Day At The Track

Steve Oldford wins CKG Billings Gold Cup

06:04 AM 27 Nov 2018 NZDT
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Starsaboveallerage, harness racing Landonfitz, harness racing
Starsaboveallerage (#9) holds on for driver Steve Oldford to win the CKG Billings Gold Cup Final
Chris Brokate photoOl
Driver Tony Verruso wins the CKG Billings Silver Cup with Landonfitz
Chris Brokate photo

Yonkers, NY--Harness racing's granddaddy of all amateur events, the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series, presented its 37th annual Gold and Silver Cup Finals at Yonkers Raceway on Sunday, November 25th and they resulted in near storybook fashion when coincidentally the $25,000 Gold Cup was won by the series vice president,Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford, and the $15,000 Silver Cup Final went to the series president, Tony "the Capo" Verruso, making it the first time that the event's top officers were victorious in the races' finales.

The long-running program is, and has always been, sponsored by the Delvin Miller Memorial Harness Driving Series, better known as the Billings,

Raced this season at a distance of 1-1/4 miles over the double-oval at Yonkers Raceway the two 10-horse fields were very competitive with Oldford and Starsaboveallerage, despite being sent off at odds of over 22-1,winning the Gold Cup in a tight photo over On The Podium ("Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli) in a time of 2:32.

The Silver Cup Final went to Landonfitz, driven by the series president, Tony "the Capo" Verruso over Winwood Scout and driver "Dave "Modern Legend" Drew in a time of 2:31.4. Both drivers had to negotiate ten-horse fields en route to victory.

Oldford is enjoying one of his best seasons in the sulky and has already topped the leaderboards in the midwest division and the Billings Travel Series and he has copped the Billings overall points championship.

"I had a pretty good journey when you consider the Gold Cup was a the 10-horse field,"Oldford said after he won the Gold Cup. "I got lucky to find a hole early and although I had to go three-deep around Dave (Offernberg with Fiji) my horse cleared them quickly before the half and we raced toward Joe (Faraldo with Tough Get Going) who was on the lead and we finally caught them and put them away in the stretch.

"Then we had to contend with the late challenge from Tony (Ciuffitelli and On The Podium) but my old guy hung tough and we won the race by just a head, which in reality was as good as winning by a mile". Faraldo's charge held on for the show dough."

Starsaboveallerage, a 7-year-old altered son of Angus Hall is owned by Oldford Racing and trained by Allen Sisco. He paid $47.20; $16.40 and $11.20 across the board.

In the Silver Cup Verruso's ride behind Landonfitz was a lot less complicated.

"I got lucky to find a hole early and then had a perfect trip," Verruso explained. "Despite losing my whip at the half I didn't have to move until I came first-up when we headed to the three quarters and Landonfitz easily circled Dave Drew;s horse (Winwood Scout) and we didn't have any serious challenges after that. We cruised home an easy winner."

Super Manning, driven by "Joltin' Joe" Pennacchio, finished third just a head behind Winwood Scout.

Landonfitz, an 8-year-old Jailhouse Jesse gelding is owned by the Allister Stables and trained by Eric Abbatiello. He paid $11.40 for win.

by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

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