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MONTICELLO NY---Beginning Monday, November 3 and continuing throughout the remainder of the year all post times at Monticello Raceway will be at 12:25p.m. "With the change to Daylight Savings Time we will begin our racing programs one-half hour earlier the before," noted assistant general manager of racing and facilities, Shawn Wiles. "We annually set post times earlier during this time of the year in an effort to get our races completed during the daylight hours." The Sullivan County oval offers live harness racing on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. However, on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27 there will be no racing. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

How many harness drivers have been saluted by racetracks where they competed upon their retirement from driving? Few if any, but Catello (Cat) Manzi was. And not by one, but two racetracks, and the biggest ones in the game; The Meadowlands last summer and Yonkers Raceway on Saturday, Oct.18. Both racetracks responded wonderfully by inviting Cat’s family and his close friends to the salute at each, replete with dinner and cocktails for the entire groups. And at each venue a portion of the facility was set aside for “The Catman” and his well-wishers. I, of course, went to both racetracks as did many from our family. Track managements at both tracks really outdid themselves by offering all the amenities without charge. And at both venues the salute was highlighted with the feature race on the card named in Cat’s honor and they had him sign autographs on pictures they supplied for the attending fans in front of the winners circle after the race presentation. I know Mr. (Tim) Rooney at Yonkers and Mr. (Jeff) Gural at the Meadowlands were appreciative of Cat’s tenure at both racing facilities. And they put their money where their heart is. Take it from me, not many would do that, but class always shows. I’m not sure that many know that Cat that was born in Monticello on June 27, 1950, eight years to the day before Monticello Raceway had its inaugural program. Cat grew up in nearby Liberty(NY) and comes from a long line of harness horsemen. His dad Al, and uncles, John, Sr. and Dick, became involved in the standardbred business in the spring of 1951 and the family’s second generation, which included Cat, his brother, Steve, and cousins, Ed Lohmeyer, Richard Manzi, Jr., and yours truly, all started racing at Monticello Raceway. Cat drove his first race at the Mighty M in the fall of 1968 and by 1972  he  became the dominant force on the driving scene there. On the warm summer night of August 21, 1973 he won six races in six drives on one card, a world record at that time. After dominating the driving colony at the Mighty M in the mid-1970’s in the fall of 1976 Cat decided to try his luck at the new mile track that opened in the swamplands in East Rutherford, NJ which became known as The Meadowlands. And from its inception “the Big M”  was, and continues to be, the  premier racing facility in North America. Cat has been the regular pilot behind a number of record setters, including 1992 Horse of the Year Artsplace; Beat The Wheel, Pacific Fella and Hit Parade, to name a few. Over the years  “the Catman”, as he’s referred to by his legion of fans, has also won driving titles at Liberty Bell Park, Garden State Raceway, Yonkers Raceway and Freehold Raceway, where he has garnered an incredible 18 driving titles. He has also won a countless amount of “Classic Races” including: the Yonkers Trot, three times; the World Trotting Derby, the Cane Pace, the Driscoll Final; the Niatross; the Lady Maud; the Woodrow Wilson, the Dexter Cup ; the Hambletonian Oaks; the Breeders Crown;  the U.S Pacing Championship, twice; the William Haughton Memorial, three Hudson Filly Trots, the Sheppard Pace; and the $1.6 million North American Cup. His career reached a pinnacle in 2002 when he was inducted into Harness Racing’s Living  Hall of Fame, the only Monticello native to receive such honor. For the record, Cat didn’t retire completely…. he retired from driving but he still trains, currently for the Cancelliere Brothers. He finished with outstanding career totals of 14,812 driving victories and purses of $158,560,663. by John Manzi  

