By john manzi for the CKG Billings Series
On Saturday evening, August 12 the granddaddy of all amateur organizations, the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series, embarked on the second half of its 36th season with a race in both the mid-western and eastern regions making it one of the few times that a contest in each division went to post at different racetracks just minutes apart.
Scioto Downs hosted the mid-western trot which was won by Ned “the Insurance Man” Hodkinson behind Mutinyonthebounty in a 1:57.3 clocking over Columbus, Ohio’s five-eighths mile oval .Later that evening at Vernon Downs in New York State David “Poppa” Glasser copped the eastern event with Celebrity Stimulus in a time of 1:56. And strangely, each victory was produced in wire-to-wire fashion.
At 6:57pm the wings of the mobile starting gate folded at Scioto Downs and Ned Hodkinson fired his trotter away from post seven and they had command at the quarter in :28.2. With never a serious challenge Hodkinson and Mutinyonthebounty had things their own way and despite the betting favorite, Star Chip and driver Gregg “Fast Greggy” Keidel, drafting along in the catbirds seat when the field headed for paydirt Mutinyonthebounty hung tough and scored a one-length triumph over Star Chip. Michelle “the Belle” Ruvola took home the show dough with Upfront Chip Daddy.
Dismissed by the betting public and sent off at odds of over 11-1 Mutinyonthebounty scored his first seasonal triumph and returned a $25.80 mutuel.
Hodkinson , who owns the 8-year-old Mutineer gelding, doubles as the horse’s trainer.
Meanwhile, at 7:36pm in Vernon, NY David Glasser used the front end for an easy victory with Celebrity Stimulus.
After starting from the four-hole Glasser sent his trotter to the lead in a swift :27 first stanza with Dien “the Dream” Spriggs hot on their tails with the betting favorite, Garlandandpearls. The two leaders raced one-two by the half and the three quarters but when Celebrity Stimulus headed for the finish line he drew away and coasted home an easy four-length winner. Garlandandpearls was second best with Peoplesayingimnogood finishing third for Scott “the Driving Doctor” Woogen.
The winner,a veteran 7-year-old altered son of Cantab Hall, is owned by Glasser Racing LLC and trained by Homer Hochstetler. He paid $6.00.
Next up in Billings action will be in the east region at Saratoga Raceway on Saturday August 19.