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In an effort to aid those whose invaluable service is given to this country, Paul Martinez and the Robbie Siegelman Stable are piloting a transition program for active and recently retired veterans that centers around driving and other equine opportunities in harness racing.  SSG(ret) Paul Martinez is a former Army Ranger Sniper who  advocates for veteran’s in transition through various organizations such as Mentors For Military Podcast and Equine ImmersionProgram (EquineImmersionProgram.com). Paul, accompanied by Jordan  Puccio, US Army, and Elizabeth Quinones, US Marines,  toured the Yonkers Raceway oval thanks to the efforts kindness of trainers Robbie  Siegelman and Dennis Laterza, aided by SOA director Peter Younger. Robbie, whose  efforts on behalf of our military personnel has not waned one bit, continues the work in helping our dedicated service men, aided by Yonkers Raceway.  “There are many benefits in equine programs such as this” said Siegelman, “and we can all do a part to help.” One  big benefit  as Winston Churchill once said, “ because there is something about the outside of a horse,  that is good for the inside of a man”.  Hats off to all who helped and hopefully more can be done in the future. by Joseph Faraldo, for the SOA of NY

HARRISBURG PA – There was a “dead heat for win” in the voting for the most prestigious harness racing award for which the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) are the sole arbiters – the Stan Bergstein/Proximity Award. The joint winners are New York horseman Joe Faraldo and the Ontario owning/breeding partnership of Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz – the first time there has been a tie in the top of the voting in the 68-year history of the award, which is voted on by the sport’s leading media organization. Joe Faraldo, an attorney by trade and an owner/amateur driver, is heading into his 40th year as President and CEO of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York, the horsemen’s group that serves Yonkers Raceway, the track which pays the highest purses in the North American sport. He has been a staunch advocate of horsemen’s rights, and is the only attorney who has argued a harness racing-related case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Faraldo has been a director of the U.S. Trotting Association for over 20 years, and currently serves as Chair of the USTA’s District 8-A (lower New York). He is the chair of the important Harness Racing Medication Collaborative, which not only keeps up to date with substances and testing procedure in the sport, but also seeks to find common ground among the pari-mutuel sports’ breeds and jurisdictions. Faraldo is also an amateur driver of some note, and has driven in several countries during competitions. His international presence helped Yonkers re-establish the International Trot after a two-decade absence. He has been honored by Harness Horsemen’s International, the USTA, and USHWA. Joe Faraldo The partnership of Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, both of whom are in the southern Ontario real estate field, was not an instantaneous success by their own admission; the horse which started a turnaround for them was 1997 Meadowlands Pace winner Dream Away. But it is hard to miss the impression they have made on the owning and breeding of quality horses, especially in the last decade. The racehorse list includes millionaires Ariana G and Dream Away; the most recent of their breeding accomplishments was the selling of the sport’s first million-dollar yearling, Maverick, a Father Patrick full brother to this year’s spectacular three-year-old Greenshoe, who sold for $1,100,000 at Lexington this past fall. Horses they have owned and/or bred have accounted for the Hambletonian, Kentucky Futurity, Canadian Trotting Classic and other world-class events. The pair have been honored on both sides of the North American racing border previously. Libfeld/Katz were also the Presenting Sponsors of the 2019 Breeders Crown championships when they came to their nearby Woodbine at Mohawk Raceway, and the associated Breeders Crown Charity Challenge raised over $200,000 for area charities. The Bergstein / Proximity Award honors the great trotting mare Proximity, who was Harness Horse of the Year in 1950, and Stan Bergstein, the sport’s only “double Hall of Famer” and an industry visionary and leader for going on half a century until his passing in 2011. The remainder of the human and broodmare Dan Patch awardwinners are being announced today and tomorrow; the twelve racehorse divisional champions will be announced this Friday, January 3, at 6:30 p.m. on The Meadowlands’ “pre-races” show, with media releases following (availability to view that announcement will be released shortly). Joe Faraldo, Marvin Katz, and Al Libfeld will be honored at USHWA’s annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, celebrating the best and brightest of harness racing in the past year. The banquet honoring the champions of 2019 will be held on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. The Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and Horse of the Year will be revealed for the first time at the Banquet. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet are $180, with a filet mignon dinner featured; “post times” on February 23 are cocktails at 5:30 p.m., with dinner to follow. Tickets, and other Banquet-related information, can be obtained through Dinner Planning Committee Chair Judy Davis-Wilson, at zoe8874@aol.com or 302 359 3630.   Hotel reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA’s website, www.ushwa.net; a link to the hotel’s computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com (the 2019 journal is online at the writers’ website). From the United States Harness Writers Association

