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Joe Faraldo first drove competitively in the harness racing drivers' ranks during 1980 and over the years the Kew Gardens, NY lawyer has driven 141 winners but none were as special as his overwhelming victory against the French amateurs at Vincennes on May 27. That Tuesday evening Faraldo scored one for Team America when he guided the betting favorite Valfluery to a resounding triumph at the historic Vincennes Racetrack in greater Paris, France,. The famed French racing venue, built in 1863, was destroyed during the Franco Prussian War and then rebuilt in 1879. It sports France's best trotters over two tracks-- one 1200 meters another 1900 meters. The place, like Paris itself, is beautiful. But beauty not withstanding, racing involves a great deal of racing luck as many of the world's greatest drivers compete there. Some thought Faraldo's victory was pretty much assured if the French did not lock him in since he was up behind the favorite. Starting from the pole position in the 12-horse field with a horse noted as a slow starter Joe was confronted with the distinct possibility that the French strategy would be to lock him in. After teammate Bob Davis took an early lead with the USA's Tony Verruso nearby, the French gained the front and after his slow beginning, Valfluery was surrounded near the rear of the field seemingly unable to get out. As the great French amateur Romain Poree had advised the visiting Americns the goal was to get to the outside. That however was being prevented and as Joe said " Valfleury was not too eager to be taken back to tenth and sixth over". Despite finally being in the second tier more trouble ensued when the French leaders were slowing the pace considerably and way before the 1,000 meter mark in the 2,100 meter event Faraldo thought it was time to move three-wide and try to go to the front. "He seemed just to takeoff, and we swooped the field up the backside never to be headed again". Faraldo said after of Valfleury's march to the front. "The horse has now strung four straight wins and is from the stable that once trained Ready Cash." Not one to brag and knowing his limitations as a harness driver the outstanding lawyer added, perhaps with tongue in cheek, "It took great courage to put me on this horse, since it was my first win this year in less than a dozen starts and if I need to leave the country again for a win, NAADA has two series coming up with Italian and Hungarian amateurs this summer and I am getting psyched". The way the USA tallies points in international competitions the American Team scored the win; but a French curve adjusted the math to a French win. The way Team America's point counter, Alicia Schwartz called it, "the Americans were second in the two team competition and the French were next to last". But as is said in all international amateur racing events winning or losing is not important; it's the comradery shared that is. One of the trip's the most fascinating experiences was at Grobois, a training center wisely purchased in 1962 by Le Trot in order to insure a horse supply for the nearby cathedral of harness racing at Vincennes. Housing 1500 head and covering 400 -plus hecters, it charges horsemen, 3,000 Euros per month for thirty stalls, a walker, a four bedroom home for the trainer and living quarters for six separate caretakers and their families. Le Trot's investment has secured the French racing industry in every way possible, from thoughtful breeding to export of French-breds across most of the continent to the import of racing signals from many venues including Yonkers Raceway. Le Trot will help find a French horse for this year's October 14th International Trot at Yonkers Raceway and they are beginning to sell horses to American trainers to help solve our horse shortage. They will host some American trainers in an organized trip to France in November with the aid of the SOA of NY. "During this Memorial day weekend, one could only feel the gratitude still felt by these people for the efforts of America in WWII on those beaches at Normandy similar to their testimony to our efforts in WWI acknowledged in the Prix D'Amerique," Faraldo added. by John Manzi with Joe Faraldo for NAADA      

Mickael Gilles Lemarchand, driving Be Cash Money a son of Ready Cash, took the first of two legs of the French-American Friendship Trot over the 1200 meter inner track at Hippodromo Argentan in Normany today. Alan Schwartz led team America to a second place finish driving the Ready Cash filly Bety Du Goutier. Schwartz generously survived a judge's inquiry as the first try at a start resulted in a wild and crazy array of horses that caused a recall. Bob Davis' horse was scratched for not having his paperwork in order which negated all of two days of studying the program and viewing videos. Jean Phillipe Bazire, cousin of the French very accomplished driver of the same name, did not disappoint the family name garnering a third place finissh. Peter Kleinhans recovered from an early break to finish Fourth and Tony Ciuffetelli took the nickel. I, also badly affected by the recall, was placed seventh with four horses of the twelve being disqualified. All in all not a bad showing and on Tuesday evening at Vincennes will either make us champs or goats. In reality The North American Amateur Drivers have the distinct honor of being the very first amateurs ever invited to France to compete against their counterparts. "The French Le Trot placed us in the hands of three great hosts, Damien, Marie-Anh and Emmanuelle, who chauffeured us around. We were shown every hospitality from a brasserie in Trouville to restaurants in Arromanches and Caen. Tomorrow is a free day in the City of Lights with a scheduled dinner cruise on the Siene under the watchful eye of the Tower Eiffel. Tuesday's menu includes a visit to the famed training center at Grosbois followed by an evening race, the Prix Iphigenia. The French had much more to celebrate than their amateur victory as the 10 year old French bred Timoko, who was barely bested in the return of the International Trot at Yonkers Raceway two years ago, won the Ellietlop today in Sweden. This is the last year that Timoko can race in France and hopefully the $1,000,000 International at Yonkers on October14th will temp his connections to return for revenge. by Joe Faraldo, NAADA team leader

