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Harness racing's greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series, moved on to Yonkers Raceway where two solid six-horse trots were presented in the series eastern region prior to the betting card getting underway. When the judges posted the official signs "Yankee Joe" Lee and "Annie Get Your Gun" Stoebe were victorious in their respective $6000 splits. Lee was a convincing winner behind Soul Train in 1:58.3 while Miss Annie was home free with Uriel in a 1:59 clocking. Both horses used the front-end route to victory. Named the sports Amateur Driver of the Year last season Lee, the New York Yankees' locker room manager, has been heating up recently now with three wins and a second in his last five starts. Tonight he gunned Soul Train to the lead from post six and they made every pole winning one en route to turning back Evore Hanover and driver David "Poppa" Glasser by some 3-1/4 lengths. When the wings of the mobile gate folded "Yankee Joe" had his trotter in high gear from post six and they had six lengths on the field as they passed the first stanza. From there they were comfortably in front until they crossed the finish line. Third place went to Time Will Tell All in rein to"Mighty Matt" Zuccarello. Soul Train, is owned by Blindswitch Racing, Good Friends Stable, Santo Farina and Joseph Lee, and is trained by Jose Godinez. It was the second victory this season for the 7-year-old Trainforthefuture gelding. In her division Ms Stoebe started from the pole position, took no prisoners and used the front-end route as she and her veteran trotter passed the first stanza is a soft :29.4. Although they rebuffed a few challengers along the way Miss Annie and Uriel were easily in command all the way to the wire. Despite a garden trip in the two-hole No Recess and driver Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff couldn't make up any ground in the deep stretch and had to settle for second money. "Coach Paul" Minore and his old warhorse Wygant Prince made a run at the leaders at the halfway point but soon settled back along the pylons and sauntered home in third place some three lengths behind the winner. Uriel, a 7-year-old Explosive Matter gelding gave Ms Stoebe her second Billings victory of the fledgling season. Next Billings action will be at Saratoga Raceway on Friday, June 15. by John Manzi for, the Billings Series    

WASHINGTON, PA, June 2, 2018 -- In a rare battle of millionaires, Dapper Dude got the jump on Dancin Yankee and held him at bay late to capture Saturday's $20,000 Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Dapper Dude was drafting in the pocket behind his stablemate, Anythingforlove A, when Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. sent him after the lead past the three-quarters. The 9-year-old son of The Panderosa-Dress To Suggest blew by in a heartbeat, with Dancin Yankee in tow. Dapper Dude downed Dancin Yankee by a head in 1:50 while 56-1 long shot Rock The Nite rallied for show. Bill Bercury trains Dapper Dude, who now boasts a career bankroll of $1,242,500, for Renee Bercury. With his place check, Dancin Yankee soared over $1.7 million in lifetime earnings. The Bercurys were at it again in Saturday's co-feature, the $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot. There, Barn Girl -- trained by Bill, owned by Renee -- won a heated three-way scrum for the early lead and prevailed in 1:53, a tick off her career best. The 6-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie now has won $673,668, and she improved her career winning percentage to a nifty 50 -- 49 victories in 98 starts. Dave Palone piloted three winners, including a pair for trainer Mike Palone, on the 12-race card GEORGE BONOMO WINS BILLINGS LEG  WASHINGTON, PA, June 2, 2018 -- 'Chicago' George Bonomo squeezed off the cones with Time Outa Jail down the backside, gobbled up the tiring leader and captured Saturday's $10,000 leg of the C.K.G. Billings amateur trot at The Meadows in a 10-1/4-length romp. Once Bonomo and Time Outa Jail found racing room, they surged past Mike "The Mortgage Man" Mitchell and Ki Ki Canolli and scored in 1:58. Bob "The Lumberman" Troyer was second with JLS Too Hot Taj while Michelle "The Belle" Ruvola and Better Call Saul rallied from a backside break to earn show. When Ruvola finished third, she assured that family bragging rights would remain with Bonomo, her father -- at least until the next Billings event. Christ Hershberger trains Time Outa Jail, a 7-year-old Jailhouse Jesse-Two Timer gelding who extended his career bankroll to $252,533, for 'Chicago' George and Rose Bonomo. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

