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The C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series kicks off its 33rd season at Miami Valley Raceway on Sunday, April 27 followed by a contest at Freehold Raceway on May 3. Then, almost weekly, there will be races for amateur drivers at various racetracks through late November. Again the Billings will be run under the auspices of the Delvin Miller Harness Drivers Association. The series which began in the early 1980's is considered the Grand Circuit of Amateur Racing. Known for its constant traveling sideshow over the years some of the best amateur drivers in North America compete, or have competed, in it. "This year we are again going with the five separate series format. We believe it was well received by members new and old last year so we thought it a good idea to give it another whirl," said Billings Series president Tony "the Capo" Verruso. Verruso is referring to having five divisions of short series instead of having a seven-month year-long event. "The Eastern Regional and the Midwest Regional will each have two short series and there will also be a Travel Series. And each will have a series ending finale," Verruso added. "On the whole, participation was definitely up last racing season and we did also get some new quality members. Our goal this year is to continue that trend and we hope the new slot money being infused into Ohio will go a long way to rebuilding that driving base for us." Obviously, the eastern divisions will encompass racetracks in the east while the western divisions will feature races at tracks in the Midwest. There will be a travel division with events in both East and Midwest and in early September two racetracks in Canada on Prince Edward Island will again host Billings events. "The beauty of this format will allow everyone to race in any division. However, the points earned in each division will be calculated in that division only," Verruso explained. "And the European Point System will again be used to tally each participant's points." Again there will be Billings Gold and Silver Cup Finals at the end of the season and they will take place at Harrah's Philadelphia on November 23. As usual, only drivers can be nominated to the Billings Series; horses have to meet the certain series criteria. A complete listing of conditions and nominating costs can be had by contacting Verruso at sulkyracer@hotmail.com or Billings Series VP, Steve Oldford at steveoldford@oldford.biz. One can also get pertinent information on the Delvin Miller Harness Driving Series on the USTA website under amateur racing. But remember, nominations by mail close on May 2, 2014. However, late nominations can always be made but at an additional cost. by John Manzi, for the CKG Billing Amateur Driving Series

Matt Zuccarello--yes, Zuccarello-- reined the harness racing winner of Monticello Raceway's 16th annual Passover Pace on Tuesday afternoon, April 22. He hustled his charge Winsmith Molly up to collar the pacesetter-- Sam's Fortune and driver Alan Charles-- in the final strides and walked away with the box of matzohs. Zuccarello's mother, the former (Arlene Rosenberg) is Jewish, and because of that Matt was eligible to compete in the race for drivers of Jewish heritage. And for Zuccarello, who's refers to himself as "Pizza- Bagel", this was his first drive in the event and he made it memorable. An amateur driver with a provisional license, Zuccarella has recently been bitten by the harness driving bug. Now in his third year of competitive driving Zuccarello has been competing in the various amateur club races on the East coast as well as in the Billings Series. "I've won a couple of races before but winning the Passover Pace today was more than I could have asked for," said Zuccarello, who by trade is a salesman for heart rate monitoring equipment. "I thought there were a couple of horses in there (the race) that would be hard to beat but my mare raced her best race of the season thus far." Perhaps Zuccarello was referring to Sams Fortune and Christoffer Bliss who was driven by Austin Siegelman. Both were the 6-5 co-favorites in the race. When the man said go, Alan Charles sent Sams Fortune to the lead from the pylon position but he relinquished command to Pascal's Wager and Dave Yarock just before the quarter pole but he wasted no time and re-took the lead as the field headed into the turn. However, when Charles made his quarter pole move Murray