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September 7, 2019 - The grand harness racing veteran Arazi Boko (12g Varenne-Laura Kemp-Express Ride-Keystone Sheena) won today’s PR Campianato Europa at Cesena’s 800 meter track. This race is contested in two heats with reversed post positions (each for a purse of 11,000€ over 1660 meters autostart) and a match race finale if needed for 132,000€ purse raced over the same distance. The Finale saw Arazi Boko victorious timed in 1.11.1kr reined by his trainer Alessandro Gocciadoro in wire to wire fashion. He won the second heat and in the raceoff bested the other heat winner, Cokstile (6m Quite Easy-Joystile-Coktail Jet) teamed with Antonio DiNardo. The race replay of the Finale can be seen by clicking here. The heats were also superb with Cokstile taking the first timed in 1.12kr for his 14th career score in 39 outings. He bested Urgano Trebi’ (6m Nad Al Sheba - Istria Bi-Toss Out-Traffic Jam) and pilot Roberto Vecchione and third finishing Vernissage Grif (5m Varenne-Dalia Grif-Park Avenue Joe). The second heat went to 1.12kr timed Arazi Boko over Vernissage Grif and Uragano Trebi’. The race format, found in some European classic events, is an exciting alternative. Thomas H. Hicks

Three eliminations of the Oaks del Trotto were held August 31 at Roma Capannelle, Italy with each batteria for a purse of 22,000€ over the 1640 meter autostart course. Batteria A went to the 1.13.4kr timed Alcatraz Stecca (3f Napoleon Bar-One Minut di No-Indro Park) with G.P. Minnucci aboard. Ariala Cash (3f Ready Cash) and Angiolina OP (3f Chiaccio del Nord) followed the winner to the line.  Batteria B saw Audrey Effe (3f Up and Quick-Simphony Effe) score for pilot Andrea Farolfi timed in 1.13.5kr. Alouette and Avena Jet ended second and third. Audrey Effe The Batteria C elimination race saw Arnas Cam (3f Ready Cash-Nadia Cam-Varenne) score in a quick 1.12kr for Roberto Andreghetti. Always BR Ready (3f Inglesias) was a length away second and third was All Wise As (3f Varenne). Arnas Cam crushed this group and was the most impressive elim winner. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

The Premio Finale Campionato Femminile (purse 88,000€, 2100 meters autostart, four year old mares) this day at Ippodromo del Garigliano in Italy, went to Zariah Bi (4f Equinox Bi-Fendi Bi-Sugarcane Hanover) handled by Mauro Biasuzzi clocked in 1.12.9kr. Zealand As (4f Donato Hanover-Fortune As-Tenor de Baune) rallied for second with Rene Legati up. Zarina Daniel (4f SJs Photo-Onda d’Asolo-Uronometro) was third. Winner’s pedigree is shown below. The three year old fillies then contested the Premio Finale Campianato Feminile (purse 88,000€, 2100 meters autostart) with victory earned by 1.12.7kr timed Audrey Effe (3f Up And Quick-Simphony Effe-Going Kronos) reined by Andrea Farolfi for Scuderia Gardesana. The race time was a new record for the open lengths winner. Pedigree shown below. Ampia Mede SM (3f Ganymede-Polimpia Slide SM-Yankee Slide) was second for Vincenzo d’Alessandro Jr. with third to Arnas Cam (3f Ready Cash-Nadia Cam-Varenne). by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink  

The classy colt Axl Rose (3m Love You-Linda di Casei-Uronometro) sat the pocket before rolling to victory in Sunday’s Pr Carlo Marangoni Memorial (purse 154,000€, 2100 meters autostart) at Torino, Italy. The Alessandro Gocciadoro trained and reined pupil was timed in 1.12.8kr after Alrajah One set the pace for Enrico Bellei, only to be off the board. Amon You SM (3m Love You-Emon Sante Fe’SM-Lemon Dra) was second with Antoni0p Greppi at the lines and Antony Leone (3m Libeccio Grif-Gasping Ferm-Lemon Dra) was third. Al Capone Stecca and A Sexygirl Par completed the top five. The winning pedigree photo shows that the first dam was an exceptional winner of over 706,000€. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

