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Amateur Drivers Racing For Coletta

Published: November 22, 2013 11:34 am ET

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Eighteen of the top amateur drivers in the United States will convene at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Sunday, November 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 that was severely injured in a driving accident at Harrah’s Philadelphia last weekend.

A pair of nine-horse divisions will comprise the championship finals. The $15,000 Silver Cup has been carded as Race 10 and the $25,000 Gold Cup as Race 12 on Sunday’s pari-mutuel program. Both divisions will be contested at the distance of one and a quarter 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 after they start 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, as ‘Tough Tony’ Ciuffetelli’s CR Whats My Name and Dave ‘Yes It’s True’ Offenberg’s Whatnblazes are set to 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 Wolfs 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.

(With files from Billings)

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