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Pompano Beach, FL --- The USA, led by team captain Joe Pennacchio, has taken an early lead in the Amateur Friendship Challenge, held in Italy. The “Challenge” saw the USA sprint out to an early 25-12 lead in the friendly -- but hotly contested -- competition over the Italian Driver Club Veneto with Pennacchio, along with teammate Steve Oldford, winning their respective races, held at the historic, 120-year-old Hippodrome di Montebello, located in scenic Trieste, overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Dr. Scott Woogen and Kelly “Sky” Walker completed the roster of Americans competing in the event. Pennacchio, who began his amateur driving career in 1995 with an initial win over Delaware, Ohio’s famed Little Brown Jug oval (with the now appropriately named Fox Valley Trump), has amassed more than 175 career wins and got the USA team off to a great start by guiding Rugiada Del Nord to victory in the 1,600 meter event (1.031 miles) in 2:07.5. Said teammate Oldford after the win, “Joe never ceases to amaze me. I am still waiting for him to reach his prime. At his age, 71, he has the light hands of a seasoned veteran half his age. He’s just amazing and I really don’t think he has reached his prime yet, especially after the way he drove that winner!” Oldford then was able to share the spotlight with Captain Pennacchio by driving Taiga Grif to victory in 2:06.5, using a big “double bubble” move around the final bend. The competition travels to the seaside city of Follonica next to compete at that city’s Hippodrome on the Mediterranean Sea before moving north to historic Mintecatini, near Florence, Italy. by John Berry

Monticello, NY- If the industry doesn't consider amateur racing an integral part of the current scene they just need to check the number of races being programmed at many racetracks, especially on the East Coast. On a pleasant Thursday afternoon (July 12) at Monticello Raceway amateur racing was front-and-center on the 10-race betting card with members of three different amateur racing organizations taking a seat behind a spirited steed. And when the judges declared the races official, "Joltin Joe" Pennacchio won the Billings trot with Connie Keeper in 2:01.1 and then came back two races later to score a 2:01 trotting triumph in the North American Amateur Drivers Association's trot behind Cheeky Little Minx. A final amateur contest saw Bob Krivelin use the front-end route for a 1:59.2 victory in the Catskill Amateur Club's pace. Even though the program marked the return of two-time National Amateur Driver of the Year "Hurricane Hannah" Miller, the day really belonged to Joe Pennacchio. And although its still early in the season talented driver and multiple horse owner is leading his competitors for seasons-end awards. Currently, his 12 victories are tops among the amateur driving colony. In his first contest of the day "Joltin' Joe" started from the from pole position with Connie Keeper and was content to hug the pylons in the early going. After the half he moved his charge to the outside and rallied alongside the leader and old warhorse, Wygant Prince, only to ware him down in the deep stretch. Wygant Prince and driver "Coach Paul" Minore held on for second while Better To Be Lucky finished third for "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli. "I followed the leaders and when I moved my mare she hung as we rounded the (final) turn but when we headed for home she began to pull away and we went on the a two-length triumph," Pennacchio said. Connie Keeper is owned by Dr Scott Woogen and trained by Gary Messenger, She paid $5.10 for win. Pennacchio's second win was a laugher when his Cheeky Little Minx notched her fourth victory since her purchase in early May. The 6-year-old Lucky Chucky mare ran away and hid on her competition and cruised to an oh-so-easy 5-1/4 length triumph over Gianni (John Campagnuolo). Woody and Bob Krivelin garnered the show dough. "I have 11 horses currently racing with three in the amateur ranks," said Pennacchio, a retired CEO. "We bought "Cheeky" at an Ohio sale in early May and she's been stellar for us. This was her fourth victory since we purchased her." Cheeky Little Miss is owned by Pennacchio's, Joe P Racing, and trained by Allen Sisco. Sent off as the odds-on favorite she returned a $3.20 mutuel. The final amateur contest was in the Catskill Amateur Drivers Pacing Series and when the dust settled Bob Krivelin had guided TKR's Metro Spec to a gutsy gate to wire victory in a 1:59.2 clocking. When the gate sprung in that contest Krivelin sent his pacer to the lead from the pole position and they had three lengths on the field when they passed by the first stanza. From there Krivelin had to contend with a parked-out Idontthankyoucan (Bob Davis) who kept unrelinquished pressure on TKO's Metro Spec. They then raced one-two past the half and three quarters and were still heads apart when they headed for paydirt. At the wire Krivelin's horse scooted away for one length victory over Davis' charge. Hannah Miller finished third with Eagle Artesian. The winner is trained by Bruce Aldrich, Sr. " I really like driving Aldrich's horses because Bruce always has them ready when they hit the racetrack," Krivelin said after garnering his 217th career victory. Owned by Woody Hoblitzell TKO's Metro Spec paid $11.40 by John Manzi, for Amateur Racing

