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Freehold, NJ -- On the warm and sunny afternoon of April 3rd harness racing amateur driver Joe Faraldo and Always Good Time rallied and then held off a hard-charging Masster Blue and driver Tony Verruso to win the $,9000 American Harness Drivers Club (AHDC) trot in 1:59.2 at Freehold Raceway Lightly regarded and sent away at odds of over 21-1 Always A Good Time paid $44.60 for win. "Despite the odds I thought we had a good chance to win even though we were the second longest shot in the race ," Faraldo said. "It's a good thing my horse couldn't read the tote board." After the starter released the field one of the favorites Southwind Frost (Bob Hechkoff) went off-stride as did DaBoogie Man (Tony Ciufettteli) but the betting favorite, Ooh Rah (John Calbrese), who started from the seven hole, trotted to the front and led the field by the first stanza in :28.3. Once on top Calabrese kept the pedal to the metal and they showed the way by the half in :58.3 Faraldo was the first to move and once on the limb his trotter chugged forward and they finally ranged alongside the pace-setter at the three quarters as the timer flashed 1:29.1. ALWAYS A GOOD TIME REPLAY   "When we rounded the final turn and headed for home I had a couple of lengths on Verruso," Faraldo said " But that lead began to diminish and when we hit the wire we were noses apart and it was hard to tell who the winner was. But the photo showed that we (Always a Good Time) held on by a nose.." For the driving barrister it was his 153rd career victory. Always A Good Time is owned by the Triple D Stable and trained by Scott Di Domenico. For full race results, click here. by John Manzi, for the American Harness Drivers Club

Freehold, NJ - Harness racing amateur driver Chip Allen knows that when a driver has the best horse in a race there's only one place to be and that is on the front-end. And that is precisely where he put favored Levitation and they rebuffed all challenges on the way to a 2:00.1 triumph in the $9000 American Harness Divers Club trot today (March 27) at Freehold Raceway. Despite having to start from post seven Allen was undaunted and sent the 6-year-old Kadabra gelding immediately to the lead when the wings of the mobile starting gate folded and then rebuffed any and all challenges. The first to move off the pylons was Tony Beltrami but his Big Smoove never looked Levitation in the eye and at the third stanza Allen's charge had complete control. When they rounded the final turn Tony Ciuffetelli, who was enjoying a two-hole journey, moved Someway Same Hall out to challenge as they straightened for home. However, Levitation was still full of trot and kept Someway Same Hall at bay and went on to a solid one-length victory. Big Smoove finished third, two lengths behind the winner. LEVITATION REPLAY   The Levitation is owned and trained by Franz Wolf. He paid $5.60 for win. by John Manzi, for the AHDC

Freehold, NJ -- After trying to come from behind in his recent starts harness racing amateur driver Dave Offenberg put Fiji on the engine and went down the road taking no prisoners and scored a wire to wire 1:57.2 triumph in the American Harness Drivers Club trot at Freehold Raceway today, Saturday, March 20. "I had the rail (pole position) and saw no early speed so I sent Fiji immediately to the front and in doing so kept Levitation and Chip Allen on the limb as we trotted by the quarter in :28.1.And once Allen found a hole we were all alone on the lead, " Offenberg said. Offenberg kept the pedal to the metal and Fiji was three lengths in front of Levitation when they passed the half in :57 as the betting favorite, Allindotime (Joe Lee), began moving up. Still Fiji and Levitation were one-two by the three quarters in 1:26.4. As they headed for paydirt Fiji still showed the way and went on to a length triumph over Allindotime as the final timer flashed 1:57.2. Masster Blue and Tony Verruso rallied for the show dough. FIJI REPLAY   "Fiji likes to be on the front-end and today he raced real game once on top," Offenberg offered, and then added, "when he wants to do it he's tough to beat,and today he wanted to do it." Owned by Offenberg's Allister Stables and trained by Noel Daley, Fiji paid $10.60 for win. For full race results, click here. by John Manzi, for the American Harness Drivers Club

