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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    

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

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