by john manzi for the Billings Series
Paul “the Coach” Minore is hot. He now has won three of his last four starts in amateur competition with his latest victory coming in the prestigious CKG Billings East Region Mid-Season Final at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday evening, July 23 when he guided his own Wygant Prince to a 2:00.2 victory, a triumph made even more impressive since it came after starting from the eight-hole. It was their second consecutive triumph together after having been victorious in a time of 1:58.3 in a Billings leg at Saratoga Raceway on July 12.
The $12,000 Mid-Season Final at Yonkers was for drivers who were the top point earners thus far in the year-long amateur driver’s series. The contest went to post as a non-wagering affair prior to the first race on the betting card.
If Minore was somewhat dejected after having drawn post position eight no one could tell when he gunned his trotter for the lead as the wings of the mobile gate folded and they showed the way by the first stanza in a swift :28.4.
After a :31.1 breather Wygant Prince passed the halfway point relatively unchallenged. However, competition came as they headed up the backside but Minore and his charge continued unfazed and they passed the three quarters alone on the lead as the timer flashed 1:30.2.
As Wygant Prince headed for home he had opened up another length on his competition and cruised to a two-length triumph over Gimme The Loot and driver Bobby “Rapid Rail” Krivelin. Third place went to Pembroke Snapshot, driven by the series top point-earner, “Hurricane Hannah” Miller.
It was the fourth seasonal triumph for the winner, an 8-year-old altered son of S J’s Photo owned by his driver, and trained by Taylor Gower. For Minore, it marked his fifth seasonal driving victory and 84th of his amateur career.
On Friday (July 24) the Mid-west Region Mid-Season Final for the top point earners in that division, will be contested over the five-eighths mile oval at The Meadows.