by john manzi for the CKG Billings Series
When the 36th season of racing in the C.K.G Billings Series kicked off at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday, March 30 two precedents were set. It was the first time in a Billings Series opener that a horse got placed first because of a racing infraction; and it was also the first time in her career that “Hurricane Hannah” Miller won a race by default.
“I guess a win is a win no matter how it happens,” said the talented miss, who is no stranger to the winners circle. “My horse (Winwood Scout) had a second-over cover trip but when David Glasser’s horse (Celebrity Stimulus) was cited for a change of direction the stretch and despite being the first under the wire the judges disqualified him and placed him fourth.”
It was the second consecutive victory for Miller and Winwood Scout having won a NAADA trot at Yonkers last week when they teamed-up for a 2:00.1 victory.
However, Celebrity Stimulus’ driver, David “Poppa” Glasser, was philosophical about the whole ordeal.
“I learned a good lesson tonight, and a rather costly one at that. It was a $2200 pain in my wallet,” he said with a laugh.
“I was on the front-end from the start but in the deep stretch I was so concerned about beating the outside horse (Wygant Prince) that I let my trotter drift down into the passing lane which was a violation. I’ll be careful to never let that happen again.”
The 6-horse field went to post prior to the first race on the betting card. When the starting judge said ‘go’ Glasser sent Celebrity Stimulus to the lead from the pole position. They cut fractions of :28.4; :58.3 and they were still fairly comfortable as they passed the third stanza in 1:29.1 But in the lane they had company.
At the wire Winwood Scout was a neck behind the winner and was placed first. Third under the wire was “Coach Paul” Minore’s Wygant Prince who ended-up it the place money and The Franchise and driver Bob “the Headhunter” Hechkoff ,was placed third.
The race winner, Winwood Scout notched his third consecutive victory. He is trained by Chris Marino for Howard Jacobs. And for "Hurricane Hannah" Mille, two time National Amateur Driver of the Year, it was her third seasonal victory.