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Like all other not-for-profit organizations, Goshen's Historic Track is in need of funds and the venue's annual golf outing is a fun way to raise money to help perpetuate the harness racing National Historic Landmark. Spearheaded by GHT Board Members, Frank "the Hands" Baldassare and Patrick English, the outing will take place at the Golf Club at Mansion Ridge, 1292 Orange Turnpike, Monroe, NY on Monday, June 29, 2015. A tax deductible donation of $175.00 will include: 18 holes of golf with a cart; lunch from 11:30 -12:30pm followed by a shot-gun start (-4-man teams; best ball format) with a shot-gun start at 12:45pm. Also included are on- course beverages all afternoon followed by a sit down dinner at Miguel's Tavern at Mansion Ridge Golf Course.And during dinner there will be are door prizes and raffles including a raffle for a 50-inch flat screen TV, and all participants will receive appreciation gifts valued at approximately $100. Registration is between 10:30-11:30am on June 29.Tee Sponsorships are available at $100. "We believe this is about as good a golf package as is offered anywhere and the golfers will certainly enjoy the magnificent course," said Baldassare, the treasurer of the Historic Track Board of Directors. "Besides great value for your money and a guaranteed fun day, your donations will help to maintain Historic Track, the oldest active trotting harness track in the world." For further information or to sign-up for the outing please call Baldassare at 201-803-1390 or English at 845-551-8713. Further information is available from Linda Myers at Historic Track by calling 845-294-5333; or email her at info@historictrack.com John Manzi  

While American Pharoah was rallying for a Kentucky Derby win, party goers at Goshen Historic Track's First Annual Derby Day celebrated the two historic tracks. Over 100 people from all walks of life watched the Kentucky Derby on big-screen TVs that were set-up trackside while enjoying great food and beautiful weather. There was also a live band, a chance to wager at the OTB facility which is adjacent to Historic Track and lots of ladies' hats! One of the worst winters in recent memory put a lot of stress on the Track's facilities. General Manager, Tim Masters, came up with the idea of the fundraiser in order to ready the Track for the upcoming racing season and to draw attention to the Historic Landmark's not-for-profit status. Realizing the Track's fullest potential is an objective he shares with all of the Board members and staffers at Goshen Historic Track. Together, and with local businesses and organizations, they pulled together a truly memorable event that will probably become an annual tradition at the Track. And they raised needed funds for the track's coffers. John Manzi    

Plans are in the works for a gala affair to be celebrated at Goshen Historic Track around the running of this years Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 2. To be used as a fundraiser for the world's oldest harness race track and National Historic Landmark, a Kentucky Derby-style party will be offered from 3pm-8pm on that first Saturday in May "This is a fundraising project of Goshen Historic Track in its continuing efforts to carry on the heritage of Goshen Historic Track and its contributions to the harness racing industry," says Historic Track Board member, John Manzi Plenty of entertainment, good food, music, dancing and even a Ladies Hat Contest will be in the offering, as well as the ability to wager on the Kentucky Derby and other races presented on that number one race card in North America. Waging will be available at Delanceys Restaurant, which is adjacent to Historic Track and is an outlet of the Catskill Regions' Off-track betting network. Party-goers will be able to wager on their choices and view the races from Louisville, KY that afternoon and watch the action on two monstrous television screens which will be set-up for the attending crowd. "The entire afternoon will center around the running of the Kentucky Derby and fun for all that attend. However, along with the Derby attendees will be able to enjoy live music and be able to dance on a floor set-up on the racetrack under a tent. There will be door prizes, raffles and great food, which is a specialty of Delancey's. And Mint Julep cocktails which are synonymous with the running of the Kentucky Derby will also be available. Tickets are $70 per person. For further information please contact Historic Track office at 845.294.5333.  