Freehold, NJ --- The saying that March comes "in like a lion" certainly applies to harness racing Jim Marohn Jr. He won four races on the first Saturday of March (March 6) at Freehold Raceway.   Marohn got his first win of the day in race 2, as he went gate-to-wire on Sword Ofthe Spirit for trainer Lewis Nunes. After two runner-up finishes, he got another win in race 7, as Ron Coyne-trained Ozone Blue Chip won going away.   He completed the hat trick in upset fashion, guiding Ari Allstar to a come-from-behind win in race 10 at 61/1, for trainer Julius Czermann Jr. That's the biggest longshot to win at the Freehold meet so far.       There were no surprises in race 11, as Marohn polished off his grand slam with an easy win on favored Dream on Dream On, for trainer Ray Ahto.   Marohn also won two races on Friday's card, making for a six-win week to begin March at Freehold. His 34 wins are good for second place in the driver standings, trailing only Austin Siegelman.   Live racing resumes at Freehold on Friday (March 12), starting at about 12:30 PM.   Tony Verruso takes amateur dash   For the second time in less than a month Tony Verruso and Slated To Win scored a victory in the American Harness Drivers Club trot at Freehold Raceway Today they were victorious in 2:00.1.Just three weeks prior Verruso guided the 5-year-old Uncle Peter gelding to a victory in an earlier leg of the trotting series also at the New Jersey double-oval. When the gate sprung in today's contest Verruso gunned his trotter to the lead from the six-hole and they looped Always A Good Time (Joe Faraldo) who had started from post four. “My horse leaves good and I fired him up when the gate sprung and he trotted to right around Faraldo's horse and we had command before the quarter,” Verruso said via phone after the race. “Once on the lead he was on the bit so I let him ramble.” “After a :29.4 first quarter Always A Good Time seemed content to be on the limb and Joe (Faraldo) wasn't pushing the pace so we got by the half in one-minute flat,” Verruso added. The leaders remained one-two by the three quarters as the timer flashed 1:30.3. However, when they rounded the final turn and straightened for home  Always A Good Time started to fade and Tony Beltrami hustled Big Smoove up alongside Slated To Win and the two were joined by Dark Pool (John Calabrese) and the three battled all the way to the wire. At the finish Slated To Win was a length better than his rivals and went on to a 2:00.1 victory. Big Smoove was second best and Dark Poole was a head farther back for the show dough.   Slated To Win is owned by George Beck and trained by Symon Spicer. He paid $9.60 for win. For full race results, click here. by Freehold Raceway and John Manzi

Freehold, NJ - As the saying goes, " when you're hot you're hot" and it could easily be applied to talented amateur harness racing reinsman Tony Beltrami. Not only did he win the American Harness Drivers Club trot today at Freehold Raceway with Broadway Bruiser but that victory came on the heels of a driving double which he had last night at the Meadowlands. Today after starting from the seven-hole, Beltrami was in no hurry to leave the gate and floated away near the back of the pack in seventh position as Labadee As (Tony Ciuffetelli) led the field by the first stanza in 29 seconds. When they headed to the halfway point Beltrami moved behind cover provided by Tony Verruso and Slated To Win and when the field headed to the three quarters Slated To Win had collared the pace-setter, Labadee As. But the latter folded as the trotters rounded the final turn. When the field headed for paydirt Verruso braced for the late charge from Beltrami and Broadway Bruiser and as they headed down the lane John Calabrese moved Dark Pool off the pylons and they joined the leaders and the three trotters rallied toward the finish line just heads apart. In a tight three-horse photo Beltrami had gotten Broadway Bruiser up in the final strides for a head triumph over the fast closing Dark Pool. Right there, but third best just a head behind the top two, was Slated To Win.   Broadway Bruiser, a 6-year old Muscle Mass gelding, is owned by Joseph Scanio, James Cozenza, Bart Fooden and the HDS Stable. He is trained by Williams Hernandez. Sent away as third choice in the eight-horse field Broadway Bruiser paid $11.40 for win. by John Manzi, for the American Harness Drivers Club        

Freehold, NJ-- There's an old adage which states "when you're hot you're hot" and that moniker would aptly fit "Yankee Joe" Lee after the veteran amateur harness racing driver scored his second consecutive victory in as many days when he reined Allindotime to a 1:59.4 triumph in the $9,000 American Harness Drivers Club Trot today at Freehold Raceway. The previous evening Joe Lee, who doubles as the New York Yankees assistant locker room manager, won a GSY Series contest at the Meadowlands with Always A Force in a time of 1:54 over the mile oval there. In today's contest Lee had the betting favorite and he drifted away slowly and settled in fourth as Latoka and Matt Zuccarello led the field by the first stanza in :29.1. At the half Latoka was still showing the way as Lee was first to move and Allindotime rushed -up toward the leader and the two trotters were one-two as they passed the three quarters. "When I pulled him he was strong and I didn't want to hurry him so I never asked him for any trot until we straightened for home," Lee said about Allindotime. "And once we rounded the final turn I knew no one was going to catch us and we cruised to a 1-1/2 length victory," Although Latoka was second at the top of the lane he faded and John Calabrese and Dark Pool rallied to be second as Presidente Zette and Todd Whitney came from sixth at the three quarters to garner the show dough.   The winner, a 6-year-old Andover Hall gelding, is owned by Alma Iafelice and trained by Bill MacKenzie. Sent off as the odds-on favorite Allindotime paid $3.00. For full race results, click here. by John Manzi, for the American Harness Drivers Club  