MONTICELLO NY--Thursday, My 31 started out gloomy in the lower Catskills region of New York State but as luck would have it any precipitation that fell from the heavens held off during the harness racing program. Featured today at the Mighty M was a Billings trot that attracted seven horses, all veterans, and when the winner's number was posted on the totebord it belonged to Better To Be Lucky who was very capably driven by his owner-trainer, "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli. Starting from the three-hole, Ciuffetelli gunned his charge to the front and surprisingly Better To Be Lucky had command before the first turn. "He's been racing really well for me this season having already won three of seven starts, all of which came from behind but today, after looking over the official program it appeared that there were no leavers in the field so I decided to send "Better" to the front," Ciuffetelli said. After a 29 second first quarter Ciufettelli kept the pedal to the metal and he and his charge trotted by the halfway point in :58.1. They were being chased by "Coach Paul" Minore and Wygant Prince and Tim Lizzi with "Yankee Joe" Lee in the pilot's seat. "I had still 'lotsa horse' as we trotted by the three quarters and we were still fairly comfortable as we straightened for home but when we neared the wire I felt "Better" come back to me a bit. But at that point we were almost home" Ciufettelli explained. When they hit the finish wire, in a time of 1:59:4, Better To Be Lucky had a neck advantage over Tim Lizzie and coming from far back to be third was Starsaboveallerage, driven by "Steve "You're Never Too Oldford. Sent off at odds of over 2-1, Better To Be Lucky returned a $6.10 win mutuel. Next up in Billings action is a mid-west region trot at the Meadows on Saturday, June 2. by John Manzi for the Billings Series  

MONTICELLO, NY--- Besides offering races to many racetracks which, especially in this day and age, are welcomed to help fill their harness racing programs, the granddaddy of all amateur organizations the CKG Billings Harness Driving Association, donated to a local charity while the Billing members were competing in Canada. "We donated $1000 to a women's shelter near Mohawk while we were racing in Canada," noted Billings vice president Steve Oldford. "We presented the check in the winner's circle prior to the start of our race at Woodbine Mohawk Park on May 28th. Ever since the Billings Series was instituted in the early 1980's the competing amateurs have donated many tens of thousands of dollars to charities as well as being a major supporter of the Harness Racing Museum. John Manzi  

Monticello, NY--The second a final event for the traveling members of the CKG Billings Harness Drivers Series who ventured to Canada was contested at Woodbine Mohawk on Monday evening, May 28 and when the judges posted the official sign Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford, up behind Adversity, romped over eight others in a 1:56.3 clocking. "We started slow but finished strong," Oldfield said via telephone after is driving victory. When the wings of the mobile gate folded "Buffalo Bob" Davis gunned Burnin Money to the front and they led the field by the first stanza in :28 seconds with Oldfield viewing the front-end action as he settled his charge down along the pylons in fifth position some seven lengths of the leader. "Everyone found a hole and we were all following Bob's (Davis), lead and he rolled on to a three length lead as he took us by the half in :57 " Oldford explained. " And as we headed for the three quarters Burnin Money's strides began to shorten many of us were looking to move up." First to do so was Robert "Call Me Bobby" Ciavardini with Overcomebyvictory followed by Oldford with the eventual winner. Adversity cleared and by the time they rounded the final turn he was three lengths in front. Pierre Trudeau followed Oldford's lead with Charmbro Chrome and they were third as the field headed for home. But in the lane Overcomebyvictory faded and Charmbro Chrome finished second while Blameitonthewhisky ("Racin" Jason" Sgrignouli) got up for third money. Overcomebyictory, was just that as he faded to fourth. Adversity is owned by Jemaxpo and trained by J Ryan Sent off as the odds-on favorite Adversity paid $3.40 for win. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

On Sunday,May 27, harness racing's greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series, was on the move again this time north of the border for a nine-horse pacing event at Flamboro Downs. After "Racin' Jason" Sgrignouli sent Eas Ideal to the front from the six-hole his 5-year-old Sportswriter gelding made easy work of it and made every pole a wining one en route to a 3-1/2 length victory in a 1:59 clocking. (The first and longest running amateur driving series in the modern era, the Billings members sometime use pacers in their travels when a field of trotters is not available) A soft :30.1 first quarter probably made Sgrignouli's journey a lot easier for his 7-1 shot and he cruised along with nearly even fractions while saving something for the final quarter which was the fastest split in the race. As it turned out a :29.2 final panel was needed by the Dorval, Que. electrician in order to keep "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello and his charge`Crafty Xample at bay. When the wings of the mobile gate folded the even money favorite L Dees Luca, handled by Billing veep Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford, got away a bad seventh from the three-hole and by the time the field had passed the halfway point L Dees Luca was some 10 lengths behind, ground he never made up and finished fourth, two lengths behind Warrawee Phoenix and driver Robert "call me Bobby" Ciavardini who was the third under the wire. The winner, owned by Brenda Rankin and Brandon Chariot paid $16.00; $7.00 and $8.50 across the board. He is trained by Jim Rankin. The second Canadian Billings race, a 10-horse trot, is slated for tonight,(May 28) at Woodbine Mohawk Park. by John Manzi, for the CKG Billings Series      