Let’s face it - our industry loves to demean itself and is often the victim of self-inflicted wounds and so let’s acknowledge that we will have difficulty drawing  any new people to harness racing unless we address ongoing rumors and innuendo and start tackling issues – or even supposed issues – in a fact-based, structured manner.  A perfect example is the issue of “beard” trainers and I would like to suggest action is needed immediately by industry stakeholders to clarify exactly what the scope and scale of the problem is and then root it out entirely. The issue of “beard” trainers is one of those things we all believe to be true, despite lacking the type of details and data that would either substantiate or disprove the many industry pronouncements we often hear (and the tendency to feed upon these pronouncements like piranhas doesn’t serve anyone’s interest).  So why don’t the Commissions  proactively put this to bed and take concrete steps to end the careers of “beards” and those who utilize them with a coordinated, thoughtful industry initiative? The Standardbred Owners Association of New York has taken a first step to do just that and has sent an open letter to  the Executive Branch, the New York Gaming Commission, formally requesting that they incorporate the following proposed procedure to weed out any and all so called “beard” trainers.    And since this is not a unique problem to New York harness racing, but also seems to be endemic at a number of tracks, I would offer an invitation to all concerned industry participants especially horsemen’s to join with the SOA of NY and support this initiative in other jurisdictions as well. The intended purpose is to seek a regulatory procedure to expose factually, not anecdotally, “beard” trainers. To follow, will be a similar recommended course regarding undisclosed owners or “beard” owners seeking either the avoidance of race conflicts or as a consequence of some impediment to their identity being revealed on the racing program. The Commissions having this jurisdiction should incorporate a number of suggested protocols as soon as possible.  And the Presiding Judges, under their broad powers to regulate racing, can and should delegate to an  Associate Judge the following directives to ferret out these this  serious problem: FOR TRAINERS  At each track in your state or commonwealth, the Presiding Judge should assign to one or more of his/her Associate Judges the task of asking in writing – to any trainer, at any time – to supply the following information: The number and names of all horses in your care for whom you are listed as trainer. The name/s of all help employed or working as an independent contractor directly in the day to day care of horses under your control. The location of any and all horses under your care, including the farm, training center and the name/s of any other trainers with who you share a barn during the relevant period.. The names and addresses of any and all veterinarian/s, farrier/s, and supplier/s of feed and/or tack that are utilized for the care of those horses. Include the name/s of the contact person you communicate instructions to when requesting care, service or supplies. Copies of proof of payment to the daily employee/s or independent contractor/s including vet/s, farrier/s and supplier/s of feed and tack. Copies of the last  Worker’s Compensation quarterly filing listing  your covered employee/s. Copies of any and all bills sent to the owner/s of the horse/s for which you are the programmed trainer. Copies of any and all deposit slips demonstrating payment related to the care your horses for which you are the programmed trainer. Copies of evidence of proof of payment, if any is made to the farm or training center where your horses are trained or turned out, and if you are not the payer, indicate who is and their address. Copies of payments, if any, made by you , to any other person or persons who now hold or have held a trainer's  license in this or any other jurisdiction within the last ten years in this or any other jurisdiction. Copies of evidence of proof of payment, if any that is made to the farm or training center where said horse/s are trained or turned out, and if you are not the payer, indicate who is and their address. Copies of  proof of payment received from any other person or entity that either holds a license issued by the Commission, or not, for any services related to your care of horses for which you are the programed trainer. Copies of payments made to any other person or persons , licensees or non licensees of the Commission which in whole or in part represent a distribution of earned purse money less driver/trainer fees and cost of care. The name and address of your billing agent or accountant. •       The Associate Judge will, upon making the request, immediately inform the Commission in writing that said request was made, to whom it was made, and the date thereof.  If the trainer is not in attendance at the track, the designated trainer shall be so notified and asked to acknowledge the notice.  In the event of the non-appearance at the track of the programed trainer, a writing shall be sent to the trainer at the address appearing on his license application, certified mail with return receipt requested. •       All records hereby requested shall be for the period encompassing the last completed quarter of the year or quarter in the prior year preceding the request.  Said records are to be provided pursuant to this request within forty five (45) days from the date of the writing and or acknowledgement by the trainer or his/ her designated substitute. •       Notice of failure to provide this information within the time set forth will be sent to the Commission with a request to issue a subpoena for those documents along with a request by the Presiding Judge to the Commission to commence a formal investigation. •       Individuals would not be the subject of multiple requests from each track raced at, as once an Associate Judge informs the Commission of the request that will constitute the sole request that needs to be complied with for that period. In no calendar year will a trainer be requested to supply thus information more than for two quarters. •       The judges shall keep a listing of any and all information received regarding suspected “beards” whether the judges in their discretion, act upon the same or not. Once again, the idea behind this thoughtful, substantive and fact-based initiative is to stop once-and-for-all the rumor mongering undertaken by too many individuals in this business and that, frankly, too many of us simply accept as true.  Let’s finally get all of the actual facts on the table and then either honestly or transparently resolve the problem we all “believe” exists and ferret out “beards” or stop accusing people of something unproven.  I am fully confident it can be done the right way and all it takes is the resources currently possessed by the regulatory agency. While this is not perfect by any means, the thought process is to have the Commissions undertake without tremendous cost the necessary regulatory function of addressing this problem. Joe Faraldo, president of the SOA of NY