Plans are in the works for a gala affair to be celebrated at harness racing's Goshen Historic Track around the running of this years Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 2. To be used as a fundraiser for the world's oldest harness race track and National Historic Landmark, a Kentucky Derby-style party will be offered from 3pm-8pm on that first Saturday in May This is a fundraising project of Goshen Historic Track in its continuing efforts to carry on the heritage of Goshen and contributions to the harness racing industry. Plenty of entertainment, good food, music, dancing and even a Ladies Hat Contest will be in the offering, as well as the ability to wager on the Kentucky Derby and other races presented on that number one race card in North America. Waging will be available at Delanceys Restaurant, which is adjacent to Historic Track and is an outlet of the Catskill Regions' Off-track betting network. Party-goers will be able to wager on their choices and view the races from Louisville, KY that afternoon and watch the action on two monstrous television screens which will be set-up for the attending crowd. "The entire afternoon will center around the running of the Kentucky Derby and fun for all that attend. For further information please contact Historic Track office at 845.294.5333. by John Manzi for Historic Track

(Monticello, NY). Having reached a 50 year milestone working in the harness racing industry (with 34 years serving as Monticello Raceway’s publicity director), today John Manzi announced his retirement effective December 19th, 2014. Commenting on his retirement, Manzi stated, “Every race has to come to an end. And after five decades of answering the call to the post, the time is right for me to relax a little and enjoy my golf clubs and my grandchildren. "After seeing so much being at the helm of the Monticello Raceway public relations office for many years," Manzi said, "one thing remains supremely important to me. It’s all of the good people I have met and the friends I have made.”  While he is officially retiring, Monticello Raceway management and John Manzi have agreed that he will continue to write articles for the track and from time-to-time he will offer assistance to racing operations office. Laurette Pitts, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Empire Resorts, Inc., owner of Monticello Raceway, stated, “John Manzi is simply an industry legend. Through good times and bad, John played a pivotal role in promoting the harness racing sport. Utilizing his unique brand of creativity, he generated an incalculable amount of good will and positive exposure for Monticello Raceway.  While his booming laugh and friendly smile will be greatly missed, we understand his desire to enter this new phase of his life.” Manzi began his harness racing career in 1958, three years before he would graduate from Monticello High School, when he began working as a trainer at the stables his family owned locally. He consequently began his racing career where he won seven out of eight of his first races at local county fairs.  In 1974, after living and racing all over the East Coast, he got a chance to come back home when he became the assistant to Monticello Raceway Racing Secretary. Two years later, after a brief stint as Racing Secretary, Manzi was assigned to Monticello Raceway’s office of publicity and public relations. In 1980 he was promoted to the position of publicity director. From racing elephants, to camels, to elephants against camels, to having a former New York Giants football player race against a horse, Manzi built an impressive legacy of garnering attention for Monticello Raceway. Monticello Casino and Raceway Assistant General Manager Shawn Wiles commented, “Everyone in our industry knows about John’s uncanny ability to generate positive publicity. What few people know is that apart from managing the big publicity events for our track, John is a universal ambassador for the entire harness racing sport.” A tireless fundraiser, Manzi has helped numerous industry organizations offset day-to -day expenses through his benevolent efforts. He has been the impetus for money raised and donated to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, the Goshen Historic Track, the Saratoga Harness Hall of Fame, the Standardbred Retirement Fund and the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. As a driving force in the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (“USHWA”), he runs its annual banquet that honors their local horsemen and then uses the proceeds to fund numerous other worthwhile causes throughout the year. Besides his promotional work of the sport at Monticello Raceway, he has done publicity for the New York Sire Stakes and other New York State races and worked for Bruce Hamilton when he was the executive director of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State. He is also the publicist for the Billings Amateur Driving Series and the North American Amateur Drivers Association. He is a former national president of both USHWA and the Harness Publicist Association.   Manzi's exceptional efforts have not gone unnoticed through the years. He is a member of the Communicator's Hall of Fame in Goshen and has received the Proximity Award from USHWA, the Pinnacle Award from the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, the Appreciation Award from Harness Horsemen International, the Laurel Award from New York City USHWA and was named USHWA's Person of the Year in 1992. “I can’t thank Monticello Raceway management enough for all the wonderful years I’ve spent here.” Manzi added. “I grew-up in the area, graduated from Monticello High School in 1961, and always had a special feeling in my heart for Monticello Raceway; like ‘it was my own race track’. Some say I’ve been good for the raceway, but I say the raceway has been good for me. I couldn’t have been more dedicated if I had owned the raceway myself.” The entire Monticello Casino and Raceway management team and employees thank John for his years of dedicated service and wish John a long and healthy retirement.  by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

