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DELAWARE OH --"He was a handful and all I did was steady him and let him ramble," Steve Oldford said citing Missile J's stunning 1:54 triumph in The Fouts Memorial at Delaware, Ohio on Sept. 20. "He's got a big engine and sometimes a mind of his own so instead of looking for a hole when the gate sprung I just steadied him and he did all the rest." Oldford was referring to his stunning 1:54 harness racing victory at the home of the Little Brown Jug at the  in a race that featured top amateur drivers from various US amateur clubs in what has become an annual event. "After starting from the five-hole little did I realize that I was going to get the fastest ride of my life on a double-oval," Oldford added. At the quarter Daniel Jones and Cyclone Alvie wouldn't relinquish the lead when Missile J came calling and the two trotters got locked in a speed duel by that marker in :27.1 And with Oldfield's charge in command they zipped by the half in :54.4. From there it was literally 'ballgame' as the 7-year-old American Ideal gelding opened daylight on his competitors and finished some six lengths ahead of Noah Z Tam who was driven by Jazmin Arnold. Tony Ciuffetelli garnered the show dough with The Smidge. Owned by Black Magic Racing LLC and trained by Todd Luther Missile J returned a $3.40 win mutuel by John Manzi

Delaware, Ohio---Two harness racing trotting divisions in the Great Lakes Amateur Drivers Association Series were contested at the home of the Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio on Sunday (9-20) and when both were declared official Alesha Binkley and Daniel Jones each emerged victorious in their respective splits. Binkley won with odds-on favorite Hititputofthepark in 1:57.1 while Jones was victorious with Dont Forget Muscle in 1:58.4. Both trotters were victorious after starting from the coveted pole position. A seasoned veteran even at her young age, Binkley knows that if one has the best horse in the race the place to be is on the front-end. And that's exactly where she put her trotter and once on top they controlled the race. Hititoutofthepark sped by the first stanza in :28.4 and by the half in :57.4. From there Binley played catch-me-if-you can and nobody could as the 7-year-old Yankee Glide ridgling cruised to a oh -so-easy 5-1/4 lengths victory in 1:57.1 over Favorite Uncle and driver Bob Troyer. Fleet Cessna garnered the show dough for Billy Muggleston.   Hititoutofthepark is owned by the Trent Stohler Stable along with Ben and Tim Graber and trained by Stohler. He paid $3.00 for win. A second division followed and saw driver Daniel Jones notch his second consecutive GLADA triumph this time winning with Dont Forget Muscle in 1:58.4. But unlike Binkley's triumph Jones came from off the pace. When the gate sprung Jones allowed Eddie Miller and Star Chip to gain command and with two trotters hung on the limb from the get-go Dont Forget Muscle ended-up with a two hole journey. However when Star Chip's stride shortened as he trotted around the final turn it allowed Jones' charge to get first call, a position Dont Forget Muscle held all the way to the wire as the veteran trotter held off a late rally by A Royal Line, with Steve Oldford at the controls. Third place in the tight three- horse photo, went to Stormont Wizard, driven by Ron Cusimano.   The winner, owned by Robert Beachy, is trained by Jones. He returned a $21.60 win mutuel. by John Manzi for the Great Lakes Amateur Drivers Association

Northfield, OH -- Harness racing driver Eddie Miller isn't one who likes to wait especially when he thinks he has a major contender in a race. Case in point: the $6000 trot in the Great Lakes Amateur Drivers Association Series at Northfield Park on Monday night (9-14) when Miller and Cowboy Country scored a impressive 1:57.2 victory. "I got away third behind a horse who I thought was rather weak so when we headed to the half I moved off the pylons and set sights on gaining the lead," Miller related. Miller had the right idea and his trotter proved him correct .when Cowboy Country raced alongside the leader, Mesmerized (Larry Ferrari) at the three quarters, and the two were neck-and-neck as they rounded the final turn headed for paydirt. "We came along way on the limb but when we headed down the homestretch I felt my horses was strong and he hung tough all the way to the wire," Miller added. The photo proved Miller correct as Cowboy Country was a gutsy head winner over Mesmerized. Three lengths farther back in third place was High Blue, driven by last years USHWA's National Amateur Driver of the Year, Jazmin Arnold.   Sent off at odds of over 6-1 Cowboy Country paid $14.60 for win. He's trained by Miller for owners Rebecca Sugg and Steven Maas. The next leg in the GLADA Series will be on Sunday, Sept. 20 at Delaware, Ohio. by John Manz,i for the Great Lakes Amateur Drivers  