Bassen, with Welcome Lover, and Bobby Krivelin with Road Work Ahead, followed suite. "I was seventh at the quarter and with all the action upfront I moved third- up and as the horses in front of me either cleared or found a spot (along the pylons) I just kept my mare going forward," Zuccarello related. Winsmith Molly passed everyone in front of her and then ranged up alongside Sams Fortune at the three quarters. Then, from there to paydirt, a blanket would have covered both pacers right to the finish line. At the wire Winsmith Molly was a head in front of Sams Fortune while Tidewater Moses and driver Alan Schwartz rallied from far back to finish third and pay $36.00 for show. Krivelin's Road Work Ahead finished fourth and fifth place went to 50-1 shot, Five Card Stud driven by Peter Kleinhans. Christoffer Bliss and Siegelman got locked- in from the quarter pole on and they were never a factor and finished sixth. Pascal's Wager was seventh and Welcome Lover brought up the rears. Winsmith Molly is trained by Gary Messenger for owners Brenda Messenger, Dr. Scott Woogen and Phil Shapiro. It was the mare's first win in nine seasonal outings and she returned $15.60, $3.30 and $3.00 across the board. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

It is almost unbelievable that this year another Monticello Raceway -based pacer is again leading the country in harness races won. Last year Tracys Song went on a winning tear and now Diamond Tiara is duplicating her efforts this season and the 7 -year- old daughter of McArdle is wearing her crown confidently. At the Mighty M on the warm and sunny afternoon of April 21, Diamond Tiara won for the 11th time this season and she continues to lead North America in races won this year. And her 1:57.4 triumph was her seventh consecutive. Despite having to start from the eight hole, driver Jimmy Taggart, Jr. hustled Diamond Tiara away from the mobile gate and even passed-up the two-hole opting to be on the front-end. Austin Siegelman had grabbed command with Thunder Seelster as the field charged into the first turn but when Taggart passed up the two-hole Siegelman thought he'd better let Diamond Tiara take the lead rather than hooking up in a speed duel. "My mare has quick speed and I really wanted to be on the front-end," Taggart said in the winner's circle after the race. "She loves to be on the lead and she relaxes once she gets there." Diamond Tiara had command as she came off the first turn and although Taggart eased her off they still passed the quarter in :28.4. Confident on the lead Diamond Tiara coasted through fractions of :59.3 and 1:29 before she had any real challenges. On the final turn Taggart let the mare have her head and she opened daylight on the field and rambled home an easy three length-winner on the strength of a :28.4 final quarter to post a seasons best of 1:57.4. Sent off at odds of 13-10 Diamond Tiara paid $4.40 for win and strangely her place price was $10.00. She's owned by Philip Schultz and trained by Mike Watson and for Taggart it was his second driving victory on the eight-race program. After the completion of the racing program and Taggart was changing into his street clothes in the paddock locker room he took a moment or two to muse about Diamond Tiara's current feat. "She (Diamond Tiara) was really at the top of her game today," Taggart offered. "Last week she was a little sluggish at the end of the mile but today she finished strong. She's such a pleasure to drive." by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Last fall when Austin Siegelman was presented with the Rising Star Award by the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA at their annual banquet he told the attending crowd that among the things he was looking to accomplish during 2014 was to win Monticello Raceway's Passover Pace. Now on Tuesday, April 22 he will get that chance, and a good one at that, when he jumps up behind the 5-2 favorite Christoffer Bliss. "That's correct, I said one of my goals (in 2014) was to win the Race for the Matzohs," said the 22 year old Siegleman in all seriousness. "I know it has been a fun event and I read about it every season for as long as I can remember. Now not only do I have a chance to win it but I'll be driving the favorite in the race." Last year in his first full season of driving Siegelman reined 90 winners and currently with 47 already he's more than halfway home in equaling last year's numbers. However, since he's now