Newcomer and talented horse woman, Vanessa" Tall In The Saddle" Karlewicz an expert equestrian, traded her saddle for a ride behind a spirited trotter and won her maiden voyage as driver in the harness racing game when she guided Conway Cruiser to a 2:07.4 victory in a leg of the C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series at the Afton (NY) Fair.
In that race Vanessa went to the lead from the three-hole and never yielded command in spite of a fierce challenge by Drill Sergeant Sam and driver Peter "Sycamore Ventures" Gerry.
After shadowing Ms. Karlewicz until the top of the lane Gerry had his sights on victory when he moved his trotter out to challenge. But victory was not to come, at least for Gerry, becaus Ms. Karlewicz was ready for the challenge and hand-drove Conway Cruiser to the wire to score a neck victory over Drill Sergeant Sam.
"I got away third and moved up to second behind Vanessa near the half and at the top of the stretch I thought I'd be able to beat her to the wire but she downright out-drove me. I got to her horse's neck but I couldn't get by her," Gerry related.
According to Gerry, Ms. Karlewicz is and equestrian of high caliber. "She's an equestrian trainer and her specialty is Grand Prix events. She also hunts and jumps and has competed in our aces under saddle (RUS)
"I think now she's been bitten by the harness racing bug and we will all benefit with her being involved in our sport," he added.
The next Billings event will be on Friday (July 11) at Scioto Downs followed by another trot at Tioga Downs on Saturday (July 12)
by John Manzi, for the Billings Series