by john manzi for NAADA
Despite frigid temperatures and punishing winds the fifth leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association winter trotting series went to post on Saturday afternoon, February 13 at Freehold Raceway and there were no surprises when the betting favorite Justa Rebel scored a decisive victory for Dr. John Kokinos.
After Justa Rebel’s strong second place finish in his last start at Yonkers Raceway the local crowd punched his ticket substantially and the veteran trotter was sent off at odds of 11-10.
With the cold winds swirling Justa Rebel got away slowly from post position six and was some six lengths behind the pace-setter Keystone Boca when the Joe Lee-driven trotter tripped the first stanza timer in :29.1.
As the field rounded the second turn and headed to the halfway point a parked-out Wygant Prince (Paul Minore) settled in along the pylons and when he did Kokinos was out and going with Justa Rebel.
When the field passed the half Justa Rebel was second on the outside but the classy trotter then took command and from there on Kokinos played catch me if you can. Not surprisingly, no one could seriously challenge the new leader and Justa Rebel kept Wygant Prince at bay in the deep stretch to score a 1-1/4 length triumph in a time of 2:02.1. Current Crisis came from far back to garner the show dough for Bobby Krivelin.
It was the 27th lifetime victory for the altered son of Valley Victory who paid $4.20 for win. For Dr. John, a veterinarian from Campbell Hall, NY, it was his 19th career driving victory.
As the sun went down the weather got more colder and was so frigid that races scheduled that evening at Yonkers Raceway and the Meadowlands were canceled due to the excessive cold.
The NAADA Trotting Series will continue at Monticello Raceway on Thursday Feb. 18.