FREEHOLD, NJ--Harness racing's greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series, is on the move again today (May 26) featuring a trot at Freehold Raceway and for the third time in amateur contests over the past week once again a lady is the champ. Emulating previous amateur winners, Jennifer Lappe and Monica Banca, this time Annie "Get Your Gun" Stoebe turned the tables on the boys when she went down the road unchallenged and coasted home an easy three-length winner with Uriel in a time of 1:58.3. A member of multiple amateur driving clubs this season marks the first time that the talented miss is participating in the sport's oldest and longest running amateur organization. After seven trotters had lined-up behind the mobile starting gate Stoebe gunned her charge to the front from the two-hole and they were four lengths ahead of the field when the quarter pole timer flashed :28.4. Still leading the way by the half , albeit by only two lengths, that margin was dramatically increased to eight lengths as she led Orange Biji and driver "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello into the final turn. Still six lengths to the good at the top lane the announcer told fans holding mutuel tickets with Uriel's number to get on line to collect. Orange Biji made up some ground in the stretch but at the finish it was Uriel and "Annie Get Your Gun" by a solid three lengths. After he recovered from going offstride early in the mile Evore Hanover, with David "Poppa" Glasser at the controls, garnered the show dough. Miss Annie owns the winner, a 7-year-old Explosive Matter gelding, who paid $8.80 to his backers. It was the third seasonal and fourth lifetime driving victory for Ms Stobe who began her career in the sulky just last season. Over the Memorial Day weekend the international Billings Harness Driving Series will have contests in Canada-Sunday at Flamboro Downs and Monday at Woodbine Mohawk Park. by John Manzi, for the CKG Billings Series

MONTICELLO,NY - After a CKG Billings Series Midwest regional trot at Scioto Downs last night (May 18) the longest running amateur driving series moved on to Freehold NJ for a contest over the famed harness racing double-oval at Freehold Raceway and when the results were finalized, "Tough Tony" Ciuffettelli scored an impressive victory with Better To Be Lucky in a time of 2:00.4 over a soggy racetrack. Last October Ciuffetelli purchased Better Be Lucky and since then the 6-year-old Lucky Chucky gelding has proven to be a valuable commodity after the trotter notched his fourth seasonal triumph. "I bought him as a back-up Billings horse," Ciuffetelli explained. "He's a nice horse but he occasionally gets temperamental." After leaving softly from the two-hole Ciuffetelli headed for the pylons and watched the speed duel ensue between Annie "Get Your Gun" Stoebe, with betting favorite Uriel, and "Yankee Joe" Lee's, Great Emancipator, who was on the limb fighting for command. "I was feeling good watching Anne and Joe go at it. They were going pretty swift over the muddy racetrack and I was hoping that they'd get tired ... and that's just what happened," Ciuffetteli said. With snappy early fractions of :28.2 and :58 Ciuffetteli just bided his time. He was second at the third stanza in 1:29.2 and when Better To Be Lucky cleared on the final turn he had command. "I felt pretty confident as he headed for the wire since the two favorites battled it out early, "Tough Tony" added. "I saw Tyler (Miller) coming at us but he went off-stride before the finish." "Young Tyler" Miller finished second with Masster Blue while Anne Stoebe took home the show dough with Uriel. It seems that Bettor To Be Lucky lived up to his name as he crossed the finish line 1-1/2 lengths in front of Miller's, Masster Blue. Ciuffetelli, a former corrections officer, also owns and trains the winner who returned $20.20; $7,00 and $3.60. For "Tough Tony" it marked his 54th career driving victory. by John Manzi, for the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series    