One of the more enticing features of the CKG Billings Series- the granddaddy of all amateur organizations-is that its members are, and have been, offered competitions on all size racetracks. Tonight eight gentlemen drivers lined-up behind the mobile starting gate on the Meadowlands mile-oval with each having visions of reaching the winners circle. But when the race was declared official it was "Joltin Joe" Pennacchio and his trusty steed Super Manning who led his rivals to the finish line while stopping the timer at a very creditable 1:55.2. Sent off as the betting favorite from post six it didn't make much difference if Super Manning ever saw the pylons, the veteran 10-year old Diamond Goal gelding raced with cover on the limb until Pennacchio moved him as they approached the three quarters. Second on the outside when the field passed that marker once they squared for home they began to put daylight between themselves and the rest of the field. At the wire Super Manning was two lengths better than runner-up Toss Cartwright, driven by Peter "Enough Talk" Kleinhans who shadowed the winner from the three quarters but came up short. "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli took home the show dough with Aventure. The winner is owned by Pennaccio's, J P Racing LLC, and trained by Allen Sisco. For Pennacchio, a retired executive, it was the 172nd career victory for the talented amateur reinsman. To say that "Joltin' Joe" currently has a hot hand would be an understatement. With the Billings season not yet half completed Pennacchio already has a start on his best year ever. He has victories in three of his last four starts and thus far this year he has 10 wins, 7 seconds and 2 thirds and a UDRS of .401 from 39 seasonal trips behind the mobile gate. by John Manzi, for the Billings Harness Driving Series    

Monticello, NY - Joe Pennacchio is a happy man. And why shouldn't he be? After all the talented amateur notched a driving double on the betting card at Monticello Raceway on Thursday (6/14) afternoon. He won the North American Amateur Drivers Association Trot with Cheeky Little Minx immediately after winning the previous race with Super Manning. Both trotters are owned by Pennacchio's JP Racing LLC and trained by Allen Sisco. It's a rarity for an amateur driver to win two races on the same card so that precipitated a question to Joe; is this this first time you won a pair on a betting card? He thought for a moment and said "no", and then continued: "At Pompano (Park) a few seasons ago I won twice on the wagering program." The retired executive from Delray Beach, Fla. looked like a professional in executing both victories. His victory with recently purchased Cheeky Little Minx was never in doubt after he sent the 6-year-old daughter of Lucky Chucky to the lead from the two- hole. They had two lengths on the field as the timer flashed :30.1 and from there Cheekly Little Minx trotted nearly even fractions of :30.1, :30 and :30.1 en route to 5-1/4 length triumph in 2:00.3 over Winwood Scout (David Glasser), with Pixel Queen and driver Joe Lee another length back in third place. "I was just a passenger" a modest Pennacchio said after his victory. He then added " we bought her at the Ohio sale in early May and now she has three wins in three starts for us since we purchased her. And if I might add, she's a pleasure to drive." Sent off the prohibitive favorite Cheeky Little Minx paid $2.70 for win. That romping victory came after Pennacchio's triumph in the previous race with Super Manning. Again sent off as the betting favorite, racing luck played a big part in their victory in this contest. Crystal Sphere, with Mike Merton driving, cut all the fractions and they had a four-length lead when they turned for home but in mid-stretch the trotter went off stride which opened the door for Pennacchio and Super Manning whose best results appeared to be a second place finish. "As Yogi Berra prolifically said "it ain't over til it's over" and when the judge posted the official sign our number (5) was on top," Pennacchio said smiling. Super Manning, a 10-year-old Diamond Goal gelding, returned $2.80 for win. "Joltin' Joe" now has 9 seasonal driving victories and 171 thus far in his illustrious career. by John Manzi, for NAADA    

Pompano Beach, FL...December 4, 2017...The French take their trotting horses very seriously with harness racing awards given to the top bred French trotters honored not only in their homeland but in many countries throughout the world, when appropriate. No less than 18 countries were cited this year honoring their top French bred trotters and, for the first time, a French-bred, U.S. owned trotter has been honored. Brooklyn Bond, a seven year-old gelded son of Defi D'Aunou out of the Jiosco mare Joliette A'Tout was recently named the top French-bred trotter racing in the United States. Purchased earlier this year by Joe Pennacchio's Joe P Stable of Delray Beach, Florida, Brooklyn Bond has competed in the northeast-mostly Pocono Downs and Yonkers-and compiled earnings of $53,810 to go along with a 1:56 mark achieved over the Yonkers' half mile oval. Pennacchio purchased Brooklyn Bond on the recommendation of Deborah Daquet, of Paris, France and has enjoyed some exciting exhibitions put on by his French bred trotter. "Like many French bred horses, he can swallow a lot of air and can go forever on the outside." He lamented. "He has won at both Pocono Downs and Yonkers in 1:56, but I think his most impressive performance was when he won a mile and a quarter event in 2:26.4." France honors their French bred trotters in a big way as 18 countries were represented at their awards ceremonies this year. "I have had a lot of thrills in this sport," Pennacchio remarked, "but receiving this award in Paris was right up there at the top!" by John Berry          