getting calls to catch drive here, and at Saratoga Raceway, look for Siegelman's numbers to vastly increase. However, Siegelman will be going against some veteran Passover Pace drivers in Alan Schwartz, Bobby Krivelin and Alan Charles. Schwartz has been a three-time winner and Charles and Krivelin each have won the Race for the Matzohs twice. Krivelin is the defending champion having won the event last year with Isn't She Lovely. In this year's Passover Pace on Tuesday afternoon, Charles may have the best chance at upsetting Siegelman when he handles Sam's Fortune-- rated 3-1 on the early line-- from the pole position. "I've won this race with outsiders before and being able to start along the pylons is always a positive," said Charles who has won two of the last four Passover Paces. And speaking of outsiders, both Schwartz and Krivelin have them. Neither driver's pacers have won a race yet this year; Schwartz's Tidewater Moses (post five) is 0-for 12 and Krivelin's, Road Work Ahead (post seven) is 0-for 13. "It's all the luck of the draw; both with the horses we'll drive and the post positions we get,'" Schwartz said philosophically. "You never know what will happen in a horse race and it's never official until the judges declare it so." The sleeper in the race is Winsmith Molly, from the hot Gary Messenger barn. Matt Zuccarello -his mother is Jewish-drew the mount behind the 7 year old mare who won six times last year (the fastest in 1:57.3) although she has yet to find her stride this season. They'll start from the six hole. Others who drew mounts in the 16th Annual "Race for the Matzohs" include: Peter Kleinhans(Five Star Stud -- post two), Murray Bassin (Welcome Lover -post 4) and Dave Yarock (Pascal's Wager -post eight). The Passover Pace is slated as race number six on the Mighty M's Tuesday afternoon card of April 22. By John Manzi, for Harnesslink.com

The sixth and final leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association Trotting Series was presented at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday April 17 and when the non-wagering contests were finished Bobby Krivelin and Dave Yarock emerged victorious in their respective splits; Krivelin with Current Crisis in 1:59.1 and Yarock with Nowerland Nathan in 2:00.1. Krivelin's win was his third in the trotting events and for Yarock it was his second. In his $6000 contest Krivelin settled his trotter in along the pylons in the early going and then used the overland route to wear down the leader Get Packin (Bob Hechkoff) as the field rounded the final turn. From there Current Crisis then rolled on to a four-length victory over Northemedo Wine Guy, driven by Tony Verruso. Get Packin held on for third money. Yarock's victory was somewhat similar to Krivelin's in that he raced along the pylons until the field headed for the half and with a move to the outside Nowerland Nathan and Yarock wore down the pace-setter Whatnblazes (Dave Offenberg) and gained command by the three quarters. Then, as the field headed for home only Nowerland Nathan's margin of victory was in doubt as Yarock's trotter finished three lengths ahead of Offenberg's. Krivelin was the series point champion with 47 while Yarock was second best with 36. Trailing Krivelin and Yarock in points and now eligible to the final are; David Glasser (30), Bob Hechkoff (29), Joe Faraldo (26), Tony Verruso (25); Bob Davis (23) and Paul MInore (20). However, should any of the top eight in points fail to enter the final then the remaining driver(s) with the highest point totals---Dave Offenberg (18), Monica Banca (17) and Alan Charles (10)--- are next in line to participate. The $14,000 NAADA Trotting Series Final will be contest on Thursday, April 24 again at Yonkers Raceway. by John Manzi, for NAADA

Quietly Jimmy Devaux does his job, and he's good at what he does. On Wednesday afternoon (April 16) Devaux reined four winners on Monticello Raceway's eight race card. The previous day he had three wins. Devaux began the Wednesday afternoon scoring a 2:00.4 victory with Melissa Russo's veteran trotter Tobell and although Tobell paid $38.00 for win it wasn't the biggest payoff of Devaux's four winners. In the seventh race, after getting a two-hole journey with 45-1 shot Waterfront Success, when the field rounded the final turn the pace-setter Aurevoir Balboa went off stride and allowed Devaux's pacer room which enabled them to wind their way through the leaders and be the first to the finish