Harness racing's greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series, was on the move again on Friday, May 18 with a trot in the series mid-west region at Scioto Downs and when it was completed Ned "the Insurance Man" Hodkinson emerged victorious with his old warhorse, Mutinyonthebounty after they turned back seven others in the 2:00.1 trotted mile. Hodkinson, a longtime member of the Billings Series notched his 60th driving victory. Up behind his 9-year-old Mutineer gelding Hodkinson made the trotter's seasonal debut a winning one. After starting from the two-hole as the race's betting favorite, Hodkinson sent his charge to the front when the wings of the mobile gate folded and took command before the first stanza, which was clocked in 29 seconds. From there it was catch me if you can as Hodkinson kept the pedal to the metal as they showed the way past the half in 1:00.3. And when they went by the third quarter in 1:30 Mutinyonthebounty was still safely in command. As the field headed for home Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford came charging from the middle of the pack with Smoother Ride and as the two trotters approached the finish line they were heads apart. But Mutinyonthebounty was up for the challenge and staved off his competitor for a neck victory. Big Bro finished third for "Tiny Tim" Miller. "He was real sharp in his seasonal debut," Hodkingson said of Mutinyonthebounty who came into this race off a 1:58 qualifier. "We gained command rather easily and were coasting along on the lead until Michelle (Ruvolo, with Upfront Chip Daddy) challenged us up the backstretch. After we put her away my horse had a three length lead and in mid-stretch, without any horses around, he got lazy but still he had enough in the tank to hold off Steve's horse and get the win." Hodkinson also trains Mutinyonthebounty who paid $3.40 for win. Next up in the Billings Series is a trot in the eastern region at Freehold Raceway tomorrow (May 19). The next Midwest region action is slated for May 26 at Hoosier Park. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series  

In the early 1980's when the CKG Billing Harness Driving Series was instituted and abetted by the North American Amateur Drivers Association little did the founders of each realize that amateur racing would become such an integral part of the industry and spur on many amateur clubs in harness racing. And when the realization that amateur racing could be wagered on there is hardly a racetrack in the Northeast that doesn't rely on carding races for amateur drivers to supplement their wagering cards. However, with the proliferation of clubs and organizations that cater to amateur drivers so many local clubs have sprung up in recent years that the Billings Series, the granddaddy of all amateur organizations, has found that finding drivers to travel to various racetracks in the US and Canada has taken a hit since many participants opt to compete in local clubs and forsake the traveling. However, tonight (May 11), over the one-mile oval at the Meadowlands the first race on the betting card was relegated to the recreational participants in the eastern region of the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series. In that contest eight amateur drivers lined-up behind the starting gate for a wagering event and when the judges posted the official sign Jennifer "Lady J" Lappe emerged victorious with her veteran trotter, FoxValley Steffen in a very creditable time of 1:55.1. Overlooked and sent off at odds of over 6-1, "Lady J" angled her charge to the pylons as the wings of the mobile gate folded and was content to travel along in fifth position. When the field headed to the third stanza Ms Lappe rallied her trotter and by the time they rounded the final turn they were third on the outside behind pace-setter Danish Durango (Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff) and Shady McCoy in rein to Dave "the Rave" Offenberg. When the field headed down the long homestretch the three aforementioned were across the racetrack but as they approached the finish line Fox Valley Steffen proved too tough for the others and went on to a two length triumph. Shady Mccoy finished second a long neck in front of Danish Durango. Each of the drivers of the top three finishers are also members of other amateur clubs. In fact every driver in the race belongs to a multitude of amateur organizations. It was the second consecutive victory and 35th of his illustrious career for Fox Valley Steffen who with this riumph has raised his lifetime earnings to nearly $400,000. He paid $15.40; $8.00 and $4.00. Next up in Billings action will be a midwest region contest at Sciota Downs on May 18. by John Manzi for the CKG Billings Harness Drivers Series