After again running another successful harness racing awards banquet in late November the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of U.S. Harness Writers again donated $3000 to Historic Track at their monthly Board Meeting on December 10. The presentation of the check was made to Steve Jones, President of Historic Track's Board of Directors by John Manzi, the chapter's banquet chairman who is also a longtime Historic Track Board member. "The check looks like is has seen better days," Jones said to which Manzi replied, "Still, it's worth $3000 and you can take that to the bank!" The donation will be matched and the National Historic Landmark will actually end-up with $6,000. For the 31st consecutive year the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association has donated to Historic Track the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Last summer the organization presented a $3000 check to Museum President Ebby Gerry, Jr. prior to the ceremonies at the Hall of Fame Banquet in Goshen, NY in early July. Since the mid 1980's the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA has donated money to Goshen Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum. Money raised for the donations is made possible from successful chapter banquets and the continued support of the chapter's charity journals. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

At a recent meeting of the Auxiliary of Goshen Historic Track at Delancey's Restaurant in the village, the Auxiliary made a $7,000 donation to the members of the Historic Track's Board of Directors who joined them for dinner that evening. Accepting the $7,000 check from co-president Judy Green was Steve Jones, President of the track's Board of Directors . "We are always so very appreciative of the Auxiliary's dedicated efforts and we can't thank them enough", Jones said." The ladies do an outstanding job and work tirelessly to raise money for Historic Track." Money is raised annually through the efforts of members of the Historic Track Auxiliary with an array of fundraisers. Last year $7,000 was donated and in previous years they donated more. And over the past few decades the amount of the Auxiliary's donations is well into six figures . "We apologize that our donation isn't what it usually has been but these are tough times. Still we are always very pleased to be able to provide a $7000 donation to the track from the efforts of our very dedicated volunteers," said Auxiliary co-president Eveline White. by John Manzi, for Goshen Historic Track

Members of the Auxiliary of Goshen Historic Track used hot dog sales as a fundraiser on Sunday, October 19th during the second annual Hambletonian Marathon in Trot Town USA which started on Main St and ended at the finish line on Historic Track. Through the dedicated efforts of the organization's volunteer's many thousands of dollars are raised annually for the National Historic Landmark. by John Manzi, for Historic Goshen Track

Two years ago the Historic Track Board of Directors had a dilemma; refurbish the track offices located under the grandstand or move to the Arden Clubhouse. But that too, needed renovating. Either way, the upgrade posed a costly problem especially for the non-for-profit organization. "We decided that our best move would be to renovate the Arden Clubhouse," noted the then Board president, Bernie White. "And we're so glad we did. The old offices under the grandstand had seen their best days so we figured the Arden Clubhouse would work best for us." Though the decision was a daunting one, still something had to be done. And it was. The exhaustive task was completed and by the time that the first snow began to fall the Arden Clubhouse was ready. "It wasn't an easy task," White admitted. "Since the Arden Clubhouse is part of the National Historic Landmark certain rules and regulations had to be adhered to." Serving as the track office, the Arden Clubhouse is where all track business is done; from Board Meetings to anything that pertains to the racing and training operations. On October 14, at the recent meeting of Historic Track's Board of Directors, new Board president, Steve Jones, appreciatively accepted the non-profit 2013 Goshen Restoration Unlimited Preservation Award handed to him by Goshen Preservation president, Maureen Quattrini. According to Jones, the metal plaque will be displayed on the Arden Clubhouse for all the world to see. by John Manzi, for Goshen Historic Track

