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Pompano Beach, FL – A crowd of more than 100 harness racing horsemen and women met outside the race paddock at the Isle Pompano Park Saturday morning and heard the positive news they were hoping for. No eviction from the backstretch for horse people and their horses. “What ever you have heard or read over the past few days is to be forgotten,” Said Joe Pennacchio of the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association. “We have nothing but good news today.” Pennacchio then introduced Joe Morris, the new Vice-President of Racing for Eldorado Casinos that owns Pompano Park. Morris, a Standardbred owner and breeder and former trainer, was hired just three weeks ago by Eldorado. He is well known by many of the horsemen at Pompano Park and received a loud applause before he spoke. “There is no eviction notice,” Morris started out stating. “We have to look out for each other. We will not evict any horses or people. We will not be throwing out anyone in the dorms. If we (Eldorado) need to help feed people in the backstretch, we will do it. If a trainer can’t afford feed or hay for their horses, we will help them. If a horseman has the opportunity to ship and race at another track and can’t afford it, we will help them. “We don’t know how long this coronavirus will keep us shut down,” Morris said. “We don’t know if we will be able to race this meet right now, but we are already meeting and planning for the race meet next season. “We are also looking into your health insurance,” Morris added. “We will not allow anyone in the backstretch to go without health insurance at a time like this. In today’s world you have to have health insurance and if need be, we will help fund it. We have to look out after each other. “Things are hard enough nowadays,” Morris explained. “And we do not want you to have to worry about going anywhere until you are ready and we want you all to know that we are here to help you.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Pompano Beach,  FL — In a spirited and highly competitive first round of the World Cup Amateur Driving Championship, Spain emerged with the lead — although precarious — without winning any of the four Monday night (Feb. 24) harness racing contests. Spain’s Miquel Vich Capo finished second, fifth and third in his trio of drives and his consistently high finishes garnered him enough points to top the leaderboard for the time being. With four more events scheduled for the final night on Tuesday, Switzerland, represented by Barbara Aebischer, is second while there are three countries tied for third — USA, New Zealand and Belgium — all within striking distance to take home the crown. Canada and Italy are also still in the hunt. Aebischer opened the ceremonies with a sterling win in the first event by giving a superb drive back of Tech Titan, trained by Dan McCartney for owner Lee Clarke. The 7-year-old gelded son of Muscle Hill was making his first start over Pompano Park’s five-eighths-mile oval and Aebischer bided her time as Cashahallic, driven by the USA’s Joe Pennacchio, carved up the panels and led until the field straightened away for the wire. Both Mego Moss (Warren Rich, New Zealand) and Kaffir Kemp (Lukas Svedin, Sweden) loomed boldly but neither could collar the leader as both Tech Titan and Citi Z Tam (Miquel Vich Capo, Spain) were closing stoutly. At the wire, Tech Titan had a 2-1/4 length margin over Citi Z Tam and returned $7.40 as the second choice in the betting. The mile was clocked in 1:58.2. The second event went to Italy’s Andrea Sallustio, who gave the Chet Poole Jr. trained, Johanna Calvert owned Little Big Rigs a “heads-up drive” to score in 1:59.2. Off at a generous 19-1, Little Big Rigs, a 6-year-old altered son of Big Rigs, showed solid speed off the wings from the outside post to settle up into fourth early before sitting chilly the rest of the way before accelerating late in the lane to score by a length for his first win of the year. Legend Field, with Belgium’s Piet Van Pollaert in his bike, got a garden journey, took command in the stretch but was out-kicked late by the winner. Skyway Jaguar, also trained by Poole and owned by Johanna Calvert, made a miscue or two early, spotted the field many lengths but closed fastest of all to finish third for Leonardo Agusti of Argentina. The winner paid $40.80. The USA’s Joe Pennacchio hit the winner’s circle in the next race, giving trainer Wally Hennessey’s Glide In The Wind a picture perfect drive to score in 1:57.2. It was the initial win of the year for the 5-year-old gelded son of Yankee Glide prompting one happy fan to say, “Who needs Wally Hennessey when you can get Joe Pennacchio in the bike!” Pembroke Yoyo cut the mustard for Piet Van Pollaert and finished second over Fleet Cessna, with Andrea Fazekas, representing Hungary, in the sulky. Glide In The Wind rewarded his many faithful with a $4.20 mutuel. The final Monday night event went Canada’s way as Jurgen Hanover, driven by David Drew, came from dead last turning for home to score by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:58.3. This race turned out to be the most competitive of the night as there were four in and four out the entire route with the action on the backstretch reminiscent of the Prix d’Amerique in Europe. Drew had no choice but to bide his time through it all as he started from the outside post and was forced to take back as the others scrambled for superiority. In deep stretch, Jurgen Hanover, without much urging, rolled on by to score his 25th career win and fourth this semester in only five starts. Trained by Gaston Lareau for the JP Houle Stables, Jurgen Hanover paid $10.00 as the third choice. The World Cup Amateur Championship continues on Tuesday night with a Pick-6 carryover and a ballooning Super Hi -5 Jackpot now standing at $32,217. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry, for Pompano Park      

