America wins Friendship final; Italy takes the series
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American driver Bob Krivelin captured the final event of the four race Italian-American Friendship Series on Sunday night but it wasn't quite enough as the Italian contingent scored an 87-81 victory.
Trailing 70 to 56 going into the final event, the American team got a big chunk of those points back when Krivelin guided the pacer Feelin Lucky to a sharp 1:56.1 score over Country Baran, driven by Daniele Orsini.
MIsty's Delight, trailing early, closed fastest of all to finish third for Tony Dinges while Vital Sign, teamed up with Gian Luca Di Venti, was fourth, very respectable since he was outside looking in the entire distance. Ya Gotta Go, with Gary Barbere in the sulky, picked up the nickel.
Feelin Lucky, after a brief early tussle for supremacy, led at every pole clocking fractions of :28.2, :57.4 and 1:27.1 along the way.
Trained by Dan Gassien for the Jemaxpo Racing Stable, Feelin Lucky, a five year-old gelded son of Feelin Friskie, went to the post as the even money favorite and returned $4.00 to his multitude of faithful.
One race later, Fritzie Pic Up Man, driven by Dave Ingraham, took top honors in the $11,000 Open Handicap Pace, stopping the timer in 1:52.
The seven year-old altered son of Always A Virgin was near the back of the pack early as favored Drachan Hanover (Wally Hennessey) carved out early panels of :26.3 and :55.4.
Once they straightened away for their journey up the backside, Fritzie Pic Up Man was sent rolling in high gear, moving alongside the leader around the final bend.
In the lane, Dracahan Hanover was game but Fritzie Pic Up Man kept gnawing away and drew clear by a length at the wire. Pointsman, also left with alacrity with George Napolitano, Jr. driving, was third while Doo Wop Hanover, shuffled to last on the final bend, closed fastest of all to get fourth. Best In The Business picked up the final award in the field of seven.
Leased by Gaston Lareau Racing and trained by Lareau, Fritzie Pic Up Man earned his initial win of 2018 and 29th in his career stretching 126 starts. He's banked $216,741 with the win and rewarded his backers with an $11.80 mutuel as third choice.