The countdown is on. In just a few days, horses and riders will be competing to capture the first title of the New York Racing Under Saddle Fair Series. The seven race series, which featured six race legs that were held at county fairs across the state, will culminate in a championship final race at Tompkins County Fair in Trumansburg. The series ran throughout the months of July and August, giving participants the opportunity to earn points towards the final. In order to be eligible for the final, horses needed to compete and finish in any two of the six legs. Eleven horses participated in the series with seven qualifying to race in the final. Six of those will be racing for the championship. Entries are as follows and are based on points earned: Vassar Hall to be ridden by Michelle Crawford Kash Now to be ridden by Michelle Miller Truth In Action to be ridden by Karen Isbell My Irish Molly to be ridden by Jocelyn Lavigne John-Michael to be ridden by Tara Hynes Lemon Pepper to be ridden by Jennifer Lowrey Vassar Hall leads the group going into the final race with 75 points. The 10-year-old mare trained by Brett Crawford has won every leg she has participated in. Her first victory of the series was on July 10 at Afton Fair in a time of 2:11.4. She then defended her title at the Otsego County Fair in Morris on July 29. Crawford then continued her winning streak with Vassar Hall at the Chenango County Fair in Norwich on Aug. 5. There, she won the second RUS division, crossing the finish line in 2:07.4. Kash Now is sitting in second on the point list with 51 points. Michelle Miller has ridden the 10-year-old mare to one victory this season, winning in 2:12 at the Seneca County Fair on July 14 in Waterloo. Kash Now, trained by Michael Miller and owned by Lance Diehl, has also taken a second and three thirds in the series.  Truth In Action was ridden to victory by owner and trainer Karen Isbell during the first leg of the series on July 3 at Goshen Historic Track. The 8-year-old gelding took second to Vassar Hall in the second division of the Norwich race. Although Truth In Action only raced in two races, he has earned 35 points and sits third on the point list. My Irish Molly got a late start in the series, but it was a great one. Jocelyn Lavigne rode her to a victory in the first division of the Norwich race. Although the mare only raced in one race, she earned a point and qualification into the final for showing up at Steuben County Fair in Bath, which was cancelled due to rain. Horses that showed up and checked in earned a point and eligibility for the final race.  John-Michael, owned by Terry Miller and trained by Michael Miller, has earned 21 points. The 6-year-old gelding raced in Afton and Norwich, taking second in both with Tara Hynes aboard. He also earned a point for showing up for the race in Bath. Lemon Pepper has also only raced in two legs of the series and has earned five points. The 15-year-old gelding is owned, trained and ridden by Jennifer Lowrey and received one point for finishing in the first leg, three points for placing fourth in the second division in Norwich and one point for showing up at Bath. The RUS NY 2014 Fair Series has a final race purse of $2,000 along with more than $1,500 in prizes from sponsors. In addition to series sponsors Draper Therapies and Horse Quencher, Hawthorne Products donated a gift basket and NY Equine Fitness Center at Cleremont Farms is donating a Race & Recovery package valued at more than $1,250. The R&R package includes three treatments in their equine salt water spa and their hyperbaric chamber -- the only hyperbaric chamber in all of New England. Riders in the final race will also receive gift bags from the sponsors in addition to a pair of riding gloves donated by Big D’s. There will also be a High Point Rider Award presented at the final to the rider who has earned the most points, regardless of horse(s) ridden throughout the series, with points earned for their finish in the final race as well. The current standings of qualified riders are as follows: Michelle Crawford–75, Michelle Miller–50, Karen Isbell-35, Jennifer Lowrey–25 and Tara Hynes–25. Many other sponsors also contributed services and financial support to the series. The series was made possible thanks to the following sponsors: Flagship Sponsor: New York Sire Stakes; Marketing Sponsor: Horsefly Group; Series Sponsors: Draper Therapies, Horse Quencher, Crawford Farms, Hawthorne Products, and Eric Abbatiello Racing. Race sponsors included Barb and Rick Bateman and T&K Harrington, LLC. by C J Millar, for RUS NY

