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How do you stop her? That's probably a question that many harness racing Amateur drivers are asking. Now for the second consecutive night at Yonkers Raceway "Hurricane Hannah" Miller again emerged victorious over her competition when she guided Hidden Identity to a gate to wire triumph in the $15,000 Billings east region semi-final. The previous evening, over the same Yonkers double oval, the talented miss won the seventh leg of the NAADA spring trotting series.and will finish as the top point earner in that eight week two track series. However, tonight at the Westchester County double oval the Billings mid-season semi final in the east region was up for grabs and Hannah drove aggressively after starting from the eight-hole. She gunned the Tom Milici-trained Hidden Identity for the lead despite starting on the far outside. and half-way around the first turn Hannah's charge was in front and they led the field by the first stanza:29.1. "The starter let us go sooner which certainly helped the outside horses and we made the top relatively easy since my horse left like a runner," Hannah related via telephone as she headed to the airport to catch a plane to Illinois the see her grandma who is recuperating from knee surgery. Once on top Hidden Identity coasted along relatively unchallenged until the field headed up the backside. When they approached the third stanza "Coach Paul" Minore tipped Wygant Prince and they began to chase down Hidden Identity. As the two leaders trotted into the final turn Wygant Prince had collared Hidden Identity and they raced side by side around the turn and were just noses apart at the top of the lane. "We got away with easy fractions and my horse wasn't tired and when we straightened for home he shifted gears and began to trot away from Wygant Prince and we won it by length in 2:00.2," Hannah said. Third place went to Landonfitz and driver Dave "Steady as" Yarock. By John Manzi for the Billings Series

There's an old adage that states 'it's hard to keep a good man down'. And that's usually the case. But the same could be said about "Hurricane Hannah" Miller when she once again stuck it to the boys in a NAADA Trot at Yonkers Raceway on Friday, July 21. The talented harness racing miss survived a rough journey with Pine Tab to score a 1:59.4 victory. It seems that Miss Miller is frequently starting from an outside post position and in her race tonight's race she had to navigate from post seven on the far outside But feeling that her trotter was up to the task she sent him for the front but ran into a buzz-saw when Richard Gayton, driving Highest Hill, wouldn't relinquish command when she came calling. And because of that they trotted by the first stanza in a swift :27.4 and it wasn't until both trotters came off the paddock turn side by side did Hannah and Pine Tab clear to the lead. "My horse left (the gate) good but when I got alongside Mr. Gayton I could see he had no intentions of letting me go," Hannah said. "When we finally got the lead I knew the swift early fractions were going to take a toll later in the race." Pine Tab led the field by the halfway point in :58 and was still safely in command when they passed the three quarter pole in 1:29. However, after rebuffing a challenge by Kelly Walker with Stemilt Touch Hannah and Pine Tab braced for Keenan and John Calabrese who were sailing along in the catbirds seat during the early going. And although Keenan was fresh he didn't have enough to overtake Pine Tab in the deep stretch and Calabrese and his trotter had to settle for second money.Toss Cartwright and Peter Kleinhans, who were in the back of the pack during the early going, got up for the show dough. "To be honest, my horse was tired as we headed down the stretch and I was so glad for the track change," Hannah said referring to the recently shortened the homestretch. Pine Tab, a veteran 8-year old Cantab Hall gelding is owned by JL Benson Stables and trained by Nick Surick. Tomorrow night Hannah will compete again when Yonkers Raceway hosts the Billings Series $15,000 East Region #1 Final. by John Manzi for NAADA

