Billings finals on Sunday; fees to aid Coletta
November 22, 2013
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Eighteen of the country's top amateur drivers will convene at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 24, to compete in the Delvin Miller Memorial Driving Gold and Silver Cup Championships--the final contests in the seven-month C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series.
The Delvin Miller Harness Drivers Association has announced that the entire $2,000 in drivers' commissions to be earned in these events will be donated to the fund being established to assist Anthony Coletta, the young driver severely injured in a driving accident at Harrah's Philadelphia last weekend.
Two nine-horse divisions will comprise the championship finals with the $15,000 Silver Cup carded as Race 10 and the $25,000 Gold Cup race as Race 12 on Sunday's pari-mutuel program. Both divisions will be contested at the distance of 1 1/4 miles.
While it is customary for amateur drivers to donate the driving commissions they earn to charitable causes, the donation of their commissions from these races is to provide financial aid to a fallen fellow driver in critical condition with onerous survival challenges.
"Like many of the professional drivers and others who are stepping up to help Anthony Coletta survive the biggest fight of his life, the Billings Series drivers are committed to doing our part”, stated Tony Verusso, president of the Delvin Miller Harness Drivers Association which runs the annual Billings Amateur Driving Series.
"Marvelous Marvin” Raber's ultra-consistent Tabulator, who has drawn post 6, and Bob "the Headhunter” Hechkoff's Thehouseisrockin from post 8, figure to be the ones to beat in the Gold Cup Championship. However,the overall Billings Series and Midwest point leader, Steve "You're Never Too” Oldford and his Oliver Kiss will undoubtedly be heard from when they leave from the four hole.
Thehouseisrockin's eight wins and almost $39,000 in purse earnings this year tops all his competition's seasonal stats. But Tabulator's 1:56.2 record, with seven victories, and a $31,000 seasonal bankroll, owns the fastest win time of the nine starters. Oldford's Oliver Kiss, with over $21,000 in earnings and a 1:59.2 mark this year usually seems to find a way to be in the hunt.
The Silver Cup appears to be a barn-burner when "Tough Tony” Ciuffetelli's, CR What's My Name, and Dave "Yes It's True” Offenberg's Whatnblazes, lock horns. The former has a $52,000 seasonal bankroll with 12 wins and a half-mile mark of 1:56.4 while the latter sports over $31,000 in yearly earnings with a 1:59.3 record over a double oval. And last year's USHWA Amateur Driver of the Year, Bobby "Rapid Rail” Krivelin's five-time winner Current Crisis with a 1:57.3 mark can't be counted out.
Last year "Trader Bud” Hatfield won the Gold Cup with Wolf's Jann in a time of 2:31.2 and "Smokin' Joe” Faraldo copped the Silver Cup Championship with Travelin' Preacher in 2:31.4. Hatfield will again compete in the Gold Cup from post 9 with Wolf's Jann who only has seven starts and purses of $1,585 thus far in 2013. "Smokin' Joe” will not drive this year because of a nasty elbow injury he sustained a month ago while riding a bicycle with his girlfriend on the streets near his home in Kew Gardens, Queens. (John Manzi)