Day At The Track

"Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli wins Billings

10:08 AM 01 Jun 2018 NZST
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Better To Be Lucky, harness racing
Better To Be Lucky
Geri Schwarz Photo

MONTICELLO NY--Thursday, My 31 started out gloomy in the lower Catskills region of New York State but as luck would have it any precipitation that fell from the heavens held off during the harness racing program.

Featured today at the Mighty M was a Billings trot that attracted seven horses, all veterans, and when the winner's number was posted on the totebord it belonged to Better To Be Lucky who was very capably driven by his owner-trainer, "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli.

Starting from the three-hole, Ciuffetelli gunned his charge to the front and surprisingly Better To Be Lucky had command before the first turn.

"He's been racing really well for me this season having already won three of seven starts, all of which came from behind but today, after looking over the official program it appeared that there were no leavers in the field so I decided to send "Better" to the front," Ciuffetelli said.

After a 29 second first quarter Ciufettelli kept the pedal to the metal and he and his charge trotted by the halfway point in :58.1. They were being chased by "Coach Paul" Minore and Wygant Prince and Tim Lizzi with "Yankee Joe" Lee in the pilot's seat.

"I had still 'lotsa horse' as we trotted by the three quarters and we were still fairly comfortable as we straightened for home but when we neared the wire I felt "Better" come back to me a bit. But at that point we were almost home" Ciufettelli explained.

When they hit the finish wire, in a time of 1:59:4, Better To Be Lucky had a neck advantage over Tim Lizzie and coming from far back to be third was Starsaboveallerage, driven by "Steve "You're Never Too Oldford.

Sent off at odds of over 2-1, Better To Be Lucky returned a $6.10 win mutuel.

Next up in Billings action is a mid-west region trot at the Meadows on Saturday, June 2.

by John Manzi for the Billings Series

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