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Billings action in the Midwest region was on tap Saturday night (Oct. 22) at Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway with a nine-horse field going to post on the betting card and despite having to start from the eight-hole Ned "the Insurance Agent" Hodkinson stuck it to his competitors and pulled off a real harness racing stunner when he guided 27-1 shot Mutinyonthebounty to a wire to wire 2:00.1 victory in the Billings trot. Hodkinson took no prisoners and sent his veteran trotter to the front and at the quarter pole they were a solid length in front of Power of Justice driven by Victory "Blue and" Gray, Jr. as the timer flashed :28.4. Not content to be covered in the two-hole Gray angled his trotter out to challenge Hodkinson's charge as they trotted to the halfway point. But when Gray Hodkinson fed Mutinyonthebounty his head and the old-timer logged a 29-second third stanza leaving Power of Justice fading on the limb. As the field headed for paydirt Mutinyonthebounty opened up a little daylight and he needed every bit of the two length lead he had gained to hold off a hard charging Keep The Cash, who was driven by Pat "the Write Stuff" Miller. Although "Chicago George" Bonomo gave Don Swan a picture perfect journey the trotter never fired in the lane and they finished third, two lengths behind the winner. Although Hodkinson hasn't been driving as much as he had been in years past still he tallied his 52nd career driving victory tonight. Mutinyonthebounty, a 7-year-old altered son of Mutineer, trained by Ron Steck, scored his fifth seasonal triumph and paid $57.60; $16.60 and $11.40 across the board. By John Manzi for the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series  

It's been about three weeks since "Hurricane Hannah" Miller has graced a winner's circle but today (Sat. Oct. 22) at Freehold Raceway the queen of amateur harness racing did it again, and for the 29th time this season. Hannah won the NAADA trot with Rocket Master in a time of 2:01.2. After starting from the five hole Hannah eased her trotter away cautiously from the mobile starting gate and slid Rocket Master down to the pylons ending up in fifth position some six lengths behind Trotalot and Bob Hechkoff who lead the six-horse field by the quarter in :29.2. When Dave Offenberg heard Hannah moving toward the leaders going to the half he moved Bluebird Kidsqueen out in front of Rocket Master which gave cover to Ms. Miller's mount. Hannah followed Offenberg up the backside and then went three-deep and by the time the field rounded that final turn Rocket Master was in front and trotting away from his competition going on to a 4-1/2 length triumph. Joe Lee, who followed Hannah Miller around the final turn with Lou Lou's Princess, ended-up finishing second. Bluebird Kingsqueen and Offenberg held on for the show dough. The winner, Rocket Master, a veteran 8-yer-old Glidemaster gelding , is owned by her driver along with the Nick Surick Stable and the Erv Miler Stable. Trained by Erv Miller, Rocket Master paid $2.60 for win. Now with 29 seasonal driving victories and still over two months remaining before the curtain comes down on the 2016 racing season Hannah Miller has a chance to extend her record of 32 wins in one season, the most ever by an amateur driver in the modern era. John Manzi

