Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford scored his second consecutive victory in the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series when he won the Billings Trot at Northfield Park on Thursday evening, June 18. He scored neck victory with Annie's Master in a very creditable 1:58.4 clocking and that victory came on the heels of the one Oldford had at Buffalo Raceway last Saturday.
In the Northfield contest Oldford scooted to the lead from the four-hole with Annie's Master and they led the field by the first stanza in a swift :27.3. On the engine Oldford's trotter passed by the halfway point in :57.1 and they still with a two length lead as they trotted by the third quarter. However, that lead slowly diminished in the lane but the 5 year oldmare had enough left in the tank to hold off her challengers to prevail in a three-horse photo.
Betting favorite Nordic Venture, driven by Gary "Zoots" Campbell, had a good two-hole journey and rallied late but couldn't catch the winner although they did keep TK's Karma and Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg II from getting second money.
Oldford naturally felt good about his victory especially since Annie's Master was basically entered to help fill the Billings trot that night.
"I can't thank trainerand owner Harold Dick enough for allowing me to drive their mare tonight," Oldford said. "This was the first time I ever sat behind her and though she was a bit fractious at times but we got her all together and once we set sails she trotted like a champ and really hung tough in the deep stretch."
It was the first win for Annie's Master since March 24th and her third this year. She paid $14.00, $6.20 and $7.20 across the board.
Oldford, last year's National Amateur Driver of the Year, will be leaving for Finland soon to represent the United States in the prestigious World Cup of Amateur Racing which will get underway on July 7th.
"I'm really looking forward to competing," Oldford said. "This will be the first time that I have the honor of representing the United States in the World Cup although I have driven abroad in the past in Italy and New Zealand.
"My wife Gale is going with me and we may even stop in Sweden before we go to Helsinki. I plan on driving in the preliminaries there prior to the World Cup getting underway and look forward to having a grand time."
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by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Driving Championship