On Sunday (May 23) a contingent of amateur harness racing drivers representing NAADA will wing their way to northern Italy for a series of races against their Italian counterparts at racetracks in Treviso, Padova and Cesena. "Although the competitions don't start until Wednesday we're going a day early because of the time difference and we need to chill out and be at our best for the competitions," noted Joe Faraldo, president of NAADA and their team leader who recently won a race in Vincennes against the French amateurs. Faraldo will be joined by fellow NAADA reinsmen, Alan Schwartz, Anthony Verruso and Tony Ciufettelli and they will have to be at their best to be able to avenge the trouncing they received last year on American soil by the visiting Italians. "Winning or losing is incidental in these international driving competitions," Faraldo lamented "It's all about sharing the comradery we've fostered over the years and we, and they, look forward to these annual races in each of our countries." Although the Italian teams at the various venues are yet to be finalized among the Italian amateurs already set to compete include Michele Canali, Marco Lasi, Filippo Monti, Matteo Zaccherinni Giancarlo Moretti. Roberto Michelotto, Otello Zorzetto and Raffaello Ruffato. The partying will get underway just as soon as the American contingent lands on Italian soil and the following is the tentative itinerary Monday 24th: Welcome at Malpensa Airport in Milan 12 noon: Bus to Padova (short stop for quick lunch)6pm: arrive to Hotel Al Santo and relax8.30pm: Dinner at "Couver Tennis" Padova Tuesday 25th: 9 am: Bus to Venice and city tour (all day in Venice)Dinner: in either Venice or back to Padova Wednesday 26th: Morning: free time12.30pm: Bus to "Allevamento Biasuzzi" and visit to the Biasuzzi Centre6pm: Bus to Ippodromo Treviso (1st day races)10.30pm: dinner at the Ippodromo12 midnight: Bus to Hotel Thursday 27th: 9am start of Padova City Tour (no bus)3 pm: back to Hotel and relax7 pm: Bus to Ippodromo of Padova (2nd day of races)10.30pm: Dinner at "Villa Italia" Restaurant12.30am: bus to Hotel Friday 28th: Morning: free time3.30pm: Bus to Cesena (3rd day of races)Dinner at Cesena Ippodromo12.30am: Bus to Hotel Saturday 29th: back to Milan to expore the city and its bounties Sunday, 30th --back to the USA by John Manzi for NAADA  

Joe Lee, the New York Yankees assistant locker room manager and avid amateur driver, shocked the bettors at Monticello Raceway on Thursday July3) when he guided TKRs Metro Specs to a 1:58 victory in a Catskill Amateur Club Pace which in turn and sparked a $82.50 payoff. In all, three amateur contests dotted the 13-race Mighty M afternoon card; others were trots in the North American Amateur Drivers Association's Sumer Series. Alan Schwartz won his NAADA division with Ladys Big Storm in 1:59.4 while Dave Yarock reined Czech It Out to a 2:01.4 triumph in their split. Besides the foreboding rain the biggest topic of conversation among the railbirds was Joe Lee's shocker behind Woody Hoblitzell's TKR's Metro Specs. In this contest a sidebar could have been that three women were driving in the race but Lee's payoff stole the show. After starting from the eight- hole Lee send his pacer toward the front but they didn't gain command until they got around Bob Hechkoff's Italian Rebel as the quarter mile timer flashed :28.2. After passing the half in :58.2 Lee kept the pedal to the medal and turned back all comers to score a 1-1/4 length victory over Bob Davis and World Peace. One of the aforementioned ladies, Hannah Miller, finished third with Touchdown Mindale. "I've driven him (TKR's Metro Specs) a few times before and even won with him here at Monticello in late June," Lee offerred after the race "We were on the front-end in that one and I learned that he needs to be yelled at to keep him busy.So when we made the front today and headed to the half I screamed at him all the way home." In the first NAADA trot Schwartz also used the front-end with Ladys Big Stormont en route to victory over a fast-closing Landonfitz and Dave Yarock. Like TKRs Metro Specs , Schwartz' trotter didn't make the lead until the first stanza and even with early fractions of :27.3 and :58.3 Ladys Big Stormont held tough through the lane. Despite his shortening strides in the deep stretch Ladys Big Stormont held on for a head victory over Landonfitz. Permanent Joy took home the show dough for Bobby Krivelin. "My horse is best on the front-end but I can't always get him there," Schwartz offered. "When I race him from a hole he just doesn't like to pass horses. If we're third at the top of the stretch we'll probably finish third. "He was real good today probably because I had him turned out at my farm for three days and the green grass and the change of scenery seem to do something positive." Sent off as the betting favorite from the five-hole Ladys Big Stormont paid $5.80 for win. Dave Yarock got Czech It Out home first in the other NAADA Trot.After floating away from the four hole Yarock moved second-up behind Alan Schwartz with Keep It Sweet as the field headed to the halfway point. But when Schwartz's trotter began to fade nearing the three quarters Yarock wheeled Chech It Out three wide and in the deep stretch they wore down the pace-setter Highest Hill (Rich Gayten) for a length victory over Shez All Muscles and driver Bob Davis. Highest Hill held on for third. "The last time he (Czech It Out) raced he made a break behind the (starting) gate so I just wanted to keep him trotting. When I pulled him three wide up the backstretch he just kept rolling and we won it fairly easily," a happy Dave Yarock said Chezh It Out returned an $8.30 win mutuel. John Manzi

