Monticello, NY — Amateur racing was the order of the day at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon (July 11), when North American Amateur Driving Association and C.K.G. Billings trotting events were joined on the betting card by a GSY Series pace.
Dave Offenberg copped the NAADA Trot with Fiji in 2:00.4, “Hurricane Hannah” Miller’s Jacks To Open hung on for a head triumph in the Billings Trot in 2:00.1, and the first ever GSY Series race at the Mighty M saw Monica Banca hustle Macherati to an easy 1:57 victory.
In the NAADA trot, Offenberg’s Fiji went an outstanding mile, never seeing the pylons and then rallying in the lane to a head victory over Joe Faraldo’s Tough Get Going, who cut all the early fractions. Cheeky Little Minx finished third for Joe Pennacchio.
“Being parked the entire mile is an auspicious way to win a race, but I’ll take it,” Offenberg said as he handed the lines to the horse’s caretaker. “When I couldn’t make the top, I just sat still out there on the limb, and I was so pleasantly surprised that when we rounded the final turn Fiji was still on the bit, and we got up in the final strides to collar Joe’s horse.”
Owned by Offenberg’s Allister Stables and trained by Eric Abbatiello, Fiji, a 6-year-old altered son of Cantab Hall, paid $4.80.
“Hurricane Hannah” Miller, a two-time National Amateur Driver of the Year who now only drives part-time, showed that she hasn’t lost a step when she used the front-end route and late urging to score a tight victory over a hard-charging Broadway Bruiser and driver “Mighty Matt” Zuccarello. Third place went to Blazin Delores and “Annie Get Your Gun” Stoebe.
“I had to use him a bit to make the front from the five-hole, but once we passed the quarter in :29.1, we breezed through even fractions. But in the deep stretch, his stride shortened and I had to get after him a bit, and he responded and hung on for a head victory,” Miller said referring to the mile that Jacks To Open went today.
Sent off as the favorite, Jacks To Open, a 9-year-old Conway Hall gelding, returned $3.80. He is owned by his driver and the Nick Surick Stable.