings Spring Final which will be contested over the five-eighths mile oval The Meadows tomorrow night.