Day At The Track

Dave 'The Rave' Offenberg wins Billings Trot

02:00 PM 05 Nov 2017 NZDT
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Dave Offenberg, harness racing
Dave Offenberg

Often overlooked when it comes to amateur harness racing is that a good many of the participating drivers are also owners and many race their own stock in the amateur races, especially in the granddaddy of all amateur events, the C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series. And furthermore, many of these gentlemen drivers employ professional trainers.

Case in point: Longtime owner and sportsman, Dave "The Rave" Offenberg.

On Saturday night (Nov. 4) in an east region Billings trot at Yonkers Raceway Offenberg gave his own trotter, Fiji, a picture-perfect drive and they rallied to a 1:59.2 victory over Gonna Fly and driver Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford.

"I had the four hole and when the starter let us go I grabbed the lead and then surrendered it to Tony Verruso with Flirting Duesy," Offenberg said via telephone.

"We were going a pretty good clip (:28.2) so I was content to sit the pocket as Tony's trotter cut the fractions and then up the backside endured a stiff challenge from Steve Oldford's Gonna Fly who eventually gained command and on the final turn and began to pull away.

"When we headed for home I had daylight and Fiji proved to be the strong horse in the stretch and we went on to a length victory over Steve's trotter."

Flirtin Duesy held on for the show dough.

Fiji, a 4 year old Cantab Hall gelding, is owned by Offenberg's Allister Stables and trained by Eric "the Little Redman" Abbatiello.

Although he has driven only 10 times this season tonight's triumph was the first of the year for Offenberg. But since he's been participating in amateur racing he had 51 career driving victories.

"To me it's just a whole lot of fun being able to drive my own stock," Offenberg said. "If you can't have fun in harness racing you don't belong doing it."

by John Manzi for the Billings Series

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