Day At The Track

The "Doctor" makes a house call in amateur series

04:52 AM 07 Dec 2013 NZDT
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Impressive Earl, harness racing
Impressive Earl and amateur driver Dr. John Kokinos
Photo by Geri Schwarz
"It was a lot of fun" Dr. John Kokinos said with a big grin as he approached the winners circle at Monticello Raceway after he scored a 2:02 trotting victory in the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) Charity Series with Impressive Earl on Thursday afternoon, December 5. It was Kokinos' third victory with the 10 year old Valley Victory gelding in the series and sixth overall this season.

Light rain and heavy fog made for a gloomy afternoon of racing but that didn't dampen the spirits of Dr. John or Impressive Earl, nor did it deter any bettors whose confidence sent the pair away as even money favorites from pole position.

As the wings of the starting gate folded Kokinos gunned his trotter to the lead on the first turn as the trailing horses ducked for cover along the pylons. With the field in straight alignment Impressive Earl showed the way buy the quarter in 30.0 and the veteran trotter had two lengths on his competition as he passed the halfway point in 1:01.3 .

As Kokinos and his trotter headed up the backside the second time around they began to open daylight on Tremendous Hit and driver Bob Hechkoff, who was in the two-hole from the get-go.

Moreover, none of the trotters were able to even get close to the leader as Impressive Earl opened up his lead to three lengths as he passed the third stanza in 1:32.

On the final turn Impressive Earl came out of the fog which shrouded the racetrack with a four length lead. In the lane Impressive Earl poured it on and finished an easy seven length winner over Tremendous Hit. Tony Verruso got Rodeo Red up for the show dough.

Owned by Jennifer Lappe the winner paid $4.00 for win.

From the trotter's prowess Dr. John Kokinos will finish as the series points champion even though there is still one more leg at Yonkers next Thursday. No one is close enough to top Dr. John's 48 points.

Currently Paul Minore is second with 29 points and Monica Banca's 28 is third best. They're followed by Bob Krivelin (21); Bob Davis (20), Dave Offenberg (20) and Dave Yarock (19). Three are tied for eighth each with 17 points. They are Gerry Fielding, Tony Verruso and Bob Hechkoff.

However, since only eight drivers can race in the $12,000 Final set for December 19 , the last preliminary leg , also at Yonkers on December 12 , will probably define the top eight in points.

by John Manzi for North American Amateur Driver Association

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