Day At The Track

Longshots prevail in NAADA Trots

02:59 PM 29 Sep 2017 NZDT
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Tony Verruso & Sam's Honeybee, Harness Racing Paul Minore & Wygant Prince, Harness Racing
Tony Verruso & Sam's Honeybee
Geri Schwarz Photo
Paul Minore & Wygant Prince
Geri Schwarz Photo

Monticello, NY -- It was bombs away in the NAADA trots at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon (Sept. 28) when both harness racing winners, each starting from the seven-hole, sparked exorbitant payoffs.

In the first division Tony Verruso scored a 2:02.3 triumph with Sam's Honeybee and returned a $76.50 mutuel while in the second split Paul Minore guided his old warhorse Wygant Prince to a 1:59.3 victory which really lite up the toteboard when the veteran trotter paid $130.50-$27.40 and $14.20 across the board.

When the gate sprung in their split, which was arguably the better field of the two, Minore sent Wygant Prince away swiftly and they gained command midway around the first turn and then led the field by the first quarter in :28.3.

Once on top Wygant Prince marched steadily forward unchallenged by the half in :59. and past the third stanza in 1:29 before any realistic challenge developed. And when did it came from Tony Ciuffetelli with favored Tropical Storm BI. But it was too late as Minore's trotter crossed the finish line like an even money favorite. Third place went to Brandos Music Man, driven by Monica Banca.

"I don't always get a chance to ask him to leave because of various circumstances but today I took a shot and it proved to be fruitful,"Minore, a retired high school track coach, said referring to Wygant Prince. "He's been racing real good lately so I thought I'd take a chance and seek the front. It turned out to be a winning move."

Minore owns the winner, a 10-.year old SJ's Photo gelding, who with this victory raised his lifetime earnings to over $365,000. He's trained by Taylor Gower.

The other split was a 'dogfight' all the way to the wire as Tony Verruso's Sam's Honeybee showed tremendous grit in the deep stretch.

After getting away sixth some nine lengths off the leader Verruso erased three of those lengths as Sam's Honeybee passed the halfway point, but still in sixth place. With a big a sweeping move up the backside Sam's Honeybee had on her trotting shoes and when they came off the final turn they were second on the far outside and then took command and braced for the challenge which came from Cassa's Image (Jennifer Lappe)

With both drivers all-out urging their horses in the deep stretch Sam's Honeybee prevailed by a head. Joe Lee and Woody were right there but had to settle for the show dough.

"My mare was really game in the stretch and we battled all comers right to the wire," Verruso said of Sam's Honeybee. "She's always tough in the lane and she showed it today."

Sam's Honeybee, dismissed by the wagering public paid, $76.50-$18.80 and $6.10 across the board. She's owned by Verruso and trained by Carl Gillespie.

By John Manzi for NAADA

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