On Saturday, December 7, The Standardbred Owners Association of New York (SOANY), the horsemen's association representing the over 1,000 owners, trainers and drivers regularly competing at Yonkers Raceway, certified the results of its 2019 Board of Directors election. In the driver/trainer category, Ray Schnittker, Peter Younger and Andrew Harris were unopposed in their election to three year terms. In the owner category, SOA President Joseph Faraldo and Chris Wittstruck were also unopposed in their election to three year terms. At the SOA's annual meeting the present officers, as well as trustees of the Welfare and Retirement Funds, were continued for year 2020. They are: Officers: President: Joseph Faraldo 1st Vice President: Peter Venaglia 2nd Vice President Irv Atherton 3rd Vice President: John Brennan Treasurer: Irv Atherton Secretary: John Brennan Trustees: Peter Venaglia - Chairman Irv Atherton John Brennan Joseph Faraldo Chris Wittstruck Jordan Stratton (1st Alternate) Ray Schnittker (2nd Alternate) Peter Younger (3rd Alternate) Also at the meeting, the Board discussed its intent to continue its diligence in monitoring prospective legislation as it addresses casino gaming and sports betting, so as to prevent further cannibalization of our industry. It was also reported that the 2020 International Trot will be held on a date in mid-September. by Chris Wittstruck, for SOA of NY

Columbus, OH -- In an announcement from the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium on Wednesday (Nov. 21) regarding NSAID administration time and intra-articular injections, that organization inaccurately portrayed their relationship with the U.S. Trotting Association when they stated that, "The RMTC consists of 23 racing industry stakeholders and organizations that represent Thoroughbred, Standardbred, American Quarter Horse and Arabian racing." "A review of the RMTC release reveals an unjustified and regrettable misrepresentation," said USTA President Russell Williams. "The RMTC does not represent the Standardbred breed in any way. Only the United States Trotting Association and the Harness Racing Medication Collaborative can speak for the Standardbred breed regarding medication issues." HRMC Chairman Joe Faraldo echoed Williams' declaration. "As chairman of the USTA's Harness Racing Medication Collaborative let me be quite clear that RMTC does NOT represent the Standardbred industry," said Faraldo. "The harness industry operates under an altogether different training regimen and is a more durable breed than our Thoroughbred counterparts," explained Faraldo. "The genesis for such a proposed rule is founded on the unfortunate reaction to the Santa Anita catastrophe, which has gathered significant negative public attention but has no relationship to any Standardbred experience. Our incidence of catastrophic breakdowns is a statistical anomaly as compared to other breeds and hence such rules such as these, should under no circumstances be made applicable to the Standardbred industry. "Rules such as these, referred to any state commission through RMTC or even RCI (Association of Racing Commissioners International), as its conduit, is not representative of rules more appropriately applicable to the harness racing industry and should therefore not be applied to it," added Faraldo. "The HRMC shall provide the state racing commissions and others with appropriate regulations that are consistent with any and all integrity concerns related to permitted, therapeutic medications whether directly or through RCI." On Sept. 25, 2013, the Executive Committee of the USTA unanimously voted to reject RCI proposed model medication rules and in a separate unanimous vote, agreed that the USTA would immediately withdraw its membership from the RMTC. "We have carefully considered the RCI proposals and have come to the conclusion that the physical characteristics of the breeds are significantly different. Trying to fit them together makes little sense," said then USTA President Phil Langley. "We believe both breeds, Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds, will benefit from having rules concentrated solely on their needs." On May 8, 2018, the USTA, through the Medication Subcommittee of the USTA Board of Directors, established the HRMC, a group that includes both academic and practicing veterinarians. The HRMC's purpose is to assist in identifying and developing the scientific background for medication regulation in Standardbred racing. The USTA utilizes HRMC's reports and supporting data to present to the RCI for dissemination to regulators in the various racing commissions. From the USTA Communications Department