line. Owned by Ruth Ingham and trained by Vernon James Waterfront Success returned a whopping $92.00 win payoff. "When Mike's (Merton with Aurevoir Baboa) horse tipped-off on the last turn I thought I had a shot at winning and my horse was strong because we never go any air," Devaux explained. "The hardest part, though, was finding race room in the deep stretch but when I fed my horse daylight he scooted by the leaders and we won by a length I'd guess." Devaux's other two winners were race favorites. In the second race he won by five lengths in 2:01.3 with the rapidly improving sophomore pacer Chantepleur ($3.10), an American Ideal colt owned by Michael Funke. His other victory came in race five behind Kevin Hough's veteran trotter George's Vacation ($3.20) In 2:00.4. Devaux, like his brother-in-law Bruce Aldrich, Jr. (they're married to sisters) also does double duty racing at both Monticello Raceway in the afternoon and at Saratoga Raceways in the evening. And last night at the Spa City oval Devaux won two races making it a six-win day for the talented reinsman he had eight drives and won Thus far this year Devaux has driven 110 winners which currently ranks him tied for 13th place on the North American leaderboard. Last year the former two-time Mighty M driving champ scored a personal best when he drove 412 winners. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

The beat goes on for Diamond Tiara. On the warm, but windy, Monday afternoon (April 14) Diamond Tiara scored her 10th seasonal triumph and now leads all other standardbreds in races won in North America this year. Once again trainer Mike Watson availed himself of the services of Jimmy Taggart, Jr. and Taggart responded by guiding Diamond Tiara to a 1:58.1 triumph which was the mare's sixth consecutive victory. In the seven times that Taggart has driven her, Diamond Tiara has had six wins and a second place finish. However, according to Taggart, this victory today was a little tougher than the last five. "This was the first time that she had drawn the outside (post seven) and I had to use her harder than usual to get to the front," Taggart said. "She leaves like a runner and we had command on the first turn but that during that first eighth (of the mile) she was smokin'. I was able to get into her a bit as we headed to the (first) quarter but we still were there in :28.3." After they paced by the first stanza Taggart had Diamond Tiara settled and she showed the way past the half in :59 but she had lots of company when three others moved out to take a shot at her. So on the clubhouse turn Taggart allowed his mare to step it up and they opened daylight as they passed the three quarters and they had two lengths on the field as they paced into the final turn. With Temptation Queen and Bruce Aldrich, Jr. keeping the pressure on, both mares dug in as they headed for paydirt and into a strong head-wind. However Diamond Tiara held on to score a length victory over Temptation Queen. "She wasn't as strong finishing today as she had been in her last few starts but that first quarter took a little sting out of her, and the wind in the stretch was strong, too. Still, she's gritty," Taggart added. Owned by Philip Schultz, Diamond Tiara paid $4.20 for win. With her 10th victory she currently has first place all to herself on the North American leaderboard with one more win than Rockin Rambaran, a Canadian pacer who's been winning consistently at Rideau Carleton. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

David Glasser and Paul Minore were each victorious in the respective divisions of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's (NAADA) Trotting Series at Freehold Raceway on Friday (Apri11).Glasser won with his own Grecale AS in a time of 2:00 and returned a whopping $41.60 win payoff, while Minore scored with his Wygant Prince in 1:58.1. Glasser's trotter went a solid mile after being first-up at the half and then rallying to the lead as the field passed the three quarters. Once on top Grecale AS coasted home an easy two length winner over favored Northmedo Wine Guy and Tony Verruso, giving Glasser his second victory in the series. His 28 points in the series is currently second best behind Bobby Krivelin's 35 but with only one leg remaining at Yonkers on April 17 Glasser is assured eligibility in the $14,000 series finale which will also to be raced at Yonkers Raceway, but on April 24. In his division Minore's Wygant Prince went an