WILKES-BARRE PA – The American Harness Drivers Club amateur series held a Championship and a consolation race during the Sunday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and on a night not favorable to speed, 2013 Amateur Driver of the Year Steve Oldford was able to overcome a long grinding trip with the millionaire Zooming to catch three-time Amateur Driver kingpin Bob Hechkoff and Southwind Frost in 1:56 and take the $15,000 Championship event.
Hechkoff had won wire-to-wire in last week’s AHDC race at Pocono, and he pursued the same path to the winners circle, with a changing cast of characters behind him until Oldford got Zooming clear and in gear down the back. The pacesetter’s lead was steady whittled down in the last three-eighths, and Oldford kept the 13-year-old to business and guided him home a length to the good for his 69th career victory. Amber Buter trains the veteran, who is co-owned by Oldford Racing LLC and Buter Farm Inc.
Top purse event on the card was a $19,300 distaff pace for high-level mares, with the well-traveled developing star Braxten Boyd winning with his first drive ever at Pocono, and that with the longest shot on the board – the Woodstock mare Bye Bye Felicia, who equaled her mark of 1:50.3 for trainer Bo Hallett and owner Rick Howles. Boyd kept his 12-1 horse off a cutthroat early battle, grinded up first-over and took over in the stretch, then withheld Pansy’s Image by a neck.
Conditioned trotters take the spotlight during Monday’s 12:30 card at Pocono, with $11,200 divisions of the featured class in races eight and ten. Program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.