YONKERS, NY ---Two divisions of the sixth leg of the NAADA Fall Trotting Series is now in the books sfter the judges declared each official, Joe Faraldo and Melissa Arbia walked away with the lions share of their respective $8000 harness racing divisions. Faraldo won his heat with Tough Get Going in 2:02.1 by the shortest of noses while Arbia copped her split after rallying Finich Odair a head triumph in a 1:58.3 clocking. After starting from the three hole Faraldo ducked to the pylons and was content to allow Joe Pennacchio and Cheeky Little Miss to cut the fractions. Once on top Pennacchio was unhurried and got his trotter by the quarter in soft :30.2 and the half in 1:02.1 despite keeping Glenferrie Dreamer (Paul Minore) on the limb. Meanwhile Faraldo sat chilly with Tough Get Going until the top of the lane where he rallied his trotter and both he and Pennacchio's Cheeky Little Miss charged to the wire. "We won it but it was by the shortest of noses. In fact it was so close that I wasn't sure my horse won until they posted the order of finish on the infield tote board "I'm telling you it (the victory) couldn't have been by more than an inch," Faraldo explained. Even with his overland trip Glenferrie Dreamer took home the show dough. Tough Get Going is owned by Faraldo and Richie Banca and trained by Banca. For Faraldo who was National Amateur Driver of the Year in 2000 it marked his sixth victory this season. The first event was nearly a carbon copy of Faraldo's victory. In that one Arbia and Finnick Odair benefited by a two-hole trip as Paul Minore and Wygant Prince kept Bob Hechkoff and Five Towns parked from the three-eighths as they raced one-two until the three quarters when Five Towns began to tire. After traveling along in the two-hole while using the leaders for cover, when Arbia asked Finnick Odair for more the veteran trotter responded and got-up in the final strides for a head triumph over Wygant Prince. Five Towns hung on for third money. The winner, a 4-year-old altered son of Cantab Hall, is co- owned by his driver along wuth Joe Bongiorno and Jennifer Bongiorno. The latter is the horse's trainer. by John Manzi, for NAADA  

Yonkers, NY---Faraldo and Minore.... It may sound like a law firm or maybe an excerpt from the motion picture , "The Italian Connection". but the Faraldo and Minore referenced here are harness racing drivers and each won division of the CKG Billings Series at Yonkers Raceway Wenesday. "Smokin' Joe Faraldo won his Billings split with Muzzy's Muscles in 2:03.1 while "Coach Paul" Minore was victorious with Wygant Prince in 2:00.3 in the other division. In his event Faraldo hustled Muzzy's Muscles to the lead and they coasted through soft fractions while on the engine and although they were headed in the stretch Muzzy's Muscles rallied back to score a head victory over "Millstone Mike" Polansky's Noble Warrawee. Broadway Bruiser took home the show dough for "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello. Muzzy's Muscles, a 5-year-old Credit Winner gelding,is owned by his driver and trained by Richie Banca Since the front-end route worked well for Faraldo Minore aped that move and his old warhorse made every pole a winning one. After starting from the five hole Minore zipped Wygant Prince to the lead and they had two lengths on the field as they trotted by the quarter in :29.4. Once on top they had to contend with "Joltin' Joe" Penncchio and Super Manning who came first- up after the half but they couldn't get any closer than to Wygant Prince's throat latch and Super Manning followed the old veteran trotter home to claim second money. Finnick Odair finished third for Melissa "the Contessa" Arbia. Wygant Prince is owned by Minore and trained by Taylor Gower. For full race results click here.  by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

The Standardbred Owners Association of New York’s Executive Director, Alex Dadoyan, will be leaving his harness racing position at the SOA of NY to take a position with MGM Resorts Yonkers Raceway as Director of Racing. “MGM having someone with his knowledge of the racing game will be beneficial in both the short and long term for the racing product at Yonkers, our horsemen and the industry,” said SOA of NY President Joe Faraldo. “The SOA of NY has benefited from having Alex these last six years to help us fulfill long term goals that many said were merely pipe dreams, including the initiation of the only regularly scheduled simulcast of American harness racing which took place from Yonkers Raceway to the French PMU,” Faraldo continued.    “Alex helped the SOA of NY to promote and tighten the global bonds that unite horsemen from North America to Europe to our down under partners in Australia and New Zealand.  Alex’s departure from the SOA leaves big shoes to fill, but we wish Alex well in his transition to MGM, and we look forward to a long and productive relationship with Alex and his colleagues at MGM as we build upon our successes of recent years,” Faraldo concluded. Sometime after the International Trot on October 12th the SOA of NY will be canvassing for a new Executive Director whose duties will include general Administration and handling our Welfare and Retirement Funds in conjunction with the officers, directors and trustees of the Association . From the SOA of NY

