Seventy-eight-year-old Jim Larente, the senior participant in Sunday’s “Life Begins Again Trot” at Colonial Downs, scored a wire-to-wire win over seven other senior citizen drivers in a unique race where reinsmen had to be at least 65 years of age to compete. His trotter, Wind Gust, won by nearly four lengths in a time of 1:57 2/5.

Larente, who already had a pair of victories in the fall meet, did not let anyone else see the front end. “I didn’t know the horse at all,” said Larente referring to Wind Gust, “So I warmed him up and really paid attention to get a feel for him.”

Wind Gust cut impressive early fractions of :27 1/5, :55 4/5 and 1:25 4/5, especially considering the modest conditions of the race—non winners of $900 in their last four starts. “He got away from me early,” said the winning driver, “And by the time we got to three-quarter mark, I thought he was going too fast. I gave him a breather for about 500 or 600 feet, tapped him and he just took off again.”

Wind Gust, a 3-year-old Credit Winner gelding, set a lifetime speed mark with the triumph. Conflicting Tales, driven by 73-year-old George Filion, finished second while Olivia’s Filly, driven by 66-year-old Charlie Dunavant, took third.

“Whether you win a $100 race or a $100,000 race, a win is a win, and at my age, it’s a great feeling,” added Larente. “I know the clock is ticking for me and there’s not going to be many more races to win. I had fun today and it was a great afternoon.”

The five other sixty and seventy-something drivers in the field were Lawrence Tilley, Gene Miller, Stan Hathaway Jr., Mike Ternisky and Sam Miller.

(Photos by Coady Photography)