America's greatest traveling roadshow, also known as the C.K.G Billings Amateur Driving Series, moved on to Yonkers Raceway for a pair of trots and when the harness racing events were declared official "Tough Tony" Ciuffetteli and David "Poppa" Glasser each emerged victorious in their respective divisions. Ciuffetelli won his split with Shelikescandy in 1:59 while Glasser scored with Mack's Gold Band in a 2:00.1 clocking. The races were sent off as non-wagering affairs prior to the first race on the betting card. Both gentlemen drivers have had hot hands of late; Ciuffetelli winning for the fourth time in his last five starts while Glasser has three wins and a second in his last seven outings. In his division "Tough Tony" now a retired corrections officer, got the evening started after settling in fourth position on the first turn and he stayed there as Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff cut the fractions with Justtherighttouch. Justherighttouch had the field by the first stanza in :28.1 and he was two lengths in charge by the halfway point in :58.1. With no moves from the rears the trotter again got first call as the field passed the three quarters in 1:28.4. "Hurricane Hannah" Miller and Jack's to Open tight on Hechkoff's back waiting to move. At the top of the stretch Ciuffetelli and Shelikescandy, who were in fourth position three lengths off the lead, began to rally and 5-year-old Chocolatier mare got up in the final strides to collar Jussttherighttough to win by a neck in 1:59. Jack's To Open was another neck back in third place in the three horse photo. The winner is owned by Terry Vanvulkenburgh and trained by Gary Lavine. Strangely, the Gary Levine-trained Mack's Gold Band won the second Billings split, this time with David Glasser aboard. In that contest Glasser took no prisoners and sent the 6-year-old Band's Gold Chip gelding to the front and gained command as the field passed the quarter pole as the timer flashed :29. From the Glasser kept the pedal to the metal and his trotter cruised on to an easy four length triumph over Wygant Prince and driver "Coach Paul" Minore. "Yankee Joe" Lee garnered the show dough with HS Certified. Glasser subbed for Buffalo Bob Davis who wasn't able to make it to Yonkers for the race tonight. "Bob told me that if I could get him (Mack's Gold Band) to the front he would be very tough to beat", Glasser, president of a litigation support company, related via email. "I looked at his replays from earlier in the year at Saratoga and saw when he did get the front and he was a monster. And he was just that tonight." Rarely does an owner win two Billings a trots on one card but tonight Terry Vanvulkenburgh accomplished that feat. John Manzi

At a recent meeting of the Auxiliary of harness racing's Goshen Historic Track at the Copper Bottom Restaurant in the village of Florida, NY, the Auxiliary made a $10,000 donation to the National Historic Landmark. Historic Track's Board of Directors, Steve Jones, George Casale and John Manzi joined them for dinner that evening. Accepting the $10,000 check from Auxiliary co-president Judy Green was Steve Jones, President of the track's Board of Directors. "We are always so very appreciative of the Auxiliary's dedicated efforts and we can't thank them enough", Jones said." The ladies do an outstanding job and work tirelessly to raise money for Historic Track." Money is raised annually through the efforts of members of the Historic Track Auxiliary with an array of fundraisers. Last year $9,000 was donated and in previous years they donated more. And over the past few decades the amount of the Auxiliary's donations is well into six figures. John Manzi

Efforts by the North American Amateur Drivers Association and the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club to present a race(s) for veterans who are also amateur harness racing drivers are coming to fruition according to NAADA vice president, Alan Schwartz. "We have received confirmation from quite a few vets who are looking forward to competing in the event(s) here at Monticello Raceway which will help us raise money for the local veteran's food bank," Schwartz said. "Just recently (CADC president) Gerry Fielding and I have heard from Peter Gerry, George Bonomo, Joe Pennacchio, Bernie Boland and Jimmy Marshall 3rd, as well as local horsemen, Allen Sisco, Pete Siebert and Paul Moore so we're well on our way of getting a field together. And should we get enough vets we'll have two races." The event was planned for national Veterans Day, November 11th but since the Mighty M is dark on Fridays the race(s) will be slated for Thursday, Nov. 10. "But that's OK since November 10th will be the 241st Anniversary of the United States Marine Corps," noted Schwartz a former U.S Marine who besides being the vice president of NAADA is also the president of the Monticello Raceway's Harness Horsemen's Association. "It's true we have a good start at filling at least one division but with a few more entries we could possibly have two races," Schwartz added. At the end of the November 10th racing card at the Mighty M both NAADA and CADC will each donate $1000 to the Veteran's Food Pantry of Sullivan County, NY. Both amateur organizations are urging those who plan on attending the afternoon's race card to please bring along a non-perishable food item which will then be delivered to the veteran's food pantry. The Veterans Amateur Driving Challenge is only open to former servicemen who are amateur harness drivers licensed by the U.S. and/or the Canadian Trotting Associations. To enter the event, or for further information, please contact Monticello Raceway's director of racing, Eric Warner by calling 845-794-4100 ext. 557; or contact Alan Schwartz in the Horsemen's organization's office at 845-791-7747. John Manzi