Being sent off as the odds-on favorite with Sum It Up harness racing driver Joey "The Jet" Putnam was undaunted after starting from the five-hole and sent his charge to the front and then made every pole a winning en route to a 1:57.1 triumph in his first start as a member of the Billings Harness Driving Series at Miami Valley Raceway on Sunday, April 29. In an evenly rated mile Putnam was well in hand at the finish winning by 1-1/2 lengths over Can'tcutthatchip, driven by Gregg "Fast Greggy" Keidel. Ronan and driver "Lawbook Larry" Farley finished third some 17-lengths behind the first two finishers. Putnam. a 20 year-old college student son of talented mid-west horseman Joe Putnam, is part of the youth movement employed this season by Billings vice president Steve Oldford to bolster the amateur ranks in the series mid-west regional division. According to Oldford, "the Billings series is seeking youth, 25 years or younger who have under 50 pari-mutuel wins without haven taken compensation and for a nominal fee can join the Billings events except for the travel series races." Added Billings president Tony Verruso"We are targeting young drivers for all divisions of the Billings who are working their way to the professional ranks and it should be noted that top reinsmen Cory Callahan and Ronnie Wrenn used the Billings series as their first step." The Billings is sponsored by the Delvin Miller Harness Driving Association. Any amateur driver seeking further information or if interested is joining the Billings Series , is urged to call Verruso at 917-697-8986 or Oldford at 810-300-3234. The Granddaddy of all amateur racing series, the Billings, will offer races weekly at various venues in both the United States and Canada and will culminate with the Gold and Silver Cup Finals at Yonkers Raceway on Sunday, November 26. The leg at Miami Valley Raceway on Sunday, April 29 was the first in Midwest Division series. The next Billings event is slated in the Eastern Division series at Freehold Raceway on Saturday, May 5. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series  

The C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series kicks off its 37th season on Sunday April 29 at Miami Valley Raceway followed by a leg at Freehold Raceway on Saturday May 5 . And six days after that, the talented amateur drivers will compete at the Meadowlands on Friday, May 11.. Then, almost weekly, there will be competitions at various racetracks in the United States and Canada through late November. Again the Billings will be run under the auspices of the Delvin Miller Harness Drivers Association. The series which began in the early 1980's is considered the Grand Circuit of Amateur Racing. Known for its constant traveling sideshow over the years some of the best amateur drivers in North America compete, or have competed, in it. And because of the success of the Billings a multitude of amateur clubs have now become part of the harness racing landscape. "Amateur racing has never been more popular than it is now" noted Tony Verruso, the CKG Billings Series president. "Just look at the handle at the amateur races and you can see we are a good bet. And not only that, amateur races are needed to help fill overnight cards at many racetracks. "Last year amateur racing action was with weekly record braking handles in races at the Meadowlands and at Pompano Park. Wagering was also strong in the NAADA Trotting Series at Yonkers, Freehold, and Monticello.' Various amateur clubs are now organized to help maximize the number of races and add benefits to the tracks that host them as well as abetting the various charities that each club represents. "Tens of thousands of dollars are raised each year through amateur driving for the benefit of each clubs charity. The CKG Billings is proud to contribute its driver's earnings to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame," Verruso added." This season being no exception Billings president Verruso has once again worked diligently and as a result has put-together another outstanding series of races at venues both in the United States and Canada. "You'll find that the current schedule has limited Canada dates as Billings member Dave Drew is still working tirelessly at getting us squared away up North", Verruso acknowledged. "So hopefully there will be some dates to add to our seasonal schedule." According to Verruso most rules remain the same except for the following: *The yearly earnings per start average has been lowered to $1,500 per start. * Because of the number of amateur clubs in the East, it is getting harder to fill two fields at any one venue and we never get two in the Mid-West. So this year we are going to let any horse entered for the $10,000 claiming price draw inside any horse entered for $15,000. " "It does not mean the $10,000 claimer will draw the inside post, just that said horse will draw inside of any $15,000 claimers," Verruso explained. "If need be, the race may be seeded and drawn in lots as is done in some of our races already." At season's end the Gold & Silver Cup Finals will be held at Yonkers Raceway on November 26th.. "Yonkers has graciously offered to host the races at our normal purse level. They will feature the Gold Cup on their France Simulcast Program which should be a great showcase for Amateur Racing here in the States. "There is a very big amateur colony in Europe so it will be very nice to put on a good show for them. We will have to go with 10 horses at 1 1/4 miles as all the French Races do," Verruso stated. To become a member of the Delvin Miller Harness Drivers Association or for a complete listing of conditions and nominating costs please contact Verruso at or Billings Series VP, Steve Oldford One can also get pertinent information on the Delvin Miller Harness Driving Series on the USTA website under amateur racing. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