The 20th edition of the World Cup for amateur harness racing drivers will be held next week at Florida's Pompano Park and U.S. representative Joe Pennacchio will be aiming to make history. No American has ever won the event, which this year brings together participants from 12 countries from around the globe. "I'm honored to race under the U.S. flag and represent our country," Pennacchio said. "It's very exciting to be doing it, and it would be an incredible treat to be able to win. We're going to try to get it done. But I know all the other drivers are very capable. I'll just see how the races unfold and do the best I can to be in a good position. We'll see how it shakes out." Pennacchio, a retired CEO who spent most of his career in department store retailing, has won 186 races in his career and was the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Amateur Driver of the Year in 2018. Pennacchio won 15 of 67 races that season. His victory total was one shy of his career high. In addition to driving, Pennacchio has enjoyed success as an owner, most notably with 2004 Breeders Crown winner Yankee Slide. He is the past president of the Florida Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association, a director of the U.S. Trotting Association, and a member of the Florida Amateur Driving Club. The club is hosting the World Cup. "I've driven internationally quite a bit and many of those drivers have multiple hundreds of wins over their careers," Pennacchio said. "They tend to drive a lot more over the course of the year than we do. But our amateur series in the United States has grown incredibly in the last five to 10 years. There are more races than any one person could want to go to at this point. The opportunities are all over the place. "We have a great club in Florida. We race three or four times every weekend. The only problem for me is I'm old. I wish I was 30 years younger. I've got more behind me than I've got in front of me. So, it's even more special for me (to drive in the World Cup) because I don't know if I would get another opportunity to do something like this." The World Cup consists of eight races, with each driver getting five starts. The first four races are Monday (Feb. 24) and the final four are Tuesday (Feb. 25). Argentina's Leonardo Agusti is the defending World Cup champion. Agusti has won more than 1,300 races in his career, which began in 1966. He has raced in the U.S. on several occasions and owns a win at Pompano Park, which he picked up in 2008. The remaining drivers in the event are Switzerland's Barbara Aebischer, Spain's Miquel Vich Capo, Canada's David Drew, Hungary's Andrea Fazekas, Denmark's Lars Munk, Belgium's Piet Van Pollaert, New Zealand's Warren Rich, Austria's Thomas Royer, Italy's Andrea Sallustio, and Sweden's Lukas Svedin. Fazekas also has a win at Pompano Park, which came in 2016. Two years later, she picked up a victory at Monticello Raceway. She and Agusti are the only non-North American drivers with wins in the States. Fazekas has won nearly 180 races since beginning her career in 2003. "It will be amazing to return to this track (Pompano)," Fazekas wrote via Facebook Messenger. "Having won there before brings me confidence. I'm looking forward to the World Cup and will try to do my best. I believe in myself and cross my fingers for good horses. "I enjoy the excitement of racing," she added. "Driving new horses, getting to know them; it's always a good experience." The drivers will arrive in Florida on Saturday and be treated to a number of excursions, including a trip to Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village and boat tour of Fort Lauderdale. "Steve (Oldford) and Dein (Spriggs) have done a remarkable job putting together a great program," Pennacchio said. "People are going to have the opportunity to be busy every minute of the day. They're going to take them all over the place." He then added with a laugh, "Maybe they can get them really tired and I can win." Pennacchio, who drew posts eight and two on Monday and posts three, five, and three on Tuesday, knows it will not be that easy. "When you go on the racetrack it's incredibly competitive," Pennacchio said. "When you come off the racetrack everybody is friends and we laugh about it. We'll have a great time. We'll have a greater time if we win, but we'll have a great time no matter what." For the program pages for the Monday races in the competition, click here. For the program pages for the Tuesday races in the competition click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