The North American Amateur Drivers Association, which is on the verge of announcing dates for its Spring Trotting Series, has received a formal invitation for a rematch with the very competent French amateur harness racing drivers. The invitation was extended to Joe Faraldo, president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association, during his recent visit to Paris for the Prix d' Amerique. The rematch is scheduled to center around races at famed Vincennes racetrack outside of the City of Lights as well as a racetrack in Normandy. According to Faraldo, there will be at least two races surrounded by some sightseeing of places popular with tourists and historians. The challenge will require six amateur drivers from the US and their guests. "The rematch will be an effort to avenge the terrible loss the US amateurs sustained at the hands of the French when they invaded our shores for a similar competition two years which lasted some seven days and covered four racetracks," Faraldo said. "The selection of drivers will be limited to those who participate in NAADA's Spring Trotting Series which tentatively will commence in March with contests at both Monticello and Yonkers Raceways." The tentative schedule for the competition against the French amateurs is slated for the 2017 Memorial Day weekend at, or about, the same time as the Elitloppet in Stockholm. John Manzi for NAADA

Yonkers Raceway wrapped up its 2016 season with nearly $20 million US Dollars wagered from European sources throughout the French PMU network. Just under $18 million Euros were wagered on 32 race cards from Yonkers. Those programs were 20 Tuesday afternoons, 11 Sunday afternoons and one Saturday featuring the $1 million Yonkers International Trot. Each simulcast is a partial card of five to seven races, just trotters. Wagering on pacing races is not allowed in France. An exciting addition in 2016 was the first commingled pools on a regular basis between Yonkers and the PMU. Win and show wagers began to be commingled on May 24. In total 12 Tuesdays, six Sundays and the Saturday card were commingled, resulting in $3.6 million Euros, or about $4 million Dollars, being added to the Yonkers North American win and show pools. The exchange rate fluctuates daily and in 2016 went from a high of $1.15 US Dollars per Euro to a low of $1.03 with an average of $1.10. Just two years ago that same exchange rate was approximately $1.36 US Dollars for each Euro. "We're very pleased with how the relationship between Yonkers and the PMU and Le Trot has grown," said Bob Galterio, Vice President and General Manager of Yonkers Raceway. "We were thrilled to quickly begin commingling some pools in 2016 and look forward to more cooperation and collaboration in 2017." There were larger field sizes and all different classes of races simulcast to France but the biggest factor in the wagering figures was the day of the week and the time of day the races were simulcast. With Paris normally six hours ahead of New York, the Sunday cards which started around 11:30AM in New York arrived in Paris at 5:30PM. The Tuesday French races were normally at 3PM at Yonkers which is 9PM in France. "Just like here in the US, Sundays are very strong racing days in France and Tuesdays aren't as busy," explained SOA of NY Executive Director Alex Dadoyan. "Also, at least half of the betting locations do not stay open at night so the Sundays were much stronger as expected." Nine of the 11 Sunday Yonkers cards handled more than $1 million dollars throughout the PMU Network. For 2017, all of the regular simulcasts originating from Yonkers to France will be on Sundays. There will be 24 Sundays and one Saturday again for the $1 million Yonkers International Trot October 14. Yonkers returns to racing Tuesdays at night. "The additional money generated by the European wagering is in addition to the daily handle figures normally reported and they've been very encouraging," said Joe Faraldo, SOA of NY President. "Yonkers Raceway and the SOA of NY continue to work very cooperatively to expand the wagering base and add to our win and show pools for the benefit of our bettors." The 2017 season at Yonkers Raceway begins Sunday January 8 with an 11:30AM first post. The card features seven trotting races at a mile and a quarter distance being simulcast to France as well as purse levels boosted well above their normal levels to welcome everyone back for the New Year. From the SOA of New York

Joe Faraldo, president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association, confirmed today that Gerry Fielding will be the fourth and final member of the NAADA team that will wing their way to New Zealand to compete against their Down Under harness racing counterparts in a series of Friendship Races slated for early December. Fielding will join Peter Kleinhans, Dave Offenberg, and Joe Lee, all of whom have been previously announced to represent the USA in the forthcoming competition. Fielding, a graduate of Rider College and longtime Monticello (NY) native, has been involved in harness racing for many decades and obtained his initial New York license in 1960. "I got started in the business jogging horses and breaking yearlings helping the John Manzi Stables at Monticello Raceway," Fielding acknowledged. "I've also been involved in harness racing through the Ron Ingrassia and Gary Messenger Stables." By 1981, Fielding began delving into harness racing more avidly. He obtained an amateur license that season and over the years, usually with less than 20 drives annually, he thus far has driven 64 winners. Fielding's involvement in the sport has increased over the years not only as an amateur driver but as founder and president of the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club (CADC). "For 20 years I was the vice president of the Billings Series and have long been a member Board of Directors at Goshen Historic Track," he said. "As a member of the Board of Directors of Goshen Historic Track I chair the racing committee serving as a licensed Presiding Judge and matinee race secretary." An amateur driver with 64 wins to his credit Fielding is proud of having driven the winners of two Billings consolations as well as four CADC Pacing finals. He also won the Goshen International Trot and a North American Amateur Drivers Associations Final at Yonkers. "At Monticello (Raceway) a few years ago I won the Bob Grant Trot and I hold a track record there," he added. "I am a former "Amateur Driver of the Year" at Monticello Raceway --named by the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA-- and I have had the privilege of racing in Canada, Finland, Estonia, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Spain as well as 11 different states in the US. Over the years Fielding has owned several harness horses. "My partner on many horses, Dr. Scott Leaf, keeps me active as an owner of many Standardbreds," he said. Fielding is involved in multiple sports, much to the envy of his septuagenarian friends. He is a world class skier and has also been in the ski business most of his life, too. And he is still active today. "I have been on the New York Tramway Council for over 30 years; appointed by multiple New York governors. We (the Tramway Council) are an arm of the NY Dept. of Labor Division of Safety & Health promulgating all legislation In NY. The Monticello, NY resident has been married for 48 years to Kathy and together they've raised three children and are the proud grandparents of seven. By John Manzi for NAADA    