John Calabrese kept the ball rolling with a win at Cesena. For sure for the affable John it was his first on the soil of his ancestors. this harness racing win, coupled with his smile, brought him many female admirers, especially when they somehow heard that he owned five racetracks in the USA. In the next event though the Italians scored a 1-4 placing over a really slow half pulled off by an Italian wall built up front mirroring those built in ancient times. They could have waited no longer to spoil our fun but took the cruelest path to deflate the American plans for a victory party. It did not matter though because the Americans were treated so royally well that if they had been beaten by 100 instead of by a mere six points. Truthfully the Americans were the big winners. With the care the Americans received from their hosts and friends, Stefano, Rafaello, Roberto Piergiovanni, and Daniele Ortello from amateur clubs from Venezia, Tuscano and Emiglia Romano ( Cesena), we certainly came out on top. Two more days until home for the USA team and all the baggage will be jam packed and brimming over with fond memories of the good times and our friends, both old and new. Coming next on the NAADA schedule will be friends from Torino arriving on US soiled in August. Their mission to compete and win some amateur races and see the famed Hambletonian. As Danile Orsini said we need to keep ties between our countries, as Italy and America have a lot in common, like between Phillip Mazzei and Thomas Jefferson. We must keep the game going at home and with our old Italian friends abroad. Italian horsemen have a great spirit in keeping the game going when you learn that purse money is delayed by six or more months. Yet these dedicated people come to Lexington and Harrisburg and they proudly displayed their Chapter Sevens, Donato's, Trixtons, and talked of the many others when displaying them. The American industry, as well as the global industry owes these people a lot. Bona note Bella Italia for now and benvenuti from USA to our guests coming from Torino.. by Joseph Faraldo

After two days on the beach under wispy clouds and 90 + degree heat the USA harness racing team was scooted off to the Padovanella Hippodromo in Padova Italy.   There USA team members Joe Faraldo and Alan Schwartz duked it out down the lane of this historic half mile track. When the dust and shouting was over Joe Faraldo emerged victorious. For Joe it was a return to the place where he got his 1st pari-mutuel win many years ago. Alan took the place dough and the Americans were on top.   In the next event Alan dropped his longshot into the two hole and though shuffled back a bit emerged on the top of the lane to garner yet another second. As a result the USA team had 64 points to Italy's 40. Truly rewarding but as Yogi Berra use to say: "it ain't over till it's over."are e Italians have 4 more races to close the gap and try to surge a comeback which they are very capable of doing. The cherry on top of the cake for team USA was seeing our dear friend Mauritzio Biasuzzi and his lovely wife Marinella and competing and chatting with the former World Champion amateur driver who has nearly 1,000 wins.   The competition moves on to Montecatini then Cesena Thursday and Friday.   by Joseph Faraldo

Victor Ferm (4m Nad Al Sheba-Farina di Casei-Uronometro) took Sunday’s Gr. III Grand Premi Della Republica (purse 40,040€, 1660 meters autostart) at Bologna ITY. Santo Mollo reined the harness racing winner to the 1.11.5kr timed victory.   A length and a half back second was Vernissage Grif (4m Varenne-Dalia Grif-Park Avenue Joe) and third went to Deimos Racing (6g Quite Easy-Athena Haleryd-Pine Chip), Enrico Bellei up.   Entries for the Oslo Grand Prix have been revealed for this UET Masters classic with a purse of 308,000, and raced over 2100 meters autostart. The race is held at Oslo’s Bjerke Racecourse. There have been double winners in the race history: Copiad, Gidde Palema, Grande Frances and Rex Rodney. The 2018 winner, Urlo dei Venti, clocked in a race record 1.10kr, was disqualified for doping. Post Position Order (horse, country, driver and trainer: 1. Slide So Easy (Denmark), Flemming Jensen also trainer 2. Perfect Spirit (SWE), Orjan Kihlstrom, Daniel Reden 3. Ringostarr Treb (ITY), Wilhelm Paal, Jerry Riordan 4. Vitruvio (ITY), Jorma Kontio, Alessandro Gocciadoro 5. Bahia Quesnot (FR), Junior Guelpa also trainer 6. Gretsky BR (Norway), Magnus Teien Gunderson, Geir Vegard Gunderson 7. Valokaja Hindo (Norway), Christophe Martens, Jean Michel Bazire 8. Uza Josselyn (Suisse), Gabriele Gelormini, Rene Aebischer 9. Nadal Broline (FIN), Bjorn Goop also trainer 10. Looking Superb (Norway), Jomar Blekken, Jean Michel Bazire Other top races soon to arrive are Jamtlands Store Prix at Ostersund on June 8 that has Double Exposure among an upper class field; and on June 15 is the Kymi Grand Prix that has Dijon Billie de Montfort and Colonel among those committed. Great summer racing in Europe for the many fans and supporters.   Thomas H. Hicks

