Sossys King Kong was gorilla-like in the $22,500 championship final of the George Williams Memorial Series tonight at Miami Valley Raceway. Following a pair of runner up finishes to Control Tower (Dan Noble) in preliminary legs driver Tyler Smith decided to play hardball in the early stages of the final after drawing two spots closer to the pylons than his daunted adversary.
Smith and Sossys King Kong did eventually allow odds-on favourite Control Tower to clear to the front, but not before pacing past the quarter mile marker in :26.3. Content to ride the pocket until the head of the stretch, the winning four-year-old Dragon Again gelding roared to victory when angled out for the stretch drive.
Control Tower tripped the middle teletimer beams in :54.2 and 1:23.3 before Sossys King Kong stopped the clock in 1:53.1.
Kris Hinchcliff trains the series winner for Hinchcliff Racing. He paid $11.40 as the third choice in the wagering.
For the fourth consecutive week, a former $30,000 claimer won the $22,000 Open I Pace. This time, however, it was not track record holder Franzo, who was ruled out a week following three straight Open wins. Kiss of Terror was collared a week ago via the claim box by owners Kirk Nichols and Seth Downing and entrusted to the father-son team of trainer Dan Ater and driver Kyle Ater.
The result was an immediate dividend on their investment as the five-year-old Western Terror gelding responded with a 1:51.2 upset triumph over even money favourite Night Pro (Sam Widger) for his new connections.
A blazing :25.3 first quarter saw Angelo J Fra (Dan Noble) force Night Pro to take a seat in the pocket. Those top two were still in control at the :53.2 half before My Buddy Ninkster (Tyler Smith) and Latest Desire (Josh Sutton) formed an outer flow with Kiss Of Terror tugging along behind them at the 1:22.1 three-quarters station.
Ater swung his new stable star four-wide at the head of the stretch and closed admirably to score the victory. Night Pro, who has now finished first 13 times and second 11 in his last 24 races, had trouble finding a seam until midway through the stretch and was pacing fastest of all at the wire to be runnerup. My Hero Ron (Mike Oosting) rallied for third.
Driver Trace Tetrick visited the winnerís circle five times on Saturday night to become the first to reach 100 wins during the 2017 meet. Tetrick, who will be returning to Hoosier Park on April 1, but plans to continue racing at Miami Valley two days a week during the final five weeks of the southwest Ohio meet, currently has a 17 win lead over Kayne Kauffman (83 wins). Tyler Smith (58) and Chris Page (56) are next in the dash derby.