Freehold, NJ – It was bombs away in the American Harness Drivers Club trot at Freehold Raceway on Saturday afternoon (Oct 17) when “Mighty Matt” Zuccarello hustled 47-1 Latoka up the inside to collar “Smokin’ Joe” Faraldo and 30-1 Tough Get Going and together the trotters produced a whopping $1017.40 exacta, one of the biggest in recent memories in amateur racing.
And the third place finish by Wygant Prince ,with “Coach Paul” Minore at the controls, produced a near record $3813.80 trifecta.
When the gate sprung Minore sent his veteran trotter to the lead as Faraldo ducked in the two-hole, a place where he stayed until the stretch drive.
In the meantime Minore played hardball with Marianna Monaco who had her Awol Hanover challenging for the lead from the six-hole in the :29.2 first quarter. But with Minore’s insistence Awol Hanover never was able to drop down along the pylons as the trotters race one-two all the way to the final turn.
With Wygant Prince showing the way and Tough Get Going following Faraldo was content with the way the race was breaking for him.
“I moved Tough Get Going to the outside and when we rounded the final we had the lead and I thought we were going to win it,” Faraldo said.”I was eyeing Wygant Prince and I knew we had him beat. “
Faraldo was right but his trotter drifted in the deep stretch which permitted Zuccarello and Latoka, who was fifth at the head of the lane, with a clear path to the finish line now that they were down along the pylons. With daylight the veteran 9-year-old Groton Hall gelding kicked it in another gear and collared the leader and went on to a head victory over Tough Get Going in 2:01.1.
For Zuccarello, who doubles as the publicist for the GSY Amateur Series, it was his first seasonal driving victory and the 17th of his career.
The winner is owned and trained by Donald Maiorano