Freehold, NJ--The weather was cold on Saturday, February 13 at Freehold Raceway and harness racing driver Tony Verruso struggled to keep his hands warm on that frigid afternoon when he tried to settle down Slated To Win, which was no easy task. But Verruso won the battle and after a :28.4 first quarter the veteran trotter eased off the bit and was manageable. "He certainly was fired-up and my hands were getting cold trying to ease him off the bit," Verruso said. "And he was lugging me all the way to the half but after that I could drive him with two fingers... cold ones at that, I might add." When the starter said "go" Verruso sent his charge to the lead and they were followed closely by Wygant Prince who was driven today by Pearly Allen. They raced one-two by the half in :59.4 and were still first and second as they trotted by the three quarters in 1:30. And when they headed for pay-dirt Slated To Win was well in charge and cruised to 2-1/2 length triumph over his challenger, Wygant Prince. Allindotime,in rein to Joe Lee, rallied from far back to garner the show dough.   Two weeks ago Verruso had driven Slated To Win to a second place finish for then trainer Terry Morgan but this week the trotter went to post and was victorious from Symon Spicer's barn. Also of note, with his second place finish, Wygant Prince went over $500,000 in career earnings. The race winner, a five-year-old Uncle Peter gelding, is owned by George Beck. Sent off the 1-2 favorite Slated To Win paid $3.00 to win. For full results, click here. by John Manzi, for the American Harness Drivers Club .    

Freehold, NJ-- As the harness racing field in the $9,000 American Harness Drivers Club Trot rounded the final turn at Freehold Raceway the pacesetter, Slated To Win, and driver Tony Verruso had command and it appeared that they would be able to do just that. Unfortunately for Verruso, Stinglike ABK and Todd Whitney had other ideas and they rallied in the deep stretch to win the event in 2:00.1.Both horses were longshots in the race and together they combined for a $660.60 exacta. For Whitney it was his first triumph of the fledgling season and his 158th amateur driving victory. When the race began Verruso sent his charge to the lead from the three-hole as Whitney angled his trotter to the pylons after starting on the far outside from post eight. From there Verruso set Slated To Win on cruise-control and they showed the way by the quarter in :29 and past the half in :59.3 Meanwhile Tony Beltrami with the 4-5 shot Broadway Bruiser, who was traveling second over, was forced three -deep as the field approached the three quarters. Broadway Bruiser stalled and Whitney moved out from behind him and they rallied around their cover and up alongside Slated To Win. When the leaders straightened for home Slated To Win had a short lead but was overtaken by Stinglike ABK who then went on to a 1-1/2 length victory in 2:00.1 on the cold and windy afternoon. Broadway Bruiser garnered the show dough, two lengths behind the winner.   The race winner, a 5-year old son of Andover Hall, is owned by the late Robert Key and trained by Aaron Lambert. He paid $39.40; $19.20; and $8.00 across the board. by John Manzi, for the American Harness Drivers Club    

Freehold NJ -- The cold wind was howling and the temperature was in the low 30's but the harness racing action in the American Harness Drivers Club trot at Freehold Raceway was hot and heavy and a photo was needed to determine that Tony Verruso and Masster Blue got up in the final strides to score a neck triumph over Wygant Prince and Paul Minore in 2:03.2. When the gate sprung Todd Whitney sent Caulfield to the lead and they had command over Wygant Prince at the quarter in 30.2. The leaders remained the same by the half in 1:01.4 but up the backside the field tightened with the trailers looking to move up. "I was third as we headed up the backside and I tried to move off the pylons but that didn't happen," Verruso said. "So I was relegated to follow Joe Lee (with Karets) and when he went three deep I followed him and we got a lucky break when his horse went off-stride as we rounded the final turn," Verruso said. " At that point Masster Blue was fifth and with a short route to the wire he had plenty of ground to make up. But when Verruso gave him his head the trotter rallied and closed with a rush to overtake Wygant Prince (Paul Minore) in a three-horse photo. A neck farther back in third place was Caulfield. Tony Verruso and Masster Blue For Verruso, who doubles as the president of the Billings Series, it was his 84th winning drive and he now has 2 wins in 4 starts this season. Masster Blue is a 7 year old Muscle Mass gelding who is owned and trained by John Novello. He paid $10.00 for win.  