The 2016 World Cup of Amateur Harness Racing kicked off on Friday, September 2 with three races at Kincsem Park in Budapest, Hungary. Besides the three World Cup races there were three greyhound races and three t-bred races. At the end of the first of two days of competitions the United States representative Hannah Miller, on the strength of a win and a second place finish, is the current point leader. Hannah Miller, the USA's leading amateur driver, along her parents Erv and Heidi Miller and Hannah's boyfriend, Nick Surick are joined by NAADA founder and president Joe Faraldo and his wife Yma for the six-race World Cup of Amateur Racing competition. Faraldo is also giving a hands-on account of the racing action in Budapest. Hannah Miller finished second in the first contest which was won by the Italian representative. The following is Faraldo's account of that race. "Hannah weaved from post ten in this 12 horse field behind a six horse gate and as a result, she cut the mile in this 1800-meter race over the 6/8ths mile oval. She rebuffed a challenge from Denmark's Ms. Bitten Jensen half way home and but Hannah got beat a length and a quarter at the wire finishing a solid second to the Italian entrant. Argentina was third. "The latter's driver is also the owner-breeder of Chucaro Acero BC who has raced at Meadowlands and Yonkers this year. Senor Leonardo Antonio Augusti of Argentina has a working relationship with Blue Chip Farms of NY which this year will send mares to Argentina this year we heard. Hannah did very well and just needs to compile points to stay in the hunt." In the second event Hannah drives the winner and the following is Faraldo's hands-on account of the action. "Hannah, driving third choice in the betting, Kincses, fought off being challenged after making the top and cutting the mile from post eight, once again starting from the second tier. "After fighting off early challenges a strong one came from a three- wide move by Alle Loman of the Czech Republic but Hannah and Kincses hung tough for the victory. This time the Italian Mikor Marini was second so the USA and Italy are tied with 24 points at this point." For the second time in the three races held at Budapest's Kincsem Park a woman emerged victorious in the third contest. "Ms. Bitten Jensen of Denmark won the third event adding to her lifetime 56 wins and the ladies stuck it to the boys capturing two of the three first night's events," Faraldo said via email. "Bitten steered Poeta to a three-length victory over my friend Piet van Pollaert of Belgium also besting a rising star in Finland's young driver Termu Keskitalo. "Our Hannah Miller got interfered with early on then taken out to the hot dog stand around the last turn. However, despite that bad racing luck the lead belongs to the USA. But like Yogi said' it ain't over till it's over'. "In spite of that admonition I say we sent our best to race with the best." At the half-way point in the World Cup competition the USA, with 30 points, is the leader. Italy, Belgium and Argentina, each with 25 points are tied for second. They are followed by Denmark (22), Finland (20), New Zealand (16), Austria (15), Czech Republic (15), Spain (9), Hungary (8) and Switzerland (3). "I 'd rather the USA be in this spot then at the opposite end of the standings," Faraldo lamented. "We have been there before. This is preferred for sure." Tomorrow the final three events in this year's World Cup will be contested. Tomorrow's races will be in the afternoon and the track expects to draw 20,000 fans. Tonight the races were contested clockwise while tomorrow's will be counter-clockwise. by John Manzi for NAADA

In a letter to the Vernon Downs harness racing horsemen Jeff Gural has hit out at the horsemen and Joe Faraldo for stoppnig his horses from competing at his own track. Here is a copy of the letter; 21st June 2016 To Vernon Downs horsemen, As you probably know, once again Joe Faraldo was able to kill legislation allowing me to race my horses at Vernon and Tioga in accordance with the harness racing contract. You should be aware that the language in the contract specifically allows the horsemen to revoke this privilege in the event that they think it is being abused. This is very unfair to me and to the three trainers that I employ who are stabled at Vernon and now have to ship my horses a minimum of two hours in order to race in overnights. To be honest, I have been treated like shit by the horsemen at Vernon since I bought the place out of bankruptcy and I am going to give it one more try when the legislature reconvenes in January. Since Vernon is no longer profitable, as a result of the opening of Yellow Brick Road by the Oneidas and will probably be even less profitable when Lago opens, it does not make sense for me to keep it open if I cannot at least race my horses there. Hopefully you cab speak to Mr Papa and encourage him to tell Joe Faraldo to stop opposing the legislation. If not, you will join me in not being able to race at Vernon as I do not intend to keep it open if it loses money and I cannot race. Regards Jeffrey Gural

