Nichols, NY — The last race on the card at Tioga Saturday night (May 30) featured six amateur drivers going to post to see who would be victorious and grab the lion’s share of the $4,500 purse.
When the gate sprung open, series President Jeffrey Schaefer took command from his rail position with trotter Aruba Vacation and set sail through a modest opening quarter and half-mile clocking (:29.2/1:01.4).
As the half was approaching the closers started to make their grind towards the leader. That is when Marquis Volo (Matt Zuccarello) came first over to the leader and they dueled neck and neck through a quick :28.3 third quarter and when they entered the stretch, Zuccarello had overtaken the leader but the other closers came calling.
He was able to stave off all challengers en route to a 1-3/4 length victory. Lodi Bank Robber (Stacey Mclenaghan) had a second over journey and ended up second in a photo over longshot Sanchez Rocks (Ronald Houghtaling) who rounded out the trifecta. The mile went in 2:00.4 over the good surface.
Zuccarello was more than happy after his victory and said, “It is nice to drive a little horse power and I never had to turn the whip on him the entire race. The four hour drive back to south Jersey is certainly worth it when you can get a win. That’s why I love the sport so much and hope to drive up here more often. Thank you to Jeff Schaefer who helped me secure this drive.”
The winner is a 9-year-old gelding sired by Credit Winner and out of the mare Margarita Momma. He is owned by Melissa Beckwith and Ciro Gentile and is trained by Frankie Bambrick.
The Southern Tier Amateurs will be back at Tioga next Saturday night with their regular weekly race and the purse will be increasing to more than $5,000. The first post is scheduled for 6:15 p.m.