eye-opening trip and won in 1:58.1 after a two-hole journey behind Bob Hechkoff with Get Packin. That mile caused a little stir among some of the professionals drivers who were watching that amateur race and one was overheard saying with amazement after the 1:58.1 mile, "that's race horse time!". Minore has driven in only two series legs and with just 16 points he'll need a good showing on Thursday to move up and earn a spot in the series finale. Those drivers with the most points in the six-leg trotting will earn a berth in the $14,000 Final, that is, if they all enter. The current leaderboard is as follows: Bobby Krivelin (35), David Glasser (28), Dave Yarock (24), Bob Hechkoff(24) Bob Davis (21), Joe Faraldo (21) Tony Verruso (18), Monica Banca (17) Paul Minore (16) and Dave Offenberg (11). "I'd like to make it clear that the drivers who are among the top eight in points doesn't assure them a spot in the final unless they enter. So it's a good idea if someone is ninth or tenth in points they still should enter for the final race just in case someone in the top ten (in points) doesn't. And should that happen, the next highest in points gets first call," explained NAAADA president Joe Faraldo. by John Manzi, for NAADA

The Kentucky Derby has its "Run for the Roses"; the Preakness runs for the Black-Eyed Susans; and on Tuesday afternoon, April 22 Monticello Raceway will have its annual "Race for the Matzohs" when the Catskill Mountains oval presents its 16th edition of the Passover Pace, a race strictly for drivers of Jewish heritage. The event will be part of the tracks year-long Heritage Drivers Series which will be followed later this season by other races for different ethnicities. Last year, Bobby Krivelin won the event with Isn't She Lovely in a time of 2:04.1 and it marked the second time in the last three years that Krivelin has been victorious in the Race for The Matzohs. Despite having won again last year still Krivelin trails both Mike Kimelman (1999-2003-2007) and Alan Schwartz (2002-2004-2006) each of whom have won the Passover Pace three times. Alan Charles, who's expected to be among the drivers in this year's race, joins Krivelin as a two- time winner (2012-2010) of the Passover Pace Other recent previous winners include, PJ Lutman III (2009) and Bob Hechkoff (2008). The fastest of all the Passover Paces was a 1:59 mile when Jack Rice won the event with Wildfire King in 2001. "This race may be a little unusual but believe it or not those who compete annually in our Passover Pace have been calling to make sure that we are doing it again this year," said Mighty M general manager, Shawn Wiles. The Passover Pace is open to any licensed harness driver of Jewish heritage who holds a full (A) or a provisional (P) license from the United States Trotting Association. Director of Racing, Eric Warner, is currently seeking drivers who are interested in participating in this year's contest. For further information, or to enter the event, please contact Warner in the racing office at 845-794-4100 x 557; or call the tracks publicity office at extension 455. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

It's deja vu all over again at Monticello Raceway with a local pacer, Diamond Tiara, vaulting to the top of the North American leaderboard after she notched her ninth seasonal triumph yesterday (April 7) at the Sullivan County (NY) oval. With Jimmy Taggart, Jr. again at the controls Diamond Tiara wired the field to score in a time of 1:58.1. Last year another Monticello-based pacer, Tracys Song, led the North America in wins at this time, and nearly all season-long, and finished the season with 21 victories-- 18 of them consecutive. Not to say that Diamond Tiara will win 21 races this year but at this time her prowess can be compared to Tracys Song's proficiency last year when she, too, led the continent in races won. On Monday, after starting from the two-hole Diamond Tiara was looped on the first turn by Red Eye Blue Chip (Jimmy Devaux). But no sooner did Devaux and his pacer take command Taggart was out and going with Diamond Tiara and they had the lead at the field passed the first stanza in :28.2 When the field headed to the halfway point, Jason Ryan moved May Night out to challenge Diamond Tiara and the two pacers raced as a team around the clubhouse turn and up the backside. But on the final turn Diamond Tiara put it in another gear and opened daylight on her competition and coasted home an easy two-length