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Horse slaughter in Illinois
Hawthorne Race Course
|Hawthorne Racecourse (6/24/07)
Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542
Gene Miller wins Billings Series event at Hawthorne
Stickney, IL – “Congenial” Gene Miller guided the 8-year-old mare Rompaway Ulaine to a one-length victory in the $5,000 C.K.G. Billings Amateur Driving Series event at Hawthorne Race Course. The time for the one-mile trot was 2:00.1.
The six-driver race featured some classy, veteran trotters including the even money favorite All Sundon N, driven by Dale “The Big Boss” Zahn. Early on it appeared the public might have zeroed in on the right horse when All Sundon N left the starting gate like he was shot from a cannon. Zahn tried slowing the fractions down, but the gelding pounded the half mile in 58.3.
Meanwhile Miller was sitting chilly, content to trot fifth and biding his time. At the 3/4s, the “congenial” driver made his move and swept passed the tiring leader and held sway to the wire, a convincing winner. “Tar Heel” Tom Williams finished second with Mystic Hall and “Trader” Bud Hatfield closed for third guiding Sequel Ranger to complete the trifecta.
For the win, Miller received eleven series points, adding to his already hefty lead in the Midwest Billings standings.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment in the race was All Sundon N who finished last after carving out those quick fractions. No question these “amateurs” have a blast competing in these events, but losing is never easy. “I expected him to be a little braver on the front end. I evidently raced the horse too fast, too hard, too early. It’s embarrassing and a shame for the owner and trainer, but we’ll come back and get them next time,” said Zahn.
When Zahn was asked if he still had fun out there despite the loss, his response was not unexpected. “It’s always fun. See ya next time.”
The 5% driver’s winnings are donated to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York. The amateur drivers cannot receive compensation if they are to remain eligible for the series.
Hawthorne Race Course presents live harness beginning on June 22 and concluding on August 4. During this time only Mondays will be a dark day for our live program. As always, Hawthorne will be open for simulcasting 7 days a week. We are located at 3501 S. Laramie Avenue, Cicero, IL, 60804. Call (708) 780-3700 or visit the Web site at www.hawthorneracecourse.com.
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