Harness racing's greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series, moved on to Saratoga Raceway for a trotting contest on July 9th and when it was over newcomer Evan "Hoagy" Hoagland emerged victorious with Tapit in a 1:58.2 clocking. Earlier this year "Hoagy" was driving in qualifying races in order to earn the right to compete in pari-mutuel races. and after showing his abilities the judges granted him a provisional license. With 14 previous pari-mutuel drives where he garnered four seconds and three thirds his 15th drive was a charm for the 21-year-old. when his first pari-mutuel win came in the Billings trot at his home track in upstate New York.. Sent off as second choice from the four hole in today's eight horse contest Hoagland found room along the pylons in third position before the field trotted by the first panel in a swift :27.4. As the field headed to the halfway point in :57.3 Hoagland moved Tapit first-up and progressed toward the lead which they finally gained as the three quarter timer flashed l:27.2. When the field headed for paydirt Tapit was well in charge and coasted home an easy four-length winner. Despite road trouble "Bay State Bob" Kenney and Top of Page came from fifth the three quarters and negotiated their way clear to rally for second money. Third place went to the betting favorite, The Franchise, driven by Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff. In winning the Billings trot today Tapit paid $8.00. She scored a seasonal best clocking and increased her lifetime earnings to over $102,000. The 6-year-old Justice Hall mare is owned by Hoagland Racing LLC and trained by Kyle Spagnola . by John Manzi for the Billings Series

Like the weather David Glasser is also heating up. The insurance and financial services professional notched his second harness racing victory in his last three trips behind the mobile starting gate when he reined Winwood Scout to a 1:59.1 wire- to- wire triumph in the fifth division of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's summer trotting series tonight (July 7) at Yonkers Raceway. Two weeks ago, on June 24th at Tioga Downs, Glasser was victorious with Celebrity Stimulus, another trotter that he owns, Up behind his own Winwood Scout tonight, Glasser hustled the veteran trotter to the front and they had a two-length lead on Rev It Now and driver Hannah Miller as they passed the first stanza in :28.4. From there Glasser let his horse breeze as the next two fractions of :59.4 and 1:29 flashed on the timer. After putting away Rev It Now, Winwood Court had a three-length lead on the final turn but braced from late challenges from Wygant Prince (Paul Minore) and Tony Verruso's Flirting Duezy. But through the lane Glasser's charge hung tough and went on to a one-length victory over Wygant Prince with Flirting Duezy garnering the show dough. After the race Glasser shared his thoughts "I drew the rail with a nice horse who fit the nw6001 class by $80," he offered, and then continued, "Scout gets fussy at the gate and I've lost him twice there in races at The Meadowlands (meaning he went off-stride) and I was determined not to let that happen tonight. After we got past the gate and to the front he knew what to do better than me." Winwood Scout notched his sixth victory in 16 starts this year and raised his lifetime earnings to over $280,000. Glasser scored his 4thseasonal driving victory and the 36th of his amateur career. By John Manzi for NAADA

