Day At The Track

CKG Billing harness driving series

01:29 PM 12 May 2018 NZST
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North American Amateur Drivers Association, harness racing
North American Amateur Drivers Association

In the early 1980's when the CKG Billing Harness Driving Series was instituted and abetted by the North American Amateur Drivers Association little did the founders of each realize that amateur racing would become such an integral part of the industry and spur on many amateur clubs in harness racing.

And when the realization that amateur racing could be wagered on there is hardly a racetrack in the Northeast that doesn't rely on carding races for amateur drivers to supplement their wagering cards.

However, with the proliferation of clubs and organizations that cater to amateur drivers so many local clubs have sprung up in recent years that the Billings Series, the granddaddy of all amateur organizations, has found that finding drivers to travel to various racetracks in the US and Canada has taken a hit since many participants opt to compete in local clubs and forsake the traveling.

However, tonight (May 11), over the one-mile oval at the Meadowlands the first race on the betting card was relegated to the recreational participants in the eastern region of the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series. In that contest eight amateur drivers lined-up behind the starting gate for a wagering event and when the judges posted the official sign Jennifer "Lady J" Lappe emerged victorious with her veteran trotter, FoxValley Steffen in a very creditable time of 1:55.1.

Overlooked and sent off at odds of over 6-1, "Lady J" angled her charge to the pylons as the wings of the mobile gate folded and was content to travel along in fifth position. When the field headed to the third stanza Ms Lappe rallied her trotter and by the time they rounded the final turn they were third on the outside behind pace-setter Danish Durango (Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff) and Shady McCoy in rein to Dave "the Rave" Offenberg.

When the field headed down the long homestretch the three aforementioned were across the racetrack but as they approached the finish line Fox Valley Steffen proved too tough for the others and went on to a two length triumph. Shady Mccoy finished second a long neck in front of Danish Durango.

Each of the drivers of the top three finishers are also members of other amateur clubs. In fact every driver in the race belongs to a multitude of amateur organizations.

It was the second consecutive victory and 35th of his illustrious career for Fox Valley Steffen who with this riumph has raised his lifetime earnings to nearly $400,000. He paid $15.40; $8.00 and $4.00.

Next up in Billings action will be a midwest region contest at Sciota Downs on May 18.

by John Manzi for the CKG Billings Harness Drivers Series

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