In 2004 when Ted Gewertz had Windsong Legacy and Housethatruthbuilt he felt as if he was on top of the world. And he was; the harness racing world that is. Together both horses earned purses in excess $2.55 million. Windsong's Legacy had nine wins in 12 starts while Housethatruthbuilt won 11 of her 15 races that year. "I can't tell you how exciting that season was and what a great time my partners and I had traveling to watch them race," Gewertz recalled." We won the Hambletonian with Windsongs Legacy and the Breeders Crown with Housethatruthbuilt. Wow, what a year we had." Scant few people have ever owned more horses than Gewertz who got involved with limited partnerships early on. "I usually owned anywhere from twenty to sixty percent and I was lucky to be involved with top stakes horses," he said. "And for a guy who loves to win that was right up my alley." Gewertz made two more trips to the Hambletonian winners circle on the prowess of Giant Victory and Deweycheatumnhowe. "Giant Victory was one of my real favorites, too. We won the '91 Hambo with him but I think I had the most fun with 'Dewey' because we had such a great group of partners," Of course, the aforementioned were the cream of the crop as far as the horses Gewertz has been involved with, but make no mistake he helped pay the bills on plenty, currently 800 or so, 74 this year alone. Originally from the South Bronx (NY) and because of his perspicacity he got a free ride to an education starting at the Bronx H.S. of Science and on to City College of NY (CCNY) and finally to New York University School of Law, where he was a classmate of Colin Powell. Like many from his era Ted would spend the summers of the mid- 1950's in the Catskills waiting tables at the hotels that brought the population out of the sweltering city. "That was before Monticello Raceway opened but later on I used to go to the races there on occasion." In the early 1960's Gewertz started going to Yonkers and Roosevelt Raceways three or four times a week and he became a fan of several drivers. "There were lots of great drivers there during that era and everybody loved Sach Werner, but my all-time favorite back then was Hughie Bell." During those years one could find Gewertz at the Palladium (Dance Hall) in New York City on the nights he wasn't at the racetracks boogying to hot Latin music. "They call it Salsa, today but it's really not the same as the music from my era," he admits. "And I also liked early rhythm and blues, you know the music prior to 1955. They called it race music but it was great and hard to find on the radio." After he finished his schooling Ted became a lawyer, and a good one, specializing in corporate law and his firm was, and is, one of the biggest defending corporate America. Still, harness racing bubbled under, and Ted would spend many an evening at the racetrack I'll tell you a funny story," he continued. "I used to get thrown out of the box seats so many times until I found out if I owned a horse I would be OK. So I decided to buy a horse so I could sit in a box without any harassment." During the '60's Ted got involved in handball, an urban sport which utilizes a "Spaldeen", and he became an outstanding handball player. Today, at age 76, despite two hip replacements he still is playing-and winning. "I play singles exclusively. Since I had my hips done it's hard for me to play doubles anymore." But it's not hard for Ted to go and watch his stock race. He has a piece of over 70 horse this year and some of his better ones include; Somwherovrarainbow, Shebestingin, Thirty Two Red Neighsay Hanover and Driving Miss Crazy , to mention a few. But to fully understand Gewertz's participation in harness racing one just needs to peruse a list of outstanding horses he's been involved with. However, it is much too extensive to be included here. Harness racing is very lucky to have a gentleman like Ted Gewertz involved. He certainly isn't shy about investing in the industry. Although he has many accolades in his chosen profession Ted is very proud of his Owner of the Year Award that was given to him by the US Harness Writers Association (USHWA)  in 2004. On Sunday, November 16, he will add another trophy to his wall when he will be presented the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Monticello- Goshen Chapter USHWA at the scribes 56th Annual Awards Banquet which will be held at The Fountains on Sands Road in Middletown, NY. by John Manzi, for Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA

As the C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series heads into the homestretch the battle for the Eastern Region points championship drew ever closer when both Tony "the Capo" Verruso and Robert "Rapid Rail" Krivelin each were victorious in their respective divisions at Yonkers Raceway Thursday evening (Oct.23). Verruso won with Its Bush Time in 2:02.1 while Krivelin copped his division with Current Crisis in a time of 2:01. In his split Verruso left softly from the four hole with Its Bush Time and settled in along the pylons in fifth position. They moved up to fourth at the halfway point as "Johnny on the Spot" Kolkowski cut the fractions with Alaric. Up the backside Verruso moved to challenge and his trotter was second alongside the leader at the third stanza. Meanwhile "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello with Homer Jay, followed Verruso around the final turn and when they headed for paydirt the three trotters were side by side and it appeared to be anyone's race especially when all three trotters hit the finish line nearly simultaneously. That caused the judges to scrutinize the photo and when they did they found Its Bust Time a head winner over Homer Jay with Alaric a nose back in third place. All three trotters were time in 2:02.1. Its Bush Time is owned by the Allen Cisco Stable of Michigan. For Verruso, the president of the Billings Series, it marked his fourth seasonal triumph and 52nd of his amateur driving career. Krivelin's journey, with Current Crisis, was somewhat different than Verruso's because David "Poppa" Glasser sped away from the gate with Sir Siro and they trotted by the quarter in a stiff :28.3 which had the trailing horses gapped. Krivelin's trotter was 13-lengths behind at the first stanza in fifth position but Current Crisis didn't remain there. When Glasser stepped on the breaks Krivelin was out and going with Current Crisis and they were third on the limb at the halfway point two lengths off the leader. But up the backside Krivelin got the best of Glasser and Current Crisis opened up three lengths on Sir Siro. In the lane Krivelin and Current Crisis braced for a stiff challenge from Celtic Merchant and driver Paul "the Coach" Minore who was following Sir Siro from the get-go. But Current Crisis was up to the challenge and finished a one length winner over Celtic Merchant. Sir Siro tired, but still finished third. Krivelin owns the winner and for him it was his 165th driving victory. With just one east region trot remaining at Pocono Downs on November 12th , both Verruso and Krivelin may be looking for mounts there. Verruso earned 13 points for his victory and now has 54 points which moves him to third place on the Eastern Region which leaves him nine points behind leader, "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello's 63 . leaderboard. Krivelin also earned 13 points and is now in fourth place with 46 points . A good showing at Pocono Downs by any of the drivers near the top of the leadrerboard could determine the East region points champion. The overall Billings Series finale - the Delvin Miller Gold and Silver Cup Championships--will be contested at Chester Downs (Harrah's Philadelphia) on Sunday, November 23. by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Drivers Series  

Members of the Auxiliary of Goshen Historic Track used hot dog sales as a fundraiser on Sunday, October 19th during the second annual Hambletonian Marathon in Trot Town USA which started on Main St and ended at the finish line on Historic Track. Through the dedicated efforts of the organization's volunteer's many thousands of dollars are raised annually for the National Historic Landmark. by John Manzi, for Historic Goshen Track

Bruce Aldrich, Jr. and Jimmy Marohn, Jr. have been tough to beat on the racetrack and not leaving much for their competitors thus far this week at Monticello Raceway. Yesterday (Oct. 22) Aldrich won five races on the 10 race card which was just what Marohn did on the Tuesday program. And checking the Monday results one will find Aldrich's name atop four winners that day, too. "I'm a lucky guy getting first call to drive for trainer Bob Lounsbury," Aldrich said after Wednesdays card was completed. "When I get up behind a horse that he trains I know I have a chance to win." Aldrich began the soggy afternoon by winning the first race with Move Blue Chip ($2.60) in 1:59.3 for Bob, John, and James Dill. Then Aldrich didn't get his picture taken again until he won the sixth race with Go Go Buckeye ($7.10) for owner Woody Hoblitzell in time of 1:59.3. Aldrich came right back to cop the seventh with the Philip Schultz-owned and Bob Lounsbury-trained Vincent Fra ($3.60) in 1:58.1 which marked the claiming pacer's 15 seasonal triumph. After finishing third in the eight race Aldrich then proceeded to win the final two on the card. He won the ninth with Gray Thunder Stable's, The Perfect Dream ($6.50) in 2:02.3 and then romped to victory in the finale with Phillip Schultz's trotter Scottish Cross ($2.30) in 1:59.2, another Lounsbury pupil. Both Aldrich and Marohn have the luxury of driving for the top stables on the grounds, the former for Bob Lounsbury and the latter for Danny Gill. Jimmy Marohn, Jr. did win a race on the card with the Gill-trained Talldarknhandsome ($3.70) in 1:59.3 for owners Ed and James Hall. And speaking of Gill, the next win from his barn will be his 1000th as a trainer. Aldrich leads the local driving colony currently with 294 winners while Marohn is third best with 167. And both rank nationally; Aldrich's 493 wins places him sixth on the North American leaderboard while Marohn's 290 ranks him 25th. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