The ever-traveling CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series was on the move again on Wednesday night (June 5) where harness racing members of the mid-west region convened in greater Cleveland, Ohio for a trotting contest at Northfield Park. The well contested event turned out to be a barn-burner with three horses battling head-to-head down the stretch for supremacy and when the judges hung the official sign, Song In My Heart and driver "Tiny Tim," Miller emerged victorious by a neck, over Heza Rube and Bob "the Lumberman" Troyer in a 1:59.2 clocking. It was the second time this season that Tim Miller and the 6-year-old altered son of Cantab Hall combined for a victory. Their first triumph together was on May 24th also at Northfield Park when they vanquished an eight-horse field in a 2:01.1 clocking and strangely Heza Rube was second to the winner that night, too. Last night Song In My Heart was hustled away from the starting gate and fell into the two-hole behind Patricia "the Write Stuff" Miller who gunned Keep The Cash to the lead from the pole position. They raced one-two past the quarter in :29.4 and by the half in 1:00.2. As they approached the third stanza Troyer and Heza Rube charged at the leaders as the timer flashed 1:29.4. And when they rounded the final turn the real battle for paydirt ensued as Song In My Heart ,Heza Rube and Keep the Cash battled all the way to the wire. But the pace-setter emerged victorious over Heza Rube with Keep The Cash right there in the three-horse photo. Owned by Bert Hershberger and trained by J D Wengerd Song In My Heart was sent off sent off as the betting favorite and returned $4.20 for win. For "Tiny Tim" Miller it was his second seasonal winning drive in as many starts and now the Wilmot, Ohio resident has 41 career driving victories. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

On Sunday evening,( July 2nd,) at the Hall of Fame Banquet on the lawn of the Harness Racing Museum "Hurricane Hannah" Miller was presented with the Hall of Fame Amateur Driver's Award for the second consecutive season. Then the next day, she went out and won two amateur driving contests over the famed double oval at Historic Track. "Both horses were very good today," Hannah said via email. "I didn't really get the trip I wanted with Pine Tab in race seven but it ended up working out. "When we rounded the first turn in that one I was able to get a hole (along the pylons) but I didn't want to get locked in so I chose to move him early. We didn't clear Joe Pennacchio and Current Crisis until midway up the backstretch but once Pine Tab made the front he felt strong and went on to a two-length victory." After finishing back in Hidden Identity's last two starts Hannah decided to change her strategy and send the veteran trotter to the lead where he seems to race his best. On June 1st ,in a Billings Trot at Monticello Raceway, she put the grand old campaigner on the front-end and he went wire to wire to and scored an easy victory. "In Hidden's race today I was able to get him out of the gate good and get him to the front where he does his best work. We had a late challenge around the final turn but when I pulled the (ear) plugs we trotted away from LandonFitz (Dave Yarock) and were an easy three-length winner," Miller said, and then added "It was a great day overall and I was lucky to have my family with me." In the first Billings Trotting division Bobby "Hot Rod Chevie" Ciavardini won his first race since 1990 when he guided Baltimor AS to a 2:02.1 victory over Pocket Passer and driver Tony "the Capo" Verruso. After starting from the pole position Ciavardini took early command and then yielded to Pocket Passer and allowed him to cut the fractions. After rebuffing challenges, Verruso and his charge led the way until the top of the stretch where Ciavardini, who traveled along in the catbirds seat moved Baltimor AS out for the stretch run and they trotted away to a three-length triumph over Pocket Passer. Ciavadini had been a racing participant back in the 1980's but switched careers and returned to the racing venues recently after retiring from the construction business. "I didn't drive for 27 years, but about a month ago I got my first drive. I think this my fifth. Right now, I'm having a ball even though my wife thinks I'm crazy,"Ciavardini said with a chuckle. by John Manzi

