Tony “the Capo” Verruso took charge in the Billings Trot at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon (May 18) and went right on down the road with Flirting Duezy and made every pole a winning one en route to a 1:58.1 triumph.
“We had the pole and I wanted her to be on the muscle so I scored her down hard,” the Billings president said in the paddock after his driving victory. “But I didn’t expect her to be on the bit as strong as she was and when we got behind the (mobile starting) gate I had all I could do to hold her.”
Flirting Duezy zipped to the lead and took the field by the first stanza in :28.3.
“I tried backing her off but she had a mind of her own at that point. So I left her cruise right along and we passed the half in :58.3 and got by the three quarters in 1:27 and 2,” Verruso added.
At that point Flirting Duezy was two lengths in front of Avivas Winner, who was being driven by “Tough Tony” Ciuffetelli. But Avivas Winner could get no closer and he chased the eventual winner to the wire still two lengths in the rears as the photo finish camera snapped. Third place went to the betting favorite, AJ’s Destiny, who was handled by “Buffalo Bob” Davis.
Flirting Duezy, is owned by Carl Gillespie and Betsy Phillips and trained by Gillespie. It was the third seasonal victory for the 8-year-old daughter of Victory Sam and the first victory of the year for Verruso who has driven 66 winners in his amateur driving career.
However, the day was not over for the Billings president. After the Monticello race he headed to Yonkers Raceway where he’s slated to drive his own Sam’s Honeybee in the $15,000 Final of the North American Amateur Drivers Associations Spring trotting series.