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Friday, April 28, 2017


   By john manzi for the Billings Series

Known in the Billings Series as “the Headhunter” because in his professional life he’s an executive recruiter, Bob Hechkoff added another victory to his amateur driving credentials when he reined The Franchise to a 1:59.4 victory in a Billings Trot eastern region event which was contested as a non-wagering affair at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday, April 27.

After starting from the seven-hole Hechkoff eased his trotter to the pylons and fell into third position. “Smokin’ Joe” Faraldo took early command with Signal Hill OK only to relinquish the lead to “Coach Paul” Minore and Wygant Prince who then led the seven-horse field past the first stanza :29.2.

As they headed to the halfway point Hechkoff moved The Franchise first-up and they cleared Minore’s trotter before the three quarter timer flashed 1:29.4.

“I had The Franchise in high gear and we opened up two lengths,” Hechkoff recalled. “As we straightened for home Minore came at us with Wygant Prince but horse was up to the challenge and dug in and was strong right to the wire.”

Three trotters came to paydirt just necks apart but The Franchise got last call which gave “The Headhunter” his third seasonal driving victory, a neck winner over Wygant Prince in the 1:59.4 mile.. The other horse in the three-horse photo, Landonfitz, came from far back for Dave “Steady as“ Yarock and each of the top three finishers were individually timed in 1:59.4.
The Franchise, a 7-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding, is owned by RBH Ventures and trained by Kyle Spagnola. For Hechkoff, the victory was his 92nd of his amateur driving career.

Next Bilings action will be in the mid-west region at Miami Valley Raceway on Monday, May 7.