The Monticello Goshen Chapter began in 1959 and is currently one of 13 chapters that constitute the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), a national organization, now with Canadian members, whose main business is to help promote the sport of harness racing. Members of 'Mon-Go' are extremely proud that the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, as well as Historic Track, are in its jurisdiction. The fact that the sport of harness racing was weaned in-and around--Goshen, NY in the late 1830's and still continues today, explains why Goshen has always been known as the "Cradle of the Trotter", although it was often referred to as Trot Town-USA. That also is the reason why the chapter goes out of its way to make annual donations to help perpetuate both venues. On November 16 the 56th Annual Awards Banquet of the Monticello Goshen Chapter USHWA will be held at The Fountains at the Wallkill Golf Club on Sands Road in Middletown, NY and once again promises to be an outstanding gathering of great people in our sport. Besides honoring the exploits of our local horses and horsemen the chapter will also cite prominent industry people. This year the main honoree will be longtime horse owner, Ted Gewertz, who'll receive the chapter's Lifetime Achievement Award. Other prominent awards will be presented to the New York State breeding operation at the Crawford Farms (Excelsior Award) and to the U.S. Trotting Association's great writer and publicist, Ken Weingartner (Phil Pines Award). Harness racing's Mr. Everything and one of the sports true rising stars, Jason Settlemoir will receive the John Gilmour Good Guy Award. The major award from Goshen Historic Track, the Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award, will be presented to the Historic Track Board of Director's vice president, George Casale. Geri Schwarz, Monticello Raceway and Historic Track's award winning photographer, will receive an Award of Appreciation for her expertise behind the camera. At earlier banquets the chapter has cited many outstanding individuals some who have gone on to be elected the Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Those Hall of Famers include: Phil Tully, Cat Manzi, Bill Brown, Hal Jones, John Cashman, Harry Harvey, and most recently Joe Thomson, who'll be inducted this coming summer. However the chapter's strong support also has helped Joe DeFrank, Tommy Thomson, Ron Gurfein, Jim Doherty, John Simpson Jr., Wally Hennessey, Phil Langley, Clint Galbraith and Buddy Gilmour to reach the hallowed Hall. Chapter members, both past and present, who are now enshrined in the Communicators Hall of Fame (and their year of induction) include: Jim Harrison (1986), Al DeSantis (1989) Phil Pines (1990) Allen Finkelson (1992), Wesley "Bo" Gill (1999), John Bradley (2000), Ed Palladino (2001), John Manzi (2006) and Joe Hartmann (2010). Many Monticello-Goshen Chapter members have also gone on to become the USHWA National President. It began with Allen Finkelson and followed over the years by Phil Pines, John Manzi, Ed Palladino and currently Chris Tully. And last year at the national meetings Shawn Wiles was elected second vice president and he will work his way up the chairs and become the sixth member of Monticello-Goshen who has risen to national USHWA prominence. The Banquet is open to the public and anyone can attend. The ticket price of $65 includes a one-hour open bar, a full course dinner and door prizes. Congratulatory ads, ranging from $100- $300, can be purchased by calling 845.794.4100ext.455 or emailing jmanzi@empireresorts.com. Oh, I almost forgot--but maybe on purpose. I serve as master of ceremonies and after the presentation of awards, four or five of my friends who may end-up being ex-friends, will 'roast' me, gently I hope, since they know that I will have the microphone last. by John Manzi, for Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA

