Offenberg Bolts To Billings Win

Dave Offenberg got his venerable trotter Fiji up in the final strides to collar Winwood Scout and driver Bob Davis and win the $12,000 Billings East Regional Final on Saturday, Nov. 17 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

In a field reduced to six starters, Offenberg and Fiji departed from the pole position and watched as Davis and Winwood Scout got in a speed duel with On The Podium, driven by Joe Lee, heading to a :27.4 opening quarter. They were still side-by-side as they headed for the halfway point as Uriel with Annie Stoebe parked On The Podium.

When the field went by the half-mile pole Winwood Scout cleared command with Fiji tucked in the two hole and On The Podium still on the outside. Past three-quarters in 1:27.2 with On The Podium still second on the outside. But when the field headed for home, Offenberg pulled Fiji out of the pocket as On The Podium began to fade.

In the deep stretch it was Winwood Scout and Fiji. The two trotters battled all the way to the wire and after the judges posted the tight win-photo the victory went to Fiji and Offenberg in a time of 1:57.1. Tony Verruso, up behind Peoplesayimnogood, trailed the leaders throughout and rambled home for the show dough.

Fiji is owned by Offenberg's Allister Stables LLC and trained by Eric Abbatiello. It was the sixth victory for Fiji this year which raised his seasonal bankroll to nearly $50,000. For Offenberg he notched his fourth seasonal triumph and 55th of his amateur career.

Offenberg now joins Marvin Raber who won the Midwest Region Final last week with Mikey Hanover at Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway and both drivers have earned the privilege to draw inside post positions in the $25,000 Delvin Miller Memorial Gold Cup Final at Yonkers Raceway on November 25.

(With files from the CKG Billings)