Richard Roach posts his first 2013 GLADA victory

by Patricia Miller, for the Great Lakes Amateur Drivers Association

Hazel Park, MI — Last year’s champion Richard Roach held on for his first win this season in Monday night’s Great Lakes Amateur Drivers Association race at Hazel Park.

Driving a first time GLADA competition horse, he steered Beauty Chip, a 6-year-old mare by Chip Chip Hooray, trained by Bob Rowland and owned by Jodi Hammell, to a close victory in 2:03.1 on a sloppy track. Smokin Steven puffed his way up to second place with Mike Mitchell aboard, and top driver Kara Buxton didn’t let her eight hole start slow her down with Al Tomlinson trainee Cacao Rust as she charged down the stretch to claim the show dough in a thrilling, tight finish.

Yet another night of constant rain, slop, and mud greeted the GLADA drivers as they paraded to the track for the first race. But minus last week’s tornado sirens, their spirits were lifted as the rain fell and the horses sloshed along. Eight eager competitors were ready to go regardless and the horses just don’t care anyhow, so when the starter yelled go they were off.

The quarter time of :29.4 found Miss Tiger Lily and Larry Steenbergen in first on the rail, with Crown Glory in rein to Kelly Walker parked out in second and Garbarino double parked in third with Steve Oldford in the bike.

As the timer flashed 1:01.1 at the half, Garbarino had taken over first and Miss Tiger Lily was in second with the hard charging Crown Glory in third. The eventual winner Beauty Chip was on the move on the outside.

As the muddy trotters and their unrecognizable drivers turned for home, Roach had the pedal down and motored from fifth to fourth in deep stretch. Buxton urged on Cacao Rust as she continued her march from eighth to third and a faltering Miss Tiger Lily slipped back to seventh.

An electrifying finish saw Roach and Beauty Chip form a lovely picture for the camera as she finished just ahead of Smokin Steven who roared back into form and finished second. Buxton just missed catching Mitchell and she is looking hungrily ahead to next week for her first season’s win.

Roach was smiling broadly as he drove Beauty Chip into the winner’s circle. He was really excited about his first 2013 GLADA win and praised the fine mare he drove.

“She is a fast mare and wants to go. Even a mostly outside trip didn’t slow her down much,” he said with his blue eyes twinkling through the mud caked goggles. “I drove her down at Raceway Park in the Billings and got a second with her, and I knew she was a good honest mare, so I was happy to drive her this week.”

Wins are building as the GLADA season continues, and every week but one has revealed a different winner. It will be a close battle for the championship and in the fight to win the crown and the chance to drive at Delaware.

The ones who really benefit are the children of Michigan horsemen who receive scholarship money from GLADA fees.

So on to next week. Wash the colors, gear, and trotters, and re-enter for another chance to win. Hazel Park does its very best to have a great fast track for their horsemen and perhaps Mother Nature will co-operate next Monday night.

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