"I had a few good horses that were in the right spots," is how Jimmy Marohn, Jr. explained his five bagger on (Oct.21) at Monticello Raceway over a muddy track on Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 21). Still it wasn't the best day that Marohn ever had but it certainly was a very good one. "I once had six wins on one card but being covered with mud from head to toe like I am right now I can't remember where and when," Marohn added via a phone call from the race paddock Well it wasn't here Jimmy. You won five races on one card three times, once during 2012 and twice during the 2013 season. However,, five wins on a 10-race card is outstanding. Marohn started the wet afternoon winning both ends of the daily double. He scored with Brenna Gill's, Tylers Great ($8.00) in 1:59.3 in the first race and came right back to cop the second with Perfect Raider ($3.90) in a time of 1:59.1 to notch the pacer's 14th seasonal triumph. He, too, is owned by Mrs. Danny Gill. Win number three for the diminutive reinsman came behind Stanley Noga's, Bullville Kyle ($7.50) when he reined the pacer to victory in 1:58 in race number five. After a steady downpour Marohn then won the seventh race with trotter, Mac Atack Mac ($3.80) in 2:05 for owners Pine Forest Standardbreds which gave trainer Danny Gill a hat trick. Marohn's final triumph of the afternoon came in the very next race when he guided classy ole Noble's Grand Slam to the pacer's 40th career victory in a time of 1:57.3 ($3.70) for owner Larry Kittenplan. Trailing the driving leaders by over 300 starts here this season still Marohn, a former Mighty M driving champ, is currently third best on the local leaderboard with 168 winners. All told Marohn now has 294 winners this season.  you are hereby notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited. This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are considered privileged and confidential and may not be used by either party in any pending or future legal proceedings. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Eight Billings members got their first look at the new Dayton Raceway when the track hosted a Billings Trot on Monday, October 20, and they were impressed. "It rained nearly all day but when we went out to race the track was in pretty good condition," noted "Chicago George" Bonomo, who now has the distinction of being the first Billings member to win a race at Dayton Raceway. He scored over seven others in a time of 2:00.2 with Life Long Hanover. "I had a picture-perfect trip and couldn't have asked for a better one, "Bonomo said via telephone after the race. "I had the four-hole and left softly and found a hole third along the pylons. From there it was easy. I just followed the flow in front of me." Bonomo's decision to sit still worked out a perfect trip for him when he allowed Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford to cut the fractions with TK's Diva. Immediately in front of him was his daughter, Michelle Ruvolo, driving Tioga Thunder. "In his (Tioga Thunder) last start at Delaware she won with him in 2:03 and I thought she'd be one to beat in here so I wanted to follow her. But for some reason her horse flattened out in the stretch but that enabled me to get out and when I did, my horse (Life Long Hanover) trotted by hers and I caught Steve (Oldford) and went on to a two length victory. TK's Diva and Oldford hung on for the place money. Good Friend and "Lawbook Larry" Farley got up in the final strides to deny Michelle Ruvola's horse the show dough. Bonomo owns the winner who is trained by Crist Hershberger. Sent off at odds of over 3-1 Life Long Hanover paid $8.20, $5.20 and $2.40 across the board. "Gregg (Kiedel) and his staff went out of their way to be very helpful," Bonomo added. "They greeted us and explained how to do things at this new facility. It's a beautiful place, especially the paddock which holds 12 or 14 races under one roof. And after the race they took us up to the grandstand and we had a good meal. I can't say enough nice things about the new racetrack here in Dayton." by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Drivers Club

USTA Directors from District 8 will be conducting their annual meeting and Awards Dinner Sunday, October 26th at Vernon Downs. The event is hosted by Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund and the United States Trotting Association. USTA directors who will be on hand are District 8 Chairman Shawn Wiles, Jason Settlemoir, Mike Kane, Kim Crawford, Ray Schnittker Mark Ford and Bruce Tubin. At the meeting the attending members will review this years Proposed Rule and Bylaw changes. On the slate are nine proposed changes, three of which pertain to the Racing Under Saddle (RUS). No Director elections are due this year. The dinner will honor District 8 horses and the district's Horse of the Year will be named that evening. Also being recognized is John Manzi, who is honored by being named this year's recipient of the prestigious Bruce Hamilton Memorial Award. The meetings will get underway at 5pm followed by a Cocktail Party at 6:30pm. The Banquet and Awards Dinner program will begin at 7:30pm. Tickets for the Dinner are $30 and anyone interested in attending should call Betty Holt at the Harness Horse Breeders at 518-785-5858.  