Freehold, NJ--Last week harness racing driver Tony Beltrami got a late start with Broadway Bruiser and although the veteran trotter finished with a rush he was a head short at the wire. But today Beltrami kept his trotter in contention early and the 6-year-old altered son of Muscle Mass was not to be denied when he rallied alongside the pacesetter, Wygant Prince (Paul Minore),,and went on to a 2:02.1 one length victory in the $9000 American Harness Drivers Club trot at Freehold Raceway on the chilly Saturday afternoon of January 9. When the wings of the mobile gate folded Minore sent his charge to the lead from the five-hole and they had command at the first stanza as the timer flashed, :30. But no sooner did Minore grab leather Beltrami was out and going forward with Broadway Bruiser. As the leaders passed the halfway point they were one-rwo and at the three quarters it was still Wygant Prince on the inside and Broadway Bruiser on the outside. But when they turned for home Broadway Bruiser was the strong horse and he took command and went on to a 2:02.1 triumph. Broadway Bruiser The betting favorite, Masster Blue (Tony Verruso), had road trouble and didn't shake loose until late and had to settle for the show dough. Broadway Bruiser is owned by Joseph Scanio, James Cozenza, Bart Foodrn ans the HDS Stable and is trained Williams Hernandez. He paid $8.40 for win. by John Manzi for the AHDC

Freehold NJ -- A two-hole journey and a late rally was just what harness racing driver Marianna Monaco needed when she guided 13-1 shot Sb Fine And Dandy to a nose triumph over another longshot, 29-1 Broadway Bruiser, in the American Harness Drivers Club trot at Freehold Raceway on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 2. One could say that Monaco played hardball by not yielding the lead preferring to park-out all comers and though she did, still her trotter had enough in the tank to hold-off a late charge from Broadway Bruiser and driver Tony Beltrami to score a nose decision in the 2:02 trotted mile in the first seasonal event of the 2021 amateur driving series. Starting from the two-hole Monaco first kept Wygant Prince and Paul Minore on the limb and after Minore found a hole along the pylons she braced for a challenge from 10-1 Always A Good Time, driven by Joe Faraldo. As they headed to the half-way point Sb Fine And Dandy and Faraldo's charge hooked up in a duel with Monaco's trotter still holding command all the way to the top of the stretch. As the two leaders headed for home just heads apart Beltrami came from far back with Broadway Bruiser and he and Sb Fine And Dandy charged to the finish line noses apart. It required a lengthy look by the judges but when the decision was made Sb Fine And Dandy was short-nose better than Broadway Bruiser with Faraldo's charge just a tick back in third place. The winner, a 6-year-old Iowa-bred altered son of Claudius Augustus reined supreme for the sixth time in his career. He is currently under lease to Edwin Quevedo. Sb Fine And Dandy Sb Fine And Dandy (#2) paid $29.00; $11.00 & $6.80. Broadway Bruiser (#7) returned $27.20 and $10.80. Together they teamed up for a $544.40 exacta. And the 2-7-5 trifecta was worth $2191.00 by John Manzi for the American Harness Drivers Club    

Freehold, NJ--It's usually the driver who receives all the accolades after a victory, and rightly so, but when a harness racing trainer sends out two horses as individual participants in the same contest and they finish first and second in the race, it's an certainly an unusual accomplishment Case in point: the American Harness Drivers Club trot at Freehold Raceway today (Nov. 28) in which trainer Taylor Gower's two participants, Mugshot Jess and If I Must, finished first and second respectively in that $9,000 amateur trot Saturday. Pearly Allen was up behind the winner, Mugshot Jess, while Paul Minore handled the driving chores for the runner-up If I Must. And neither was the betting favorite in the race. That honor belonged to Can Do who was driven to third place finish by "Yankee Joe" Lee. When the starter released the field Minore sent If I Must to the lead and then relinquished control to Mugshot Jess who didn't take command until well after the quarter was trotted in :29.3. Sent off a fourth choice in the wagering Allen kept the pedal to the metal and Mugshot Jess got first call at the halfway point in :59.3 while keeping Always A Good Time and driver Joe Faraldo parked out in the fresh air. With Mugshot Jess still showing the way Allen seemed undeterred as is trotter began to trot away from his challengers as the timer three quarter-mile timer flashed 1:29.2. In front by two lengths as the field rounded the final turn and headed for home the lead was opened to 3-1/4 lengths at the finish.   Watching all the action in front of him Minore, who had a two-hole trip, kept after If I Must and although the veteran trotter didn't gain on the leader he did however shrug off Can Do to garner the place money in the 1:59.1 mile. Trainer Taylor Gower owns the winner, a 13-year-old altered son of Jailhouse Jesse. He paid $12.60 for win. by John Manzi, for the American Harness Drivers Club    

