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Tony Ciuffetelli Wins Billings At Saratoga

Published: August 19, 2017 9:27 pm ET

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The CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series, now in its second half of the 2017 season, made a stop at Saratoga Harness on Saturday, August 19 and homeboy Tony Ciuffetelli made short work of the contest when he rallied EJ’s Last Dance to a 1:59 victory.

Ciuffetelli, a former corrections officer, got away slowly from the four-hole and sat off a torrid early pace. They were sixth and last at the first quarter some eight lengths off the leader Shez All Muscles, driven by Bob Davis, as the timer flashed :28.

Davis’s trotter was still in command at the halfway point in :57.2 as EJ’s Last Dance moved up a position, but still seven lengths away. When the field straightened up the backside the second time around, Ciuffetelli moved EJ's Last Dance three-deep to range alongside the leaders and soon kick away to a one-and-a-half-length victory.

With a strong finish in the stretch Windsun Fireball and Joe Lee got up for the place money. And Tony Verruso, driving Sam’s Honeybee, settled for third place off a rail trip.

“I figured that there would be early speed, so I wanted to sit back a bit. But there were gaps between the horses that I didn’t figure on so I moved earlier than I had planned,” Ciufettelli said. “And once I got my mare in high gear she caught the leaders and she was the strong horse down the stretch to win it easily.”

EJ’s Last Dance is owned and trained by Brett Derue. It was her third seasonal victory. And for Ciufettelli, it marked his sixth seasonal driving victory and the 47th of his amateur career. Sent off as the odds-on favorite, she paid $3.00 for win.

(With files from the Billings Series)

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