Alan Schwartz has more driving victories than any other amateur driver competing today and at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday evening he added another win to his harness racing career total when he guided Lady's Big Stormont to a 1:59 triumph in the $6000 NAADA Trot. In that contest when the field approached the starting point Hannah Miller's horse, Father Amiga, went off stride and after seeing that mishap Schwartz gunned his charge to the lead from the pole position in the non-wagering trot which was presented prior to the first race on the betting card. Lady's Big Stormont led the field by the first quarter in :28.3 and after a 1:00 half the 5-year-old altered son of Earl of Stormont put two 29 and change quarters together to score two length victory over Bob Hechkoff's, Justtherighttouch. Joe Faraldo and Signal Hill OK finished third some three lengths behind the winner. "I guess everything went my way tonight. I had a good horse; I had the pole; and I got to the front easily," Schwartz said. "Then they lined up behind me and my trotter was never really challenged as we coasted along on the engine. In the stretch he (Lady's Big Stormont) was strong and we won it quite handily." The win was the seventh of the season for Lady's Big Stormont, whom Schwartz claimed earlier this year. He is trained by Raheim Strong. And for Schwartz, it was his the ninth win of the season and his 573rd of his amateur career. By John Manzi for NAADA

On Veteran's Day, Friday, November 11th , America will commemorate the valiant services of former members of our armed forces with speeches, parades and various other celebrations. But on the previous day, Thursday, Nov. 10th, the local harness racing Amateur Drivers Clubs are planning an amateur driving challenge at Monticello Raceway as an impetus to raise money for the local veteran's food banks. "We chose November 10th for two reasons. First, Monticello is dark on Fridays and second because it will mark the 241st Anniversary of the United States Marine Corps," noted former U.S Marine Alan Schwartz, who is the vice president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) as well as the president of the local horsemen's organization. "We have planned our own special tribute for those who served our country with honor by staging an Amateur Driving Challenge for veterans of the armed services who are currently amateur harness drivers and we're re being joined in this endeavor by the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club (CADC) and its president, Gerry Fielding. "At the end of Monticello's November 10th racing program each amateur club will donate $1000 to the Veterans Food Pantry of Sullivan County," Schwartz added. Although the amateur clubs have great ambitions their project couldn't come to fruition without the help of Monticello Raceway's longtime director of racing, Eric Warner, who over the years, has been helpful in promoting his racetrack. The Veterans Amateur Driving Challenge is only open to former servicemen who are amateur drivers licensed by the U.S. and/or the Canadian Trotting Associations. "This may not be an easy race to fill but we surely feel this is a worthwhile endeavor," Schwartz said. "Once the word is out we are hoping to get a good response from the proud veterans who helped preserve the American way of life." Anyone wanting more information, or to enter the event, must contact Warner at Monticello Raceway by calling 845-794-4100 ext. 557 or contact Schwartz in the Horsemen's organization's office at 845-791-7747. John Manzi  

On the brisk and windy Columbus Day afternoon of October 10 "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli and his trotter Star Studded Cast made a laugher out of the Billings trot at Saratoga Raceway when they romped to an oh-so-easy 11-length triumph in a 1:58 clocking. The harness racing victory was the second consecutive in an amateur driving event for Ciuffetlli, who copped a NAADA Trot four days ago with Aventure at Monticello Raceway. Despite recovering from a terrible bout with Lime Disease Ciuffetelli is enjoying his best season in the sulky and currently has eight wins and a healthy .326 UDR. In the Billings trot at Saratoga the retired corrections officer gunned his trotter to the lead when the gate sprung and despite a roughed-up first quarter Ciuffetelli had three length lead as the field buzzed by the first quarter in:28.2. "I had seriously urged him (Star Studded Cast) to gain command when we left out of there that when I wanted to settle him down it wasn't in the cards. He was so wound-up that I had a hard time slowing him down," Ciuffetelli said. "He was in high gear when we passed the half in :57.3 but at that time we had a six length lead on the field. From there he just kept opening daylight and at the finish we were an 11-length winner." "Buffalo Bob" Davis rallied Shelikescandy up for second money and Dave "Steady as" Yarock took home the show dough with Mr. Ridgetaker. (By the way, Davis had an unreported driving double in Billings action on September 29th at Batavia Downs, remarkably with both horses starting from the eight hole.) Star Studded Cast, a 5-year old altered son of Current Cast, is owned and trained by Ciuffetelli. He paid $4.70 for win. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