It's not that Wygant Prince hasn't been a valuable commodity but in recent seasons the harness racing 10 year old has had only one win in 57 previous starts ,but the altered son of SJ's Photo put on his trotting shoes Friday night (June 30) in the NAADA Trot at Yonkers Raceway and turned the tables on those who have previously kept him out of the winners circle With owner, and longtime amateur driver Paul Minore at the controls the former high school coach took advantage of the two hole and sent his charge to the lead when the wings of the mobile gate folded and Wygant Prince led the field by the first stanza in :29.1. Perhaps by keeping a steady pace no one took a shot at the leader as the field approached the halfway point where the timer flashed 1:00.2. First to move was Hannah Miller with Rev It Now but they never ranged alongside to leader as Wygant Prince kept at his work and he was still in command as the field passed the third quarter in 1:29.3. However,in the lane Alan Schwartz, who was cruising along in the catbirds seat moved Ladys Big Stormont off the pylons to challenge for the lead but Wygant Prince was not to be denied and trotted on to a one length triumph in a 1:59.2 clocking over Schwartz's charge. Rev It now faded but hung on for third money. Despite having been lean in the win column over the past two seasons still Wygant Prince scored his 27th career victory and raised his lifetime earnings to over $350,000. And for Minore, who began his amateur driving career in 1994, he scored his 89th driving victory by John Manzi for NAADA

For 36 years the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series has been, and still is, considered the Grand Circuit of Amateur Harness Racing, not only for its traveling roadshow but for bringing amateur racing to the forefront. And because of the series' success over the years amateur driving clubs now dot the harness racing landscape in North America. Yesterday, (Fri. June 23), two races were contested at Grand River Raceway in Elora, Ontario, Can. and tonight (June 24) the Billings Series moved back to the States with a race at Tioga Downs. and when that event was finalized David "Poppa" Glasser made it look easy when he guided his Celebrity Stimulus to a 1:57.4 victory over six rivals. When the official starter said 'go' Glasser hustled his trotter to the lead from the seven-hole and they had command at the first stanza in :28.2. With just a short breather Celebrity Stimulus led his competition by the halfway point in :58 seconds flat. Up the backside Glasser let his charge ramble and they had five lengths on the field as they passed the three quarters in 1:27.1 . From there it was catch me if you can and nobody could as Glasser and veteran trotter coasted home a 3-1/4-length winner. Tony "the Capo" Verruso came from far back with Sam's Honeybee to garner the place money and Jelectric finished third for "Buffalo Bob" Davis, who, by the way, returned to the States after he raced in the Billings at Grand River Raceway on last night. Needless to say, after the race Glasser was a happy man and responded with this email: "I've had Stim parked and been unable to get him to the front where he likes it best. Tonight we were able to get there. In the third quarter I tried to open up some distance and tonight we had the racing luck and he was ready. Team Butenschoen always sends him ready to go, I just am not always able to get him his best trip. Tonight I was!" For the president of a litigation support company it was his third winner this season and his 35th of his amateur driving career. Glasser owns the 7-year-old Cantab Hall gelding who paid $4.80 for win. John Butenschoen is the horse's trainer. Next Billings action will be at the Cradle of the Trotter on Monday, July 3rd over Goshen's Historic Track. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

It was only one start but for Francesco Laosa a chance to drive a pacer proved fruitful when the Sicilian professional harness racing finished second in the one race that he drove at Monticello Raceway on Thursday, June 22. According to his friend Marco Barone who doubled as his interpreter, the Italian speaking professional driver and his wife Carola are celebrating their honeymoon with a two week holiday in North America. And through some help from friends LaRosa made a connection with Monticello trainer Dan Gill who offered him a drive behind one of his pupils, Park it Park It, a 4-year-old altered son of Big Bad John. Sent off at odds of 8-1 from the three hole in race five LaRosa allowed John DeSimone and Eye Candy to take the lead and then was comfortable with a two-hole trip all the way. However, in the lane Park It Park It flattened out and couldn't gain on the pace-setter and finished second a length behind Eye Candy in the 1:57paced mile. Asked how it felt to drive a pacer LaRosa replied through his translator, Barone:" It was smooth and steady," and then added "the pacer was easier to handle than a trotter." A winner of a few hundred races in his homeland the opportunity to drive a pacer was special to the 30 year LaRosa since only trotters are raced in Italy, and for that matter all though continental Europe. LaRosa and his dad handle a considerable stable based in Palermo, Sicily. Their horses compete at racetracks in Palermo, Siracusa, Garigliano and Naples as well as various racetracks in southern Italy. After the Monticello race Francesco and Carola, along with Mario Barone and his son Rylee, were headed to the Big Apple . After a short stay in New York City the LaRosa's will be on to California and then to Cancun, Mexico before returning home to Sicily The Barones will leave NYC and head back to their home in the upper peninsula of Michigan. By John Manzi

