FITTINGLY, CANADIAN AARON BYRON,WINS THE MAPLE LEAF MILE AT MONTICELLO RACEWAY
It has been often been alleged that good things come for those who wait and that was precisely the strategy that Aaron Byron used to win the sixth edition of the Maple Leaf Mile at Monticello Raceway on Wednesday, December 20.
Byron guided Integrity to a 1:58.3 come-from-behind victory in the event strictly for drivers of Canadian heritage, which was the eighth and final preliminary leg of the tracks Heritage Drivers Series.
“They were charging right from the start going good fractions for these caliber horses so all I did was wait and when they started to come back to me I moved my horse and we passed the tired leaders and went on to an easy victory,” Bryon said. “And it was only fitting that a full-fledged Canadian won the race, aye!”
When the gate sprung Truman Gale sent 28-1 shot Best of Times to the lead and they showed the way relatively unchallenged thru fractions of :28.4 and :58 before Jacque Primeau moved Lexus Artist out and began to grind forward.
Still strong as they headed up the backside Best of Times had two lengths on the field but as they approached the three quarters Byron was out and moving with Integrity who was fourth along the pylons in the early going.
When Best of Times tripped the three quarter timer in 1:28 his lead was quickly diminishing as Integrity was gaining with every stride. When they circled the final turn Byron’s pacer took command and they paced away to open lengths and then coasted to an easy three- length triumph. Indy’s Z Tam finished second for Keith Haase and Lexus Artist took home the show dough.
The winner, owned by Mark and Phyllis Liebowitz, scored his third seasonal triumph and paid $3.90 for win.
Although it was the only drive that Canadian-born Byron had on the Wednesday card he was glad to participate in the race.”Hey, I had to drive two hours to just race in the Maple Leaf (Mile) but I had to represent Canada,” he chimed.
Now, Byron will join the winners of the seven other ethnic preliminary events and represent the Canadians in the All-America Cup, the series finale, set for Thursday, December 19.