"He loves the Monticello Raceway track," gushed Tony Ciuffetelli while he was hanging up the lines upon his return to the Mighty M paddock after his stunning 1:58 harness racing victory with Aventure in the third leg of NAADA's Fall Trotting Series. "He had won here in 2:00 in early August but after a month or so of not hitting the board he's been getting sharp lately and he certainly raced real well today." Actually, it was Aventure's second consecutive victory after having won a Billings Trot at Vernon Downs on October 2nd, and it was the trotters fifth win this year for Ciuffetelli who had purchased him earlier this season. After starting from the five-hole Ciuffetelli made the winning move by getting in the two-hole ahead of The B Street Fan (Bob Davis) who was also on the limb as the field approached the first quarter in :28.4. "It was real important that I find a hole and was lucky enough to fall in behind Alan Schwartz, who was on the engine with Imacrazynewyorker. He carried me until we headed for the three quarters where I moved Aventure off the pylons and we trotted to the front," Ciuffetelli explained. With Aventure in high gear after taking command the 5-year-old Muscle Mass gelding poured it on and rambled home a seven-length winner while trotting the final two furlongs in :28.2. After Aventure separated himself from the rest of the field the battle for second place ensued. I'm Fabulous, second choice in the wagering, was in fifth position with a wall of horses in her path as the remainder of the field rounded the final turn but the John Turok-driven mare charged home to garner second money, a full length head of Dave Yarock's Mr. Ridgetaker. The fans must have enjoyed the amateur contest since it was the best bet race on the afternoon card. Aventure, sent off as the betting favorite, returned a $4.70 win mutuel. With his victory the veteran trotter raised his seasonal bankroll to over $30,500 for Ciuffetelli, who is also the horse's trainer. For Ciuffetelli, a retired correction officer, it marked his seventh seasonal driving victory and 34th of his amateur career. by John Manzi for NAADA

The second and final day of the CKG Billings Amateur Drivers Series Canadian road trip on Monday, October 3rd saw Howard "Howie The Horse" Gelfand bring accolades back to Canada after he won the Billings trot at Mohawk Racetrack with Cracker Zack in a 1:58.3 clocking. Gelfand was one of four Canadian sportsmen participating in the Mohawk harness racing event. The first race of that Billings Travel Series was Sunday and the USA's David "Poppa" Glasser emerged victorious. In the Billings event on Monday Gelfand had drawn the favorite in the race and drove him as such. When the wings of the mobile gate folded he ducked Cracker Zack down along the pylons in fourth position. As the 10-horse field approached the halfway point Gelfand moved his trotter out to challenge the leaders and at that point they got first call. Once on top Cracker Zack trotted away from the others and at the third stanza he had an eight-length lead. From there it was catch me if you can and nobody could as the 7-year-old Angus Hall gelding trotted home an easy five-length victor. Second place went to Most Wanted Lindy driven by "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello while Sherwin "Smiley" Edwards garnered the show dough with Little Stuie. The winner, owned by Richard Moreau, Don Beanland and Fred Handelaar, is trained by Moreau. He paid $5.00 for win. Gelfand, a sales agent from Mississauga, Ont. and longtime participant in the Billings Series, notched his first seasonal triumph and although he has been driving sparingly in recent years still it was his 36th driving victory in a career which began in the late 1980's. Next Billings action will be back in the States on Sunday, Oct 9 at Saratoga Raceway. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