NAPLES, Italy - The second day of the competition in the USA vs Italy Friendship Challenge proved nearly fruitless for the visitors but with Hannah Miller's third place finish in the race saved face somewhat for the visitors. With incredibly sunny Italian sky's overhead, the USA-Italy Amateur Friendship Challenge concluded on Sunday (May 1) and though uneventfully on the racetrack, at least for the visitors, every moment was cherished and will forever be remembered by all the participants.. With all the events contested in the four race competition the Italians prevailed with three wins to the American's one, which came from a heads-up drive by Dein Spriggs, USA Team Captain Joe Pennacchio said of the Friendship Competition, "We couldn't be happier with the races and hospitality shown to us and we expressed special thanks to track, (Ippodromo di Agnano) owner Pier Luigi D'Angelo, who went overboard making us welcome." Hannah Miller led the Americans with a third place finish with 31.5 points and received a trophy to mark that occasion. The competition point leader was Italy's Ciro Ciccarelli who finished with 60.5 points. "You really have to drive the horse. They need lots of help at the start and in the turns and if your horse breaks (stride) you are disqualified. So I was careful," Ms. Miller explained. "The Italians drove like a team and did a lot of blocking to clear their better horses," added USA team member Steve Oldford. "Ciro had the best showing by winning two races. "We had a great lunch after the competition with all the drivers and our new friends and enjoyed the 67th edition of the Gran Premio Lotteria Di Agnano which was won by Oasis Bi, who was driven to victory by Johnny Takter, Jimmy's brother." by John Manzi for Team USA Amateur Drivers

The Italian Amateur Friendship Challenge officially kicked off with a gala dinner hosted by the mayor of Naples Italy, Luigi de Magistris on Thursday. Pier Luigi De Angelo principle owner of Agnano race track in Naples, guided the invited American amateur drivers to this event held at the elegant Belvedere Carafa Museum in downtown Naples, Italy. "The people and the food are over the top and the majesty and history of this area goes back thousands of years," team correspondent Steve Oldford said. Festivities will continue when team America will dine with their Italian counterparts prior to the racing action which begins Friday afternoon and continues through Sunday when track hosts the world class $500,000 trot, the Grand Premio Lotteria. "There's no doubt that amateur racing is moving to a new level and we hope the events here in Naples will continue to promote amateur racing at a world-wide level, " noted team USA team captain Joe Pennacchio. When the races get underway Friday at Agnano, Pennacchio and Oldford will be joined by Mike Mitchell, Dein Spriggs and Hannah Miller. The five outstanding American amateur drivers will compete against the best that the Naples area has to offer. Two events are slated for Friday with a race on Saturday and one on Sunday, the day of the Gran Premio Lotteria where the attending crowds will be in the tens of thousands. by John Manzi and Steve Oldford

Pompano Beach, FL...January 3, 2015...Good Feeling, catch-driven this Saturday night (January 2) by Joe Pennacchio, took top harness racing honors in the $10,900 Final of the Florida Amateur Driving Club Late Closer event at Pompano Park. The gallant 13 year-old gelded son of Fill V won for the 53rd time during his long career measuring 292 starts, stopping the tele-timer in 1:58.2--his winning margin 2 1/4 lengths over the pacesetting Mystical Shopper, handled by Leon Cable. Zeitgeist and driver Dein Spriggs teamed up to be third after starting from the outside post while Good Friend finished fourth over Tymal Recap, picking up the nickel in the field scratched down to eight. At the outset, it was Mystical Shopper (post 2), the even money tote-board favorite, dashing out for the early lead along with Good Feeling (post 3) settling in the garden spot with Rel Cash Clown (Tommy Santeramo) surging up quickly from post seven and Zeitgeist and driver Dein Spriggs (outside) also showing early foot leaving and wending their way into the third and fourth spots, respectively. With Mystical Shopper cutting honest fractions for this class of $5,000 claimers--:28.2, :58 and 1:27.2--positions remained relatively stagnant with only Rel Cash Clown and Play Fair, on a double-bubble backside binge out and denting the leaders edge--but only briefly. In the lane, Mystical Shopper cut the corner but Good Feeling was out of his cozy pocket and easily wore down the leader at mid-stretch, stretching his lead to the wire. In a post race interview, Pennacchio, who had 151 Amateur wins coming in at 22 different racing venues, said, We got a picture perfect journey. I was driving a classy, hard hitting warrior that had almost a half million (dollars) on his card and that's not done sitting in the stall. "It was a dream journey. I left with him because he seems to like to be in the action early and he found me a seat behind the leader. He took me for a nice ride tonight. All I did was steer!" Ironically, the share of this win--$5,450--was the largest for Good Feeling in exactly three years (January 2, 2013) when he won a $15,000 claiming event at Dover Downs. He also won on January 4, 2012 in a $20,000 claiming event at Dover, prompting Pennacchio to add, "what can I say, he's old enough to celebrate the new year in style!" Trained by Allen Saul for owner Dein Spriggs, Good Feeling now has a scorecard of 52-47-47 in 292 lifetime starts, good for $471,094. As the fifth choice on the tote-board, Good Feeling rewarded his faithful with a $20.80 mutuel and capped a Pick-5 where not a single ticket was sold on the 2-2-5-6-4 combination, necessitating a carryover to the Sunday night card and a guaranteed pool of $10,000. By the way, after this Late Closing Final was made "official," the contingent of Florida Amateur Driving Club members gathered to give a sizable donation to the Smart Ride Organization in their efforts to find a cure for and eradicate the HIV virus. Dr. Marah Lee, a horse owner and prominent physician in the field of HIV, was on hand in the winner's circle to accept the donation, which pushed the F.A.D.C. donations over the $150,000 plateau. Also on Saturday night, when Behindcloseddoors took the evening's seventh race at better than 90 to 1 odds, it set the stage for a large carryover in the track's Pick-4 offering and, with no winners surfacing after its completion, a large carryover is in place with a $30,000 Pick-4 guarantee for the Sunday night card. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Multiple Carryovers, Guaranteed Pools, for Sunday Pompano Several upsetters were featured on Saturday night (Jan 2) at the Isle Casino Pompano Park, leaving both the 50-cent Pick 5 and 50-cent Pick 4 unscathed.  The 50-cent Pick 5 will feature a $1,980 carryover into Sunday night (Jan 3), with track officials placing an ‘instant guarantee’ of $10,000 on the total Pick 5 pool.  The Pick 5 is a nightly wager covering races 1 – 5.  The 50-cent Pick 4 will offer it’s very first carryover of the season, with a healthy $4,973 awaiting fans on Sunday evening.  Track officials have placed an ‘instant guarantee’ of $30,000 on the total Pick 4 pool.  The Pick 4 is a nightly wager covering races 6 – 9, and features an industry low takeout of only 12%.   Last but not least, a competitive 10-horse event in the finale (Race 11) will offer a $3,437 carryover in the 20-cent Jackpot Hi-Five.  Live racing continues at the Isle Casino Pompano Park on a five night per week schedule, with a first post of 7:30 p.m. every Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evening.      by John Berry for Pompano Park

Prior to going out for the post parade in the NAADA Trot at Monticello Raceway harness racing driver Joe Pennacchio was queried about his chances with his veteran trotter Sir Winston who was to start from the five-hole. Without much hesitation he said: "If he doesn't bleed he'll win." Well, Sir Winston, a career winner of over $390,000, didn't bleed in the race and was victorious just like Pennacchio predicted. When the starter said go Pennacchio gunned the veteran 9 year old Revenue S gelding to the lead and they had some racing luck when Alan Schwartz's trotter Typical Newyorker, who was pressuring him for the lead, made a break directly in front of the 1-2 betting favorite Casanova Lindy (Hannah Miller) who was hot on Schwartz's tail. Unfortunately Typical Newyorker's misstep made a tough journey for Miller who had hoped for a covered trip behind Schwartz. When that inkling didn't work out Miller found herself hung out and with little chance of gaining the front-end from Pennacchio. "Her horse wasn't coming that strongly so I didn't want to grab into my horse since he might have bled if I did," Pennacchio admitted. So Casanova Lindy went the long mile never seeing the pylons and it wasn't until the deep stretch that he tired and finished just two lengths behind Sir Winston in third place. Nautilus De Vie, who was traveling along in the catbird's seat with Dave Yarock at the controls, used the passing lane to finish second. Pennacchio's Joe P Racing Stable owns the winner who's trained by Dan Altman. Sir Winston paid $26.20 while winning his second seasonal contest. For Pennacchio, a retired business CEO, it was his sixth seasonal driving victory and the 149th of his amateur career. After the race, Pennacchio and Miller headed for Yonkers Raceway where they were scheduled to drive that night in the Billings Series. John Manzi

Pompano Beach, FL...April 18, 2015...In a three way calvary charge to the wire, Duc Dorleans edged out Panocchio and Cruizin K C in a seasonal best 1:50.3 performance for harness racing trainer-driver Donald Dupont at Pompano Park on Saturday night (April 18).   The five year-old altered son of Shanghai Phil, forced to abandon his usual front stepping style, came from sixth halfway through the mile, fanned widest of all turning for home and just did nail the victory in the final stride.   Panocchio's nose was, indeed, a "nose" short this time around with Cruizin K C just a neck off the winner after pushing his nose in front around the final turn at odds of 45 to 1.   Neptune, pacing the fastest final panel in the field, finished fourth, just three parts of a length away, with Steelhead Hanover picking up the nickel in the field of nine.   At the outset, Steelhead Hanover, with Joe Pavia, Jr. driving, left with his usual alacrity to take the field to the opener in:26.3 with Panocchio and Bruce Ranger on the attack and taking over shortly after that initial quarter.   Panocchio took the field halfway home in :54.3 but, on the backside, Mark O'Mara had Cruizin K C cruising in high gear and his individual backside quarter of :26.4 enabled him to stick his nose in front at the third station, timed in 1:22.1.   In the lane, these two dueled ferociously, only to be joined by Duc Dorleans a sixteenth out with the trio hitting the wire together.   In a post race interview, driver Donald Dupont said, "With all of the action early on both inside and outside, I didn't think it would be prudent to get in a battle early, so, this time, I took back...not something I really wanted to do.   "I wanted to follow Mark O'Mara (Cruizin K C) when he pulled but his horse can really brush hard and it was hard for me to keep up with him brushing like that. When we turned for home, I just went widest of all and hoped we could get there.   "He is a very game and handy horse and he proved his merit again tonight."   