On Thursday June 23, with the sun bright in the blue summer sky and the temperature hovering around 80-degrees, two amateur races dotted the 11-race harness racing card at Monticello Raceway and when the judges hung the official signs, Alan Schwartz emerged victorious in the NAADA trot with Ladys Big Stormont in a 1:58.4 clocking while Joe Lee was the first home in the Catskill Club pace with TKR's Metro Specs in 1:59.1 In his contest Schwartz hustled his trotter for the lead but they had to go a steppy :27.4 in order to rest command from Highest Hill and driver Rich Gayton. But once Ladys Big Stormont cleared and settled down along the pylons Schwartz tried to give his charge a breather but as they trotted to the halfway point Bob Hechkoff was out and moving with The Franchise and they ranged alongside the leader as the timer flashed :58.1. The two leaders raced head-to-head up the backside but Ladys Big Stormont was strong enough to rebuff his challenger. When the field headed for home Ladys Big Stormont opened up two lengths and he needed every bit of that to turn back a late charge by Hannah Miller with Rev It Now. "My horse went a tough mile especially being parked to the(first) quarter in 27:4 and then having to fight head to head with Hechkoff's horse," Schwartz said after the race. "We did draw clear as we headed for home but my guy was understandably tiring and all I could think of in the deep stretch was 'where the heck is the wire'" When the photo-finish camera snapped Ladys Big Stormont was a head better than Rev It Now . A short length farther back in third place was The Franchise. Schwartz owns the winner whose trained by Raheim Strong. Sent off as the even-money favorite Ladys Big Stormont paid $4.00 for win. Schwartz has been participating in amateur races since the 1980's and now has 585 driving victories to his credit. A long time participant at Monticello Raceway against professionals he also serves as president of the local horseman's organization. In the other amateur driving contest New York Yankees assistant locker room manager, Joe Lee once again proved he knows his was around the racetrack after scoring is eighth seasonal driving victory this time with the Woody Hoblitzell-owned TKRs Metro Specs. Sent off as the hot favorite from the pole position Lee naturally sent his pacer to the lead and once on top they commanded the race and kept Monica Banca's Fox Valley Leo, who won this event last week, on the limb. After a :28.3 first quarter Lee slowed the pace and his horse was steadfastly in charge as they led the field by the half in:59.2 and the three quarters in 1:29.2 As they rounded the final turn TKRs Metro Specs had a two length lead which was slowly diminishing as they headed for paydirt. Kennanskingwilliam was enjoying a two-hole trip and driver Gerry Fielding used the passing lane to put serious pressure on the leader. However, at the wire TKR Metro Specs held tough for a head triumph in the 1:59.1 mile. Third place went to Murphy's Ideal, driven by Dr. Jennifer Lowrey. "We had clear sailing all the way until the final strides when my pacer began to get a little leg-weary," driver Joe Lee noted "Although Fielding's horse was coming at us my horse was strong enough to get home with the victory. Trained by Bruce Aldrich, Sr., TKR's Metro Specs won for the third time this season and returned a $4.20 win mutuel. By John Manzi for both NAADA and the Catskill Club  