YONKERS, N.Y. – Monday evening at Yonkers Raceway, Steve Starr gathered in the winner’s circle with about 30 of the track’s drivers, horsepeople, officials, and even the outrider. The group came together in recognition of Starr’s 47-year career at the track, which ended Monday as Starr announced his retirement. Growing up, Starr dreamed of becoming a Standardbred breeder and graduated from Delaware Valley College with a degree in animal husbandry. However, life guided him to Yonkers Raceway, where he took a job assisting Ed Parker and Richard O’Donnell in the race office in the mid-1970s. That job blossomed into a career and Starr soon became the track’s race secretary, a position he maintained through Monday.  Starr reflected on his career, the challenges facing the industry, and looked ahead to retired life with the SOA of NY’s Brandon Valvo Wednesday evening. BV: Congratulations on your career and on your retirement. How does it feel? SS: I’ve been retired for 24 hours and it feels great. I spent most of the day with my wife and my youngest grandchild, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m off on the right foot.  BV: They had a big ceremony in the winner’s circle for you. What was that like for you, how did you feel? SS: It was great. Over the course of the years, there have been so many great people in that winner’s circle and it really was a thrill to be down there. To have all those drivers and trainers and grooms and officials with me, I enjoyed it. BV: What made you decide now was the right time to call it a career? SS: Truthfully, I’ve put 47 years in and I’m going to be 70. I worked for the Rooneys my whole life, and it was great working for them and their family. They couldn’t have treated me any better over the period of 47-years and I have no regrets ever working for the Rooneys and (Vice President and COO) Bob Galterio. When MGM bought the place in late January, I just thought I was too old and too set in my ways to go forward with MGM and adjust to their changes. I spoke to my wife and I wanted to work until we got through the International Trot, but that’s two-and-a-half months away and we’d miss the whole summer, so I decided to get out now while the getting is good. BV: You mention the summer, do you have any plans coming up or anything you’re looking forward to? SS: Just staying local, I have a son and daughter. I live in Pleasantville, they moved to Pleasantville, with my grandchildren. I’m very happy right now. What my wife and I want to do is sell our house, we want to downsize, stay in Pleasantville. So, we have some work to do to keep us busy and once we do that, my new life will begin. This is still business. BV: How did you get involved in racing and how did you decide this was the career for you? SS: When I got out of college, I got the opportunity to work at some stud farms and I took that opportunity. I wanted to stay in the breeding business, that’s what my desire was early in my life. When I got to the farms, I felt they weren’t using me to the best of my abilities, so when an opportunity opened up at Yonkers, their assistant had moved on and I went down to interview for the job and I was very fortunate to start working for Ed Barker and the Rooney family. That was in 1974 and from there, my tutelage was under Ed Barker and Richard O’Donnell. In early 1977, I was given the job of race secretary and I was there in that position ever since. BV: What was it like when you first started working at Yonkers? What was the racetrack like back then? SS: It was great. It was $2 million a night in handle, good attendance. The work was outrageous, I never worked so hard. Ed Barker, he wasn’t a slave driver, but he was meticulous about how he wanted everything done. It was a tie and a coat when you went in to draw in the morning and then when you came back in the evening, it was a tie and a coat. There wasn’t a relaxed atmosphere back then, it was more business than anything else. The ABC system requires a lot more time than conditioned racing and that’s how I started. I worked that system until ’91 or ’92. It was a lot of work then; I can’t even tell you how much work. They days were 10, 12 hours, and those were good days. BV: You would spend a good portion of your day handicapping the horses and trying to classify them appropriately? SS: Yes, I learned that under Ed Barker and Richard O’Donnell. As an assistant, you work a little harder than most, but the whole system was different. You had to really watch those races pretty carefully so you could be sure about what you wanted to do. Move them up, move them down. These guys livelihoods were in your hands. It was important to do things right if you could. I liked it until Roosevelt closed and everyone was doing conditions except me. It was very difficult at that time to do ABC. When Roosevelt, was open, they could go to Roosevelt for a few months, then come to Yonkers for a few months. We both worked the ABC system, so it was easy to keep them classified and know where they were going to race. When we were the only ones doing ABC, every horse that came in had to be reclassified unless they were claimers.  BV: I imagine one of the biggest changes made during your career was the switch from ABC to conditions at that point? SS: Absolutely. It was night and day, like two different jobs. You give the horsemen more latitude to decide where they wanted to go. Your condition racing was by age, sex, money earned. There was a lot of opportunity to decide where you wanted to race, plus the claiming races. It really turned over the racing program more in the hands of the trainers and owners than the race secretary. There were a lot less arguments then, too. BV: What was it like when the casino came to Yonkers? SS: That was something brilliant, that was the greatest thing that happened to harness racing at Yonkers and in the State of New York. We were all in the same boat and the Rooneys kept that place going. When we opened the casino in 2006, it really made all the difference in the world. When we first opened, we got somewhere between $40- and $45 