In achieving his sixth win of the year in 12 starts, Duc Dorleans pushed his 2015 bounty to $49,858 and $450,654 lifetime for owners Gestion Levesque 2005 Inc. and Les Ecuries Dorleans, Inc.   As fourth choice on the tote-board, Duc Dorleans paid $13.00 to win.   Pompano Park also hosted opening round action in the C.K.G. Billings Series, an event held at many North American tracks honoring the memory of Billings, owner of the sport's first 2:00 trotter, Lou Dillon, in 1903.   When the "Official" signs were posted, Joe Pennacchio and Steve Oldford came off with the victories in their respective events.   Pennacchio took the Billings pace with Terrys Star Dragon, wiring his competition with a 1:55.2 performance, the winning margin 3 1/2 lengths over Fox Valley Christo (Anthony Verruso) with Flashy (Hannah Miller) rallying from last turning for home to get third. Master Of Puppets (Steve Oldford) was fourth while Clive Hanover (John Campagnuolo) picked up the final award.   Pennacchio, who had 145 wins going into tonight's action, picked up his fourth lifetime victory back of a "sidewheeler" and first back of a pacer since July of 2012, giving Terrys Star Dragon perfect rating--:28.3, :58.1 and 1:26.1--en route to a 1:55.2 win on behalf of owners Fred Morosini and Mike Deters. It was the pacer's third straight win and 50th triumph lifetime, sending the 10 year-old's career bounty to $479,614.   Pennacchio summed up his win by saying, "It was pretty un-eventful. I did just what this horse likes to do. I followed HIS orders tonight...and it worked out great for both of us. He made ME look good!"   Terrys Star Dragon paid $3.20 to win.   Oldford got his 101st lifetime victory with his own Insider Access, this five year-old getting his initial win of the year, this victory--only his fifth lifetime--in 1:58.3   Northern Inferno (Robert Krivelin) finished second over Victors Cowboy Joe (Dein Spriggs) with Maggies Bed (Peter Gerry) fourth and Super Duke (John Campagnuolo) recovering from an early miscue to finish fifth.   After the event, Oldford said, "It was a dream trip tonight. We got away in good order (third) and then got fortunate to find some room when Dein's (Spriggs) horse (Victors Cowboy Joe) rushed up on the backside. I found some room once he settled in back of the leader and wore 'em down in the lane."   Insider Access paid $9.00 as the third choice and sent his career earnings to $112,616.   In Pompano Park's Super Hi-5, the 2-4-6-5-8 winning combination paid a $213.84 dividend for the 20 cent investment, sending the carryover to Monday's program close to $145,000.   Post time is 7:30 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park      

The annual Tattersalls Summer Mixed Sale at The Meadowlands witnessed hot and fast bidding that resulted in a 34.7% increase in average per horse sale price from the previous year.   Of the 123 racehorses that sold for a gross of $2,544,200, the average reached $20,685. The main attraction of the well-attended Harness Horse auction was the "drop-in-the-box" nature of the 30 horses that raced in the two days prior to the sale, and over 100 that raced in the last week.   The highlight of the sale was the offering of World Champion trotter Sevruga 1:50.3 who was a $160,000 post-sale purchase. A winner of over $1 million lifetime, he will start in the $300,000 John Cashman, Jr Memorial on Hambo Day for new owners Scott and Joe Pennacchio.   Long-time horse owner, amateur driver, and current president of the Florida Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association, Joe Pennacchio noted that Sevruga "was one of the rare, great trotters around, and may be in just a little over his head in Grand Circuit stakes company. We look forward to racing him in Open and Late Closing events."   Consigned by Northwood Bloodstock Agency, Sevruga was one of nearly 50 horses represented by Bob Boni. Following the sale, Boni noted pleasure with the day's events and stated that "it was a very strong horse sale. Good horses sold well, as they usually do."   The annual racehorse reduction of Jules Siegel's Fashion Farm was particularly well-received, bolstered by several high-priced youngsters. Topping the overall 2-year-old sales was the PA eligible Broadway Hall gelding On The Sly, who showed consistently flat lines around 1:58 and fetched $51,000 from Barbara Boese of Milton, DE.   Preferred Equine Marketing represented another well-placed $75,000 Fashion Farm sale with the American Ideal colt, Ideal Fashion p,3,1:52.1f--`14. Kyle Spagnola signed for the 3-year-old NY eligible colt who had just won his last start at Yonkers in 1:53.4h.   Toward the end of the sale, prospective purchasers not willing to go home empty handed saw stars with Moonliteonthebeach p,4,1:51--`14, who was consigned by Preferred Equine Marketing for Scott Kimelman and the Blue Chip Bloodstock Partners. The bidding was fierce and competitive for the handsome 4-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere who just paced in 1:49.3 finishing second at Pocono just 12 hours before the sale. When the dust settled, Andrew Harris signed the winning $85,000 ticket for trainer P.J. Fraley and owner Jeff Bamond.   Lynch winning 3-year-old pacing filly Fancy Desire p,3,1:49 was the anticipated sale topper, and was hammered down for $195,000, however failed to reach the required reserve price.   Tattersalls sales manager David Reid was happy with the overall results of the sale, and was optimistic about the health of the industry. "Sales have been good. This was a very active group of racehorses, which always translates into active bidding. My only disappointment was the relative absence of Canadian buyers. It serves as a true indicator of the importance of the slots programs in these regional markets. Having said that, with an eye on the future, bring on the Hambletonian." by Chris Tully, for Tattersalls  

