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Pacer keeps on truckin' at Monticello

July 29, 2009

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Over the last two weeks Southbound Trucker has been an also ran in the Monticello Raceway pacing features even though he had won seven of them previously this season. But on Tuesday Southbound Trucker added another victory to his total as the veteran gelding scored a 1:57.2 triumph for driver Greg Merton. 
Sent off as the fourth choice in the betting, Merton once again raced the 6-year-old Sharky Spur offspring from off the pace. Windsun Fire N Ice (Kyle DiBendetto) set quick fractions and led the field all the way to the final turn and when he tired Twin B Lonestar (Jordan Stratton) and Southbound Trucker came calling. And when the field straightened for home the short lead that Windsun Fire N Ice had quickly dissipated as a host of pacers ranged alongside and then paced on by him.

Though the lead changed a few times in the deep stretch when the rushing horses approached the finish wire Southbound Trucker had the most pace and rallied and then held off another fast-closer, Twin B Lonestar, to score a head victory. A short head farther back in third place was Blueridge D’Bang driven by Zeke Parker.

“We got cover from the half and when I sent him three deep in the final turn I thought we could win it but as it turned out it wasn’t easy,” driver Greg Merton noted after Southbound Trucker won for the eighth time this year. “I knew I could get around the ones in front of me but Jordan’s horse (Twin B Lonestar) was coming like a freight train at the end. But the ole guy (Southbound Trucker) dug in and held him off. He’s really gritty at the end of a mile.”

With his victory Southbound Trucker is eight for 21 this season and raised his earnings to over $46,000 for owner George Stamatien. The pacer is trained by the owner’s brother, Art Stamatien. (Monticello)

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