YONKERS,NY - "Yankee Joe" Lee is celebrating today. And why shouldn't he? After all, he just scored the biggest triumph of his amateur harness racing career when he guided Dizzy Rizzy to a 2:34 victory over the 1-1/4 mile distance in the $25,000 CKG Billings Gold Cup Final this morning (Nov. 26) at Yonkers Raceway. Second place went to Wygant Prince and driver "Coach Paul" Minore while "Tough Tony" Ciuffettelli garnered the show dough with Aventure. A true amateur driver Lee has no race horses of his own and no specific trainer who he drives for and although he always gets first call on horses trained by Bruce Aldrich Sr. Lee travels the amateur circuit seeking drives wherever he can. Driving today for trainer Nick Surick, whose trotter won the Billings Gold Cup last year at Harrah's Chester with "Hurricane Hannah " Miller at the controls, victory didn't come easy for Lee who has plenty of supporters at Yankee Stadium where he serves as the assistant locker room attendant for the New York Yankees. "We had tough trip today but we got the job done," Lee related. "I tried leaving but Steve Oldford (with Gonna Fly) was giving Paul Minore and Wygant Prince a tough time. I then tried to slip down on the pylons to no avail but got lucky when Bob Krivelin's horse made a break. "Sitting third I thought I had a good spot. Then Oldford pulled the pocket with over a half mile to go so I got to slip into the two hole. At the top of the stretch I rolled out of the pocket grunted at her (Dizzy Lizzy) a little and she rolled right past the leader and got there in time. I'm real honored to win the Billings Gold Cup for her connections." It was the 11th victory this year for Dizzy Rizzy, a 7 year old Ken Warkentin mare. She is owned by the Nick Surick Stables, J L Benson Stables and Hannah Miller. A rising star in the amateur ranks Lee's victory was his 15th this season after garnering 10 last year. His career began in 2010 but earnestly in just the past three seasons. The $15,000 Billings Silver Cup Final was also a big thrill for driver Bobby "Rapid Robert" Ciavardini who also scored the biggest victory of his career when he guided Baltimor AS to a 2:32.2 triumph As a youngster Ciavardini dabbled in harness racing but upon retirement from a professional career he got back into harness racing and his victory today was paramount to him, especially driving the family horse. Now with a new trainer Ciavardini and Baltimor AS started from the two hole and enjoyed a two-hole journey. Following the lead set by Fox Valley Steffen and driver by "Doctor John" Kokinos Ciavardini got lucky when Kokinos carried them all the way to the top of the stretch. At that point Ciavardini moved off the pylons and rallied his veteran trotter to a head triumph over Fox Valley Steffen. Peter "Enough Talk" Kleinhans finished third with Toss Cartwright. Baltimor AS is an 8-year-old Credit Winner gelding owned by Richard, Diane and Robert Ciavardini and trained by Tom Milici. Both races went as non-wagering events. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

YONKERS, NY - The 36th season of the granddaddy of all harness racing amateur series, the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series will culminate with Gold and Silver Cup Championship Finals at Yonkers Raceway on Sunday morning, November 26. The Gold Cup finale will be raced for a purse of $25,000 while the Silver Cup final will go for $15,000 prior to the betting card getting underway. The planned post time for the Silver Cup Final will be at 10:00AM followed immediately by the Gold Cup Final. Both races will have 10-horse fields and be contested over the distance of 1-1/4 miles. The Billings races on Sunday will mark a change from recent years in that they will be contested over a half-mile track when many previous finales were raced on bigger ovals. Contesting over a half-mile track and at a distance of 1-1/4 miles the driving strategies will certainly differ than those over a five eighths or mile ovals. Last year's defending Gold Cup Final winner, Hannah Miller, is not competing this season. Various rules determined the fields of the finales. The $15,000 Silver Cup Final ,with drivers in post -position order lines up below followed by the entries and drivers in the $25,000 Gold Cup Final $15,000 CKG BILLINGS SILVER CUP FINAL---post time 10:00AM 1-Fox Valley Steffen - John Kokinos 2-Baltimor AS - Bob Ciaverdini 3-Six Bax - Scott Woogen 4-Fiji - Dave Offenberg 5- Pine Tab - Dien Spiggs 6-Dial A Chic - Robert Kenney 7-Soul Train - Dave Drew 8-Toss Cartwright - Peter Kleinhans 9-Summit City Frank - Matt Zuccarello 10-Tough Get Going - Joe Faraldo $25,000 CKG BILLINGS GOLD CUP FINAL--post time 10:10AM 1-Gonna Fly - Steve Oldford 2-Permanent Joy - Robert Krivelin 3-War Cry Hall - Robert Hechkoff 4-Wygant Prince - Paul Minore 5-Dizzy Rizzy - Joe Lee 6-Jelectric - Bob Davis 7-Flirting Duesy - Tony Verruso 8-Celebrity Stimulus - David Glasser 9-Landonfitz - Davis Yarock 10-Aventure - Tony Ciuffettelli by John Manzi for the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Robert "Rapid Rail" Krivelin is no stranger to fans who follow the amateur races, especially in the granddaddy of them all, the CKG Billings Harness Racing Driving Series. Although he's slowed his participation in the many other amateur series events Krivelin, a food purveyor in New York City, makes sure he competes in the Billings. And why shouldn't he? He's been so successful over the past two decades that he has earned National Amateur Driver of the Year honors three times. And after his triumph tonight at the Meadowlands he may be in consideration for a fourth national title At the Meadowlands tonight Krivelin scored an upset victory with his old war horse, Permanent Joy, turning back seven others in a 1:58 contested mile over racetrack rated good. Overlooked by the betting public and sent off at odds of over 12-1 Krivelin worked a perfect cover trip for Permanent Joy. After starting from the pole position Krivelin allowed David "Poppa" Glasser and Celebrity Stimulus to take charge in the :28.3 first quarter and then shadowed the leader throughout. Glasser and his trotter .passed the halfway point in :58.1 and they were still comfortable on the lead as the three quarter timer flashed 1:27.4. But at that top of the long lane company began joining Celebrity Stimulus. Krivelin was the first to move and his trotter joined Glasser's as the field headed for paydirt. When they straightened for home Permanent Joy hung tough and rebuffed all challenges to go on for a one length triumph over Dizzy Rizzy, driven by "Buffalo Bob" Davis. Landonfitz came from far back to garner the show dough for Dave "Steady As" Yarock. Krivelin's Hero Stable declares ownership of Permanent Joy and Krivelin is the registered trainer. Permanent Joy paid $27.80; $8.80 and $5.20 across the board. For Krivelin it was his 212th driving victory since he began his amateur career in 1996. The Billings Gold and Silver Cup Finals will be contested over Yonkers Raceway's double oval on Sunday,November 26. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

