Day At The Track

CKG Billings driving series starts Saturday

04:12 AM 26 Apr 2019 NZST
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CKG Billings Series.jpg
Courtesy Of CKG Billings Series - CKG Billings (the man) and his great trotting mare and world champion, Lou Dillon.

MONTICELLO, NY--Although there were events for Billings members in early April at Pompano Park the granddaddy of all amateur driving programs, the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series, will get underway in earnest on Saturday, April 27 at Freehold Raceway and then move to Miami Valley Raceway the following afternoon.

Both programs have been drawn and most notable is the purse increase at both venues. At Freehold the lady and gentlemen drivers will compete for a $9000 purse while at Miami Valley they'll go for $8,000.

But competitors will find that they'll be racing for more money than in the past at many venues. At Scioto Downs the purse will be $10,000; at the Meadowlands, $11,000; at the Meadows-$12,000; and at Woodbine Mohawk; $12,000.

Both Tony "the Capo" Verruso, Billings Series president, and Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford, the series vice president, worked diligently in an effort to formulate an admirable program.

"Tony and I adjusted the schedule a bit concentrating on the tracks that get the most participation, "Oldford noted. "The big add in the West this year is The Meadows where we have five legs and the West Gold Cup. Northfield Park has eight legs total. Purses are up at all tracks which we hope will bring out more participation.

"We will again have our youth program which allows those under 25 years old, with under 50 pro wins, to race for free. It worked well last year. Two up and coming amateur drivers to watch are Mariah Wright and Alysha Binkley, both very good and should be at our West opener at Miami Valley next Sunday."

"We have also added some condition allowances for amateur horses to help benefit those who race mostly in amateur races," Verruso added.

Once again the Billings Series -now in its 38th season--will offer opportunities for competitions nearly weekly until late November. According to Billings Series president Tony Verruso, one big difference this season will be the elimination of the Silver Cup Final in in lieu of an East and West $25,000 Gold Cup Championships.

 

by John Manzi

for the Billings Harness Driving Series,

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