July 14, 2014, Waterloo, NY – The inaugural RUS New York 2014 Fair Series is now well underway with three of the six legs completed. The series kicked off at Goshen Historic Track on July 3, followed by the second leg July 10 at Afton Fair. Seneca County Fair in Waterloo held the third leg on July 14. So far, all the races have been met with enthusiasm from the spectators and fellow horsemen, with many thanks to the support of the New York Sire Stakes and all of the fairs’ race committees and staff members. The race in Afton had 4 finishers and went in a time of 2:11.4, won by Michelle Crawford on Vassar Hall. Second went to John Michael with rider Tara Hynes aboard, followed by Kash Now ridden by Michelle Miller and Striking Mystery with Jennifer Lowrey. The race was also the Frank Tingley Memorial, with a cooler donated to the winner from his family who was in attendance in the winner’s circle to present the prize, alongside CJ Millar of RUS New York, who had prizes from series sponsors Horse Quencher and Draper Therapies. Frank was a huge supporter of RUS, with his wife Lia a regular for RUS exhibitions at Afton fair since 2001 (pictured at left). The Seneca County Fair race meet was Monday, July 14 in Waterloo, New York. The race had 2 starters and went in a time of 2:12.0 with winner Michelle Miller on Kash Now. This officially puts both Michelle and the horse in the lead for horse and rider points, as we gear up for the second half of the series races. Thanks to the addition of some new sponsors, a few purses will be increasing and RUS New York has announced the High Point Rider Award for the rider earning the most points during the season, regardless of the horse or horses they race. Both the High Point Rider Award and the Series Champion Horse will receive gifts from Hawthorne Products in addition to the other national series sponsors. The next race will be held at Otsego County Fair, Morris, NY on Tuesday, July 29. Points earned by finishers count towards their qualification for the final race, as well as for the High Point Rider Award, to be held at Tompkins County Fair in Trumansburg, New York on August 19. For full race conditions and current standings, please visit the RUS New York website (http://rus-newyork.com/2014-fair-series/). by CJ Millar, for RUS NY

MONTICELLO, NY- For the 31st consecutive year the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association has again made a donation to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Organization representatives presented a $3000 check to both Museum President Larry Devan and Museum Director Janet Terhune prior to the ceremonies at the Hall of Fame Banquet on the lawn of the Museum in Goshen, NY on July 6. Last November at a Historic Track Board of Directors Meeting the Monticello-Goshen Chapter also donated $3000 to that National Historic Landmark. And earlier this year the chapter made a $500 donation to the Saratoga Harness Hall of Fame. Since the1980's the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Goshen Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum. Money for the donations was made possible from successful chapter banquets and the continued support of the chapter's charity journals. "We thank all those who participate in our annual awards banquet and charity journal and we are very fortunate to be able to raise the money..... and when we do.... it is our pleasure to donate the profits back to the industry; especially to Historic Track and to the Harness Racing Museum Track, which are not only in our own back yard but very dear to the hearts of everyone in harness racing," noted Chris Tully, USHWA National President as well as the president of the Monticello-Goshen Chapter. Monticello-Goshen USHWA vice president and USHWA National Second VP, Shawn Wiles, added: "Goshen is to harness racing what Cooperstown is to baseball." Prior to annual donations to the Hall and Historic Track the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA used to support a college scholarship but it was decided long ago that when the organization donates money it would be in everyone's best interest to support the harness racing industry. On Sunday evening, November 16th the chapter will hold its 56th Annual Awards Banquet at The Fountains on Sands Road in Middletown, NY. by John Manzi, for the Monticello-Goshen USHWA Chapter