winner in a seasonal best of 1:58.1. Red Eye Blue had the benefit of a two hole journey but she couldn't make up any ground on the leader in the lane and finished second. May Night was a close third. It's usually hard to get Jimmy Taggart, Jr. to say much but he did offer; "She (Diamond Tiara) raced good again today. She's got quick speed and likes to be on the front-end." He hesitated for a moment and as he was walking away he added; "She's better than these (her competition)" Owned by Philip Schultz and trained by Mike Watson, Diamond Tiara paid $3.30 for win. With her latest victory--her fifth consecutive-- Diamond Tiara, a 7 year -old daughter of McArdle, is joined at the top of the charts by Rockin Rambaran another pacer who has nine wins in Canada at Rideau Carleton Raceway. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Two divisions of the fourth leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association trotting series went to post at Freehold Raceway on Friday afternoon, April 5 and when the events were declared official Bobby Kriivelin and Tony Verruso each emerged victorious in their respective splits. Krivelin won with Gimme The Loot and Verruso hustled Northmedo Wine Guy home first in their event. When it comes to amateur racing the name Bobby Krivelin needs no introductions. A three-time national Amateur Driver of the Year Krivelin is always a force to be reckoned with whenever he takes time off from his food sales business to jump on a seat behind a spirited steed and race for the sport of it. And for yet another time Krivelin out-foxed his competition and scored his 155th career driving victory when he guided Gimme The Loot to a convincing 2:01.3 triumph in their division. Perhaps out-foxed is not the right term, but whatever it could be labeled, Krivelin took advantage of it and worked himself a good trip behind the leaders in the early going and then rallied to victory in the deep stretch. When Bob Hechkoff gunned Get Packin to the lead as the wings of the starting gate folded, Krivelin jumped in the three-hole on the first turn and sat patiently until the backside the second time around. Although Get Packin still had command, Hechkoff's trotter braced for the challenge from Gimme The Loot and the two raced side by side past the three quarters and around the final turn. When the straightened for paydirt Krivelin mildly urged his trotter and Gimme The Loot responded and trotted away to a 1-1/2 length victory over Get Packin. Paul Minore challenged the leaders with a three-deep move as the field passed the third stanza but his trotter Wygant Prince flattened-out in the lane and finished third. It was the second victory in the NAADA Series for Krivelin and Gimme The Loot after having won a division on March 21. Owned by Alessandro and Marcello Spano, Gimme The Loot paid $4.20 fro win Verruso is another well-known name in the amateur circles especially as president of the CKG Billings Driving Series and he too, needs no road map when he sits behind a standardbred. He copped the second NAADA division with Northmedo Wine Guy in a 2:04 clocking over the race track now rated sloppy as the rain continued to fall in Freehold. However, Verruso's triumph was different than Krivelin's in that he made Northmedo Wine Guy did his trotting on the front- end. After starting from the two-hole Verruso rushed his charge to the lead and they had to endure challenges along the way; first and long, from favored Rose Run Nash (Bob Davis) and later from Nowerland Nathan (Dave Yarock). But Northmedo Wine Guy rebuffed all comers and the veteran trotter even drew off to a two length victory over Rose Run Nash who trotted the last three- eighths on the limb. Some Kinda Spunky took home the show dough for Alan Charles. Owned by G B Racing Stables, Northmedo Wine Guy paid $5.00 to win and for Verruso, it marked his 49th amateur driving victory. by John Manzi, for the North American Amateur Drivers Association

There are horse's names that are apropos but perhaps none more fittingly than that of Talldarknhandsome, a pacer currently competing at Monticello Raceway. Yesterday (April 3) Talldarknhandsome, a 1:58 winner for driver Jimmy Marohn, Jr., is among the biggest horses on the racetracks today. From the locally powerful Danny Gill barn the 6 year old altered son of Lifetime unbelievably is well over 17 hands; over six feet tall at his withers (front shoulders). "He's a big guy for sure," Gill laughs, "but thankfully he's a gentle giant. I've never seen a (harness) horse as tall as him in my life." by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