Veteran Arazi Boko (12g Varenne-Laura Kemp-Express Ride) scored for harness racing trainer/driver Alessandro Gocciadoro in the Modena Italy featured Pr. Renza Orlandi (purse 40,040€, 1600 meters autostart) clocked in a swift 1.11.7kr. The open lengths winner left from post one, surrendered the lead and quickly went back to the front and the race was essentially over. He opened lengths around the final bend and scored easily over Venanzo Jet (5m Gruccione Jet-Liza-Indro Park) handled by Lorenzo Baldi and Victor Chuc SM (5m CC’s Chuckie T-Conversa SM-Lemon Dra). The fifth dam of the winner is the legendary mare Stenographer.   Thomas H. Hicks

Bel Avis (8m Ganymede-Gloria Maris-Workaholic) roared home for harness racing trainer/driver Jean Michel Bazire, just as he did in his batteria, to take the 70th edition of the Gran Premio Lotteria (purse 603,000€, 1600 meters autostart) timed in 1.11.3kr over the 1000 meter track at Napoli. Disco Volante (6g Scarlet Knight-Glorify-Super Arnie) was second for reinsman Bjorn Goop after a pace setting trip where he parked Vitruvio throughout, and third was Ursa Caf (6f Explot Caf-Crismar) with Antonio Esposito aboard. Bazire and Bel Avis followed Disco Volante from a second over journey before making a three wide surge past the tiring Vitruvio late in the final bend, and it was over. Watch the replay here! Bel Avis                    Bel Avis reached the finale with another furious finish to win the third batteria (purse25,300€, 1600 meters autostart) timed in 1.11.6kr. In this one he was away fourth after a slow start and worked his way toward the leaders before jetting away late. Timone EK (m Mr. Vic-Gemona) with Roberto Vecchione up set the pace and gamely held second, ahead of Vanesia EK (5f Explot Caf-Nike EK) with Pietro Gubellini driving. The other batterias went to (the first) Disco Volante (6g Scarlet Knight) with Goop aboard timed in 1.11.9kr in a gate to wire score over Attack Diablo (9g Blue York Yankee) handled by Fed. Esposito and the third finishing Urlo Dei Venti (6m Mago d’Amore).  Disco Volante with Goop       Gaet photo The second batteria saw Vitruvio (5m Adrian Chip-Tigre OM) win timed in 1.11.5kr with an impressive first up brush to the lead at the 600 meter mark and from then on it a controlled win engineered by the trainer/driver Alessandro Gocciadoro. This team defeated Ua Huka (6f Muscles Yankee-Fancy Bi) for Rene Legati and third finishing Ursa Caf (6f Exploit Caf) for Ant. Esposito. Before the finale there was the Lotteria Consolation (purse 33,000€, 1600 meters autostart). Here the front end winner was veteran Arazi Boko (12g Varenne-Laura Kemp-Express Ride) with Gocciadoro again the driver/trainer. Race time was 1.11.1kr. Vernissage Grif (5m Varenne-Dalia Grif-Park Avenue Joe) was second and Very Joy (5m Napoleon Bar-Nieves Joy) took the third check ahead of Voltaire Gifont (5m Quaker Jet).   Thomas H. Hicks

