The C.K.G. Billings Amateur Driving Series , harness racing's traveling sideshow, moved on to Lexington, KY on Thursday, September 27th where a six-horse trot was carded to go to post at the Red Mile prior to the first race on the betting card that evening.
And when the presiding judge posted the official sign Mike “the Mortgage Man” Mitchell had emerged victorious with his trotter B L Class Act.
Using the overland route Mitchell moved first up at the halfway point and continued forward movement with his trotter. BJ Class Act finally gained command in mid-stretch and cruised on to a two-length triumph in a time of 1:56.1 after trotting by the pace-setter, Wolf’s Jan who was driven by Trader Bud” Hatfield. Third place went to Steve “You’re Never Too” Oldford and his trotter, Oliver Kiss.
Both Mitchell and Oldford were traveling back to Michigan together by car when they were reached by cell phone on Friday morning.
To say that Mitchell was happy after his win the night before would have been an understatement.
“I had a great time and I’m sure that others did too racing over the Red Mile,” Mitchell said then paused and after that added, “For the past six weeks in a row my horse (B L Class Act) has not been passed but in our last few starts we got locked in so this time on the big track I knew there was plenty of room. I moved early , after a fast first half to avoid getting caught in. When we headed for home I knew I was going to catch Bud (Hatfield on the lead) and we trotted by him in the deep stretch to win it. I can’t tell you what a great feeling it is to win a race especially as sportsmen, we only drive occasionally.”
Oldford, riding alongside Mitchell in the car took the cell phone from Mike and said he was happy for him. “Now with his win last night it probably made the difference between Mike racing in the Gold Cup Final or the Silver Cup Final. His trotter is getting better every week and he’ll have a legitimate shot (to win) in the Gold Cup Final, “ Oldford said.
The Billings contest at the Red Mile on Thursday is the first of two events there. Next Thursday, October 4th, there’ll be another contest as long as eight horses enter.
by John MANZI