Pompano Beach, FL...February 11, 2020...Harness racing driver Joe Pennacchio will be representing the United States in the World Amateur Cup 2020, which will be held at Pompano Park beginning February 22.   Pennacchio earned the honor to represent the U.S.A. on Monday night at the South Florida oval by piloting the Walter La Freniere, Jr. trainee B R Flying Dali to victory in the World Cup qualifier. Owned by William H. Mc Elvain, Jr., the eight year-old son of Dali covered his mile in 1:55.4, just getting up over the Dein Spriggs driven Firewater Jake.   It was a rare win for Pennacchio--not in numbers, per se, but for the fact that he was making a rare appearance back driving a pacer.   Pennacchio has been a stalwart member of the Florida Amateur Driving Club for many years and all starts for that club are for trotters.   "Yes," Pennacchio lamented, "it's rare that any of our amateur drivers get behind a pacer, so this win was extra special, to say the least."   Pennacchio now has 186 career wins with his first one dating back to 1995 at Delaware, Ohio with Fox Valley Trump.   He has competed with regularity on the European circuit and was USHWA Amateur Driver of the Year in 2019.   In last night's event, Pennacchio was competing against a stellar group of amateur drivers including four others who won USHWA's Amateur Driver of the Year Award--Steve Oldford, Robert Krivelin, Dein Spriggs and Hannah Miller, all of whom have represented the U.S. in world competition.   Pennacchio hopes to become the first driver from the U.S. to win the elite competition saying, "I am sure that this will be a highly competitive event with the best of the best vying for supremacy. I just hope to compete safely and honorably for our country."   by John Berry            

East Rutherford, NJ--Give them a big racetrack and a good purse and add that another harness racing amateur trot is also scheduled that evening and they'll come. And come they did on Friday night at the Meadowlands. Not only did the local $11,000 GSY series attract 10 horses but the granddaddy of all amateur racing events, the CKG Billings Series, had 12 entrants, so many that instead of splitting the field into two divisions it was decided to lengthen the race and go with the 12 horses at a distance of l-1/8th miles. It was a grueling contest and much to the delight of "Joltin' Joe" Pennacchio his Super Manning overcame the traffic and rallied to a 1-1/2 length triumph and took home the lions share of the $12,500 purse. With the huge field all the drivers were seeking a good position in the early going but it was the six- horse, Roundtown Rocker ("Lady Monica" Banca), who grabbed the early lead in the :27.1 first quarter. while Pennacchio and Super Manning followed in third position along the pylons. Roundtown Rocker led the cavalry charge past the three quarters before yielding to Super Manning who then went on to a 2:13 victory in the lengthened event and gave Penncchio, last season's Amateur Driver of the Year, a stellar victory. Billings president Tony "the Capo" Verruso hustled Santini home ahead of Roundtree Rocker to garner second money while the latter earned the show dough. Super Manning, an 11-year-old altered son of Diamond Goal, notched his third seasonal victory and 35th of his career while raising his lifetime earnings to over $655,000.He's owned by Joe P RacingLLC and trained by Cory Stratton. He paid $11.60. mutuel by John Manzi, for the CKG Billings Series