Latham, NY---The Harness Horse Breeders of New York State (HHBNYS) has announced with great pride that longtime horseman and journalist John Manzi will be the recipient of the 2014 Bruce Hamilton Memorial Medal. This eighth annual award recognizes an individual who has shown outstanding integrity in the sport of harness racing and has also taken the time to give back to both the sport and their community in the State of New York. John Manzi has been doing exactly that for over 50 years. Manzi has been involved in harness racing his entire life. Coming from a racing family, he started out training and driving at Monticello Raceway in the late 1960's and enjoyed doing it until 1974. That is when he found something he enjoyed doing even more; promoting the sport. He eventually started working on the other side of the fence at the Meadowlands and in 1980 became Monticello Raceway's full time director of publicity and public relations. 44 years later he still holds the same position. A tireless fundraiser on his own time, John Manzi has helped numerous industry organizations offset day to day expenses through his benevolent efforts. He has been the impetus for money raised and donated to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, the Goshen Historic Track, the Saratoga Harness Hall of Fame, the Standardbred Retirement Fund and the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. As a driving force in the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), he runs its annual banquet that honors their local horsemen and then uses the proceeds to fund numerous other worthwhile causes throughout the year. Besides his promotional work of the sport at Monticello, he has done publicity for the New York Sire Stakes and other New York State races and actually worked for Bruce Hamilton when he was the executive director of the HHBNYS. He is also the publicist for the Billings Amateur Driving Series and the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA). Manzi has also served high posts for some very important organizations within the racing industry. He is a former National president of both USHWA and the Harness Publicist Association. John Manzi's efforts have not gone unnoticed through the years as his list of acknowledgments will attest. He is a member of the Communicator's Hall of Fame in Goshen and has received the Proximity Award from USHWA, the Pinnacle Award from the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, the Appreciation Award from Harness Horsemen International, the Laurel Award from New York City USHWA and was named USHWA'n of the Year in 1992. Manzi's other passion is music and he is a longtime collector of "doo-wop" and rock and roll records. In 1983 he was given his own radio show called The Bop Shop on WVOS-FM in Monticello. He is currently celebrating his 31st year in broadcasting and can be heard both on the radio and streaming live on the internet. John Manzi was married to the late Sharon Manzi for almost fifty years and is the loving father of two daughters, Michelle Miller and Tracy Manzi and three granddaughters, Elizabeth, Kim and Fiona McNamara. The presentation of the Bruce Hamilton Memorial Medal will take place at the New York Sire Stakes and USTA District 8 awards dinner at Vernon Downs Hotel and Casino on October 26 at 6:30 p.m. For reservations or more information, contact the Harness Horse Breeders at 518-785-5858 or info@hhbnys.org. By Tim Bojarski, for the Harness Horse Breeders of NYS    

Two years ago the Historic Track Board of Directors had a dilemma; refurbish the track offices located under the grandstand or move to the Arden Clubhouse. But that too, needed renovating. Either way, the upgrade posed a costly problem especially for the non-for-profit organization. "We decided that our best move would be to renovate the Arden Clubhouse," noted the then Board president, Bernie White. "And we're so glad we did. The old offices under the grandstand had seen their best days so we figured the Arden Clubhouse would work best for us." Though the decision was a daunting one, still something had to be done. And it was. The exhaustive task was completed and by the time that the first snow began to fall the Arden Clubhouse was ready. "It wasn't an easy task," White admitted. "Since the Arden Clubhouse is part of the National Historic Landmark certain rules and regulations had to be adhered to." Serving as the track office, the Arden Clubhouse is where all track business is done; from Board Meetings to anything that pertains to the racing and training operations. On October 14, at the recent meeting of Historic Track's Board of Directors, new Board president, Steve Jones, appreciatively accepted the non-profit 2013 Goshen Restoration Unlimited Preservation Award handed to him by Goshen Preservation president, Maureen Quattrini. According to Jones, the metal plaque will be displayed on the Arden Clubhouse for all the world to see. by John Manzi, for Goshen Historic Track

