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Stratton subs for Moeykens, directs mare to Mighty M mark

September 05, 2008

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When Joe Moeykens called in sick off his drive on Match That at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon, little did he realize that the 8-year-old mare would trot to a track record victory that day.

Because of Moeykens\' absence the track\'s leading driver Jordan Stratton got the call and reined the Yankee Glide mare to a wire-to-wire 1:57.1 victory which established a new track record for aged trotting mares. Her triumph was two-fifths of a second faster than the old record set by Miss Gibbons and driver Dr. Howard Gill on Sept. 14, 2005.

It wasn’t that Match That hadn’t performed admirably for Moeykens. it was just unfortunate that he wasn’t able to be in the sulky when the mare trotted to her fastest victory on a half-mile track. She had raced well for him earlier this year, especially when they combined for a 1:58.3 victory her on August 13.

However, with Stratton at the controls, Match That was sent to the front  from the pole position and she trotted though fractions of :28.4, :58.1 and 1:27.4 before they had to hold off a stubborn Witch And Famous (Stephane Bouchard) who had a two-hole journey and kept the pressure on in the stretch drive. Under strong urging from Stratton, Match That held on for a 1 1/4-length victory in the featured $11,000 winners-over trot. East Creek Huck (Mike Forte) finished third, some six lengths behind the winner.

Brian O’Neill trains Match That for the Catch A Break Stable. Sent off as second choice behind Witch And Famous, Match That paid $8.80 for win.

It was one of three wins on the card for Stratton. He also won with Winbak Fox (1:59.1-$2.70) in the second race and trotter Abaton Hanover (1:59.3-$7.40) in the 13th .

But Stratton’s prowess was topped by Kyle DiBenedetto who drove four winners that day.

DiBenedetto’s victories came behind Fox Valley Chance (1:58.1-$10.60) in the third race and with trotter Caviar Kid (1:59.1-$5.90) in the fourth. He then scored with Osmosis (1:57.4-$13.40) in the sixth and capped his day and with a 1:59.2 victory with Daring David ($5.10) in the 12th race.

For DiBenedetto it was his 108th winner of the season and the 41 year old, who began his career at the Mighty M in the early 1980s, now has 4,791 career driving victories. (Monticello)


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