million for purses and that worked its way up to $50 million dollars. That made the biggest difference in the world. It sure made my job a lot easier. BV: Talk a little more about how the game has changed over the last 10 years or so. How has your job changed more recently? Everyone talks about the horse shortage; did you feel that at Yonkers? SS: Before we closed for the casino to be built, we were really struggling because the purses were not good. They still had the shipping to do, they had bridges to cross, and probably a lot of people just didn’t want to come to Yonkers. When we reopened, our purses gradually got much better. At that point in time, we had more horses than we knew what to do with. Eventually, that started to wean itself. The horse population is really bad at Yonkers only because for someone to ship to Yonkers, it costs about $250 and that probably doesn’t include the groom and paddocking, just for tolls and gas just to pull one of those trailers across the bridge. The expense is just exorbitant to get to us. Sometimes when they have to opportunity to race at Chester or Pocono, they race there instead. Now it’s more difficult and the only thing that makes it more difficult is lack of horses, but I’m not alone. I think that’s going to be one of the biggest problem the industry faces in the future. I think the horse population will be more important to deal with than anything else and I don’t think it’s far away, either. I would say probably within 5 or 10 years. BV: You look at entries for the top pacing races at a lot of the tracks, you have 20 or 30 New Zealand- and Australia-bred horses per night.  SS: That’s right, they’re filling these races, really. Especially the better classes. You can’t fill and Open and a Winner’s Over, you can’t fill those two classes. There was a time when you had an Open and two Winner’s Overs and they were pretty good horses. Now, you can’t fill them the same day, with mares, trotters, and the aged pacers. There just aren’t that many horses who can race in those classes. Chester and Pocono, if they didn’t have their series back and forth with the final, if they didn’t have that, they wouldn’t have any high-class races at their tracks. They don’t even try to fill Opens over there anymore. BV: How do you think that problem is going to be addressed? SS: I don’t think they’re taking it seriously right now. They know there’s a problem, but I really don’t think they realize how big this problem is going to be. There’s only one way to address it and that’s to have more horses. I don’t know how you get people to breed. These farms are putting out as much as they can. There really aren’t that many individuals that breed anymore, there’s just a few big farms that do most of the breeding. I don’t see that changing other than them increasing their broodmare bands and producing more yearlings, but I don’t know if they can do that or not. To raise a mare and a yearling and sell it is really expensive. BV: You mentioned the Yonkers International Trot at the beginning of our conversation. Talk about what it was like for you when that race was revived in 2015. What was it like to be a part of that? SS: I was tickled to death. I was scared. I didn’t know how it was going to work, I couldn’t speak anything but English. I was lucky, I was introduced to a guy from Europe. He’s a racetrack operator, but he’s also a friend of the horsemen. His name is Klaus Koch. With his assistance, we were able to put these fields together. When we started in 2015, it was not easy. The purse is $1 million, and you would have thought you weren’t giving them anything but a slice of pizza. It was comical. You have to wait a long time to fill these races because the Europeans don’t make a commitment right away. You have to be within a month of the race before they make a real commitment. It’s getting better now, but in 2015, they just didn’t want to make an early commitment. From the horseman’s side, I can’t argue with them, but as the race secretary, I wish they made up their minds a lot sooner. This year could be the best year ever. It certainly would have been if that French horse (Aubrion Du Gers) didn’t get killed in that accident on the track. He had already made a commitment to come with Dijon, the horse that won the Elitlopp. This was shaping up to be a really good race. Every horse I wanted to come was a grade 1 winner. This was the best year I ever had, it was unbelievable the way this was turning out and it’s still shaping up to be one of the best fields ever. I’m sure Bob Miecuna working with Klaus, they’ll get this race together. If the people who are interested now make a commitment, it will be a great race in 2019. BV: Listening to you talk about the International, it sounds like something you are really passionate about. SS: Oh, I was. When they came back with the race in 2015, it was $1 million. That was the second time we had a million-dollar race, we had an Art Rooney Pace for $1 million once. MGM was gracious enough without knowing much about racing to keep this race going. The SOA of NY of course, they’re very much a part of the race. They contributed 100 percent to the affair. BV: Talk more about the relationship with the horsepeople and the SOA of NY. That must have been a big part of your job as well. SS: It was, and I’ll tell you something, it’s a lot easier to get along with the horsemen than it’s not. Back in the ‘80s when Joe Faraldo and the SOA took over, it was a war zone at Yonkers. I didn’t know if I was going to make it home every night. But as things turned around and things got better, our relationship with the horsepeople got better. My relationship with Joe Faraldo and the SOA is 100 percent sound. They’re great people to work with, they’re reasonable, and if you work together and think together, you can make anything happen. The best way to run your business is to get along. Joe and I, we eventually many years ago started to get along and it really made things a lot better and I think it made the races a lot better, too. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