On Saturday July 12, at new Meadowlands, Orange Bigi (6f SJ's Caviar-Emerald City-Donerail) qualified in 2:01 for Sofia Fredlund and trainer Joe Hanney. The same day, at Saratoga Harness, a monte/RUS exhibition was staged that drew an eight horse field. The top two finishers were a nose apart in the 2:04.4h contest with Jessie Say More (4g Jailhouse Jessie-Need We Say More-Super Ben Joe) securing the victory for Michelle Crawford and trainer Frank Davis. Tymal Oh So Nice with Heather Reese aboard was second with Admirable Hanover and Jennifer Conner third, ten lengths back. Action continues Sunday July 13th at Ocean Downs with a three horse field battling for a $6,000 purse. The field consists of CJ's Crown (Caroline Green), Flowing James (Tara Hynes) and Truth In Action (Karen Isbell). In Ontario, at Clinton Raceway, their monte event is the first on the regular card with pari-mutuel wagering. Five trotters will contest this event for a purse of $2,200 and it's race #2 on the afternoon program. The field includes Charlie Tuna (B. Kennedy), Twin B Excalibur (E. Harms), Dayplanner (M. Valstad), Radical Dreamer (S. Town) and Shipps Xceptional (J. Fenwick). On Monday July 14 the NY RUS Series continues at Waterloo. Race #5 is a three-horse monte event for a purse of $530 with the field consisting of Kash Now (Michelle Miller), Striking Mystery (Jennifer Lowrey) and John-michael (tba). Rapid Strategy (9g King Conch-Rapid Sahbra-Master Willie) with owner/trainer Lindsey Blackler aboard in this 2:08k score July 5 at Goshen Historic Track on Hall of Fame day. Admirable Hanover and Jennifer Conner finished second. www.monteamerica.com by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com  

July 7, 2014, Goshen, NY – The much anticipated RUS New York’s 2014 Fair Series  kicked off this past Thursday with a successful race at Goshen Historic Track on  their Fair Day of racing. Despite the heat and humidity, there was a great turnout  with 6 starters going into the first leg of the series. Every rider received gift bags from  sponsors Draper Therapies and Horse Quencher, to show their thanks for supporting  this new and exciting sport and race series.    The race went in a time of 2:05.2, won by Karen Isbell on her own Truth In Action.  Second went to Admiral Hanover, ridden by Vanessa Karlewicz trained by Janice  Connor and third went to Michelle Miller on Kash Now, trained by Michael Miller. The  other three finishers included E R Anna with Mary Lu Dolci Conte aboard, Conway  Cruiser ridden by Brian Connor, and Lemon Pepper, owned and ridden by Jennifer  Lowrey. All horses stayed flat and competitive with a close race to the finish, making  for a successful and exciting first leg of the all new RUS New York 2014 Fair Series.    July 7, 2014, Goshen, NY – The much anticipated RUS New York’s 2014 Fair Series  kicked off this past Thursday with a successful race at Goshen Historic Track on  their Fair Day of racing. Despite the heat and humidity, there was a great turnout  with 6 starters going into the first leg of the series. Every rider received gift bags from  sponsors Draper Therapies and Horse Quencher, to show their thanks for supporting  this new and exciting sport and race series.    The race went in a time of 2:05.2, won by Karen Isbell on her own Truth In Action.  Second went to Admiral Hanover, ridden by Vanessa Karlewicz trained by Janice  Connor and third went to Michelle Miller on Kash Now, trained by Michael Miller. The  other three finishers included E R Anna with Mary Lu Dolci Conte aboard, Conway  Cruiser ridden by Brian Connor, and Lemon Pepper, owned and ridden by Jennifer  Lowrey. All horses stayed flat and competitive with a close race to the finish, making  for a successful and exciting first leg of the all new RUS New York 2014 Fair Series.    RUS New York is thankful to flagship sponsor New York Sire Stakes and to two  nationally recognized brands, Draper Therapies and Horse Quencher, in conjunction  with series sponsors Crawford Farms and Eric Abbatiello Racing. As more sponsors  come on board, purses and prizes may increase, so we encourage everyone to  consider becoming a sponsor! All marketing is being handled by Horsefly Group, an  international marketing agency. Horsefly Group’s digital director, CJ Millar, is also  the marketing director for RUS New York and RUS Nation, and a licensed RUS rider  as well as an avid equestrian. All sponsorship inquiries can be directed to her at  cj@horseflygroup.com or 973-626-3673.      All photographs provided by Geri Schwarz and Chris Tully are copyrighted, used  with permission, all rights reserved. Photos are available for purchase by clicking on the photographer's name on the RUS New York website sponsors page, and  contacting them with your request. Thank you.     RUS NY Committee  • Michelle Miller, Racing Coordinator, current RUS licensed rider  • Jennifer Lowrey, RUS Advisor, current RUS licensed rider  • CJ Millar, Marketing Director, current RUS licensed rider (pre-race  coordinator with all RUS competitors, and winner’s circle presenter on behalf  of sponsors)    CJ Millar