After the Monticello Raceway-based pacer, Rusty's Flying scored her seventh seasonal triumph on April 1st she joined another Mighty M pacer, Diamond Tiara, in second place in wins on the current North American leaderboard. Slated to make her 13th start of the year yesterday (April 2) Diamond Tiara did and won for the eighth time and now she's tied - albeit with four others - for the lead in races won thus far this season. A mare of considerable class in her younger years Diamond Tiara, a 7-year-old daughter of McArdle, usually does her talking on the front-end and her mile yesterday was another wire-to-wire triumph, this time in 2:00.1. Jimmy Taggart, Jr. was again in the sulky for trainer Mike Watson which marked the sixth time that Watson had handed Taggart the reins which has resulted in five wins and one second place finish, not to mention that it was the mare's fourth consecutive victory. "She has lots of class and can leave like a runner which usually puts her in contention in every race," Taggart said after the race. "She's real handy, too, and certainly a pleasure to drive." Diamond Tiara, a career winner of over $156,000 , owns a lifetime mark of 1:50.4 as a 5 year-old and even last year the gritty mare won in 1:53.3. Both of the aforementioned victories were taken over the five-eighths mile oval at Harrah's Philadelphia. This year, in spite of the brutal weather during this past winter racing season, her fastest triumph was a 1:58.3 clocking. Now with 13 seasonal starts Diamond Tiara is yet to be off the board. Her card now sports eight wins, two seconds, and three thirds and despite racing for paltry purses she was won of over $10,500. Owned by Philip Schultz, Diamond Tiara paid just $2.70 for win. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

At the beginning of last season Monticello Raceway had two pacers that were on a tear winning indiscriminately. Both Tracy's Song and Haroun Hanover were consistent winners and were at, or near, the top of the North American leaderboard in races won then and all season long. And both finished the season with over 20 wins. Although the same may not materialize this year for two pacers, Rusty's Flying and Diamond Tiara, but each are making themselves known by consistent trips to the winners circle. Both pacers have won seven times this year and both are tied for second in victories this year, just one win off the leaders. Yesterday, (March 31) Rusty's Flying notched her third consecutive victory, and seventh of the season when Jimmy Marohn, Jr. guided the 6-year-old daughter of Artiscape to a wire to wire triumph in a 2:00.2 clocking for trainer Danny Gill and owner Ed Hall. Last year Gill was the conditioner of Haroun Hanover, known locally as the horse that didn't stop after a race and one who needed the wings of the starting gate opened on the backstretch after the mile so driver Jimmy Marohn, Jr. (Gill's driver of choice) could aim him behind the wings and get the pacer stopped and into the race paddock. Thankfully for the driver and trainer, Gill's charge this year, Rusty's Flying,does not resemble the characteristics of Haroun Hanover other than she wins the majority of her races. This year she has seven wins and two seconds in 10 starts and last year she had 12 wins and 10 seconds and five thirds in 42 starts. Joining Rusty's Flying in second place races won this year in North America is Diamond Tiara who'll be looking for her eighth seasonal triumph here today (April 1). Owned by Philip Schultz and trained by Mike Watson, the 7 year old daughter of McArdle has strung together three consecutive wins and is understandably rated as the early line favorite in today's contest. Jimmy Taggart, Jr. will again be at the controls behind Diamond Tiara today when they leave from the four hole in the first race. A mare of considerable class, Diamond Tiara has a lifetime mark of 1:50.3 taken two years ago and last season she won in 1:53.3. Both of her win records were notched at Harrah's Philadelphia. This season from 12 trips to post all at the Mighty M, Diamond Tiara has seven wins, two seconds and three thirds. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Dave Yarock and Bob Davis each were victorious in their respective $6000 divisions in the third leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's spring trotting series at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday (March 27) night. It was the first win for each driver in the six week series. In his event, Yarock, and his own Nowerland Nathan left softly from the two home and he was content to let Georgie Newell and Swift Kid take command and Bob Heckhoff and Tremendous Hit fall into the two hole in front of him. Yarock sat cool in third position until the backside where he moved his 8-year-old gelding out to challenge and by the time they circled the final turn they had command. In the lane Nowerland Nathan trotted off to a one length victory in a time of 2:01.1 as Currant Crisis and Bobby Krivelin rallied to be second. Monica Banca and Hardrockinjessica took home the show dough while Tremendous Hit and Swift Kid faded and finished fifth and sixth respectively. In the other split Davis' trotter, Rose Run Nash, won more convincingly. After a slow start where the pole horse ,Rose Run Nash, was four lengths off the gate when the starter said "go", Davis and his charge ended-up sixth at the quarter in :29.1. "Trainer Danny Gill told me if I put him (Rose Run Nash) on the gate he might get hot on me so I decided to lay back a bit so he would be calmer," Davis explained about his trotter's slow start. As the field moved toward the halfway point Davis angled his trotter to the outside behind cover supplied by Alan Schwartz, with Bertos Angel and Joe Faraldo, with Rodeo Red. Faraldo moved three deep up the backside and gained the lead at the third stanza in 1:31.2 and although they held their position until the top of the stretch Rodeo Red ran out of gas and faded. David Glasser with Carbon Footprint were on the lead throughout and he was the one who kept the field stacked. But in the lane they trotted by Rodeo Red and earned second money while Faraldo and Rodeo Red finished third in the 2:02.3 clocked mile. "Once we got away he (Rose Run Nash) was a pleasure to drive and he finished real strong," a smiling Bob Davis said after his victory. With a victory in his first start in the event David Glasser now has command of the leaderboard while Davis who made his first start is now one-for-one in the series. For, Yarock, a financial planner from Tenafly, NJ, it was his 44th amateur driving victory while Davis, a self- employed businessman from Saratoga Springs, NY, notched his 13th. by John Manzi, for the North American Amateur Drivers Association

Last year the name of Bruce Aldrich Jr. forged its way into racing hierarchy. Sure, he had won many driving titles at Monticello Raceway over the first decade of the new century and had over 4000 wins in his career, but last season he became more known nationally when he reined 645 winners and finished tied for second in races won on the continent. And again this year Aldrich is a player. Just yesterday(March 27) he won four more races on Monticello Raceway's afternoon card where he's atop of the driver's standings, and then added two more victories to his seasonal totals last night at Saratoga Raceway. With 111 wins already in his pocket in 2014 Aldrich currently ranks seventh in driving victories and is moving up on the North American leaderboard. "Now that Saratoga is open and I can drive at two tracks there's a good chance I can win more races, especially since I'm lucky enough to be driving some live mounts for so top local trainers," Aldrich admitted. On Thursday (March 27) on Monticello Raceway's eight- race afternoon card Aldrich won four of them. He had two wins for top trainer Bob Lounsbury; Vincent Fra in 1:57.4 ($3.50) and Machin Music ($2.90) in 1:56.4. He also scored with Paul Moore's Livinwell Hanover ($3.60) in 2:00.3 and then hustled trainer Anthony Regina's Best Of Times ($24.80) to a wire to wire triumph in 2:00.2. His two wins that evening at Saratoga Raceway--where's he's second in races won- were with trainer Lindley Blackler's Hawaiian Sweetie ($2.80) in 1:59.3 and with the Bert Belanger-trained trotter, Southern Strength ($8.70) in 2:01.4. "I hope to be able to repeat some of last year's magic but in order for me to do that I'll have to stay strong," Aldrich said. "Oh, I don't mean physically, I mean mentally, because I'll have to spend countless hours in the car traveling back and forth to Monticello and Saratoga. And let me tell you, all those hours on the road can wear you out." by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

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