by john manzi
On Sunday evening,( July 2nd,) at the Hall of Fame Banquet on the lawn of the Harness Racing Museum “Hurricane Hannah” Miller was presented with the Hall of Fame Amateur Driver’s Award for the second consecutive season. Then the next day, she went out and won two amateur driving contests over the famed double oval at Historic Track.
“Both horses were very good today,” Hannah said via email. “I didn't really get the trip I wanted with Pine Tab in race seven but it ended up working out.
“When we rounded the first turn in that one I was able to get a hole (along the pylons) but I didn't want to get locked in so I chose to move him early. We didn’t clear Joe Pennacchio and Current Crisis until midway up the backstretch but once Pine Tab made the front he felt strong and went on to a two-length victory.”
After finishing back in Hidden Identity’s last two starts Hannah decided to change her strategy and send the veteran trotter to the lead where he seems to race his best. On June 1st ,in a Billings Trot at Monticello Raceway, she put the grand old campaigner on the front-end and he went wire to wire to and scored an easy victory.
“In Hidden’s race today I was able to get him out of the gate good and get him to the front where he does his best work. We had a late challenge around the final turn but when I pulled the (ear) plugs we trotted away from LandonFitz (Dave Yarock) and were an easy three-length winner,” Miller said, and then added “It was a great day overall and I was lucky to have my family with me.”
In the first Billings Trotting division Bobby “Hot Rod Chevie” Ciavardini won his first race since 1990 when he guided Baltimor AS to a 2:02.1 victory over Pocket Passer and driver Tony “the Capo” Verruso.
After starting from the pole position Ciavardini took early command and then yielded to Pocket Passer and allowed him to cut the fractions.
After rebuffing challenges, Verruso and his charge led the way until the top of the stretch where Ciavardini, who traveled along in the catbirds seat moved Baltimor AS out for the stretch run and they trotted away to a three-length triumph over Pocket Passer.
Ciavadini had been a racing participant back in the 1980’s but switched careers and returned to the racing venues recently after retiring from the construction business.