Score one for the president... the Billings president, that is. At Monticello Raceway on the ides of June Billings Series president, Tony "the Capo" Verruso. took no prisoners en route to a gate to wire 2:00.2 victory with Flirting Duezy in an east region haarness racing Billings trot. When the starter said 'go' Verruso hustled the 8-year-old Victory Sam mare to the lead and kept moving to allow the trailing horses to find a spot along the pylons. After leading the field by the first quarter in:29:2 Verruso let his mare have her head and she trotted the next quarter in 31 seconds which kept anyone from moving out to challenge her lead. They had two lengths on the field as Flirting Duezy trotted by the third stanza in 1:30.2 and when the field headed for home she was still the strong horse and rebuffed a late charge by The Franchise and driver Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff. She's All Muscles finished third for "Buffalo Bob" Davis. "Knowing that my mare is quick off the gate I sent her to the front and tried to get the trailing horses in line behind us. And it worked out just like I planned. She's game on the lead. Back in mid-May, while on the engine, she won handily in 1:58.3", Verruso said after race. Owned by Betsy Phillips and Carl Gillespie and trained by Gillespie, Flirting Duezy was dismissed by the betting public and paid $22.60 for win. For the current Billings president it was his 67th career driving victory. Also on the June 15th card, another talented female driver, Monica Banca, bided her time and then rallied Fox Valley Leo to a 1:58.3 victory in the Catskill Amateur Club Pace. "I had a good trip," Banca said when she returned to the paddock after her victory. She gunned her pacer to the lead from the five-hole and then allowed Joe Lee and TKR'S Metro Specs to take command before the first quarter timer flashed :28.3. With Lee's pacer showing the way and Banca's pacer snug in the two hole ,they raced one-two until the final strides in the deep stretch when Fox Valley Leo rallied down the passing lane to a head triumph over TKR's Metro Specs. Kennanskingwilliam was third for Jerry Fielding. "I was glad to let Joe's horse take the lead and sit behind him," Banca added. "And I think because I had cover my horse was the strongest at the end of the mile." Fox Valley Leo is owned and trained by Rick Dane. The 7-year-old Yankee Skyscraper gelding paid $12.60 for win. And for the Norwegian-born Banca it was her third driving victory in just four seasonal starts by John Manzi for the Billings Series and the Catskill Amateur Club's race

Now in its 36th season, harness racing's greatest traveling sideshow, the C.K.G. Billings Amateur Driving Series, moved on to the mile track at the Meadowlands on Friday, June 9 for a contest in the weries eastern region and when the judges posted the results of that race Peter "Enough Talk" Kleinhans emerged victorious with Toss Cartwright in a 1:56.2 clocking. Although Kleinhans is a member of multiple amateur clubs and has driven abroad in many amateur events his victory tonight marks his first win as a member of the Billings Series. And one could surmise that his win came as a result of patience. When the wings of the mobile gate closed Kleinhans floated away to a slow start from the six-hole and found no spots along the pylons. But as the field headed to the halfway point "Hurricane Hannah" Miller moved the betting favorite, Pine Tab, out to challenge for the lead which gave Kleinhans veteran 6-year old cover as the field headed up the backside. By the third stanza Pine Tab had taken command with Toss Cartwright in hot pursuit. When they rounded the last turn and headed for home Pine Tab had a length lead which was slowly diminishing as the leaders headed for paydirt. In the deep stretch Toss Cartwright mounted a late surge and got up for a head victory over Pine Tab. In third place, five lengths behind the winner, was Keystone Thomas, driven by Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff. It was the second seasonal victory for Toss Cartwright who raised his lifetime earnings to nearly $125,000. John McDermott, Jr. trains the 6-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding for owner Collen Cash. For the multi-talented Kleinhans it was his 53rd career driving victory. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