Yonkers, NY--Like fine wine Joe Faraldo just keeps getting better. The driving barrister scored yet another harness racing victory with his old warhorse Tough Get Going when they bottomed-out the field with an impressive 2:00 wire-to-wire victory in the $8000 NAADA Trot at Yonkers Raceway tonight (July 18). "His wonderful ability of leaving like a runner sure helps when we're looking for a good position and tonight he grabbed the lead on the first turn and we were pretty comfortable after that," Faraldo said via phone after the race. After starting from the five hole Faraldo sent his charge to the lead and they had command even before the first turn and they led their competition by the first stanza in :29. Snug on the lead Tough Get Going led the field by the halfway point in 1:00.2 but at that point David Glasser hustled Eyore Haover up alongside Faraldo's charge and the two then raced side by side up the backstretch. As they approached the three quarters Hannah Miller-who was getting a two-hole journey- moved Jacks To Open tighter on Faraldo's back . "Hannah's horse was fresh and with Glasser on the limb I backed into Hannah to keep her in behind me as long as I could. She did shake loose at the top of the stretch but it was too late," Faraldo added. At the wire Tough Get Going rambled home a 1-1/2 length winner over Jacks To Open. Eyore Hanover hung on for the show dough in the non-wagering event. For Smokin' Joe it was his 150th driving victory   by John Manzi for NAADA    