Yonkers, NY--The NAADA $15,000 Summer Series Final was a harness racing barn-burner when only three lengths separated the winner from the last place finisher. And Joe Pennacchio's 1:59.3 triumph in the event didn't come easy. Up behind his own Cheeky Little Minx in the seven-horse contest which was presented before the first race on the betting card, Pennacchio left the gate from the five-hole and his veteran trotting mare never saw the pylons the entire mile and by all standards she went a very gutsy trip. When the gate sprung Joe Faraldo and Tough Get Going darted to the front and were challenged by Paul Minore and Wygant Prince. Faraldo yielded command to Wygant Prince as Pennacchio and Cheeky Little Minx wanted a part of the action and challenged on the outside as the leaders trotted by the first stanza in :28.2. As they headed for the halfway point Pennacchio and Minore were going at it and the two raced side by side to the half in :58.2 while being stalked on the outside by Cheeky Little Miss. Wygant Prince showed the way to the three quarters and put away Tough Get Going but the veteran trotter couldn't shake the plucky little mare. As they rounded the final turn Cheeky Little Minx and Wygant Prince were noses apart before the latter began to fade. At that point Hannah Miller hustled Jacks To Open up alongside Cheeky Little Miss and the two raced as a team all the way to the wire. It took a photo to determine that Pennacchio's mare was a head better than Hannah's veteran trotter. Broadway Bruiser took home the show dough for Matt Zuccarello. Cheeky Little Minx is a seven-year-old mare by Lucky Chucky, trained by Corey Stratton for Joe P Racing, LLC/ by John Manzi, for NAADA      

Freehold, NJ--"Joltin' Joe" Pennacchio, last years Amateur Driver of the Year" fortified his 2019 harness racing credentials with a driving victory in the CK Billings Series Eastern Region at Freehold Raceway on Saturday, May 18. Up behind his classy old veteran, Super Manning, Pennacchio made a first -over move going to the half hold up for a 2:01.3 triumph. After starting from the four-hole "Joltin' Joe" angled his trotter to the pylons as Caravelle ("Buffalo Bob" Davis) and Uriel and Annie "Get Your Gun" Stoebe , battled for command past the quarter in :29.2. But as soon as Uriel was clear on the front-end Pennacchio moved Super Manning first-up and they had the lead at the halfway point with Landonfitz (Dave "the Rave" Offenberg) and Noble Warrawee (Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff) in hot pursuit. At the third stanza Super Manning had a length and a half lead which was opened to 2-1/4 lengths as the field headed for paydirt. However, in mid-stretch Offenberg, with Landonfitz and Hechkoff with Noble Warrawee ,came with a rush and the leaders were side-by-side as they approached the finish. But Super Manning would not be denied and held-on for a neck triumph over Landonfitz. Right there in the photo, just a head behind the top two, was Noble Warrawee. For defending amateur champion, Joe Pennacchio, it marked his 5th win this season and which increased his UDR to.314. Since first sitting behind a spirited steed in 1995 Pennacchio now has driven 182 winners in the USA, along with a few in Europe. Owned by Joe P Racing and trained by Allen Sisco, Super Manning paid $5.00 for win. Next Billings action will be on Friday May 24th at Scioto Downs in the series mid-west division.   by John Manzi for the Billings Series  

Monticello, NY—After spending the winter competing in amateur harness races at Pompano Park, Joe Pennacchio, last years Amateur Driver of the Year, has moved north and made his first start in this season's NAADA trotting series a winning one when he guided his own Cash For Gold to an easy two length triumph in a 1:59.4 clocking and turned back seven others at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon, April 11. “It wasn't easy because he's a high stung individual and he wears you arms out prior to the start,” Pennacchio offered after the race was completed. “He's a nervous sort who 'latches on' prior to the race so much so that I have to take him back to the paddock to rest my arms and then go behind the gate when we're called to do so.” After starting from the seven-hole as second choice in the betting, Pennacchio sent his trotter toward the front but smartly took a tuck before the first quarter was trotted in:29.3. However, he didn't stay there long and moved to the outside as the field, led by last week's winner, Tough Get Going and driver Joe Faraldo, approached the halfway point in :59.3 When the leaders straightened up the backside and headed for the three quarters, Cash For Gold was pressuring Tough Get Going but the latter rebuffed the former and Faraldo's charge still had command as the three quarter timer flashed 1:29.4. In the lane Monica Banca, with the race favorite High Blue, was sitting along the pylons in third position and was looking for daylight. But racing room in the lane never appeared until mid-stretch and when Banca sent her trotter up the pylons it was too late as Cash For Gold trotted clear to score the victory. Tough Get Going held on for the show dough. “He has been prone to making breaks on the double ovals but this was one of his best miles on half mile track,” a happy Joe Pennacchio said after the race referring to Cash For Gold's 1:59.4 victory. Owned by Joe P Racing and trained by Allen Sisco, the winner scored his first victory of the season and returned $6.90 for win. In the quest to determine who'll represent NAADA in an amateur competition in Italy later this year Joe Faraldo, with 29 points, leads Joe Lee (22), Bob Krivelin (21), Paul Minore (16) Alan Schwartz (16) and Monica Banca (16). At series end the top three in points will vie for a chance to get that all expense -paid trip to represent NAADA against the Italians in an international competition.   by John Manzi for NAADA

