It was Joe Lee day at Monticello Raceway on Thursday May 11. The New York Yankees assistant locker room manager won both divisions of the NAADA Trotting Series at the Sullivan County oval. He won the first split, race six on the betting card, with Hidden Identity in a 2:00.4 clocking and then came back to score an easy 1:59.3 victory behind Tim Lizzie in race eight.
Known as “Yankee Joe” in amateur driving circles because of his professional vocation Lee had a smile a mile wide after he handed the lines to trainer Bruce Aldrich, Sr. when he got off from Tim Lizzie’s sulky.
“This is my first driving double”, he said gleefully. “And my parents were here today to see it which made the whole afternoon just that much better.”
In the first NAADA trot Lee was up behind the betting favorite Hidden Identity from the pole position and he sent the 10-year-old Angus Hall gelding to the lead and they led the field by the first stanza in :29.3.
They were in front past the half in 1:01 and from there it was catch me if you can and no one could as Hidden Identity had enough in the final strides to hold off “Hurricane Hannah” Miller and Rev It Now in the 2:00.4 clocked mile. Permanent Joy was third for Bobby Krivelin.
“He was super today,” Lee said after reining Hidden Identity to victory. “We got a breather going to the half and because of that he was strong all the way to the wire,” Lee said after his driving victory and then pointed out that it was the trotter’s third consecutive victory.
Owned and trained by Tom Milici of Montgomery, NY. Hidden Identity scored his fourth seasonal triumph and paid $3.90 for win.
The second division reeled out completely different than the first. Despite leaving from the pole position Joe Lee and Tim Lizzie got away slowly in the six-horse field.
After two trotters broke stride before the start Tim Lizzie settled in fourth position and Lee was content to stay back from the lead as Bobby Krivelin and Current Crisis showed the way.
As the short field headed up the backside the second time around Lee, still in fourth place, reeled his charge to the outside and then went three-deep and they were in front before the final turn. From there it was all Tim Lizzie as he finished a comfortable two lengths ahead of Current Crisis in the 1:59.3 trotted mile. Third place went to Pocket Passer with Tony Verruso at the controls.
“With the short field I was content to follow the leaders because I know my horse has a good kick at the end of a mile and I was especially comfortable since there were fast fractions up front,” Lee said.
“The last time I drove Tim Lizzie he got steppy as we headed to the three quarters and then he finally made a break. But this time I was intent to not let that happen again and he was hitting on all four once Lizzie got in high gear and we had no trouble passing horses and cruised to an easyvictory"
Owned by Woody Hoblitzell of Destin, Fla and trained by Bruce Aldrich, Sr. Tim Lizzie paid $17.20 for win.
However, no sooner had the eighth race finished Joe Lee was off to his real job at Yankee Stadium where the Bronx Bombers are playing against the Houston Astros tonight