Joe Faraldo won the $15,000 CKG Billings Eastern Region Mid-Season Final on Saturday, July 28 at Yonkers Raceway when guiding Tough Get Going to a gate-to-wire victory in 1:58.4.
“A win tonight and a catch drive on Thursday at Monticello [Raceway] where I finished second, heck, things are really looking up,” Faraldo, an attorney in Queens, New York who has been a premiere supporter of amateur racing since its resurgence in the early 1980s.
Faraldo, a Billings member from its inception and founder of the North American Amateur Drivers Association, was the National Amateur Driver of the Year in 2000 and a winner of 144 pari-mutuel races (two this year in Europe, also). He locked in Paul Minore and Wygant Prince until midstretch to score.
“We were on the engine all the way and Paul had Wygant Prnce on my back from the start,” Faraldo said. “When we rounded the final turn Annie [Stoebe—with Uriel] was on the outside and I kept backing into her trying to keep Paul's horse from seeing daylight. But finally, in mid-stretch, Wygant Prince shook loose and came charging but my horse hung tough and we won it by neck.”
Winwood Scout grabbed third for David Glasser in the non-wagering contest
Faraldo co-owns the Tough Get Going with the horse's trainer, Richie Banca.
Meanwhile, later in the evening at Northfield Park in Ohio, a nine-horse field in the mid-west region of the Billings Series went to post and the odds-on favourite Utopia rallied late to overtake the pacesetter, Winback Charles M with Larry Farley, and go on to a one-and-a-half length victory in a 1:57 clocking.
In that contest Farley sent Winback Chales M to the lead from the pole position, passing the first quarter in :28 seconds and still two lengths to the good as they passed the halfway point in :57.2.
Driver Steve Oldford got Utopia in high gear and, with a three-deep move up the backside, they were two lengths off Winback Charles M as the field passed the third quarter in 1:27.2. Rounding the final turn, Farley's trotter braced for Oldford's charge but Utopia powered past and went on to victory. Winback Charkes M held on for second while Michelle Ruvola finished third with Better Call Saul.
Unlike the Yonkers Billings the Northfield Park Billings was a wagering affair and Utopia paid $2.60 for win. The seven-year-old Mutineer gelding is owned by Oldford Racing LLC and trained by Terry Deters.
For Oldford it was his fifth seasonal driving victory and 135th of his amateur career.