Northfield, Ohio--When harness racing amateur driver Daniel "Danny" Jones thinks he has the best horse in the race he knows to put him on the front-end and that's exactly what Jones did in the Great Lakes Amateur Diving Association's series trot at Northfield Park on Sunday Evening,September 6. With his charge, The Next Triumph, starting from the two-hole and being sent away at odds of 3-10, Jones put the pedal to the metal and gunned the 7-year-old gelded trotter to the front from post two and refused to relinquish the lead despite a hard challenge from William Rhoades' Impressive Chief. At the quarter mile marker Impressive Chief got first call but unfortunately for him it would be the last one he'd get in the race as Jones played hard-ball and regained command. The Next Triumph was en route to just that as the altered son of Triumphant Caviar turned back all comers and trotted by the half in:57.2and still had a length lead on his competitors as the three quarter timer flashed 1:27. After Jones headed for home he was glad that Northfield has a short homestretch and The Next Triumph fought gamely all the way to the wire and held off a hard-charging A Royal Line and driver Larry Ferrari to notch a neck triumph in the speedy 1:57 mile.   It marked the fifth seasonal victory for the aptly named The Next Triumphant who's co-owned by Robert Smolko and his trainer, Ron Steck. Faithful backers received a a $2.60 win payoff. by John Manzi, for the Great Lakes Amateur Drivers Association

Columbus, Ohio--Outstanding rock and soul artist, James Brown, chirped in one of his top-ten charters "It's a man's world, but its nothing without a woman or a girl" and Gregg Keidel surely concurs after he guided Matteriel to an easy 1:55.4 victory in a leg of the Great Lakes Amateur Driving Association's at Scoto Downs on Friday evening, September 4 turning back five others of whom four were members of the gentle sex. Knowing he had the best in the race Keidel, sent his charge to the front but his competitors played hardball. Alisha Binkley, up behind the second choice, Cantab Lindy, did her best and kept Keidel's 1-5 shot on the limb as the fractional times flashed :27.4-56:4 and 1:25.3 as the two trotters raced head to head throughout and it wasn't until the six- horse field passed the third stanza that Matteriel took command, albeit by just a nose. Kiara Morgan chased the leaders with Atlas Peak and was within striking at the the head of the lane but the top prize in the $9000 contest was going to go to "Fast Greggy" and odds-on favorite, Matteriel as they crossed the finish line in 1:55.4, two lengths ahead of Cantab Lindy. Atlas Peak garnered the show dough. For Kiedel, who's done about everything in the sport, it was his first seasonal triumph and the l07th in his career. Matteriel, a 4-year-old Explosive Matter mare scored her 4th seasonal triumph. She's owned by Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi and trained by Ron Burke. The next event in the Great Lakes Amateur Driving Series will be on Sunday (Sept 9) at Northfield Park by John Manzi, for the Great Lake Amateur Drivers Ass'n  

