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Troyer Takes Billings With French-Bred

Published: May 24, 2019 11:06 pm ET

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Harness racing's greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series, was on the move again Friday night (May 24) traveling to Columbus, Ohio for a trotting contest over the five-eighths mile oval at Scioto Downs and Ubanji, driven by longtime Billings member Bob “the Lumberman” Troyer, emerged victorious.

Sent off at odds of over 10-1, the 11-year-old French-bred gelding rallied in the deep-stretch to collar the betting favourite, Undercover Strike and driver Gregg “Fast Greggy” Keidel, for a 1:571 victory, his second of the season.

Troyer started from the five-hole and settled in fourth as Alesha “the Hoosier Hotshot” Binkley grabbed the lead with Body Of Work and they showed the way past the first stanza in :28.3. With the field all settling in along the pylons, Ms Binkey tapped the breaks and led the trailers by the half in :58.2. At that point, Troyer and Ubanji were third as Keidel and Undercover Strike were the first to take a shot at the leader and they were head-to-head with Body Of Work at the three-quarters in 1:27.4. Meanwhile, the trailing horses began to move at the leaders.

Undercover Strike gained command off the final turn and, although the gelding appeared to be home free, Troyer's trotter came with a rush in the final strides to collar Keidel's charge and get the final call. Despite a covered trip the entire mile, Sterling Bodica and driver Steve “You're Never Too” Oldford, had to settle for third place just a length behind the top two finishers.

The race winner, Ubanji, is in America as a result of a international promotion last year by NAADA.

Now owned by his driver and trained by John Wengerd, the altered son of French sire Jag De Bellouet returned a $23.20 win mutuel.

The Billings Series will move on to the Meadowlands on Saturday night then to Flamboro Downs on Sunday, and to Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday.

(With files from Billings Series)

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