The competing amateurs in the C.K.G. Billings Trotting Series stepped back in time this weekend when they traveled to the Cradle of the Trotter in the Land O' Goshen and compete over Historic Track, the National Historic Landmark and the world's oldest harness track. It was back to the way racing used to be over the track that has been in existence since the late 1830's and the place where the sports great progenitor, Hambletonian was shown to the attending crowds. Three Billings trots were contested on July 5 and the winning drivers included, "Joltin' Joe" Pennacchio, Dave "Steady As" Yarock, and Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff. In his contest, which was the first of the three, Pennacchio got to drive Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford's old warrior, Celtic Merchant, since Oldford is in Finland representing the U.S. in the World Cup of Amateur Racing. And Pennacchio did him proud. When the gate sprung he sent Celtic Merchant to the lead and they were never in trouble as the old warrior trotted through fractions of :30.0; 1:01:1 and 1:31.2 before finishing in 2:01.3 some four lengths ahead of Drill Sergeant Sam and driver Tony "the Capo" Verruso. Two lengths farther back in third place was Some Kinda Spunky, driven by "Johnny On The Spot" Kolkowski. The second Billings trot was inundated with breaking horses with four of the seven trotters going off-stride in the race which made it Quite Easy for Rompaway Alvin (Dave Yarock), the eventual winner. Rodeo Red and "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo took command after they left from the four hole and they were comfortable on the lead especially when Keystone Sadie driven by Peter "Sycamore Ventures" Gerry made a break at the half and caused problems for two others. Although Yarock pulled the two hole going to the half with his trotter Rompaway Alan proved to be stronger than Faraldo's Rodeo Red when the two trotters raced eyeball to eyeball up the backside and when Rodeo Red went off-stride on the final turn Rompaway Alvin romped away to a 19-length triumph in a time of 2:01:1. Rodeo Red got back on stride and took home second money while Martz Creek Rex finished third for Scott "the Money Man" Price A final Billings trot saw Bob Hechkoff leave swiftly with Get Packin from the pole and go wire to wire for a 2:02.4 triumph. But victory came hard at the end of the mile as Scott "the Driving Doctor" Woogen and Armstead Kyra charged at the leader at the top of the stretch and they slowly erased the two-length lead that Get Packin had. However, Hechkoff's trotter hung gamely and rebuffed Armstead Kyra to score a neck victory over the good doctor's mare. Third place went to Nearly Uncle driven by "Bullet Bob" Davis. By John Manzi

Delray Beach, FL -- Harness racing “county fair style” is coming to Palm Beach County in Florida this September as the Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village in Delray Beach will host two days of Sunshine Stakes racing on their one mile racetrack. The elite equine training facility has reached an agreement with the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (FSBOA) to hold races for two and three-year-old state-bred trotters and pacers on Saturday, September 13 and Saturday, September 20. Rain dates will be on the following Sunday. “We are very excited that Sunshine Meadows has agreed to host the two days of stakes races,” said FSBOA executive director Joe Pennacchio. “We estimate that there will be in excess of $50,000 in purse money over the two days of racing. It will be exciting as the management team at Sunshine Meadows is committed to making the two race days a county fair type atmosphere centered on the live racing.” Post time each day for the racing is set at 11:00 am. It is estimated that there will be from 10 to 11 races on each program. “We are very excited about hosting these races,” said Brandon Mills, general manager at Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village. “It is an opportunity to show our great facility to the general public and to have a fun community event for everyone to attend.” There will be free parking and admission for the races. People are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs as there is no grandstand or seating, only beautifully manicured lawns to watch from. In addition to the Sunshine Stakes races there will be an exhibition race with Racing Under Saddle (RUS), the Florida Amateur Driving Club will be participating and a local media celebrity race will take place each race day. Parents and grandparents can bring the children as there will be pony rides, face painting and other children activities plus plenty of food vendors, arts and crafts and equine product displays. “We are working to make this a very special event,” Mills said. “Something that people can look forward to attending every year. So many people drive by and see our signs on 441 but never think to come on in and check us out. We have a great facility here and want to show it off.” The Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village features a one mile racetrack, a five-eighths mile training track and a half mile Euro strip. The facility has 18 barns that can house more than 650 horses, numerous show and jump rings and turnout paddocks. The facility is the winter home to world-renowned Standardbred trainers Jonas Czernyson, Chuck Sylvester and Frank Antonacci. World class trotters Maven, Spider Blue Chip and D’Orsay trained all winter at Sunshine Meadows. Also stabled at Sunshine Meadows are many riding horse trainers for English, Western and Dressage, who have shown successfully world-wide. Any vendors wanting to reserve rental space during the two days of Sunshine Stakes racing, businesses wishing to advertise in the race program, sponsor races or host sponsorships can contact the Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village by calling 562-281-7659 or emailing sunshinemeadowsharness@gmail.com. Their website is www.sunshinemeadows441.com. From Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village

