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Miller Mastery In Eastern Region

Published: July 21, 2016 11:46 pm ET

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Still the granddaddy of all amateur racing organizations, the CKG Billings Series reached the halfway point in its 2016 Eastern Region season and on Thursday, the top eight series point-earners convened at Yonkers Raceway to compete in the $14,000 Eastern Region #1 Final.

And fittingly, the top point earner in Billings action thus far this year, “Hurricane Hannah” Miller, added yet another driving victory to her outstanding resume when she guided Jacks To Open to a 1:58.4 victory.

Miller made her victory look easy when she hustled Jacks To Open away from the pole position behind the mobile starting gate and allowed “Tough Tony” Ciuffetelli and Star Studded Cast to take command.

“I tried to get out of there quickly and when Tony gunned his horse to the lead I felt I would get a good trip following Star Studded Cast,” Miller said.

Settling in behind Ciuffetelli’s trotter, Miller followed his lead through comfortable fractions of :28.2 and :58 but a strange thing happened as the field headed up the backside.

“Unbelievably, Tony’s horse just made a right turn,” Miller said. “I guess the horse thought he should be pulling up or something but whatever the reason was it worked on terrific for me.”

Jacks To Open inherited the lead and it was ballgame. The veteran trotter scooted away to an open lengths lead and at the wire he finished five lengths in front of runner-up, The Franchise, driven by Bob “the Headhunter” Hechkoff. Third place went to For You Almostfree, driven by “Smokin’ Joe” Faraldo.
Ciuffetelli did get Star Studded Cast going the right way after his right turn and they ended up with fourth money.

For “Hurricane Hannah” it was her 20th seasonal driving victory and second amateur win of the day after having won a Catskill Amateur Club Pace with Stoman at Monticello Raceway during the afternoon.

Jacks To Open is owned by the Nick Surick Stable and Hannah Miller and trained by Nick Surick.

The race went as a non-wagering affair prior to the first race on the betting card.

(CKG Billings Series)

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