MONTICELLO, NY --- A short 5-horse field gathered at Monticello Raceway on Thursday,(March 12) for a $5000 trot and when the judges reviewed the harness racing finish-line photo they declared Ladys Big Stormont the winner over a hard-charging Multitaskr Hanover (Dave Yarock) in the second leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) 2020 spring trotting series. Accomplished amateur Alan Schwartz was at the controls and he guided the veteran 9-year-old Earl Of Stormont gelding to a wire to wire 2:02.2 neck victory, the horses first of the season and 44th of his career. Starting from the pole position after two late scratches, Schwartz sent his charge to the lead and when no one challenged he got his veteran trotter to the first stanza in :31.3 and left alone on the front-end Ladys Big Stormont had a length and a half lead over Multitaskr Hanover when the half mile timer lashed 1:02.2. "He hadn't been racing well this year but today he felt strong and he went on to prove it," Schwartz said of is trotter. When the field headed up the backside the second time around Bob Davis moved Making Sparks from third position and charged at the leader but Ladys Big Stormont rebuffed that challenge. At the top of the lane Yarock tipped Multitaskr Hanover off the pylons and they took dead aim at Ladys Big Stormont but for them the finish line came up too soon and they had to settle for second money, a head behind the winner. "I was pleasantly surprised that my horse was strong all the way to the wire," Schwartz added. "This is the best race he's gone thus far this year." Schwartz, a longtime owner of harness horses, began his amateur driving career in 1988 and today he scored his 621st driving victory which is tops in the amateur driving community. He owns and trains the winner who paid $9.40 for win. by John Manzi, for NAADA  

YONKERS, NY-- The 2020 North American Amateur Driver Association (NAADA) harness racing season commenced tonight at Yonkers Raceway with two non-wagering divisions presented prior to the betting card getting underway and when the judges hung the official signs, Tony Verruso and Pearly Allen each emerged victorious in their respective $8000 splits. Verruso won with The Cuse Is Loose in 1:59.2 while Allen scored behind veteran Wygant Prince in 2:00.1. Both trotters scored from off the early pace and rallied late for decisive victories. Verruso and The Cuse Is Loose started slowly while Joe Faraldo and Muzzy's Muscles cut the early fractions and led the 6-horse field by the first stanza in :29.1 and by the halfway point in 1:00. Trailing in fourth place Veruso moved his charge off the pylons and was out and challenging as the field headed to the half. Third at that point Verruso then hustled The Cuse Is Lose and they took command as the field rounded the final turn and headed for paydirt. Aping Verruso's moves, John Calabrese kept Wild Smile on the leader's back but The Cuse Is Loose proved to much for his challenger and the 6-year-old Deweycheatumnhowe gelding went on to a solid one-length victory. Wild Smile held on for second money while Pop I garnered the show dough for Brett Beckwith. The winner is owned by his driver and trained by Ethan Sisco. In the other division Wygant Prince started from post four and after the start Pearly Allen settled him in second along the pylons and was content to sit still while Melissa Arbia showed the way with Finnick Odair. But when the field rounded the final turn Allen moved the veteran trotter out to challenge and Wygant Prince rallied to a 2-1/4 length triumph in 2:00.1. Finnick Odair was second best while Southwind Dorian chugged home in third place. Paul Minore owns Wygant Prince while Taylor Gower does the training. Next Thursday the NAADA 10-race series moves on to Monticello Raceway. by John Manzi, for NAADA .

Monticello, NY--The North America Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA), one of harness racing's oldest and longest running amateur driving organization, will kick off its 37th season with two trotting events at Yonkers Raceway on Thurs March 5th Two 6-horse trots will be presented before the first race on the betting card and they will be the first of three 10-race series to be presented by the organization for its members during the 2020 racing season. Current events will be contested on consecutive Thursdays at both Yonkers and Monticello Raceways with the $15,000 series final slated at Yonkers on Thursday. May 14. "We're scheduled to have multiple international contests throughout the season with the first slated for early May against a visiting Italian team from Turino," noted NAADA vice president, Alan Schwartz. "But finalized dates will not be solidified until there is clearance from the current Coronavirus circulating throughout a good portion of the globe." The series is open to all amateur drivers who be come members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA). Last years December finale was won by Glenferry Dreamer reined to victory by Paul Minore. by John Manzi, for NAADA        

John Manzi, superstar PR man, Hall of Famer, former trainer-driver and Radio Legend joins Freddie, Bob & Trade on their Harness Racing Alumni Show. Manzi's exuberant personality shines through while we're all discussing the exciting times at Monticello Raceway years ago along with many of John's innovative promotional concepts, challenges and his winning ways...!!!   Don't miss this fantastic Alumni broadcast.....!!! Harness Racing Alumni Show John Manzi 1 22 20     Fred Hudson  