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

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

Yonkers, NY-- Occasionally a harness racing driver fits well behind a certain horse, and that could be said about the special relationship between Joe Faraldo and his trotter Tough Get Going. Tonight at Yonkers Raceway the driving barrister hustled his charge to the front and then made every pole a winning one en route to a 1:59 victory, in the second leg of the NAADA Summer Series. It was their second victory in their last three times together behind a starting gate. After starting from the seven-hole Faraldo hustled Tough Get Going to the lead and they had command when the quarter pole timer flashed :28.1."When he's right he can leave with the car.," Faraldo said. "And tonight he did just that," Together they showed the way by the half in :58.3 as young Brett Beckwith got Dark Poole in high gear and they ranged alongside Tough Get Going as they trotted toward the third quarter. Although Dark Poole didn't clear Tough Get Going it worked out well for Faraldo because with Dark Poole on the limb that kept Tony Ciuffetelli's Someway Same Hall boxed in along the pylons and prevented him from getting a early shot at the leader. However when they headed for paydirt Ciuffetelli's trotter was charging down the passing lane but he ran out of racetrack and had to settle for second money in a tight photo. Dark Pool was just a length behind the top two in third place. Next Thursday the series moves back to Monticello Raceway.   by John Manzi for NAADA

Monticello, NY-- When Tony Verruso is not airborne assisting travelers he enjoys time sitting behind a spirited steed in an amateur race. And on Thursday afternoon (June 6) Verruso, the president of the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series, drove Connie Keeper to a 2:00.1 victory in the NAADA Trotting Series which began its summer harnes racing events today at Monticello Raceway. When the starter said "go" Joe Faraldo gunned Tough Get Going to the led but he was chased by Someway Same Hall (Tony Ciuffetelli, Jr.) and Connie Keeper, eventually yielding to the latter who got first call as the field passed the quarter pole. "They were all leaving pretty good and I figured I'dgo out and look for a hole after the start but it wasn't until Joe (Faraldo) grabbed leather and Tony Ciuffetelli, (Jr.) found a hole with the favorite (Someway Same Hall ) that I cleared to the lead and after that happened I had constant pressure and just kept going," Verruso said. After a :29 first panel Verruso kept the pedal to the metal and Connie Keeper showed the way past the half in :59.2 being challenged now by Joe Lee with Surface Tension, who hung around up the backside before he began to fade when Connie Keeper passed the third stanza in 1:29.4.. At that point Faraldo moved to the outside with Tough Get Going as Ciuffetelli hung along the pylons in third place with thoughts of using the passing lane in the stretch... which he did. But the race for victory was between the top two trotters and both Faraldo and Verruso went to work urging their charges in the deep stretch. "When we rounded the final turn I thought I was home free but after a tough trip on the engine Connie Keeper's strides began to shorten as we approached the finish line. However, the finish wire came up in time and we won it by a head," Verruso said in the paddock as he handed the lines to the horses' caretaker." Sent off at odds of over 6-1 Connie Keeper paid $14.20. With her victory the veteran Muscles Yankee mare raised her lifetime earnings to over $201,000. She is owned by Dr. Scott Woogen and trained by Gary Messenger. For Verruso, it marked his 73rd career win since he began competing in amateur racing in 1999.   by John Manzi for the North American Amateur Driving Association

Yonkers, NY--After 10 grueling legs of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's Spring Trotting Series the $15,0000 final was presented on the betting card at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday, May 23 and when the judges hung the official sign, series founder and its president Joe Faraldo was victorious after guiding Tough Get Going to a 1:59. 4 triumph in wire to wire fashion. "When the gate sprung I kept my eyes on the rail horse (Figi-Dave Offenberg) but he got away slowly so I hustled my horse to the front and we had command on the first turn," Faraldo said via telephone after the race. "But as soon as I had the lead Joe Lee, with the odds-on favorite, Soul Train, came calling on the outside and we passed the first quarter in :28.3. I knew at that point I couldn't let him go so we locked horns by the half in :57.4." After the swift early fractions Joe Lee found room behind Faraldo as they headed for the three quarters and they were one-two past that stanza in 1:27.4. Not being able to gain any ground on Tough Get Going Lee had little choice but to follow the leader and on the final turn they were joined by Bob Krivelin with Permanent Joy. But there was no catching Faraldo as his trotter cruised home a 2-1/2 length winner. Soul Train finished second and Permanent Joy was a half length farther back in third place. Tough Get Going is co-owned by Faraldo and trainer, Richie Banca. He paid $15.00. It was Faraldo's 148th driving victory in the States to go along with a handful in Europe. Currently Faraldo, Alan Schwartz and a NAADA member to be named, will be winging their way to Italy in July for an international driving competition.   by John Manzi for NAADA

