Everybody had a hand in this one, and at the wire the favourite and the fans' sixth choice in an eight-horse field finished a neck apart.
The 11th race this past Thursday night at Northville Downs was a $10,000 Open Handicap trot. The race went off just as what would be about six inches of started to cover southeast Michigan. The track was rated “good.”
The big favourite was Call City Hall, who was looking for his third win in a row. He came to Northville off of two victories at Sports Creek Raceway, and a victory in this class at Northville Downs this past October. In this contest the race secretary drew the five through eight posts, and Call City Hall got lucky and drew post position five.
As the gate left, driver Carl Putnam Juinor fired Upsidedown away; the trotter had been knocking at the door for a number of weeks. A rugged 6-Year-Old who has consistently earned between $35,000 and over $40,000 per year in recent years, Upsidedown uncharacteristically took the lead, and the field, to the quarter pole in a time of 29.3s.
The rich mare Rompaway Stacey, who had left from the outside position, got away second, in the hands of Don Harmon, and Double Helix raced away third, with Mark Webster steering.
Call City Hall is a resourceful animal and can leave or follow cover, and this time his trainer and driver, Todd Buter, took him away slowly, sixth, but past the half-mile and on the second turn they were out trotting fourth, following Highway Hanover and driver Vince Copeland.
Heading to the half-mile marker, Putnam slowed Upsidedown and tripped the timer there in 1:01.4. Highway Hanover was racing second, just one length off the front. He had finished second in this class two weeks ago, and is a 5-Year-Old who is on the improve.
On the backstretch, Upsidedown and Highway Hanover put on a pretty trotting match, in which Call City Hall was lurking, second-over.
When Upsidedown passed the three-quarter pole, in 1:32.1, Highway Hanover was just a head behind -- and looking to take command.
On the final turn, Copeland put Highway Hanover on the lead, and when they entered the stretch they were racing one-half length in front of Upsidedown.
In the lane, Call City Hall zeroed in on his 12th victory in 30 starts this year. Highway Hanover hung on, tough, but at the wire it was Call City Hall and Todd Buter won in, 2:02.2, by a neck. Double Helix and Mark Webster came on and finished third.
Byand out of Sarah Dew, Call City Hall is owned by James Marion and Lynette Buter. He now sports 2005 earnings of $64,399 and a lifetime bankroll of $278,736.
ourtesy Of Dan Conway, United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom Correspondent