MONTICELLO, NY--After a spectacular season in the sulky Jazmin "the Little Flower" Arnold was unanimously named the USHWA Dan Patch Amateur Driver of the Year. She now joins "Hurricane Hannah" Miller as only the second woman to earn this prestigious harness racing honor. In her first full season driving harness horses, to say that the diminutive miss posted excellent numbers would be a gross understatement. Currently with 59 trips to post Jazmin has 23 wins, 10 seconds and five thirds for a spectacular .512 UDR. "I'm tremendously honored with award but it wasn't anything that I seeking when the season started," Jazmin related. "But after success at the Ohio Fairs I was approached by Steve Oldford who was seeking members for the Billings Series and I was quick to jump aboard. And it turned out to be absolutely fabulous for me." A member of a harness racing family and a veteran of the Woodland Run Equine Veterinarian Clinic in Columbus, Ohio as well as an accomplished barrel-racer, she was urged by her boyfriend, Adam Short, to try her hand at driving. And after a few victories she was hooked. After mainly driving around the Ohio county fairs for her dad, Larry Finn, and Adam Short she then met veteran trainer Herman Hagerman whom she admits was instrumental in helping her along in her burgeoning career by offering her a chance to drive some good raceway stock. "He was the easiest man in the world to drive for," she said. "He is low keyed and easy going and he taught me a lot about handling and driving a harness horse." Once she joined the Billings Series she was a terror on the racetrack. She recently has won 12 races against accomplished Billings drivers at Delaware Ohio and at pari-mutuel racetracks in the Midwest. And on November 3rd she had a driving-double winning both Billings trots at Northfield Park. With her talent and dedication she has gained respect from all in the industry and the sky's the limit for Jazmin Arnold. When the members of the United States Harness Writers Association host their annual Convention and Awards Banquet in Orlando in late February "the Little Flower" will be in full bloom when she accepts the 2019 Dan Patch Amateur Driver of the Year Award. by John Manzi, chairman of USTA's National Amateur Driver of the Year Committee    

Monticello, NY - The odds are long these days that Standardbred's are still harness racing at the age of 14, this trait is a credit and testament to the durability and hardiness of the Standardbred. On January 1, 14 year olds will be forced into mandatory retirement, as Standardbreds cannot race in pari mutual events over the age of 14. Former Monticello Raceway Publicity guru John Manzi started this event in 1991, originally called the "Clash of the Senior Titans" its most famous dash of the seniors was in 2004 when The Suleiman nosed out Troy D in 2:02.4. Monticello Raceway is seeking additional entries and will try and fill both the Au Revoir Trot & Pace on December 27, the purse for each race will be $5,000, this is an invitational event. This year Monticello Raceway has a handful of aged trotting campaigners that have been competing at a high level throughout their last year of eligibility, Elias Joy, My Cool Breeze and Crypto Man. Between the trio they have combined lifetime starts of over 1010, 125 wins and over $850,000 in lifetime earnings. "After a long hiatus of this event due to the lack of entries, I think we will be able to conduct the race this year, I have been receiving calls from numerous horsemen inquiring about the event," said Eric Warner, longtime Monticello Raceway Race Secretary. Horsemen interesting in participating in these event should contact Eric Warner at (845) 794 4100 X 557 or ewarner@empireresorts.com for details. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