This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series fifth legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features two $40,000 divisions on Friday (April 18) in the fifth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (April 19) card at Yonkers will see three $50,000 divisions in the fifth round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: As has been the case throughout the 2014 edition of the George Morton Levy series, Foiled Again was once again at the top of the headlines this past weekend at Yonkers. The 10-year-old sauntered around the half-mile oval in 1:51 this past Saturday night. "That's what he's supposed to do," said driver Yannick Gingras after the gelding's fourth win in as many Levy series/season starts. Foiled Again was a narrow winner in his Levy division on April 12. Leaving from post position No. 3 as the stronger half of a 1-20 entry, Foiled Again had to work to get around P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett). He did so before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile and found a :56.3 intermission with Bettor's Edge (George Brennan) away third and A J Corbelli (Tim Tetrick) fourth. It was Dancin Yankee (Ron Pierce) then moving from fifth, engaging Foiled Again toward a 1:24 three-quarters. Soon after, Bettor's Edge -- who, as with Foiled Again, was three-for-three in this series entering the evening -- slipped out to race second-over. However, Bettor's Edge became very rough very quickly, soon jumping it off. Foiled Again owned a half-length lead entering the lane. His pesky rival wouldn't go away, but wouldn't go by, either. Foiled Again won by a head in 1:51, the fastest local mile of the season. Third went to P H Supercam, beaten a half-length. Mach It So (1:52.1) and Clear Vision (1:52.1) won the other two Levy divisions. Last Friday night's fourth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker for Open mare pacers saw three $40,000 divisions go postward. The first event saw Breeders Crown champ Shelliscape (Tim Tetrick, $7.20) get her first series win with a handy, down-the-road effort (:27.3, :57, 1:24, 1:52). Ramalama (Matt Kakaley) was unable to sustain a first-up bid, while Monkey On My Wheel (Brian Sears) could only match strides from the pocket. Monkey On My Wheel did get second, beaten three-quarters of a length, with Ramalama third. Defending Matchmaker champion Feeling You was also flying under the radar until Friday evening. Leaving from post four with Tyler Buter doing the honors, Feeling You operated from second-over. That didn't seem so opportunistic when pole-sitting Rocklamation (Gingras) rated a cheap half (:28, :57.3). Rocklamation maintained her advantage in and out of a 1:25.2 three-quarters, taking a half-length lead into the lane. Feeling You, left to fend for herself, continued her assault on the leader. She outgamed Rocklamation by a head in 1:53.1. The third and final Matchmaker had Yagonnakissmeornot (Daniel Dube) throw down the gauntlet with the fastest mile of the series to date. Leaving from post five, Yagonnakissmeornot made the first lead before yielding to the 4-5 favorite in Somwherovrarainbow (Sears). After a :27.1 opening quarter-mile and :55.4 intermission, it was Krispy Apple (Tetrick) trying her luck first-up. That one couldn't sniff the leader before a 1:23.4 three-quarters, with Somwherovrarainbow owning a 1-1/2 length lead into the lane. However, she was powerless to deny Yagonnakissmeornot, who edged from the pocket and rolled away. That final margin for the second choice was 2-1/2 widening lengths in a season's-best 1:51.4. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 116; 2. George Brennan - 104.5; 3. Tim Tetrick - 80; 4. Brian Sears- 41; 5. Daniel Dube - 40. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 210.5; 2. PJ Fraley - 93; 3. Rene Allard - 40; 4. Joe Holloway - 25; 5. Kevin Carr - 20. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 78.5; 2t. Burke Racing - 53.8; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi - 53.8; 4. Brad Grant - 20.5; 5. Joe Pennacchio - 20. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Northfield Park, Freehold Raceway, Meadowlands Racetrack and Yonkers Raceway. Northfield will host the Courageous Lady for 3-year-old filly pacers on Friday (April 25); Freehold has eliminations scheduled for the Dexter Cup for 3-year-old colt trotters on Saturday (April 26); also that day the Meadowlands will feature the W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old colt pacers; and action at Yonkers will continue that Saturday with the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy finals and consolations. