Day At The Track
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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

Off the board in both preliminary legs, Upfront Charlieboy saved his best for last, brushing wide through the lane to pull off a 16-1 harness racing shocker in Tuesday's $32,700 championship of the Winter Claiming Series for $20,000 claiming trotters at The Meadows. Skyway Cruiser scored narrowly in the $21,250 final of the Winter Claiming Series for $10,000 claiming trotters. A confirmed closer, Upfront Charlieboy's late kick in the preliminary legs netted him only a fourth and a seventh. In the championship, he was still 3-1/2 lengths behind at the top of the stretch when he found another gear for Dan Rawlings. The 8-year-old Cantab Hall-Southern Puff gelding nailed Pembroke Castaway at the wire and downed him by 1/2 length in 1:56. Pittstop Kip earned show. Bill Fahy trains Upfront Charlieboy, who extended his career bankroll to $241,473 for Moira Fahy. Skyway Cruiser, who won the only preliminary division in which he competed, challenged the leadet, Mateo M, at the half. The two dueled the rest of the way, with Skyway Cruiser a nose ahead at the wire in 1:56.2. Crazy Eyes finished third. Mike Wilder piloted Skway Cruiser, a 9-year-old Keep It A Secret-Chartley gelding who now boasts $434,866 in lifetime earnings, for trainer Jimmy Salerno and owner Harry Travis, Jr. In the $22,500 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot, Cowgirl Hall blazed the fastest trotting mile of the year at The Meadows when she rolled to a front end victory for Dave Palone in 1:52.4. The pocket-sitting Boo's Party Girl was second, 3 lengths back, while Homepage rallied for show. Ron Burke conditions Cowgirl Hall, a 7-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Centerfold Hall who vaulted over $800,000 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Jack Piatt III and Michael Rosenthal. Aaron Merriman collected four wins on the 15-race card. Evan Pattak  

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