"Marvelous Marvin" Raber emerged victorious at Northfield Park with John Schlabach's good trotting mare, Catching Katie winning a Midwest Region Billings Trot there on Saturday evening, July 26 in a time of 2:00.3.
Sent off as the even money favorite from the six-hole in the eight- horse field Raber left softly and ducked in the three hole as the field headed to the quarter which was trotted :29.3 . Second at the half in 1:00.3 when the field headed up the backside Raber moved his mare out to challenge Nordic Venture, and Gary "Soups" Campbell who was cutting the fractions, and by the third stanza Catching Katie had command and she trotted home an easy two-length winner for Raber.
Larry "Overhand Serve" Steenbergen, who shadowed Raber's backside move, ended up overtaking Nordic Venture to finish second and "Trader Bud" Hatfield picked up the show dough with Really Really Sweet. Nordic Venture finished fourth.
With her victory Catching Katie notched her fifth seasonal triumph and increased her yearly bankroll to over $23,000. She paid an even $4.00 for win.
"Marvelous Marvin" hasn't competed earnestly in amateur races until 2008 but in recent years he's become a force to be reckoned with in the Billings Midwest Region. For Raber it was his third seasonal triumph and 25th of his amateur driving career
The Billings trot at Northfield Park was the last prior to the Midwest Region #1 Series Final which will be contested at The Meadows on Friday, August 8.
Despite finishing back in the Northfield Park Billings trot on Saturday, Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford still copped the points championship during the recently completed series and with that he earned berth in the Gold Cup Final on November 23rd at Harrah's Chester.
However, set to join Oldford in the Midwest Region #1 Series Final on August 8 are the top point earners in the Midwest region. Included are Raber, Steenbergen, Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg II, "Soups" Campbell, Kelly "Sky" Walker, Ned "Nationwide" Hodkinson, "Lawbook Larry" Farley, and Victor "Blue White and " Gray.
Nevertheless, should any of the aforementioned drivers fail to enter the finale those next highest in points can, and should, do so.
by John Manzi, for the Billings Series