In a letter to the Hon. John Bonacic, Chairman, NYS Senate Racing & Wagering Committee, the Hon. Gary Pretlow, Chairman, NYS Assembly Racing & Wagering Committee, Robert Williams, Executive Director, New York State Gaming Commission, Members of the NYS Gaming Commission and the Members of the NYS Legislature, Harness racing owner/driver and President of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York, Joe Faraldo speaking on behalf of his Association explains that retribution by Jeff Gural against them is now taking place as a direct result of their opposition to a piece of legislation that did not pass this session.  Here is the Letter;  I am writing on behalf of thousands of hard-working harness horsemen across New York State to make you and your colleagues aware of the retribution that is now taking place against them as a direct result of their opposition to a piece of legislation that did not pass this session.  As you know, the SOA of New York, along with the horsemen’s associations at Monticello, Saratoga, Buffalo and Batavia, submitted memos in opposition to S7786 (Bonacic) and A10215 (Pretlow), which would have allowed an individual track owner in New York State to race his own horses at his own tracks – thereby threatening the very integrity of the sport.  As a direct result of these bills not passing, the track owner in question – Jeff Gural, who owns Vernon Downs, Tioga Downs and the Meadowlands – immediately retaliated against me personally by decreeing a lifetime ban against me ever racing any horses I own, in whole or in part, pursuant to valid NYS licenses, at any of these tracks again (and as you will see from the attached article below from the “View from the Grandstand” blog, while Mr. Gural attempted to mask this retribution by citing a technicality with one of my recent entries at the Meadowlands, the unbiased blog author clearly concludes that “this exclusion is retaliatory”). While this retaliation against me was perhaps not unexpected, what was more shocking – and one would think should be of more serious concern to you, your legislative colleagues and New York State’s racing regulators – was that Mr. Gural followed this personal ban with an additional ban against qualifying at his tracks for ALL horsemen stabled at a track where the statutorily recognized horsemen’s association submitted a letter of opposition to his bill.  This is an absolutely unprecedented action – based on nothing more than a track owner’s anger and petulance over not getting his way – and, quite frankly, it reinforces exactly why it was such a prescient decision not to move this legislation in the Assembly or Senate.  The horsemen were extremely concerned about allowing “racing against the boss,” because of the possibility that he could influence the race office and judges and/or retaliate against individual horsemen he would be racing against.  Now, Mr. Gural’s retaliatory actions demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that this fear was definitely justified and so thank you for having the wisdom not to move these bills. We remain committed to continuing to work together to grow our industry with fairness, transparency and integrity, and so once again we simply wanted to make sure you were aware of the types of challenges we unfortunately sometimes face in that effort.  Please don’t hesitate to call me at 718-544-6800 or our lobbyist, Joni Yoswein, at 212-233-5700 should you have any questions and thank you again. Joe Faraldo President, SOA of NY   “View from the Grandstand” Sunday, June 19,2016 LAW AND ORDER As you may have read in today's Harness Racing Update, Joe Faraldo has been handed a lifetime ban from the three Gural tracks for listing himself as trainer on two horses for this Friday's Billings events at the Meadowlands when they are actually trained by a trainer on the exclusion list who is listed as the trainer whenever the horses race in New York. Needless to say Faraldo is claiming foul, that the exclusion is in revenge for his engineering the defeat of a bill in New York State which would have allowed Gural's horses to race at Tioga and Vernon Downs in overnight events where they currently are prohibited from racing.  More about this in a moment. It would very well appear this exclusion is retaliatory as these horses were entered twice at the Meadowlands and allowed to race, without question.  Faraldo's exclusion came after he raced his horses this past Friday night.  The race office should have rejected the entries the first time if Faraldo was violating the rules. Truth is, trainers often change when racing in another state.  I for one know of one trainer who, when sending horses to New York, had the horses race under the owner's name as trainer because of Workers Compensation requirements in the Empire State; the trainer didn't have the required coverage.  Truth is horses often race under different names at different tracks for a myriad of reasons; sometimes innocently, other times to get around rulings (aka, bearding). It certainly would appear the ban comes in retribution for Faraldo leading the effort to keep track owners from racing in overnight events at their own track.  However, Faraldo must have known Gural would be gunning for him; hence unless looking to provoke action, Faraldo should have dotted his 'i's and crossed his 't's and not given Gural a reason to ban him.  Of course, Faraldo is not the only one to suffer for the legislation going down to defeat.  Gural has also decided horses stabled at tracks where horsemen opposed the legislative change would not be allowed to qualify at Gural's tracks; they would still be able to race.  For the horsemen in these association groups, their penalty is more of an inconvenience.  Still, a pretty ballsy action from Gural considering how full the entry box has been at his tracks as these horsemen may decide 'if they can't qualify there, they aren't going to race there'. Quite honestly, as much as it may be an inconvenience it may be to get Gural's horses to race in overnight events, the legislature was right to defeat the legislation which would have allowed him to race his horses locally.  I would never suggest any chicanery on the part of Jeff Gural, but allowing a track operator to race at his own tracks in overnight events would not be a good idea; the perception given when the track operator wins would be he was allowed to win because he owns the track.  Just think what handicappers would be saying the first time a track operator's horse was involved in an inquiry and allowed to stay up.     

Elkton, MD -- Post Time is excited to be working with the SOA of NY to provide coverage of the 2016 George Morton Levy Final from Yonkers Raceway. Post Time with Mike and Mike will be hosting a special 2 hour program on Saturday, April 23, 2016 from 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm. The duo will provide an in depth analysis of the final and discuss horses with some of their connections leading up to the Levy Final. Joe Faraldo, President of the SOA of NY said "We're very pleased to be working with Post Time with Mike and Mike to promote next week's Levy Final at Yonkers Raceway. They always have entertaining and informative broadcasts on racing and we look forward to their coverage of a great night of racing at Yonkers on Saturday. Post Time with Mike and Mike will be having a couple of giveaways on the show on Saturday, as well as having the final for the Levy Contest that has been going on each week. If one of the five finalists horses wins the Levy Final they will win a pair of Yannick Gingras colors. The special Levy program will be in addition to the regular broadcast which is featured on Thursday nights at 7:00. Post Time with Mike and Mike's mission is to positively promote the sport of harness racing. Every hoof that hits a racetrack has stories to tell, whether a claimer or a stakes horse, and we plan on telling those stories. For more information or to listen to previous shows, please visit www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com. By Michael Carter, for Post Time with Mike and Mike

