Day At The Track

Yankee's Joe Lee wins Billings Trot at Monticello

04:12 AM 26 Oct 2018 NZDT
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Soul Train, harness racing
Soul Train and driver Joe Lee winning at Monticello Raceway
Geri Schwarz photo

Monticello, NY-- To say that amateur driver "Yankee Joe" Lee is on a roll would be gross understatement.

After winning the Billings Trot with Soul Train in 2:01.2 today (Thurs. Oct 25) at Monticello Raceway, Lee, the assistant locker room manager for the New York Yankees, now has three consecutive driving victories and has won four of his last five starts.

Sent off as the even-money favorite in the six-horse field uncharacteristically Lee took his trotter of the gate and settled in fifth along the pylons as Brandos Muscle Man and Monica "the Norwegian Flash " Banca led the field by the first stanza in :29.4.

"I took a chance taking Soul Train back at the start because in the past he never wanted to pass horses when we trailed but today he was definitely different," Lee explained. "He really surprised me when I pulled him going to the half and he easily trotted around Brandos Muscle Man and took command as we headed into the clubhouse turn."

By the time Lee reached the three quarters Soul Train had five lengths on the field and at that point the only thing in doubt was the margin of victory.

The lead over Brandos Muscle Man was opened to eight lengths as Lee and Soul Train headed for paydirt. Down the stretch Lee was looking for challengers but none came and they coasted home an easy 8-1/2 length winner in 2:01.2.

However, in the deep stretch "Lady Jennifer" Lappe rallied Celebrity Blue Chip from fifth at the top of the lane to finish second, a length in front of Brandos Muscle Man.

Soul Train is co-owned by Lee, Blindswitch Racing and the Good Friends Stable and trained by Jose Godinez. The 7-year-old altered son of Trainforthefuture scored scored his sixth seasonal victory and returned a $4.00 win mutuel..

For Lee, who was last years National Amateur Driver of the Year, it was his 11th driving victory this season and 48th of his career.

by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

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