There’s something to be said about being at the right place at the right time, although when a horse has to start from the seven-hole one wouldn’t think it to be in the right spot. But in the Billings Trot at Freehold Raceway on September 21 staring on the outside was the right place for “Coach Paul” Minore and Wygant Prince as they skirted the breaking horses on the first turn and ended up with a good trip to win the contest in 2:01.1.
“Although we got off to a slow start it worked in our favor when four horses broke early in the race,” Minore said. “I was able to get around them and work out a good trip after that.”
Seven lengths off the lead the quarter Minore benefited by a speed duel up front between Peter “the Past President” Gerry, with Conway Cruiser on the inside, and Bob “the Headhunter” Hechkoff, with Tremendous Hit on the outside.
As the leaders were heading to the half in 58.3 Minore moved Wygant Prince out behind Tremendous Hit and followed cover up the backside.
A three- deep move nearing the three quarters didn’t get Minore’s trotter around Trendous Hit but both horses were a side by side as they headed for paydirt.
“I couldn’t believe that Tremendous Hit didn’t tire after being parked the whole mile and we had all we wanted to beat him,” Minore admitted. “ We finally collared him in the final strides to win by just a head.”
Five lengths farther back in third place was Whatnblazes driven by Dave “Yes It’s True” Offenberg. Gerry’s trotter faded and finished fifth.
Sent off as third choice in the race Wygant Prince paid $9.60 for win. Minore, now with 71 wins under his belt ,is a retired high school coach from Yardley, NJ and he often talks about his most prized pupil ,former Olympian and world record holder, Carl Lewis.
Next action in the CKG Billings Harness Drivers Series will be at The Red Mile in Lexington, KY on Thursday, Sept. 26.
by John Manzi for the CKG Billings Series