A line item on the USTA budget exhibited to the Finance Committee at the recently concluded annual meeting revealed that $15,000 of members’ money was spent to perform Out of Competition testing by the Meadowlands at a lab outside the USA. This is odd to say the least, and is an indication that perhaps we should all be looking a little more closely at the issue of USTA spending and transparency. On this particular issue, while the Meadowlands claims that track management does foreign testing out of its own pocket, it is USTA members’ money that is being used for that purpose. When further inquiry was made, it was revealed that the cost of the Hong Kong tests amounted to an outrageous $600.00 per test. From what I understand, that is far in excess of drug testing costs charged by USA labs, which range from $90.00 to $150.00 per test.  Inasmuch as there are labs in America that are highly competent, one has to wonder why a foreign lab is being used in the first place.  More importantly, why is members’ money being used while track management insists that these tests – purportedly being conducted in the interest of a much heralded need for integrity – are already being paid for by the Meadowlands management? USTA President Langley says that the Board approved the expenditure of USTA funds’ to any track that sought to conduct out of competition testing. Indeed, if such an expenditure was approved by the USTA board, I have since found it difficult to find anyone who remembers such a USTA vote. That said, and assuming that it was duly approved somehow, why didn’t the use of members ' money come with mandatory due process protections for horsemen – such as split sample confirmation testing by an independent USA lab? After all, a portion of that $15,000 given to the Meadowlands for Hong Kong testing, was generated in part from the then accused horsemen's dues and fees. As a membership-elected Director, I sought only to fully understand exactly what was happening with our members’ money and I did not receive an answer I thought satisfactory.   And beyond the issue of transparency on USTA spending itself, there is also the issue of transparency in testing. If there was a split sample and confirmation afforded, then a state commission could conduct an inquiry and let the entire industry know if a rule violation indeed occurred.  If someone actually cheated, shouldn't the entire industry be made aware of it and a US commission therefore be put in a position to penalize some one? Or are we to be satisfied with just one man's pronouncement? On another issue, the USTA has approved (and I supported) the setting aside of up to $120,000 for subsidizing the TV broadcast of major races up to a maximum of $37,000 per track.  While the same limit was in place in 2015, it appears that the number was indeed exceeded for two particular events in 2015. One track received $60,000 and another $56,000, overrides of nearly $23,000 and $19,000 respectively.  While these events are important, I learned that the USTA agreed to cover any overrides on these events. That is obviously troubling and raises the question of whether the directors are being told one thing at the annual meeting and then learn about subsequent decisions long after they are sent home.  At the end of the day, the directors should feel confident that they know who is controlling the expenditures of money and whether any of these expenditures are beyond, or in contravention of, the Board's expressed will. Again, as I can best discern the authority granted was to spend no more than $37,000 per event. In addition to the above, the USTA is about to raise dues and fees in 2018 – – in anticipation of a near $1,000,000 budget deficit in 5 years or so. That increase will come the year after the Board meets in, of all places, Las Vegas, in 2017.  So with that said , what the heck is the USTA doing to justify the expenditure of  budget items like $15,000 for the Meadowlands’ Hong Kong drug testing, overrides for TV expenditures or even $250,000 for high-priced social media initiatives with admittedly no metrics to allow the directors to determine their efficacy? Especially on the heels of a dues and fees increase, if one is necessary for projects deemed necessary and fruitful, one can fully support those. The TV project is “guesstimated” to have reached an estimated 40,000 households out of a US population of 323,000,000, which doesn’t seem worthy of any cost override being absorbed by the USTA or a justification to be part of a dues and fees increase any more than the social media effort can be. The social media expenditure of an even greater sum has no metric except the main proponent’s full court press with uninformed members, and a structured e mail and letter writing campaign that was coupled with the disgraceful last minute intimidation of directors.  On this item, remember that our social media expert told us when we first embarked on this venture that spending money on TV was cost inefficient. However, after the public campaign to make the USTA change its position on TV funding, the expert changed oars and we were told TV was a necessary component to the social media effort. While social media is very important and worth continuing and evaluating, don't we as directors have a responsibility to act as fiduciaries when spending members' money and insure that our social media efforts are worth the expenditure. Are we blindly to follow the presentation and politicking of the party interested in us spending money on social media when there is admittedly no metric to guide us? Is that good economic sense or responsible stewardship of our members’ money? At least the young director from Wisconsin, Gabe Wand, sought to inject some oversight on our social media guru in the future.  Many of us saw an increased role in the future for those very capable employees, like Allison Conte to name just one, at the USTA who do much of the work anyway. By the way, horsemen’s’ associations, track social media outlets and members like Ashley Tetrick and Ryan Macedonio also do great jobs in the social media arena with much less media dollars. I am certain that the position I espouse here will be vociferously attacked, but so be it. In conclusion, the USTA has a responsibility to clearly and transparently demonstrate that our funds are being used well, whether it is a social media campaign, TV overrides, or the arbitrary use of Hong Kong tests.  It seems to me that the USTA may need its stall mucked unless, as some horsemen say, the reality is that USTA actually stands for the United States Track Association. By Joe Faraldo