Monticello, NY--Each year amateur harness racing becomes a bigger part in the Standardbred sport with many talented drivers displaying impressive abilities guiding spirited steeds to victory. And this season has been no exception especially with the expansive opportunities available with the ever-growing number of amateur organizations dotting the landscape. In spite of the talents of a multitude of amateur drivers the USHWA National Committee unanimously voted Joe Pennacchio this years recipient of National Amateur Driver of the Year. Although having prominent stats, which "Joltin' Joe " has, it takes more than that for consideration. Besides being a member of many amateur organizations Pennacchio is the president of the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association and sits on the Board of the USTA. Since he purchased his first horse in 1987, over the years Joe has owned more than a hundred standardbreds and in 2004 his 3-year-old trotter, Yankee Slide, won the prestigious Breeders Crown at Woodbine in Canada with Brian Sears in the sulky. " Yankee Slide was trained by Steve Elliot and was sent off at odds of 40-1 and man we were pleasantly surprised with his victory," Pennacchio recalled. But Pennacchio still can remember the first horse he ever purchased. "In 1987 I bought a pacer by the name of Skipper Marlow and raced him at Monticello under the care of Craig Mosher. In 1995 I drove for the first time and had two wins in three starts. That year both wins were with a trotter by the name of Fox Valley Trump. I won at Delaware ,Ohio and then at the Red Mile. After that I was hooked," Pennacchio said. The next year Pennacchio and Fox Valley Trump won the $30,000 Billings Series Final at Freehold Raceway covering thr 1-1/4 mile distance in a time of 2:31.3 Since then "Joltin' Joe (his Billings nickname) has won 176 races. This past season he had 65 starts with 14 wins, 11 seconds and four thirds for a .330 UDR. He currently owns 14 race horses. Pennacchio's Florida contingent is handled by Jim McDonald while Allen Sisco trains his stock in New York. Over the years Joe has won races on all size racetracks and has enjoyed some nice horses along the way. He has even won races in Europe and thoroughly enjoys the sport and the horses he's owned. But arguably his favorite is Super Manning, who is still racing today. The veteran trotter has won $650,000 thus far in his career and earned a record of 1:54.1 taken at Yonkers Raceway. Pennacchio is a retired CEO who spent most of his career in department store retailing. His last assignment was as the president of Jordan Marsh department stores in Boston. He has had significant experience in running companies with both United States and foreign facilities and has served on several boards for both private and public companies. He will receive his National Amateur Driver of the Year Award when the US Harness Writers Association holds its annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet in Orlando, Florida on February 24, 2019. For room and ticket information, visit www.ushwa.org. by John Manzi, chairman of USHWA's Amateur Driver Committee

