By John Manzi
SULLIVAN COUNTY June 7, 2002 Brewster L. Smith, up behind a pacer named Fax Machine, used the front-end route to win the Sports Eye Battle of Monticello this past Sunday afternoon.
Smith out-dueled four other Sports Eye staffers to win the fifth edition of the event in 2:10:4. The non-wagering Battle went to post after the second race on the betting card, with the contestants driving in jog cars without the use of whips.
But Smith needed no whip to get his pacer to the lead from their inside post position.
Fax Machine was the first into the turn as the wings of the starting gate unfolded but Kenny Walters, with Associate Editor, was in hot pursuit from post two.
However, Smith decided to play a little hard-ball, keeping Walters and his charge on the limb and refusing to let them take command.
I made up my mind I was going down the road and wasnt going to relinquish the lead, Smith said after his victory. They (trainer Rickie Crouch and owner Mike Bucino) told me I had a good horse and I should race him in front.
That advice made Smith a winner as he took the instructions to heart and parked Walters on the outside the entire mile.
At the half, Derick Giwner, with Program Editor, slithered between Smith and Walters, and challenged for the lead but to no avail. Smith continued to follow his game plan. At that point Walters was forced to get behind Giwner, settling back into third though still on the outside as Matt Rose, driving Chart Caller, kept Walters from getting to the pylons.
There were two in and two out passing the three quarters and into the final turn. In the stretch Smith and Fax Machine proved too much for their competition, turning back all challenges and going on to a length and a half victory over Matt Roses mount, Chart Caller. Giwner held on for third as Walters horse faded to fourth, though just two lengths off the winner.
Ricki Weiner, with Personal Computer, who was making her driving debut, finished a close fifth only a few lengths behind Walters.
Bouchard Drives Winner
In Canadian Drivers Race
Stephane Bouchard won the third leg of The Mighty Ms Heritage Racing Series on Monday afternoon, June 3.
Bouchard guided Kerin Wareners Bajjah to a gate-to-wire victory over Victoria March and driver Yves Corbin, to win the second edition of the Maple Leaf Pace, a race for Canadian-born drivers.
The winning time was 2:01:4 for the 4-year-old Magical Mike mare, who now has five seasonal victories in 17 starts. Sent off the odds-on favorite, Bajjah paid a paltry $2.80 for win.
It didnt take too much to win this (the Canadian) race, a modest Bouchard said with a distinct French-Canadian accent. I had post two and my horse was the favorite in the race.
Bouchard gained the lead away from the starting gate and ended an early challenge by opening a space behind him so Corbin, driving Victoria March, wouldnt continue to pressure his pacer.
That move made Bouchard an easy winner as Bajjah was left alone on the lead and coasted to an easy two-length victory, turning back a late charge from Corbins Victoria March.
Bouchard, last years Harness Tracks of Americas Driver of the Year and currently the leading driver at Yonkers Raceway, came to the Mighty M for the race from central New Jersey, where he drove qualifying races in the late morning at Gateway Farm.
After finishing first and second, both Bouchard and Corbin are now eligible to compete in the series final on June 17. Already with berths in the finale by virtue of finishing in the top two positions in earlier Heritage Series legs are Kyle DiBenedetto and Johnny DeSimone, from the Italian-American drivers race and Greg Decker, Jr. and Jimmy Clouser from the race for drivers of Irish heritage.
The fourth event in the Heritage Racing Series, the Red Baron Pace, will be for drivers of German descent on Monday, June 10.
Contestants Needed For
Some lucky lady is going to walk away with over $7,500 in cold cash after being named Ms. Monticello Raceway 2003 in the annual Beauty Pageant to be staged at the Raceway in July.
For the fourth consecutive season my dear friend Larry Roman is again sponsoring the pageant to be held at the track in which there will be over $15,000 in cash offered.
Besides the winner, there will be cash prizes for the first and second runners-up and the 10 semi-finalists will also receive money this year.
The Ms. Monticello Raceway Pageant is open to all ladies 17 years of age and older, married or single.
Preliminaries will be held on Sunday afternoon, July 21 with the Final on Sunday, July 28.
And there will also be a Little Ms. Monticello Raceway Pageant for girls aged 3 to 8 years.
As has been the tradition, there is NO FEE TO ENTER either contest.
For further information contact me at the Raceway by calling 794-4100, ext. 455.