As an annual tradition, The View From The Grandstand makes a "wish list" for the coming season. Let's hope that at least a few of these items come true in 2016. An easy transition to the timing of races in hundredths.  This change begins on January 1.  Say good bye to 1:49.3 (where '.3' is 3/5ths instead of your math class 3/10ths) and say hello to 1:49.25 which will be mathematically correct.  What will make things more interesting is while American races will be timed in hundredths, Canadian races will continue to be timed in fifths. A great FFA season.  The seeds have been planted for a great campaign with some of the best horses we have seen in quite awhile.  Hopefully, the upcoming year will live up to the hype. Another great Yonkers International.  It may be a throwback to our glory days but let's not kid ourselves, it shows what racing should be; an international affair. No disrespect intended to John Campbell, but the formal coronation of Tim Tetrick as our 'driver laureate', our new globe trotting ambassador for harness racing and all around class guy. The continued truce between Jeff Gural and Joe Faraldo.  If you haven't noticed it, things have been quiet of late between the two men.  We like it this way.  Both have their own views on how racing should be saved, and at times they are diametrically opposite of each other, but public bickering doesn't help anyone. A 'relatively' quiet Meadowlands meet, one without controversy, no talk about exclusions and counting to one hundred before announcing any new policies. While on the subject of the Meadowlands, full fields, dare I say overflow fields once Yonkers and other tracks reopen?  It has been nice these past two weeks having full fields.  I realize the odds are the overflow entries will be disappearing, but hey, you can hope. With the deadline to get a casino gambling amendment to the legislative floor this year having passed, we wish for super majorities in 2016 so a North Jersey gaming referendum can reach the ballot box.  Face it, every year a referendum doesn't get voted on, the Meadowlands programs gets shaved a little bit more. In Florida, the failure of the de-coupling movement for if the state manages to de-couple racing from their card rooms and casino floors, it will only be a matter of time until de-coupling spreads like a virus. A successful Suburban Downs meet at Hawthorne.  Success at Suburban Downs may make Hawthorne value their harness meet besides the fact they control the revenue from OTW. 2017 racing dates for Balmoral and Maywood Park.  Hey, we can dream can't we? If Thunder Ridge Raceway races in 2016, customers.  Betting customers.  Heck, when I would be considered a whale, a track is in big trouble. If not the return of Harness Racing Update, a new publication to discuss the serious issues involving racing.  One can't expect publications operated by racing organizations to deal with the serious issues. If the long discussed USTA racing channel on the Internet comes to fruition, the creation of an app which can be watched on devices such as Roku, Fire TV, and other devices.  Some of us dinosaurs still like watching racing on their televisions, even if the signals come from the Internet. Donald Trump.  Face it, as long as we have Donald in the Presidential election, even the stupidest thing done in the standardbred industry will look like sheer genius. Back to New Jersey, a successful debut of exchange wagering which will be profitable not only for racetracks but convince those doubters in states such as California they should adopt exchange wagering. The return of Walter Case.  We can dream can't we? Billy Parker in the Hall of Fame (this will be on my list until it happens) More racing opportunities in Michigan. Co-mingling of foreign pools into American pools and vice-versa. Introducing a mile rate for races shorter or longer than a standard mile.  A mile rate will make it easier to handicap races; especially when horses race at different distances. Another successful year for RUS Ontario.  Perhaps hosting a race or two in the Martimes, maybe during Old Home Week? Pari-mutuel wagering for American racing under saddle events.  I know there are doubters out there but until it is given a fair chance, we don't know do we? Cal Expo exercise their option early and begin negotiating an extension of the lease to Watch and Wager early as the lease to operate a harness meet at Cal Expo ends in 2017. With the cancellation of PA Harnessweek, a new gig for Heather Vitale and Steve Ross. A return to the day when post time meant post time (we can pray for miracles can't we?) A winning year at the windows.  Now that would be a Christmas miracle. Allan Shott has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He runs the website/blog http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/.  Allan’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.

On November 15th, the Standardbred Owners Association of New York honored Maine native Jason Bartlett for notching his 6,000th lifetime win on October 29 at Yonkers Raceway.   With over $70,000,00 in career purse earnings and a quartet of Hilltop Oval driving titles under his belt, the 34 year old continues to dominate the 2015 Yonkers drivers standings, winning with roughly one out of every five mounts.   The 2009 and 2013 United States representative to the World Driving Championships, Bartlett has been privileged to sit behind some of the classiest horses of the last decade, including the venerable Foiled Again, hard hitting Anndrovette and millionaire racemare Krispy Apple.   The SOA is proud that Jason calls New York home and has chosen to compete as a member of North America's deepest drivers' colony. With youth and talent on his side, there is no limit to what Jason can accomplish as his career develops.   From the SOA of NY

On Veteran's Day , Nov. 11,at Monticello Raceway two local amateur driving clubs made donations to the local veterans food bank in Monticello. Both the North American Amateur Drivers Association and the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club each donated $1000 to help feed their less fortunate veteran brothers. Accepting the checks was Kathy Kreiter, the program administrator of the Sullivan County Veterans Food Bank of Monticello which is combined with the Sullivan County Federation for the Homeless. "We appreciate the donations which will be an incredible help to our organization for the less fortunate veterans," Kreiter said upon receiving the money. Alan Schwartz is the vice president of NAADA while Gerry Fielding is the president of CADC. Both are amateur drivers and veterans of the Armed Forces and Schwartz is also the president of the Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association and he served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam Conflict. "As the Vice President of NAADA and a veteran myself, I'm extremely happy to be able to help my fellow veterans , "said Schwartz after he presented the huge check replica in the winner's circle at Monticello Raceway. His comments were echoed by Fielding in his presentation. But earlier this season, in late October at Yonkers Raceway, at the conclusion of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's annual fall trotting series the organizations president Joe Faraldo presented to the Breast Cancer Foundation a check for $3000. "We (NAADA) have been donating to worthwhile charities for many years now and it is our pleasure to be able to do so," Faraldo said. "The revenues are mainly comprised of amateur driver's nominating, starting and entry fees, along with additional funds from the NAADA treasury. Additional money came from the greater revenues collected this year when NAADA hosted international amateur driving competitions this season. "NAADA and its membership are grateful to the participating race tracks for permitting our members to race for these most worthwhile causes," by John Manzi, for North American & Catskill Amateur Clubs