Sunday’s trotting action at Torino (Italy) included the Premio Campili (two eliminations for purses of 11,000€ each, 1600 meters autostart) and a final for €13,200 purse and raced over the same distance.   The batteria (elimination) winners were Ua Huka (6f Muscles Yankee-Fancy Bi-Toss Out) timed in 1.12.6kr with harness racing driver Rene Lagati up. She defeated Unno del Duomo and Venanzo Jet.   The second batteria saw Varieta’ Luis (5m Ideale Luis-Griff Baby-Sugarcane Hanover) win timed in 1.11.6kr. Alessandro Gocciadoro teamed the better that defeated Specialess and Ticket To Ride.   The finale was a match race and Varieta’ Luis went offstride early and Ua Huka zoomed to victory timed in 1.14.1kr for Rene Lagati.   On the card was also the Premio Mario Riccio Memorial (purse 13,200€, 1600 meters autostart).   The 1.11.9kr timed winner was Pantera del Pino (10f Turbo Sund-Desire’ del Pino-Sugarcane Hanover) reined by Rene Legati and she has career earnings of 223,342€.   Urlo dei Venti (6m Mago d’Amore-Armbro Wealthy-Malabar Man) was second and Vernissage Grif (5m Varenne-Dalia Grif-Park Avenue Joe) was third. Timone EK was sixth upon return from Sweden.   Thomas H. Hicks

Friday’s harness racing action at Milan Italy featured the Grand Premio Nazionale Prep (purse 13,200€, 2250 meters autostart) and Axl Rose (3m Love You-Linda di Casei-Uronometro) impressed with a 1.13kr seven-length victory with trainer Alessandro Gocciadoro driving.   The career winner of 170,714€ defeated Adelante (3m Ready Cash-Iniziale) reined by Marco Smorgon and third finishing Ares Caf (3m Ideale Luis-Ira Caf) with Andrea Guzzinati the pilot. The in the Premio Lana del Rio (purse 13,200€, 1650 meters autostart) the winner was Vitruvio (5m Adrian Chip-Tigre OM-Zebu) clocked in 1.11.3kr. He was a five length winner after rallying from fifth with a three-wide move into the final turn. Trainer Alessandro Gocciadoro reined the winner of 697,196€. Vivid Wise As (5m Yankee Glide-Temple Blue Chip) and Unicorno SLM (6m Love You-CL Brightness-King Conch) followed the winner.   Thomas H. Hicks

The 88,000€ purse Premio Citta di Torino was raced Sunday at Torino Italy over 2060 meters by a good harness racing field of four year olds.   Victory went to 1.12.5kr timed Zacon Gio (4m Ruty Grif-May Glide Font SM) trained by Holger Ehlert and reined by Roberto Vecchione.   He rallied on the backside on the final lap to defeat Zlatan (4m Napoleon Bar-Nastassia Bi) with G.P.Minnucci aboard. Ziosauro Jet (4m Maharajah- Liberte) took third ahead of Vidana Grif (4m Ready Cash) and Zilath (4m Maharajah) completed the top five.   The winner’s pedigree:     On Saturday other trots in Europe included the LC Peterson Broddas Minne at Jagersro, this an Olympiatravet trial for 200,000SEK first money.   The 1.11.4kr timed winner over the 2140 meters autostart course, was 9.6/1 Day Or Night In (7m Muscle Hill-Ellie America-Buvetier d’Aunou) with Peter Untersteiner aboard and Invexbro AB and trainer Yohan Untersteiner. 3/1 Cyber Lane (6g Raja Mirchi- Sybaris Hanover-Cantab Hall) was second for Johan Untersteiner and 3/1 Racing Mange (6m Orlando Vici-Kara Kickan-Alf Palema) was third with Joakim Lovgren up.   Thomas H. Hicks

