by john manzi for the Billings Amateur Driving Series
After a very competitive year the top nine drivers with the most points in the western region of the seven- month CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series convened at Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway on Saturday night, November 12 for the $10,000 regional final and when the judges declared the trotting contest official “Tiny Tim” Miller and Vaya Con Dios romped to an easy three-length triumph in a 1:57.2 clocking. It marked the second time this season that Miller has driven the 6-year old Conway Hall gelding to victory in Billings action.
After starting from the two-hole Miller worked out a picture perfect journey en route to victory.
When the wings of the gate folded Miler settled his charge down along the pylons and was in third position at the first stanza in :28.1 as Ned “the Insurance Agent” Hodkinson had Mutinyonthebounty on the lead.
Despite Dave “Linemaster” Ehrenberg’s TK’s Jelly Belly pressuring Hodkinson’s trotter on the outside still Mutinyonthebounty got first call as the field sped by the halfway point in :58. After putting away TK’s Jelly Belly Mutinyonthebounty appeared to be in complete control as he trotted by the third quarter in 1:27.2.. However, when the field headed for home company began to arrive with the presence of Upfront Chip Daddy (Michelle “the Belle”Ruvola) and Vaya Con Dios. Both the aforementioned trotted by Mutinyonthebounty in the deep stretch but it was “Tiny Tim’s” Vaya Con Dios-- who had a two-hole journey all the way-- who rallied to victory. Upfront Chip Daddy finished second while Mutinyonthebouny faded and finished third.
Vaya Con Dios, owned by JMF Racing and trained by JD Wengerd, was sent off the betting favorite in the race and returned a $4.00 win payoff.
For Tim Miller it was fifth driving victory this season in just 17 trips to post, and the 40th of his amateur racing career which began in 2001.
Tomorrow evening (Nov. 13) at Pocono Downs the Billings final in the east region will be contested. Then the following Sunday the Delvin Miller Gold and Silver Cup Champions will be presented at Harrah’s Chester Downs.