It doesn't happen often but last night at Yonkers Raceway "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo won a race- and a Billings trot at that- when he scored a come-from-behind harness racing victory with Dreamsteeler in a time of 2:01 in his division. The other split went to James "Jimmy Boy" Marshall, IV when his trotter, Flex The Muscle stopped the timer at 2:00.2. In his non-betting event, Faraldo settled his trotter in along the pylons in the early going and was fourth as the field passed the first panel. Nearing the half, Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff was first to move with Alternat Thursdays followed by Dave "Yes Its true" Offenberg with Whatnblazes. But smartly Faraldo sat still until the field approached the third stanza and at that point Dreamsteeler was full of trot so Faraldo just fed her racetrack. They went three-deep and were head to head with the Alternat Thursdays as they straightened for home. In the lane Dreamsteeler began trotting away from the others and rallied to a two-length victory over Alternat Thursdays. Four lengths farther back was Celebrity Stimulus in rein to David "Poppa" Glasser. "It's been a long time since I sat behind one that didn't wear a lip cord," Faraldo said jokingly. "As (John) "Sep" Gilmour used to say whenever I got lucky enough to win one at Monticello, 'even a blind squirrel sometimes gets an acorn.'" Deamsteeler, a 4 year old daughter of Cash Hall is owned by the PT Stable and trained by Richard Banca. Although Faraldo, a prominent attorney, is quick to joke about his driving abilities he was named USHWA's Amateur Driver of the Year in 2000 and tonight's victory was the 139th of his racing career. Jimmy Boy" Marshall had a similar trip with Flex The Muscles and they were in fourth position at the quarter after leaving from the three- hole. Heading to the half he moved out behind Starsaboveallerage (Allen Cisco) who was hung out by the ABC Banker, who was driven by "Bullet Bob" Davis. Up the backside Marshall hustled his trotter alongside Davis' charge and they were one-two heading into the final turn. Down the stretch both ABC Banker and Flex The Muscle raced eye to eye to the finish with the latter prevailing by a nose in a 2:00.2 clocking. Third place, a length behind the top two finishers, was Admirable Hanover handled by Vanessa "the Contessa' Karlewicz. The winner, an 8-year-old Muscles Yankee stallion, is owned by the Arden Homestead Stable and trained by Chuck Connor, Jr. It was the trotter's third seasonal win pulling a sulky. (Flex The Muscle is equally adept racing under saddle). For Jimmy Boy Marshall it was his third seasonal driving victory. John Manzi

Besides the great camaraderie shared with their hosts as far as enjoyment on NAADA's venture to Mallorca, Spain for an international amateur driving competition with their Spanish counterparts, the best that could be said was that it was relegated to great food and fine wines because on the racetrack they were vanquished again. The following is a first hand view by NAADA president and team leader, Joe Faraldo on the final day of the international amateur driving competition between the North American Amateur Drivers Association and the Spanish amateurs. "At Son Pardo in Palma there were two twelve horse fields. They pre-raced us with paella and roast suckling pig. When the racing began it looked like the twelve horses were all over the place behind the eight-horse gate reminiscent of Yonkers during a French racing afternoon and once again the Spaniards kicked butts. Of course, just by the numbers 8 vs 4, it was likely that would happen just because of the traffic and team racing the Europeans engage in. "In the first of two races, Alan Schwartz's horse had not raced for 3 years. "When he asked the trainer about that, the reply was "She had a good rest" and also if she cannot finish, just bring her back." "It did not instill confidence and needless to say, the horse was ready to go back after the 1/2." " (Joe) Pennacchio was best of American blood and finished 4th. "The second race was about the same 8 vs 4. Pennacchio's horse was so unruly, that he could not start in the race and it dumped Joe." "So we were down to three. Hannah got behind two breakers leaving the course only to be disqualified. "I was on top in a heartbeat and was up by 10 at the half and it seemed certain that I was going to bring it home." "Unfortunately at the end, my charge, Benigno Duran, drew a posse an they wiped that lead away as the bottom-them-out strategy failed down that long, long stretch." "I was so sure that I was third I kept insisting all the next day that I indeed finished third but somehow the judges saw (Alan) Schwartz on the far outside and I ended up fourth." "The protesting did not end as the mantra of the day continued with "I was robbed". "The final US tally had Schwartz with two thirds,Pennacchio with a fourth, and I had a fourth." "In the winner's circle presentation all the American drivers were presented with beautiful personally engraved plaques cast in Spanish silver and we stood for pictures." "As usual Hannah Miller won that photo by open lengths!" "Dinner was awesome, all home raised beef and pork products barbecued and, as usual, super abundant." "Then came more wine until we just about couldn't stand at all." "An invitation was extended to our friends for a rematch in the US next year in September and maybe we can change the results." "Tonight there was another dinner with the drivers featuring jamon,suckling pig, and just about everything else including empanadas and Majorcan bread. "If nothing else, we beat them at eating." John Manzi

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