by John Manzi, for the C.K.G. Billings Series
Yonkers, NY — “Now that the baseball season is over, I can concentrate a little more on my love of amateur racing,” said “Yankee Joe” Lee, the locker room manager for the New York Yankees, after he won a North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) event Thursday afternoon (Oct. 18) at Monticello Raceway.
Well maybe it was that concentration Lee was referring to that enabled him to earn another driving victory, when he and On The Podium won a Billings Trot Thursday night at Yonkers Raceway in 2:00.3.
After a wire-to-wire victory in the daylight at The Mighty M, Lee found the winner’s circle under the lights with a covered trip. After he gunned his trotter to the front, he then sat comfortably in the two-hole and followed Wygant Prince and “Coach Paul” Minore’s lead.
Although the :29 first quarter took some sting out of Wygant Prince, there was more stress for the old veteran when he didn’t get a breather because he had to contend with a parked-out Gianni and Matt Zuccarello.
So while the aforementioned duo slugged it out on the engine, Lee sat calmly in the pocket and was carried all the way to the top of the lane.
Along the way, Permanent Joy (Bob Krivelin) and Baltimor AS (Bob Ciavardini) worked their way into contention by the top of the stretch, but not before Lee scooted around Gianni and forced everyone to chase On The Podium to the wire. The Yonkers win gave Lee a driving double on the day, albeit at two different racetracks. Baltimor AS was second best while Permanent Joy had to settle for the show dough.
Unlike the Monticello trots earlier in the day, this was a non-wagering affair. Jose Godinez trains the winner for Lee, Tony Nicometo and the Blindswitch Racing Stable.