The granddaddy of all amateur racing organizations, the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series which came to fruition nearly four decades ago, has been the inspiration for all the amateur clubs that have since evolved. And there are many, much to the delight of the participants as well of the harness racing secretaries. When there are events at two different venues on the same evening, one can begin to see the positive impact that amateur racing is having on the industry. Earlier tonight ( November 11), a Billings Trot was slated at two different racetracks; one for the Midwest region members at Dayton Raceway in Ohio and another at Pocono Downs for members of the series' eastern region. "Yankee Joe" Lee was victorious with Soul Train in a 1:57.4 clocking at Pocono Downs while Ned "the Insurance agent' Hodkinson won the trot at Dayton Raceway with his own Mutinyonthebounty in a 1:58.4 clocking. At Wilkes Barre, Pa. Joe Lee went to post in an amateur race for the 79th time thus far this year and the New York Yankee's assistant locker room manager notched his 14th seasonal triumph. In his contest Lee got away softly from the pole position then picked up cover behind "Buffalo Bob" Davis with Dizzy Rizzy as the field headed to the halfway point. But as they neared the third stanza Lee wheeled Soul Train three-deep and they marched forward and at the top of the lane they were third. When the tight field headed for paydirt Soul Train began to ease away from his competition and went on to a 1-1/4 length triumph. Second place in that $12,000 contest went to Aventure driven by "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli, Dizzy Rizzy hung on for the show dough. The winner, owned by Blindswitch Racing, Good Friends Stable and Santo Farina , is trained by Al Annunziata. Sent off as the odds-on favorite Soil Train paid $3.00. Meanwhile, at Dayton Raceway in Ohio hot-handed Ned Hodkinson added to his Midwest region point lead when he reined Mutinyonthebounty to a wire to wire triumph. But victory didn't come easy with his trotter being challenged the entire mile by Keep the Cash (Patricia "the Write Stuff" Miller) and Fairground Drama (Rodney "Hot Rod" Bebeck). Despite the challenges throughout, from the parked horses, Hodkinson managed to get away with fairly even fractions. When the bunched field headed for home Mutinyonthebounty hung tough and managed to rebuff Fairground Drama who was on his throat-latch throughout the final quarter. Kelly "Sky" Walker finished third with Stemilt Touch. "He's such a nice horse,"Hodkinson said referring to Mutinyonthebounty."He's so handy and well-mannered and he loves to race." Hodkinson owns and trains the winner who returned a $10.40 win mutuel. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

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