by john manzi for the Billings Series
Now in its 36th season, harness racing’s greatest traveling sideshow, the C.K.G. Billings Amateur Driving Series, moved on to the mile track at the Meadowlands on Friday, June 9 for a contest in the weries eastern region and when the judges posted the results of that race Peter “Enough Talk” Kleinhans emerged victorious with Toss Cartwright in a 1:56.2 clocking.
Although Kleinhans is a member of multiple amateur clubs and has driven abroad in many amateur events his victory tonight marks his first win as a member of the Billings Series. And one could surmise that his win came as a result of patience.
When the wings of the mobile gate closed Kleinhans floated away to a slow start from the six-hole and found no spots along the pylons. But as the field headed to the halfway point “Hurricane Hannah” Miller moved the betting favorite, Pine Tab, out to challenge for the lead which gave Kleinhans veteran 6-year old cover as the field headed up the backside.
By the third stanza Pine Tab had taken command with Toss Cartwright in hot pursuit. When they rounded the last turn and headed for home Pine Tab had a length lead which was slowly diminishing as the leaders headed for paydirt. In the deep stretch Toss Cartwright mounted a late surge and got up for a head victory over Pine Tab. In third place, five lengths behind the winner, was Keystone Thomas, driven by Bob “the Headhunter” Hechkoff.
It was the second seasonal victory for Toss Cartwright who raised his lifetime earnings to nearly $125,000. John McDermott, Jr. trains the 6-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding for owner Collen Cash.
For the multi-talented Kleinhans it was his 53rd career driving victory.