Day At The Track

USA takes early lead in Italian Challenge

04:17 AM 03 Aug 2018 NZST
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Steve Oldford, harness racing
Steve Oldford captured one of the divisions in Italy

Pompano Beach, FL --- The USA, led by team captain Joe Pennacchio, has taken an early lead in the Amateur Friendship Challenge, held in Italy.

The “Challenge” saw the USA sprint out to an early 25-12 lead in the friendly -- but hotly contested -- competition over the Italian Driver Club Veneto with Pennacchio, along with teammate Steve Oldford, winning their respective races, held at the historic, 120-year-old Hippodrome di Montebello, located in scenic Trieste, overlooking the Adriatic Sea.

Dr. Scott Woogen and Kelly “Sky” Walker completed the roster of Americans competing in the event.

Pennacchio, who began his amateur driving career in 1995 with an initial win over Delaware, Ohio’s famed Little Brown Jug oval (with the now appropriately named Fox Valley Trump), has amassed more than 175 career wins and got the USA team off to a great start by guiding Rugiada Del Nord to victory in the 1,600 meter event (1.031 miles) in 2:07.5.

Said teammate Oldford after the win, “Joe never ceases to amaze me. I am still waiting for him to reach his prime. At his age, 71, he has the light hands of a seasoned veteran half his age. He’s just amazing and I really don’t think he has reached his prime yet, especially after the way he drove that winner!”

Oldford then was able to share the spotlight with Captain Pennacchio by driving Taiga Grif to victory in 2:06.5, using a big “double bubble” move around the final bend.

The competition travels to the seaside city of Follonica next to compete at that city’s Hippodrome on the Mediterranean Sea before moving north to historic Mintecatini, near Florence, Italy.

by John Berry

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