On the pleasant and sun shiny afternoon of June 8th amateur harness racing took center stage at Monticello Raceway with two amateur club events dotting the 12 race card. The first, a NAADA trot ,saw Bob Krivelin bide his time and rally Permanent Joy to a 1;59.2 victory while in the second, a Catskill Amateur Club pace , went to Monica Banca and Jay Bees Grin N and in a 1:58.3 clocking. Many of the participating drivers are members of both amateur clubs. Krivelin, a three-time National Amateur Driver of the Year, worked out a good journey with his 9-year-old Trot For Joy gelding and was the strong horse in the lane. When the wings of the mobile gate folded Paul Minore sent Wygant Prince to the lead and they cut the early fractions trotting by the first stanza in :28.3 with Permanent Joy comfortable in third position. Wygant Prince was on the front end as the field trotted by the half in :59.1 with none of the trailers taking a shot at the leader. As they trotted by the three quarters in 1:29.2, Krivelin and Permanent Joy took aim at Wygant Prince but they didn't clear until they came off the final turn but when they did Krivelin's charge took command and trotted on to a one length triumph over Fox Valley Steffen (John Kokinos), who was later disqualified for a racing infraction. Third place finisher Flirting Duesy driven by Tony Verruso was moved up the second and fourth place finisher Wygant Prince was granted the show dough. Krivelin, no stranger to the winners circle, was quick to comment that Permanent Joy didn't have a harness on him since he last raced on May 18. "I keep him at my farm in Goshen and tow him because he's not easy to handle when he's harnessed-up," Krivelin said." But in a race he's a sweetheart and you can drive him with two fingers." Sent off at odds of over 5-1 Permanent Joy notched his third seasonal triumph and his 33rd of his racing career. And for Krivelin it was his 208th winning drive. The Catskill Amateur Club pace went Monica Banca after she gave Jay Bees Grin N a covered journey until the top of the lane and then rallied her pacer down the passing lane to score a 1-1/2 length triumph over Joe Lee and TKR's Metro Specs in a 1:58.3 clocking. Lightning Strike finished third for John Kokinos. After the race Banca admitted that she felt fine but prior to the event she said she was nervous. But if she was a bit tense she didn't show it .She gave her pacer a picture perfect trip and rallied the New Zealand-bred gelding to his fifth seasonal triumph. It was the first time that she sat behind Jay Bees Grin N and for the talented horse-woman who is originally from Norway, it marked her second win in just three seasonal starts and her 16th driving victory in her career which began in 2013. The winning horse is owned and trained by Rick Dane. Sent off the odds-on favorite from the two hole Jay Bees Grin N paid $3.60 for win. by John Manzi

"The Lumberman" and his trusty steed are at it again. After a slow start this season Bob "Lumberman" Troyer and Heza Rube were once again in the harness racing winner's circle after they scored a 1:57.3 victory in the $5000 midwest region Billings Trot on Friday night (June 2) at Scioto Downs. It was both the horse's and driver's first win this year and despite being one of the toughest horses in their division last season Heza Rube was dismissed by the betting public and sent off at odds of over 9-1. After staring cautiously from the two-hole Troyer eased his trotter away from the gate and allowed Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg and TK's Jelly Belly to take command and lead the field by a :28.3 first quarter. No sooner had the field settled than Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford moved favored Ponda's Lexus to the front and they were in command before the :57.0 half. Meanwhile Troyer sat chilly and watched the race developing in front of him and when the field headed for the third stanza Troyer had Heza Rube out and going and they circled the leaders as the three quarter timer flashed 1:27.4. Once on top Troyer and Heza Rube opened up a three length lead as they rounded the final turn and they were well in command as the field headed for paydirt. Ponda's Lexus was still in second place at that point but he was overtaken for the place money by Catch Jessie (Gregg "Fast Greggy" Keidel). But nobody was catching Heza Rube as the Master Lavec gelding trotted on to a five length victory, the veteran 7-year-old's 25th of his stellar career. Owned by Troyer and trained by Marty Wollam, Heza Rube paid $21.00 for win and upped his lifetime earnings to nearly $224,000 And for Troyer it was his 83rd winning drive of his amateur career. Next Billings action will be on Friday, June 9th at The Meadowlands. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

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