Monticello, NY — On a pleasant Thursday afternoon (March 14) with the sun peeking through the clouds and the temperature hovering in the mid-50s, the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) kicked off its 37th season with a trot at Monticello Raceway. When the judges hung the official sign, Joe Lee was victorious after he guided Soul Train to an easy triumph in 2:00.
After getting away with a slow start from the four-hole, Lee was content to follow the leaders in the early going before he moved his charge off the pylons and then rallied to the lead at the half-mile marker in :59.
“I felt I had the best horse so I didn’t want to follow the leaders, and after we passed the quarter pole I moved ‘Soul’ off the pylons and headed for the lead,” Lee explained.
Sent off the odds-on favorite, Soul Train opened up daylight on the field and led Wygant Prince (Paul Minore) by the half and was still in command as they passed the third stanza in 1:29.
After sitting in the catbird seat, Brandos Muscle Man, with Peter Kleinhans at the controls, made his run at the leader as the field straightened for home. Although they trotted by Wygant Prince, they came up short and had to settle for second money, 1-1/2 lengths behind Soul Train.
Joe Lee, who during the Major League Baseball season is the New York Yankees assistant clubhouse manager, was thrilled with his trotter’s performance today.
“He’s such a pleasure to drive. Nothing fazes him and he’s so handy. If you want to leave, just ask him, or if you need to find a hole he’s responsive,” Lee said of Soul Train. “An old veteran (a $410,000 career winner); he knows just what to do.”
Lee co-owns the 8-year-old altered son of Trainforthefuture with Blindswitch Racing, Good Friends Stable and Santo Farina. He paid $2.80 to win.
The second leg of this NAADA trotting series will take place at Yonkers Raceway next Thursday (March 21).