Exercise-induced Pulmonary Hemorrage (EIPH) has been a recognized condition in horses since the early 18 century. While the amount of bleeding in horses varies, it is universally recognized that the vast majority of horses in training and racing do indeed bleed. The advent of the flexible endoscope confirmed in studies that in thoroughbreds the stress put upon them, proved that up to 75 per cent of them bleed in training and more so in racing. Other studies done on standardbred and thoroughbreds, after running three races, showed that 100 per cent of these horses bled at least once, evidenced by blood in the trachea. The cause of the bleeding is the amount of pressure experienced that racing puts on the pulmonary veins, four times the normal pressure. The pressure causes fibrosis and in turn Pulmonary fibrosis scars and thickens the tissue around and between the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs, which decreases the lungs ability to function and decreases the racing life of the horse. I have attended multiple-day seminars with experts from all over the globe on the topic of the race day administration of Lasix. In North America, Lasix is the most popular medication for treating EIPH because studies have shown that it is the most effective treatment in decreasing the amount of bleeding and therefore the scarring and thickening of the tissue around the lungs. In many of the English speaking countries around the world conducting racing, where race day use of Lasix is prohibited, it is nonetheless permitted up to race day because it is acknowledged to have the desired therapeutic effects in controlling EIPH. One has to ask if it is recognized as necessary in training because of its control of this problem, when the stress is not as severe as when a horse competes in a race, then what is the rationale for withholding it on race day, where four times the normal pressure in the racing environment exists? It has been said that when our horses, mainly thoroughbreds, go overseas they compete quite well without Lasix. That is indeed true, perhaps because they have a least had the benefit of controlling pulmonary hemorrhage long enough to achieve success over their foreign competitors. Overseas competition is against horses that are using something far less efficacious than Lasix, or worse nothing at all, to address the long term effects occasioned by the increased stress in racing. Those who want to join the community of Lasix-free racing point to the alleged masking of other substances, but the controlled administration of the substance; the hourly limitation on its use pre-race( 4-4 1/2 hours); the testing for threshold overages of the substance, has put that argument to bed. Now the newest mantra for the elimination of race-day Lasix, is the horrible, horrible loss of life at Santa Anita Racetrack. The false claim being, that while the rest of North America continues to help the horse racing on Lasix, without nay correlation to catastrophes, Lasix is being inexplicably blamed as the proximate cause of those catastrophes. The problem, is the potential for the elimination of a recognized effective tool in controlling and minimizing, EIPH that helps the horse cope with the effects of stress. Santa Anita should be shut down immediately until the true causes of these catastrophes can be accurately determined and corrected. The factors point initially to the track’s surface and under-footing, but the more precise answer must be determined by analyzing all of the multiple possible factors, Lasix, being clearly not the culprit. Without closing down Santa Anita immediately, the industry, thoroughbred and standardbred alike, comes under tremendous pressure from all those looking to eliminate the industry anyway. Santa Anita is providing fuel to a fire that threatens the game, by racing more in the face of its undetermined cause of these catastrophic breakdowns. Allowing continued suffering at Santa Anita is intolerable and unacceptable and should not continue. Enough is enough and if one is looking to blame Lasix, it is suggested that one look elsewhere. Every industry organization needs to be heard on any and every false narrative out there. No benefit can be achieved by being silent on issues that threaten our existence. Joe Faraldo

Yonkers, NY- Joe Faraldo is a happy man. And why shouldn't he be? After all, the veteran amateur driver just won the $15,000 Final of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's fourth and final trotting series with Tough Get Going at Yonkers Raceway on Friday night (Dec. 7). They toured the Hilltop oval in a time of 2:00 to score a one-length victory over Monica Banca and Master of Excuses. When the wings of the mobile gate sprung Banca sent Master of Excuses to the lead from the two hole with Faraldo's charge on the limb pushing the pace after starting from post five. “I wanted to take the lead but Monica wouldn't have it and she said 'get behind me', which I did and it worked out to be the winning move,” Faraldo related by phone after the race. Banca and Master of Excuses passed the first stanza in :28.4 and they were comfortable by the half in :59.4. The leaders then raced one-two past the three quarters in 1:29.1 and on the final turn Faraldo moved Tough Get Going off the pylons. “My horse felt strong at that point and when we straightened for home I knew we'd be the winner,” he said.  Master of Excuses was second best a head in front of third place finisher Multitaskr Hanover in rein to Jennifer Lappe. Tough Get Going has won his last two starts and recently has been at the top of his game. Asked how come the he's currently racing better Faraldo was quick to respond. “He likes the cold weather and he can breath better when the temperature dips,” All things considered ,the veteran 5-year Kadabra gelding has amassed almost $47,000 this season. He's owned by Faraldo and Richie Banca and trained by Banca. Sent off as second choice Tough Get Going paid $6.00 for win. This has been a very prolific season for NAADA. Besides four 10-race series during the year the longtime amateur organization has hosted European amateur clubs from Hungary, Spain, Italy and France. And in September NAADA members traveled to Mallorca to race against the Spanish amateurs on their turf. “We plan to do much of the same next year, too,” Faraldo added. John Manzi        

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