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Contributed Photo | Geri Schwartz

Gerry Fielding and Lemon Drop Hall were all alone at the wire when they won the Spain vs. U.S. amateur competition on Tuesday afternoon at Monticello Raceway.

Fielding wins Spain vs. U.S. driving competition at raceway

By John Manzi
MONTICELLO — October 1, 2010 — It was another rainy day in the Catskills on Tuesday, Sept. 28, but the wind, rain and the muddy racecourse didn’t deter Gerry Fielding from winning the Spain vs. U.S. driving contest at Monticello Raceway.
And added to the spectacle of the afternoon was the eighth consecutive victory by Northern Chief and Southern Trucker’s return to the winner’s circle in the pacing feature.
But it was the international amateur driving contest that was in the forefront. Four drivers from Majorca, the largest island of Spain, are visiting America and they made a stop here to compete against their counterparts from the Catskill Amateur Driving Club. However, the visitors were humbled when the Americans finished one-two-three in the pacing event.
Fielding used the front-end route to score a 2:05 triumph with Lemon Drop Hall. At the wire, they were 1-1/4 lengths ahead of runner-up Mr Pinto and driver Alan Schwartz and another length farther back in third place was Kenny Heins with Artristocracy.
The best showing by the visiting Spaniards was the fourth-place finish by Joan-Antoni Segui, who finished six lengths behind the winner with Canuseemme Bow.
The winner, Lemon Drop Hall, is owned by J&R Class Act Stable and trained by Anthony Regina.
In a $4,000 claiming event later on the card, Al DeSimone and Robert Merton Jr.’s Northern Chief quietly notched his eighth consecutive victory when Mike Merton sat in the pocket and rallied the veteran Apaches Fame 7-year-old gelding to his ninth victory of the season in a time of 2:01.3.
Northern Chief now needs two more triumphs to equal the track record of 10-in-a-row set by Hogies Cam and Jordan Stratton in 2008 and equaled earlier this year by Mr. Thinker.
Of interest, too, was the return to the winner’s circle by Southbound Trucker, who was last season’s Horse of the Year. Though not having the year he did during the 2009 campaign, the 7-year-old Sharky Spur pacer now has five wins and purses in excess of $53,500, but most of it away from his home turf.
On Tuesday afternoon, he defeated the best pacers on the grounds in the winners/over feature, pacing the mile in 1:57.1 over the extremely muddy racetrack.
Southbound Trucker is owned by George Stamatien, trained by his dad Art Stamatien and was driven to victory by Bruce Aldrich Jr.

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