By John Manzi
MONTICELLO Last year, Lisa Krom lost her helmet as the mobile gate sped away at the start but that loss was the only one Lisa endured that afternoon as her pacer Allikait Fighter went on to win the Monticello Raceway's Lady Godiva Pace on a cold February morning.
Postponed from the usual cold Valentine's Day date, it was presented on the warm, wet and drizzly afternoon of May 14. Krom, with her helmet well-secured this time, made it two in a row in the 10th annual event specifically for women when she hustled East Towner down the lightning lane to score a 1:59.4 victory and set a new standard in the race for the Godiva Chocolates. That clocking erased the former mark of 2:00.1 set by Doreen Daily when she won with Bali Mystic N in 2009.
In what turned out to be a real exciting horse race, Krom bided her time in the middle of the pack during the early going and then rallied late to victory.
Whitney Goodblood, in from Vernon Downs, fired her charge, Western Dancing, toward the lead but she didn't take command until near the quarter pole when Michelle Ruvola grabbed leather and let her go as the quarter time flashed :29.2. Goodblood kept the pedal to the metal and led the field by the halfway point in :58.4. Ruvola and B Major were tight in second place and Betsy Phillips, with Velvety Smooth, third along the pylons. At that point Krom and East Tower were in fourth position.
The order remained the same up the backside until Ruvola took a shot at Goodblood and the two raced head to head around the final turn. Phillips had positioned her pacer out behind Ruvola, who appeared that she was going to clear Goodblood and take command. With those in front of her moving off the pylons it allowed Krom to hustle East Tower up on the inside until she was directly in behind the leader, Western Dancing. As the outer tier failed to improve their positions on the turn, Krom shot East Tower to the inside once the passing lane opened and they charged to victory.
With her family there to cheer her on, Krom, of nearby Ellenville, was understandably happy in the winner's circle, especially when her mom and aunt joined in the photo presentation.
"I couldn't believe my good luck," she chirped. "Everyone in front of me moved out of the way and gave me a direct shot at the leader. When we straightened in the stretch and headed for home I sent my mare down low and got after her a bit, but I don't think I really had to, because she knew just what to do when he saw daylight. For somebody who doesn't drive that often I am extremely happy and to win two Lady Godivas in a row, well, it's just the icing on the cake."
With her second Lady Godiva victory Krom ties Jody Reidel who also won the "race for the chocolates" twice (2003 and 2006).
East Tower, a 7-year-old daughter of Artsplace, is owned by Robert Costello and trained by Sean Campbell. She paid $7.00 for win.
By a strange coincidence , Allikait Fighter, the pacer that Krom won the Lady Godiva with last season, also won on today's card and notched her sixth win in a row.
The Lady Godiva was the fourth leg of the Mighty M's Heritage Driver Series and with her victory Lisa Krom is now eligible to the series finale ‚Äì the All America Cup to be presented later this fall.
The next preliminary leg the Munich Mile, for drivers of German heritage will be presented in late June.