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series fourth legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features three $40,000 divisions on Friday (April 11) in the fourth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (April 12) card at Yonkers will see three $50,000 divisions in the fourth round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: The Ron Burke Stable continued to dominate Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series this past Saturday night (April 5). Burke trained the winners in all but one of the evening's four $50,000 divisions. Leading the Burke brigade once again was Foiled Again, who remained unbeaten in three series starts. He and driver Yannick Gingras went the distance, though not without having to work for it. Drawing outside his six rivals, Foiled Again went around pole-sitting P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett) before a :27 opening quarter-mile. From there, the match race was on. After a :55.4 half, these two separated themselves from the overmatched quintet. Foiled Again found three-quarters in 1:24, taking a 1-1/2 length lead into the lane. Then, P H Supercam took his shot. He dove inside and closed ground, but could not reach. Foiled Again prevailed by a head in 1:52. Rock On Moe (Eric Carlson) was a best-of-the-rest third as the 66-1 rank outsider. For Foiled Again, a 10-year-old Dragon Again gelding, the $25,000 payday increased his lifetime loot to $6,105,968 (79-for-201). Burke co-owns (as Burke Racing) with Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables. Burke's other Levy winners were Easy Again in 1:53.1 and Bettor's Edge in 1:52.2. Like Foiled Again, Bettor's Edge is also a perfect three-for-three in the series and they share the points lead in the Levy with 225 each. Easy Again has a pair of series scores and is in fourth place with 187 points. Summertime Lea and Yagonnakissmeornot won their respective divisions this past Friday night (April 4) in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for mares, the second score for each in the series. Yagonnakissmeornot moved into a first place tie in the standings with Angel's Delight, each with 200 points. Summertime Lea is third at 187 points. Yagonnakissmeornot, a 5-year-old daughter of The Panderosa co-owned (as Allard Racing) by trainer Rene Allard, Yves Sarazin and Kapildeo Singh, is now five-for-nine this season with career earnings just under $400,000. For Summertime Lea, a 4-year-old daughter of Lislea co-owned (as Burke Racing) by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and Earl Smith, it was her second win in three seasonal/series starts. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 96; 2. George Brennan - 94.5; 3. Tim Tetrick - 58; 4. Daniel Dube - 30; 5. Brian Sears - 29. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 180.5; 2. PJ Fraley - 69; 3. Rene Allard - 30; 4t. Joe Holloway - 20; 4t. Kevin Carr - 20. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 55.5; 2t. Burke Racing - 46.3; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi - 46.3; 4. Brad Grant - 20.5; 5. Joe Pennacchio - 20. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with the final preliminary leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy next weekend. The finals and consolations for both events will be held on April 26. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series third legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features three $40,000 divisions on Friday (April 4) in the third round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (April 5) card at Yonkers will see four $50,000 divisions in the third round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: There were four repeat winners in last week's second leg of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway. Bettor's Edge, Foiled Again, Itrustyou and Mach It So each made it two-for-two in the series by capturing their respective $50,000 events on the March 29 card at The Hilltop. Foiled Again and Yannick Gingras were easy winners in a time of 1:53.4. Foiled Again's 78th lifetime victory was among his simplest. Leaving from post position No. 4 in the last of the four divisions, Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras), leading a 1-20 Ron Burke-trained troika, had nothing more than a soggy stroll. After fractions of :28.1, :57, 1:25.3 and 1:53.4, Foiled Again found himself getting to the finish line 3-1/4 lengths before his competition. In this case, the closest competition was entrymate Aracache Hanover (Daniel Dube), with Texican N (Brian Sears) third. For Foiled Again, a 10-year-old Dragon Again gelding, the $25,000 purse check increased his lifetime loot to $6,080,968. Burke co-owns (as Burke Racing) with Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables. There were a pair of repeat winners in the March 28 second leg divisions of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series as Angel's Delight and Somwherovrarainbow vaulted to the top of the series standings with impressive victories. For Angel's Delight, a 4-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover owned by Joseph Pennacchio and trained by Kevin Carr, it was her sixth win (with four seconds) in 10 seasonal starts. Somwherovrarainbow, a 4-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere trained by Joe Holloway for co-owners Diamond Creek Racing and Ted Gewertz, is now three-for-three this season. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farm is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 74; 2. George Brennan - 67.5; 3. Tim Tetrick - 41; 4. Brian Sears - 29; 5. Daniel Dube - 20. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 136.5; 2. PJ Fraley - 45; 3t. Rene Allard - 20; 3t. Joe Holloway - 20; 3t. Kevin Carr - 20. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 37.5; 2t. Burke Racing - 33.7; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi - 33.7; 4. Joe Pennacchio - 20; and 5. M1 Stable - 10.85. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy over the next two weekends. The finals and consolations for both events will be held on April 26. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

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