Freehold, NJ — Another $9000 amateur trot in the American Harness Drivers Club is now in the books after “Coach Paul” Minore gunned If I Must to the lead from the five-hole and then proceeded to make every pole a winning one en route to 2-1/4 length victory in 2:00.4 over seven others at Freehold Raceway on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 24).
Mugshot Jess (Pearly Allen) got all the early betting money and was sent away as the 1-2 favorite but road trouble from the six-hole never allowed him to contend until it was too late.
After he grabbed the lead in a soft :30.2 first quarter Minore tapped the breaks and led Fiji (Dave Offenberg) by the first stanza and they were one-two by the half in 1:01:2 while Mugshot Jess was stalled by breaking horses on the first turn.
Tough Get Going (Joe Faraldo) who was in third place behind the leaders early, had trouble chasing the top two and in doing so it kept the trailers from a clear shot at the leaders.
It was still If I Must and Fiji showing the way as the field rounded the final turn and in the lane the formerly opened daylight on the latter and coasted to an easy victory. Mugshot Jess finally shook free but too late to do any damage to the leaders and had to settle for third money.
If I Must, a 5-year-old altered son of Muscles Yankee is owned by his driver and trained by Taylor Gower. He was sent off as the third choice in the contest and returned a $14.70 win mutuel.