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Walker Wins Billings Gold Cup

Published: December 2, 2011 10:35 pm ET

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Mitchell "Sky" Walker, last year's Silver Cup winner, stepped up his game to the ultimate level Friday at The Meadows when he won the Delvin Miller Memorial Driving Championship Gold Cup, the $25,000 final of the prestigious C.K.G. Billings Series for amateur drivers. "Trader" Bud Hatfield, dismissed at 25-1, rallied late to win the Silver Cup.

Walker and Rush N Supreme were unhurried early, falling behind 10 lengths before making their first over move midway down the backside.

"I knew that once I got him out, I needed to keep him rolling," Walker said. "Once I pulled him, I was ready to go. I didn't want any dead wood out in front of me."

While many Billings drivers pick up such mounts as they can, Walker owns and trains Rush N Supreme, a seven-year-old SJs Caviar-So Far Kosmos gelding.

"That does help," said Walker, who operates a Michigan farm away from the races.

It was an all-Michigan exacta, as Stephen Oldfield earned place one and a half lengths in arrears with Celtic Merchant while Robert Hechkoff and Tremendous Hit were third. Time for the 1-1/4 miles was 2:28.4.

Hatfield, who made his mark in the automotive sales industry, looked like he was stuck with a lemon, as Done Dreamen had finished off the board in four consecutive Billings starts for Tradewr Bud. But in the $15,000 Silver Cup, the eight-year-old Donerail-Marys Dreamwaver gelding was a creampuff in the Lightning Lane, making up six lengths late to down Laura Macnamara and Oliver Kiss by one and a quarter lengths in 2:33.2 for five panels. Dein Spriggs and Long Story Short finished third.

"The last four starts he's been flat, but we couldn't find anything wrong with him," Hatfield said. "Tonight he started to make a funny noise when he was breathing, and we were a little worried about that. But he raced good. I had the best man, Dein Spriggs, in front of me, so I wanted to follow him as long as I could."

In the $22,500 Filly & Mare Preferred Pace, Forever Ivy made her quarter-pole move stand up for trainer-driver Charlie Norris as she held off Ginger And Fred to triumph in 1:52.1. A trapped-in Mud Pie Hanover rallied for show.

Rebecca Ewing owns Forever Ivy, a five-year-old daughter of Stand Forever-Shes A Ruff One, who extended her career bankroll to $349,563.

(The Meadows)

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