Today’s Gran Premio Italia (purse 40,040€, 1660m autostart) at Bologna went to the impressive Ayrton Treb (3m Majestic Son-Letter Bomb Treb-Enjoy Lavec) with Andrea Farolfi aboard and timed in 1.12.5kr.   He defeated All Wise As (3f Varenne-Temple Blue Chip-Cantab Hall) with trainer Erick Bondo at the lines.   Third was Al Capone Stecca (3m Napoleon Bar-Ombretta Bar-Ganymede) with trainer Alessandro Gocciadoro driving.   Other news during the week was the move of stallions. Algiers Hall has moved to Spain, Crazed to Finland and Flocki d’Urzy to Sweden, this one a young son of Ready Cash. Further it was announced that Ringostarr Treb will start in the April 27 th Olympiatravet at Aby and if he does well it could set up his defense of the Elitloppet trophy.   Algiers Hall in Spain Thomas H. Hicks  

Pantera del Pino (10f Turbo Sund-Desire’ del Pino-Sugarcane Hanover) too Sunday’s featured Gran Premio Giorgio Jeghar (purse 40,040€, 1660 meters autostart) at Trieste timed in 1.13.4kr and reined by Rene Legati.   The veteran harness racing mare has 32 wins in 176 starts for 213,372€ in career earnings. Peace Of Mind (10f Uronometro-Erica d’Alfa-Sugarcane Hanover) was a game second with Alessandro Gocciadoro the pilot. Venanzo Jet (5m Gruccione Jet-Liza-Indro Park) was third ahead of Very Joy (5m Napoleon Bar- Nieves Joy-Naglo).     Upcoming on March 31 at Bologna is the Gr. III G.P. Italia that features a goof field of three year olds (shown below):     Some of these most recently battled at Firenze on March 17 th in the Pr. Etroria Mem Ran d’Stefano (purse 40,040€, 1600 meters autostart). In that contest pacesetter Ayrton Treb (3m Majestic Son-Letter Bomb Treb-Enjoy Lavec) scored timed in 1.13.8kr for teamster Andrea Farolfi.   He will start in the GP Italia along with second finishing Aida Francis (3f Zola Boko-Raya Bi-Self Possessed) and third placed A Sexygirl Par (3f Varenne-Fight For Lux-Toss Out). Aladin Effe (3m Maharajah-Imperfection Effe-Varenne) was fourth. This pack was within a length at the line.     Thomas H. Hicks  

March 10, 2019 - Today top trotting action was at Padova (Italy) with two co-featured harness racing events. The Gr. III Grand Premio Citta di Padova (purse 40,040€, 1640 meters autostart) saw Zabul FI (4m Ganymede-Sole del Rio-Varenne) score timed in 1.12kr over the half-mile track, with Andrea Farolfi aboard for trainer Mauro Baroncini. The winner sat the pocket before emerging for stretch surge that increased his career earnings to 205,996€. Zlatan (4m Napoleon Bar-Nastassia Bar) was second after racing parked out for driver Alessandro Gocciadoro. Zante Laser (4f Maharajah-India di Jesolo-Toss Out) was third. The other top race was the Grand Premio Padovanelle (purse 40,040€, 1640 meters autostart) and veteran Arazi Boko (12g Varenne-Laura Kemp-Express Ride) benefitted from a pocket trip engineering by driver Alessandro Gocciadoro to win timed in 1.12.3kr. Sonia (8f Donato Hanover-Ele Cod-Uronometro) was second for driver Rene Legati, with third to Viola Trio (5f Nad Al Sheba-Face Trio-Toss Out). On Saturday March 9 the V75 Gold in Sweden was at Farjestad (200,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart) with victory to 1.4/1 favorite On Track Piraten (11g Kool du Caux-Monrovia-Rite On Line), his second straight Gold win in 2019. Rikard N. Skoglund teamed the Hans R. Stromberg trainee that scored in 1.13.1kr, for the 45 time in a 144 race career now for 17,516,005 SEK earned. 9.3/1 Phantasm SOA (6m Cromwell-Uiver H-Uver LB) took the second check for Johan Untersteiner and trainer Anders Lundstrom. Third went to the 89.5/1 longshot Rocky Winner (11m Credit Winner) reined by Oskar J. Andersson for trainer Jorgen Westholm. Today at Kalmar 2/1 Muscle Hustle (6m Muscle Mass-Crown Lauren-Cantab Hall) scored in the Stayerserien (35,000SEK to the winner, 3140 meters voltstart) timed in 1.14.3kr with trainer Robert Bergh at the lines. Bergh and Ecurie des Charmes own Muscle Hustle that won for the 15th time in 47 career starts now for 3,945,230€ earned. He last raced in October 2016 in Canada before export. He is being pointed for a possible Elitloppet appearance in late May. Thomas H. Hicks

