Day At The Track

James Hathaway takes Saratoga Billings

11:04 AM 16 Jun 2018 NZST
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James Hathaway, harness racing
James Hathaway won the Billing Series leg at Saratoga

SARATOGA, NY - He doesn't drive often but "Jungle Jim" Hathaway visited the winner circle in his first seasonal drive when the Ballston Spa resident bided his time with EJ's Last Dance with his sites set on catching Tough Get Going before the race was completed. And they did. At the wire they were a two lengths to the good in a 1:58.4 clocking at Saratoga Harness on Friday, (June 15) in the $6000 CKG Billings trot.

For Hathaway it was his first driving victory since 2015.

Eight trotters lined-up behind the mobile gate and when the wings folded four horses went for the lead but it was Tough Get Going ("Smokin' Joe" Faraldo) who was the strong horse and had command in the stiff :28 first quarter.

"Smokin' Joe kept the pedal to the metal and they were three lengths in front at the half as the timer flashed :57.2.At this point the eventual winner, who started from the pole position, was third along the pylons and looking to move up.

As Tough Get Going passed the third stanza the lead had opened to five lengths. But as he rounded the final turn his strides shortened and "Jungle Jim" hurried EJ's Last Dance alongside the leader and when they headed down the short stretch Jim Hathaway had victory in site as his trotter gained command and went on to a two length triumph.

18-1 longshot,Tough Get Going, held on for second while Justice Jet, second choice in the wagering, rallied from far back to finish a close third for "Bullet Bob" Davis. Aventure ("Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli) went off as the favorite but he flattened-out and finished fourth.

EJ's Last Dance, a 6-year-old Conway Hall mare,is owned by Scheigert Racing Stable and trained by Amanda Kelley. Sent away at odds of over 8-1 the trotter paid $18.40.

Next Billings action will be at Scioto Downs on Tuesday, June 19.

by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

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