YONKERS, NY-- The coach showed-em how to do it. Paul Minore, a retired high school athletic coach and outstanding amateur driver, saved the best for last when he rallied his Glenferrie Dreamer in the final strides to win the $15000 final of the NAADA harness racing trotting series in 2:00.1 tonight (Dec. 5) at Yonkers Raceway. It was the third and final trotting 10-race series offered this year by NAADA. On a cold and windy evening Bob Hechkoff sent Five Towns to the lead from the six-hole when the wings of the mobile gate folded but found he had company in the presence of Dave Offenberg and Fiji who were making a bid for the lead but Hechkoff refused to yield. Meanwhile Minore was content to be in the two-hole as the leaders trotted by the first stanza in:29.1. But as they trotted by halfway point Fiji and Five Towns were heads apart as they raced one-two past the half in :59.3 while Minore sat chilly covered along the pylons. As the field passed the three quarters Fiji was beginning to show the perils of being parked out and began to fade. As he did Minore hustled Glenferrie Dreamer up to challenge Five Towns and they duked it out all the way down the lane. But as they approached the wire Minore's trotter was the stronger horse and eeked-out a head victory over Hechkoff's charge. Fiji was third, three lengths off the winner. It was the third victory of the season for Minore's 10 year old Dream Vacation gelding. Raced on the betting card Glenferrie Dreamer paid $5.60 to win. by John Manzi, for NAADA    

YONKERS, NY--The 2019 CKG Billings Amateur Driving Harness Racing Series is now in the books after $25,000 Gold Cup Championship Finals in the series Midwest and Eastern regions. Last night at The Meadows Kelly "Sky" Walker emerged victorious with Keystone Blade in the Midwest final and tonight at Yonkers Raceway Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford scored with Blasco in the East Regional finale. Both Billings Gold Cup finals were contested at a distance of 1-1/4 mile. Keystone Blade was victorious in 2:30 while Blasco scored in 2:29.1. Unlike last night's Gold Cup Final where the winner returned a $38.60 mutuel Oldford's trotter was second choice in the wagering and paid $6.10. In tonight's contest Oldford hustled Blasco to the lead from the two-hole and was in front when he passed the first quarter in :28.2. But as they trotted beyond the quarter pole Oldford, still on the pylons, opened up some daylight which allowed Minore to settle a parked Wygant Prince in behind him. As Blasco showed the way by the half mile pole "Yankee Joe" Lee moved the favorite, Inukchuk Chuck to the outside from far back and began moving up but he had to go three- deep as they neared the three quarter pole to get around Wygant Prince. Still in charge Blasco was a length to the good when he passed the one- mile marker in 1:59:3. And through the lane despite constant urging by Joe Lee, Inukchuk Chuck couldn't make up any ground on the leader and finished second , 1-1/2 lengths behind Blasco. Wygant Prince held on for the show dough. Oldford had qualified his trotter Utopia for the Midwest Gold Cup Final but they finished off the board. However, they more than made up for that with a gutsy win by Blasco in tonight's East Region Gold Cup Final. Blasco is owned by Oldford Racing and trained by Ethan Cisco. Although there is no award for best trotter in the BIllings Series one could easily nominate the Nick Surick-trained, Inukchuk Chuk. The veteran trotter won five Billings trots this year with four different drivers: Sofia Zingale, Tyler Miller, Kiara Morgan and two wins by Hannah Miller.   by John Manzi for the Billings Series

Yonkers, NY--As the NAADA Trotting Series third seasonal program nears its finale a short field went to post on Thursday night (Nov. 21) at Yonkers Raceway and a jubilant Miguel Alejo-Hernandez emerged victorious with Tropical Trice in a time of 2:01.1 defeating four others--due to late scratches- in the $8000 event which went to post prior to the first race on the betting card. And to say that Alejo-Hernandez was happy would be a gross understatement since it was his first-ever driving victory. And he was overwhelmed by a great congratulatory reception his competitors gave him in the paddock after the race. A member of the Rob Harmon stable operation Alejo-Hernandez eased his pacer away from the starting gate and settled in the four-hole as Joe Faraldo and Muzzys Muscles showed the way by the firstquarter in a soft :29.2. Comfortable on the lead Faraldo was in charge until late in the mile when Blazin Delores (Brett Beckwith) and Tony Verruso with Starsaboveallerage came calling. But Faraldo's charge rebuffed their challenges and he felt he was home free. But, by his own admission, he never saw the late rally on the far outside as Alejo-Hernandez had Tropical Trice in high gear and when the finish-line photo snapped Tropical Trice was a head winner over Muzzys Muscles. Starsaboveallerage was third, a length and a half farther back. On Wednesday, Dec.4 the series consolation will be contested at Monticello Raceway and the $15,000 NAADA Series Three Final will be raced at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday, Dec. 5 by John Manzi, for NAADA    

