Yonkers, NY — After being sidelined all last year because of the coronavirus, the C.K.G. Billings Series made its 2021 debut at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday (Jan. 21) with two $6,000 non-wagering events that were contested prior to the betting card. The first division was won by newcomer “Steady Jake” Stillwell with Dark Pool in 2:01.3, while the second split saw veteran amateur reinsman Bob “the Headhunter” Hechkoff guide Pound Sterling to an easy 1:59.4 victory.
In his division, Stillwell got Dark Pool away in third position and then moved to the front before a 1:01.3 half. Once in command, Stillwell played “catch me if you can,” and not surprisingly, no one could as Dark Pool rambled to an easy four-length triumph in 2:01.3. Noble Warrawee and Mike Polansky chased the winner home for second, while “Yankee Joe” Lee garnered show with Can Do.
Dark Pool is an 8-year-old altered son of Cantab Hall owned by Barry Franklin and trained by Paul Fusco. It was Stillwell’s first lifetime driving victory.
In the other split, Hechkoff sent Pound Sterling to the front when the gates folded, and the 8-year-old Muscle Hill gelding made every pole a winning one en route to a two-length victory in 1:59.4. If I Must, driven by “Coach Paul” Minore, started in second place early but couldn’t make up any ground and finished second. Third place went to Chas Hanover, who was driven by “Mighty Marianna” Monaco.
With the season just getting started and lots of room to add events, the next Billings trot will once again be at Yonkers Raceway on Feb. 4.
Anyone interested in joining the Billings Series can do so by contacting the series president Tony “the Capo” Verruso by calling 917.697.8985.