Pompano Beach, FL...January 28, 2019...Amateur harness racing drivers Tony Dinges, Steve Oldford and Sky Walker were the driving stars as The Florida Amateur Driving Club edged their Italian visitors in a two night, four race competition that concluded on Sunday night at Pompano Park. The Italian amateurs--from Clubs Venti and Tuscany--were lead by Giancarlo Moretti, who also landed in the Pompano Park winner's circle during the heated--but friendly, competition. Dinges got things rolling for the American contingent when he piloted Lee Clarke's Phoenician to the Thursday night opener, scoring in 1:58.1 over Power and Faith, handled by Tuscany Club amateur Daniele Orsini and Global Power, with the Florida Amateur Driving Club's Sky Walker in the bike. Moretti, from Club Venti, who has tasted victory in the U.S. before, then guided Dein Spriggs' Security Guard to a come-from-behind win in 1:59.3 to even the score in round one. Florida's Joe Pennachio was next with Cheeky Little Minx while Roberto Giannoni was third with Jelectric. On Sunday night, with tornado warnings abundant and record rainfall drenching Pompano Park, Steve Oldford gave the Americans the edge by piloting Oldford Racing's Kaffir Kemp to a near wire-to-wire win from the eight post in 1:59.2, holding off Majestic Mystic, handled by Joe Pennacchio by a half length. Fair Glider, with Daniele Orsini in his sulky, wasa fast closing third. The win sent Kaffer Kemp's earnings over the $200,000 mark lifetime and rewarded his backers with a win mutuel of $190.00, keying a trifecta payoff of $4,992.80. Sealing the deal for the Americans was Sky Walker with his own Keystone Blade, who overcame the sloppy going and the eight post to score in 1:56.4 over Everyone's Talkin, driven by Ron Cusimano. Shadow Copy, with Roberto Giannoni in the bike representing Club Tuscany, was third. The final tally showed the FADC-USA Amateurs with 91 points, the Tuscany Club with 65 and Club Venti with 48. After the competition, Amateur driver Joe Pennacchio remarked, "This competition has been so well received in both the USA and Italy and shows the strong ties that have developed between our two countries via our grand sport. We all take the competition very seriously but the friendships that we have developed have been just unbelievable." Italian spokesperson Alessandro Spano echoed Pennacchio's comments by saying, "Despite somewhat of a language barrier, these visitors from Italy have come to treasure the friendships that have developed and their is no doubt that both countries will be eager to continue the competition for many years to come." In other action, Andreios Kardia, the eight year-old gelded son of Badlands Hanover trained by Jeff Byron for owner Ina Madill, got a perfect second over journey for Aaron Byron to score in the $10,000 feature in 1:53 for his first win of the season in three starts and 35th of his career. The win sent his career earnings to $344,741. Track Record $28,503 Pick 5 Carryover at Pompano Monday   Fans could never quite recover after 94-1 upsetter Kaffir Kemp (Steve Oldford) kicked off the Sunday card at Pompano, resulting in a rare double-carryover of $23,503 in the 50-cent Pick 5.  Track officials, in conjunction with the USTA Strategic Wagering Program, have placed an 'instant guarantee' of $80,000 on the total Pick 5 pool on Monday night.     The Pick 5 is a nightly wagered featured on the first race of every card.    Live racing continues at the Isle Casino Pompano Park five nights per week, with a first post of 7:20 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.  There will be no live racing on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb 2). Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.   By John Berry for Pompano Park                

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