MONTICELLO, NY- The North American Amateur Drivers Association kicked off its Fall Trotting Series on Thursday (Sept. 20) at Monticello Raceway and when the judges hung the official sign Joe Pennacchio reined his Cheeky Little Miss to a gate-to-wire triumph over six others in a time of 1:59.2. "I'm having fun this year with this mare I purchased for $18,000 at the beginning of the amateur racing season and she has proven to be just a joy for me," the retired business executive said in the paddock while handing the lines to the horses' caretaker. "She's such pleasure to drive and this her ninth win this year." Starting from post three Pennacchio had envisioned falling in the two-hole behind Master Of Excuses (Monica Banca) who had the pole position but since Monica's horse was slow starting he decided to go for the lead which probably was the best place to be," "It worked out perfect since we gained command and got away with a relatively soft first quarter and once on the lead we controlled the race," Pennacchio explained. Master of Excuses followed Cheeky Little Miss through fractions of :29.2; 1:00.3 and 1:30.2 before Banca moved him to the passing lane in the stretch. But Cheeky Little Miss was up to the challenge and kept Master Of Excuses at bay with a :29.1 final panel and went on to a solid one length triumph. The first two finishers were well in front of the field the entire mile with third place going to Moolah Moolah (Alan Schwartz) who was six lengths behind at the wire. Sent off the prohibitive 2-5 favorite Cheeky Little Miss paid $2.80. The 6 year old Lucky Chucky mare raised her seasonal earnings to over $44,000. She's owned by Pennacchio's Joe P Racing LLC and trained by Allen Sisco. Meanwhile in Delaware, Ohio in the Hall Of Fame and Museum Amateur Racing Series the one-mile trot was dominated by the ladies when Alesha Binkley and Hititoutofthepark led runner-up He's On A Mission and last year's amateur driver of the year, "Hurricane Hannah" Miller to the wire in a very creditable 1:56.4. R.J. Schaut and saved for the boys when he finished third with Stemilt Touch. by John Manzi, for NAADA  

YONKERS, NY-- Could it be that Joe Pennacchio's victory tonight (Sat. Aug 17) in the $15,000 NAADA Mid-Season Final at Yonkers Raceway not only fortified his stalwart seasonal resume but his 1:57.3 triumph with Cheeky Little Minx elevates him yet closer to a possible National Amateur Driver Award. Enjoying his best season in the sulky the talented amateur driver notched his 13th driving victory this year and that, along with nine seconds and two thirds in 51 starts, elevates his current UDR to a healthy .371. Fresh off a trip to Italy where he was among a foursome that represented the USA against their Italian counterparts, the retired businessman drove his mare like a pro. After starting from the two-hole Pennacchio settled Cheeky Little Minx down along the pylons in the early going and was third when the field passed the first stanza in :28.3 as John Calabrese showed the way with Keenan. Pennacchio then moved his mare first-up approaching the half and by the time they passed the three quarters Cheeky Little Minx had two lengths on her competition and from there she coasted home an easy 3-1/4 length winner over the veteran Wygant Prince and driver Paul Minore. Soul Train and Joe Lee took home the show dough. Keenan faded and finished fifth. It was the eighth seasonal triumph for Cheeky Little Minx, a 6 year-old daughter of Lucky Chucky who raised her seasonal bankroll to over $40,000. She is owned by Joe P Racing LLC and trained by Allen Sisco. For Pennacchio, a retired business executive, it was his 175th driving victory since he joined the amateur movement back in 1995. by John Manzi, for NAADA

Follonica, Italy...August 8, 2018...Attempting to protect their precarious lead in the Amateur Friendship Challenge between the USA and Italy, Team USA was able to do just that as driver Steve Oldford led the American contingent with a win and a second in his two drives, leaving Team USA with a 12 point lead entering the grand finale to be held at the famed Monticatini oval on Thursday. Round two did end in a dead-heat as both teams hit the wire in points together, but it was Oldford who enabled the USA visitors to retain their overall lead with a perfectly timed drive with Really DL, a gelded son on Equinox Bi. Really DL followed live cover in the extended distance event of 2200 meters (1.367 miles) to score in 2:50.2, a mile rate of 2:04 over the Ippodromo dei Pini track. Tuscany Club President Danele Orsini also had a win and a second in his two drives, helping Team Italy to that dead-heat finish. USA team member Joe Pennacchio lauded Oldford's drive lamenting, "This was a classic stretch battle as Steve (Oldford) and Danele (Orsini) went toe-to-toe right to the wire." The winning margin was a nose. The Thursday Monticatini finale will determine the champion of this year's Tuscany Friendship Amateur Challenge between the USA and Italy. Reported by John Berry Sent from Xfinity Connect Mobile App  

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    

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