DAYTON, OH. - 2019 hasn't been a year to brag about for the classy veteran pacer Missile J, but on Saturday (Nov. 16) his harness racing back class prevailed in Hollywood Dayton Raceway's $16,500 Open Pace. The six-year-old son of American Ideal won for just the third time in 18 seasonal starts--earning $48,955--but the 1:51.2 score was his 26th in his career and boosted his lifetime bounty to $831,902. Dispatched at 10-1 odds, Missile J (Jeremy Smith) was content to get away fourth from the rail until launching a first-over attack just after the halfway juncture. After lapping in on the odds-on favorite, Tookadiveoffdipper (Brett Miller), at the three-quarter mile marker, the winner tacked on a :27.1 final panel to sail to victory by a length and a half. Tookadiveoffdipper did hang in for the place finish while Fools Desire (Kayne Kauffman) took advantage of a pocket ride to garner the show dough. Walter Haynes Jr. trains Missile J for the Indiana partnership of Jeff Fought, Brian Carsey, Dave Fought and Chris Myers. "Missile J is a funny horse," explained Haynes following the race. "You have to keep his attention or he'll take off galloping, but when you keep his mind on business he is wicked fast!" Jazmin Arnold wins again There's an old adage which states “when you're hot, you're hot” and that could easily be applied to Jazmin “the Little Flower” Arnold, the current hottest driver in the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series. Tonight the talented miss guided Celebrity Pegasus to a 1:59.1 victory in a Billings trot at Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway not only scoring her fifth victory in her last six starts but making a good case for consideration as the National Amateur Driver of the Year. Despite starting from the seven-hole Ms Arnold fired her trotter to the lead when the wings of the mobile gate folded and they led seven others past the quarter in a soft :29.4. And with no real challenges she got the veteran Andover Hall gelding by the halfway point in a very soft 1:02.  From there it was catch me if you can as she gave her horse his head and he trotted the last half in :57.1 en route to an oh-so-easy three -length triumph. Even with a two-hole journey Utopia and Steve “You're Never Too” Oldford could not gain on the leader and finished second. Song In My Hear and Tiny Tim” Miller took home the show dough. Celebrity Pegasus is owned by Morgan Hagerman and trained by Herman Hagerman. Sent off as the even money favorite he paid $4.00 for win. But perhaps the bigger story is the emergence of Jazmin Arnold as a top notch harness driver. After starting the year competing on the Ohio Fair circuit she has now graduated to being a stalwart at the big Midwest raceways. Her incredible seasonal stats include 23 wins, eight seconds and three thirds in 56 starts for an astounding .520 UDR. From Dayton Raceway and John Manzi

MONTICELLO, NY-- A short five-horse field assembled behind the harness racing mobile gate for the first race, a division of the North American Amateur Drivers Series, at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon (Nov 14) and when the starter said "go" Bob Hechkoff immediately sent Five Towns to the lead and they led Lady's Big Stormont and driver Alan Schwartz by the first quarter in a soft :29.4. In hot pursuit of the leaders were Muzzy's Muscles (Joe Faraldo); Cheeky Little Miss (Tony Verruso) and ER Shane ( Joe Lee) and once the horses passed the by the first quarter, strangely the order never changed as Five Towns showed the way to the finish line to score a 2:00.3 triumph. Schwartz's trotter was second and Muzzys Muscles took home the show dough.Cheeky Little Miss finished fourth and earned fifth money "It's certainly an oddity when the horses finish in the exact order that they lined-up after the start," acknowledged NAADA president Joe Faraldo. "Obviously the short field played a part." Sent off as the favorite in the race, Five Towns, a 10-year-old Andover Hall gelding, notched his eighth seasonal victory and paid a paltry $3.50 for win. He's owned by RBH Ventures and Spagnola Racing LLC and trained by Kyle Spagnola. by John Manzi, for the NAADA Series

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