Winning races is nothing new for Bruce Aldrich, Jr. He wins plenty of 'em. Many days he has three or four winners on a race card but when he wins five it deserves notice. That's exactly what Aldrich did at the Mighty M on Tuesday afternoon, October 14. He won two, DC's Piggy Bank and Mixed Media, for trainer Bob Lounsbury who always uses Aldrich to drive his stock. Other winners were King Otra (1:55.4) for trainer Dave Russo; Riverboat Sue (1:58.4) for Eric Taddeo and one, What Rusty (1:56.4), for Elisha Lafreniere. Aldrich again tops the Monticello Raceway driver's leaderboard, something that has become synonymous with his name. Currently his 275 winners are tops and are 79 more than runner-up Jimmy Devaux's, 196. Aldrich came to Monticello in 1999 and over the first decade of the 21st Century he won more races than any other driver here, even more than Billy "Zeke" Parker, Jr. Since then Aldrich has a streak of three consecutive years-assuming his big lead will hold up by year's end- winning the Mighty M driving title and he's won five title here in the last six years. . But for Aldrich his seasonal stats began bulging when he gave up training and just concentrated on driving. That happened in mid- 2012 after he moved his base of operations to Saratoga Springs, NY where he bought a farm and became a regular at Saratoga Raceway. That year he finished the entire season with 289 winners. The following year Aldrich started the season here and was the leader in races won at Monticello Raceway, but when Saratoga Raceway - his new home track-opened in the early spring he decided to race at both Monticello and Saratoga. And that's been his MO since. Aldrich admits driving at two tracks, mostly on the same days, is grueling, especially when they are 145 miles apart. And that Monticello races during the afternoon and Saratoga mostly at night, would this venue even be possible. However, no longer is Bruce Aldrich just a regional stalwart, he has become a national contender. In mid-December last year we put together a driving competition between Aldrich and the then national leader, Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. whose home track is Northfield Park in greater Cleveland, Ohio. When Wrenn graciously agreed to participate we decided to call the competition the Aldrich-Wrenn Drive-off. Nothing unusual there you say? Well how about that after the 13 races were put together by director of racing Eric Warner and the post positions drawn, each driver-with the Racing Board's sanction -- would choose his own mount in every other race. And although the only winner was the racing public as they enjoyed the driving talents of two premier reinsmen, Aldrich finished with six winners and Wrenn had won four. Brucester, as I call him, had a hot-hand until the curtain came down on the 2013 season, so much so, that he finished the year tied for second-with Dave Palone- in races won (645) in North America behind Ronnie Wrenn Jr.s 714. This year again, Aldrich,46, is a factor. Currently his 471 winners ranks him in sixth place on the North American leaderboard. Still that puts him ahead of such steadfast reinsmen as Yannick Gingris(451 wins), Corey Callahan (429); Jason Bartlett (427) and Tim Tetrick (397). For the record Ronnie Wrenn Jr.is battling for the lead with Aaron Merriman and currently trails him by 16 wins, 645-629. Earlier this season, on June 23, Aldrich reined his 5,000th career winner and as of this writing his total is now 5221. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway  

Sunday, October 12 in Saratoga Springs NY was an absolutely beautiful day, weather wise, and for Steve" You're Never Too" Oldford and "Bullet Bob" Davis it was equally grand because both gentlemen drivers won their respective divisions of the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series which was part of the 13- race program presented that day at the Spa City oval. Winning a horse race as a non-professional is always a great pleasure but for Bob Davis his victory in front of his hometown crowd and that he won his contest with Jimmer, a horse named for Jimmer Fredette, one of the greatest college basketball players to ever come out of Saratoga County, only made Davis' victory all that more sweet. "Jimmer just came off a three month layoff and is just rounding into form after a qualifier and a second place finish in a NAADA trot at Yonkers (Raceway) "Davis said via a telephone." He's a pretty nice trotter when he's right." In their contest Davis left softly with Jimmer and found a hole in fifth position as the field headed for the quarter pole. Content to stay put until the backside it was there that Davis moved behind cover and then went three deep and the altered son of Equinox Bi zipped right around everyone and took command with less than a quarter mile to go. "Once we made the front I knew Jimmer was the best and he trotted home an easy winner in (1):59 and two," Davis added Second place went to Dave "Steady As" Yarock with Rompaway Alvin while another hometowner, Simeon "Hot Rod" Hunsdon, picked up the show dough with Jolie's Prayer. Jimmer is trained by David Corlew and co-owned by Davis and Terry Vanvalkenburgh. He paid $9.90 for win. The second Billings trot saw hot-handed Steve Oldford once again take home the lion's share of the $5500 purse money when he guided his own Magglio to a 1:59.4 victory over Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin and Current Crisis. Third place went to the betting favorite Bit O Victory, in rein to "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello. "When the gate sprung I sent Magglio toward the front but I found a spot in third position as we trotted to the first panel," Oldford related. From there Oldford was content to follow the pace set by Bob Davis and Conway Cruiser until he felt it was time to move. "When we neared the three quarters I squeezed out between horses and took the lead as we headed around the paddock turn. Krivelin was tight on my back and he aped my every move but when we straightened for home my horse was the strongest and we won it by a littler more than a length." ,," Oldford added. Owned by Steve Oldford and the Oldford Farms LLC, and trained by Allen Sisco, Magglio returned an $8.90 win mutuel to those who backed him. On Monday, October 20, the Billings Series will have its initial competitions over the 5/8th mile oval at the new Dayton Raceway. by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Driver Series