Freehold, NJ---The old adage 'when you're hot you're hot' could easily apply to driver John Calabrese after he scored his second consecutive driving victory in the $9000 American Harness Drivers Club series trot at Freehold Raceway on the sunny afternoon of November 21. Unlike last week when Calabrese used a pocket trip to score a 1:59.3 victory with Shoemaker Hanover today he put Ooh Rah on the engine and used the front-end route for a solid 1:58.1 triumph Having great credentials and starting from the three-hole, Ooh Rah took "all the money" when the attending crowd sent the trotter away at odds-of 1-5 ...and none of his backers was disappointed. When the starter released the field Calabrese sent Ooh Rah immediately to the lead from the three-hole and they had command when the quarter mile timer flashed :28.4. From there it was little more than a buggy ride for Calabrese as Ooh Rah passed the half-way point in :58.2 and they had no challenges up the backside and past the three quarters in 1:28.1. In the lane Ooh Rah was on cruise control all the way to the wire and scored an easy 1-1/2 length triumph over 53-1 shot Can Do, who was driven by Joe Lee. Third place went to 13-year-old Wygant Prince, driven by Paul Minore.   Ooh Rah is owned by Kathleen La Montagne and Donald La Montagne and trained by Kathleen La Montagne. He returned a paltry $2.40 for win. by John Manzi, for the American Harness Drivers Club

Freehold, NJ-- Last week in the American Harness Drivers Club trot at Freehold Raceway harness racing driver John Calabrese and Shoemaker Hanover had road trouble and finished off the board. However today, in this week's edition, Calabrese benefited from a perfect covered journey to rally to a 1:59.3 triumph over Drazzmatazz, the trotter that won this event last Saturday. A late scratch and only six horses behind the starting gate proved beneficial for Drazzmatazz after Tony Verruso hustled the veteran to the lead from post six. The :28.4 first panel forced the rest of the field to settle in behind the leader. Heading to the halfway point Dave Offenberg moved the betting favorite, Broadway Bruiser, off the pylons and charged alongside Drazzmatazz and they raced as a team by the half in :59.4 and they were still heads apart as they passed the third stanza in 1:30 before Broadway Bruiser began to tire.   That allowed Shoemaker Hanover who was traveling second along the pylons to have a clear shot at the leader and when they rumbled for home Calabrese's trotter was the strong horse and rallied to a solid one-length victory over Verruso's charge. Third money went to Exuberance who was driven by Paul Minore. Shoemaker Hanover, a 7 year old son of Cantab Hall is owned and trained by Tracy Tarantino. Sent off as second choice in the field he returned a $6.40 win mutuel. by John Manzi, for the AHDC  

Freehold, NJ -- Another $9,000 amateur harness racing trot in the American Harness Drivers Club is now in the books after "Coach Paul" Minore gunned If I Must to the lead from the five-hole and then proceeded to make every pole a winning one en route to 2-1/4 length victory in 2:00.4 over seven others at Freehold Raceway on Saturday afternoon (Oct 24). Mugshot Jess, driven by Pearly Allen, got all the early betting money and was sent away as the 1-2 favorite but road trouble from the six-hole never allowed him to contend until it was too late. After he grabbed the lead in a soft :30.2 first quarter Minore tapped the breaks and led Fji (Dave Offenberg) by the first stanza and they were one-two by the half in 1:01:2 while Mugshot Jess was stalled by breaking horses on the first turn. A lazy Tough Get Going (Joe Faraldo) who was in third place behind the leaders early, had trouble chasing the top two and in doing so it kept the trailers from a clear shot at the leaders. It was still If I Must and Fiji showing the way as the field rounded the final turn and in the lane the former opened daylight on the latter and coasted to an easy victory. Mugshot Jess finally shook free but too late to do any damage to the leaders and had to settle for third money.   If I Must, a 5-year-old altered son of Muscles Yankee, is owned by his driver and trained by Taylor Gower. He was sent off as third choice in the contest and returned a $14.70 win mutuel. Minore was the high school track and field coach for the great Carl Lewis. by John Manzi, for the AHDC

This year's Hambletonian Amateur races, a staple at the Meadowlands and part of the Hambo week of harness racing festivities, clearly demonstrated the growth and support this aspect of the game has achieved.

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