by John Manzi for the Billings series

Harness racing’s greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series, made a stop at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon (Oct. 22) and when the judges hung the official signs “Hurricane Hannah” Miller and Bobby “Rapid Rail” Krivelin emerged victorious in their respective trotting divisions. Miller won with Casanova Lindy in a time of 1:59 while Krivelin was victorious with Current Crisis in 2:01.1.
Ms. Miller, who has been leading her gentlemen rivals in races won this season added her 28th  victory to her 2015 resume when she used the front-end route with Casanova
Lindy to turn back Alternat Thursdays, driven by Bob “the Headhunter” Hechkoff.

After starting from the three-hole Miller gunned her trotter to the lead and had command on the first turn and they led the field by the quarter in :28.3. Dave “Yes It’s True” Offenberg was stuck on the limb  with Whatnblazes and they pressed Casanova Lindy on the outside past the half in :58.1. Still second on the outside Whatnblazes raced neck and neck with Casanova Lindy by the third stanza in 1:29.4. Meanwhile Hechkoff’s trotter was enjoying a two hole journey from the get-go and was just a length behind Casanova Lindy as the field trotted into the final turn.

When they straightened for home Whatnblazes tired which gave Alternat Thursday a clear shot at the pace-setter and Hechkoff moved his charge to the outside and took aim at Casanova Lindy. Both trotters raced side by side through the lane but strong urging by Miller was what was needed for Casanova Lindy to prevail by a neck at the wire. “He gets lazy sometimes and I sometimes have to get after him a bit in the stretch,” Miller said after her driving victory

Asked why she decided to race Casanova Lindy on the lead when he’s been racing from off the pace, Miller replied; “He’s  good on the front-end but unfortunately we’ve been drawing outside positions which makes it hard to gain command without  taking the race out of him early in the  mile”, she said.

“Today with the three hole I decided to shoot for the lead which we gained on the first turn and though we were challenged most of the way my horse got a breather as we headed to the three quarters. And even though Bob (Hechkoff) had a good trip behind me the entire way when he moved to challenge in  the stretch his yelling and whipping only made my horse dig in more,” Miller explained.

Third place went to Rose Run Nash, driven by “Bullet Bob” Davis.

Casanova Lindy notched his 13 seasonal triumph and paid $4.30 for win. He is owned by the Nick Surick Stables and the Erv Miller Stables and trained by Nick Surick.

Krivelin, USHWA’s three time Amateur Driver of the Year, felt his trotter Current Crisis was the best in their race so despite leaving from six-hole Krivelin gunned for the lead but Dave “Steady As” Yarock and CSI What’s My Name weren’t inclined to let Current Crisis have command.however,as they headed for the half-way point Current Crisis trotted to the front before the half which was clocked in :59.2.

“We got a breather up the backside which was all my horse needed to win,” Krivelin said. “He’s nice horse to drive and he knows how to win and he’s especially tough when he’s on top .”
Vanessa “the Contessa” Karlewicz, an outstanding equestrian, reined Candid Man home in third place.

The winner is owned by Krivelin’s Hero Stables and trained by Krivelin.  Current Crisis was sent of as the prohibitive favorite in the six-horse field and returned a $2.50 win mutuel.

A third amateur race sponsored by the Catskill Amateur Club, saw Tony Verruso work hard behind a sluggish Talldarknhandsome to score a 1:59 victory over Art’s Jimmy Ray and driver Paul Walker. Third place went to Casimir Jubilee driven by Steve Oldford

Owned by Ed Hall and James Hall, Jr. the winner paid $5.80.

Three more amateur races --in the NAADA Trotting Series--are carded at Yonkers Raceway in the evening.