The 56th annual awards banquet of the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) will be on Sunday, November 16 at the Fountains at the Wallkill Golf Club on Sands Road in Circleville, NY. A social hour begins at 5:30 p.m with dinner to follow. Honorees are Ted Gewertz, Crawford Farms, Ken Weingartner, Jason Settlemoir, George Casale and Geri Schwarz. The evening will break from the usual format of presenting awards early, to a friendly roast of longtime master of ceremonies and banquet chairman John Manzi. Manzi also has been the eyes of the Monticello Raceway, heading the public relations team for so many years that his name is synonymous with the track. The roast should be quite a lot of fun. (He also is host of the Bop Shop Radio Show that coincidentally is celebrating its 31st anniversary today, October 10. Tune in from 8 p.m. to midnight on WVOS-FM.) Manzi is co-chairing the banquet this year with Chris Tully, president of the national USHWA, and Shawn Wiles, second vice president. The banquet will continue the tradition of donating the profits from the printed journal with congratulatory ads and messages. Recipients are the Goshen Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, two separate entities although next door to each other in Goshen. Tickets are $65 per person and to place a congratulatory ad in the awards journal please call the raceway at 794-4100, ext. 455. From the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of USHWA

After competing at Flamboro Downs on Sunday (Oct.5) the Billings Series action in Canada continued on Monday(Oct. 6) at Mohawk Raceway where Michiganders, Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford and Mike "the Mortgage Man" Mitchell, each emerged victorious in their respective divisions; Oldford with Bold Strike and Mitchell with Unabating. The two-day trip marked the second time this season that Billings members raced in Canada, initially competing over a weekend in early September at two racetracks in the Maritimes. Although going into his contest on Monday as the leading point-earner in the lengthy amateur driving series, Oldford added even more points to his seasonal total after reining his own Bold Strike to a gate to wire triumph in a time of 1:58:4. Second place went to Kelly "Sky" Walker who rallied Protégé Seelster from 13- lengths back at the quarter pole to finish second, a length behind the winner. Once again, Canada's own Howie the Horse" Gelfand took home the show dough-as he did yesterday at Flamboro Downs-this time with Back To Peace. "I had the rail and sent my horse to the lead and we went down the road. I got to steal a few fractions along the way and my horse was still strong in the stretch," Oldford related. "It was fun, but then again, it's always fun when you win." Bold Strike, owned by Oldford, paid $7.40 for win. Oldford's traveling companion, Mike Mitchell, was also victorious but his triumph came behind a catch - drive.. In that contest Mitchell had the heavy favorite, Unabating from the two hole, and they got away slowly -fifth at the first panel 13 lengths back-allowing "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello with BWT Taj to lead the field by the quarter in :27. Still on the engine at the halfway point in :56.3, as Zuccarello headed to the third stanza Mitchell began to move closer to the lead and with a three-deep move on the final turn Unabating trotted by BWT Taj and breezed home a solid winner in 1:56. "I was told that my horse would not leave (the starting gate) good but once the race got underway I'd be able to do anything I want with him," Mitchell said. "Still being so far behind in the early going made me a little nervous. But we caught the leaders and in the lane my horse finished like the favorite he was." Zuccarello and BWT Taj finished second while yet another Michigander, "Jerry the Jet" Mihelich was third with Natural Forces. by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Driver Series

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