Scott Woogen's path to sitting behind racehorses began on a New York City basketball court, in a scene reminiscent of a Damon Runyon tale. Woogen, who will have two horses he bred and owns competing in Landmark Stakes at Goshen Historic Track in New York on Friday and will be driving there in amateur races on Saturday, was introduced to harness racing as a teenager in the Bronx when he was offered a job selling handicapping sheets outside Yonkers Raceway. The offer came from a police officer who spotted Woogen and his friends playing basketball in the school yard. "I was probably the youngest and smallest kid, but fairly aggressive, and I told him I could do whatever he wanted," Woogen said. "His moonlighting job was printing his own handicap sheet called the Top Trotter. I sold them for 25 cents and also sold programs for 75 cents. I got $5 a night. "I started reading the programs and taking an occasional bus up there to Yonkers Raceway and watched the races. I really liked it. When I was old enough, I got working papers and worked a little bit in the stable area on the weekends. If I hadn't been playing basketball that day, I wouldn't know anything about horses. It was kind of a quirk of fate." That quirk of fate has led Woogen, who now is a gastroenterologist living in Virginia, around the world. He began driving in races, even winning a collegiate event held at Roosevelt Raceway while representing Columbia University as a sophomore. He gave up driving to pursue his medical career, but returned to the track 17 years ago to compete as an amateur, often in the Billings Series, where he is known as the "Driving Doctor." He has won 127 races as an amateur and competed in Germany, Finland, Italy, Spain, Russia, Estonia, and New Zealand. "It's been a really nice hobby," Woogen said. "It's been a lot of fun; I really enjoy it." On Friday, Woogen will send out KJ Brenda in the $11,547 Landmark Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters and K J Ben in the $12,520 Landmark Stakes for 2-year-old pacers. Both horses are trained by Gary Messenger. Last year, KJ Brenda - the "K J" is for Woogen's fiancée Kathy Jean and Brenda is Messenger's wife - finished second in the Kentucky Sire Stakes championship. She has won two of 10 career races, hit the board a total of eight times, and earned $80,821. "She came back this year and her first couple starts she bled and we had to put her on Lasix and she's been getting better," Woogen said. "We're excited about her chances to go down to Kentucky and get some of that sire stakes money." K J Ben, named in honor of Kathy Jean's first grandson, Benjamin, is making his debut after winning a qualifier at Ocean Downs in 2:00.1. "We're excited about his prospects," Woogen said. Jim Taggart Jr. is listed to drive KJ Brenda and Jason Bartlett is listed on K J Ben. So why doesn't Woogen drive those horses in the stakes? "There's a reason why I'm in the amateur races," Woogen said, laughing. "It's a lot of fun and I think I can hold my own against the amateurs, but it's a little tougher to drive against the professionals. I'll leave that up to the professionals. I'm just excited that we have some horses that might do a little bit of good this year." Friday's nine-race Landmark Stakes card is part of the Grand Circuit visit to Historic Track. Saturday features the New York Sire Stakes Excelsior Series and Billings Amateur Drivers Series. Sunday is Hall of Fame Day, which includes a race featuring drivers in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame along with 2014 inductee David Miller. Post time each day is 1 p.m. for the first race. Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Latham, NY - The Harness Horse Breeders of New York State would like to remind Horsemen of the following changes for the NYSS events at Goshen Historic Track on Saturday July 5th and Sunday July 6th 2014. There will be Excelsior "A" and "B" races for those horses paid into the Excelsior division. There will be no points for either level. The start will not count for entry into a final event. If you first raced in NYSS #53, #54 or Excelsior "A" you may move down to "B". If you race in Excelsior "B" and then move up you may not return to "B". This is the same at all tracks. You may race at Goshen and still enter any other NYSS event you are eligible to without restrictions. From the Harness Horse Breeders of NYS    

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