by john manzi for the CKG Billings Series
“Tiny Tim” Miller is a happy man tonight. And why shouldn’t he be? After all he guided longshot Vaya Con Dios to a stunning 1:57.2 victory in the Midwest region CKG Billings Trot at Northfield Park on the ides of June.
What made Miller’s win most impressive what the fact that his trotter was sent off at odds of 23-1 and was six-length winner over favored Heza Rube driven by Bob “the Lumberman: Troyer. And add that it was “Tiny Tim’s” first time ever sitting behind the 6 year old altered son of Conway Hall.
Taking advantage of starting along the pylons from post position nine, Miller got away in good shape following T K’s Jelly Belly ( Dave “Linemaster” Ehrenberg) who parked Celtic Merchant and Steve “You’re Never Too” Oldford before yielding command before the first quarter timer flashed :28.2.
After Oldford’s veteran trotter cleared he led the way to the half-way point in :58.2 with the odds-on betting favorite, Heza Rube, shuffled back after having started from post six in the nine-horse field.
As the field headed into the clubhouse turn Troyer set Heza Rube in motion and began his way toward the leaders. However, Celtic Merchant still got first call as he passed the third stanza in1:28 with Vaya Con Dios in hot pursuit on the outside just a neck behind the pace-setter. At that point Heza Rube was in fifth position.
When the trotters rounded the final turn Vaya Con Dios trotted to the lead and had three lengths on his competition as they straightened for home. Celtic Merchant tired and although Heza Rube rallied still Miller’s trotter was lengths in front and was home free.
At the finish, Vaya Con Dios was an easy six–length winner over Heza Rube who finished neck ahead of Celtic Merchant.
Vaya Con Dios, owned by J M F Racing and trained by J D Wengerd, paid a whopping $48.60 for win. It was the first seasonal driving victory for the Wilmot, Ohio native and the 36th since Miller began amateur driving in 2001.
Next Billings action will be in the eastern region on Friday night (June 17) at the Meadowlands where two Billings trots dot the 11-race betting card there.