Day At The Track

Meadows CKG Billings leg to Tom Svrcek

09:12 AM 15 Jul 2018 NZST
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Tom Svrcek winning prior Billings leg
Chris Gooden photo

Meadowlands, Pa-The ever traveling CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series was on the move again on Saturday afternoon (July 14) for a $10,000 mid-west region harness racing trot at The Meadows in western Pennsylvania and when the results were deemed official Tom "Mayhem" Svrcek notched his first seasonal driving victory when he rallied Upfront Charlieboy to a stunning come-from-behind victory over eight others in a 2:00.2 clocking.

Svrcek, an insurance man by profession, made his first start in this years Billings Series a winning one after finishing off the board in most of his 20 previous non-amateur events.

"Fifteen years ago I raced in the Billings but my work schedule made it hard over the ensuing years to drive regularly," noted Svrcek. "Its been a while since I won a race and this victory today was extra-special considering the fact that my horse was eighth at the half and finished like gangbusters."

When the wings of the mobile gate folded the betting favorite, Rufus DeVie, driven by Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford, went off-stride before the start as Mutinyonthebounty and Ned "the Insurance Agent" Hodkinson scooted to the front as the first quarter timer flashed :29.2 They were followed closely by BL Class Act and driver, Mike "the Mortgage Man" Mitchell and at this point Upfront Charlieboy was eight lengths off the lead in seventh place.

Meanwhile, Hodkinson and his charge showed the way past the half in 1:00.2 followed closely by Mitchell's trotter. As they headed for the three quarters Mutinyonthebounty seemed well in hand as he led the field (the eventual winner still some seven lengths behind) all the way to the top of the stretch. But at that point the leader's lights seemed to dim as he faded and Svrcek had Upfront Charlieboy in high gear.

When the field headed for home Upfront Charlieboy still had a lot ground to make up but the 10-year-old Cantab Hall gelding fired on all fours and surged to the lead before the wire and kept Better Call Saul ("Michelle the Belle" Ruvola) at bay for a head triumph in 2:00.2. BL Class Act finished third. Mutinyonthebounty faded to fifth.

"My horse has no gate speed that's why we got away so badly," Svrcek explained. "But he loves to stalk and when I finally got a chance to show him daylight the old fella knew just what to do."

Trained by Bill Fahy and owned by his wife Moira, Upfront Charlieboy paid $10.60.

by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

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