For the second time in recent weeks there has been harness racing action in both the Billings Series and the NAADA Trotting Series on the same day which is indicative of the growing popularity of amateur driving. On Thursday, (Sept 29) in Billings action at The Red Mile in Louisville, Ky., "Hurricane Hannah" Miller, after a stellar showing in the recently completed World Cup of Amateur Racing in Budapest, Hungary, added to her seasonal totals by reining Jack To Open to a 1:56.4 victory. Meanwhle, several hundred miles away at Yonkers Raceway in New York in the NAADA Trotting Series, Joe Lee scored a 1:59.2 victory with Four Starz Credit in their split while Bobby Krivelin was a 1:58.3 winner in his division behind P C's Wildcard. At The Red Mile "Hurricane Hannah" notched her 28th seasonal driving victory. After leaving strongly from the three-hole with Jack's To Open they took command before the first stanza which was trotted in :28.2. Being pressured by a parked-out Bold Strike, driven by Steve"You're Never Too" Oldford, both trotters were just heads apart at the half in :57.0. But when Bold Strike began to fade "Buffalo Bob" Davis hustled 80-1 shot Facing Justice up to challenge Jacks To Open and the two were just heads apart as they straightened for home. However, Miller's charge was game and held off Bold Strike by a length at the wire. Third place went to Rompaway Beau, driven by "Lawbook Larry" Farley. "Hannah said she loves coming to Lexington and it's a great place to race," trainer Nick Surick said. "She said she was a little nervous around last turn when Bob Davis flipped three wide with a strong challenge but 'Jack' dug in and got the job done for Hannah." Jack's To Open paid $3.20 for win. He's owned by his driver and the Nick Surick Stable and trained by Surick. Besides her 28 wins Hurricane Hannah has 20 seconds and six thirds for a .434UDR. Also on tap on Thursday night was the second leg of the NAADA Fall trotting Series in which Joe Lee took no prisoners in his division. He sent Four Starz Credit for the lead and after gaining command they remained nearly unchallenged from there to the wire. My horse raced great," Lee said after the race. "Alan (Schwartz with Linda Marie)) let me cut the mile and although I had some mild pressure to the half by John Kokinos and Cassa's Image, my horse scooted off to win pretty easily." At the finish Four Starz Credit was a solid five-length winner over I'm Fabulous, driven by John Turock. Cassa's Image held on for the show dough. Four Starz Credit is owned by Eric Prevost and trained by Tom Milici. Joe Lee, the locker room manager for the New York Yankees, notched his eighth seasonal driving victory and 18th of his fledgling driving career. The other non-betting trot saw Bobby Krivein hustle PC's Wildcard to the lead and once on top Krivelin played catch me if you can; and no one could, as the 7-year-old altered son of Sand Chaser trotted the final four furlongs in :58 en route to a three-length triumph over Signal Hill OK and driver Joe Faraldo. Third place went to Wygant Prince, handled by Paul Minore. PC's Wildcard is owned by the Joe P Racing Stable and trained by Dan Altman. For Krivelin, a three time national Amateur Driver of the Year, it was his 14th seasonal triumph and the 198th of his career. John Manzi          

Four members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) will wing their way to New Zealand to compete against their harness racing counterparts from Down Under in early December in a series of races in a Friendship Competition. Leading the USA team will be Peter Kleinhans who earned that honor after winning a lottery drawing upon the completion the NAADA Summer Trotting Series by being among the top three point earners in the series, and then winning a lottery drawing. Recently the international amateur drivers organization has released that Dave Offenberg will join Kleinhans on the overseas journey to represent the USA in the competition. Others, they say, will be named in the upcoming days. Offenberg, a true sportsman, an avid amateur driver, and a longtime prominent horse owner is excited to be representing America in the upcoming Friendship Competition. "I'm absolutely thrilled to be going to New Zealand to represent the U.S. in an amateur driving competition with three other drivers. I have never been there although I drove against the New Zealand amateurs last year at Yonkers," Offenberg said. "I have been overseas several times to drive in amateur races in Italy, Spain, Finland and Sweden, but this trip will probably top them all. I have as much fun driving in the amateurs as I have racing my own horses." According to Offenberg, he has been lucky to have had several good horses including Continental Victory (Hambo Winner), Mr Vic, Angus Hall, Yes Its True and many other hard-hitting raceway horses. "In what other sport can you be totally hands-on and get enjoyment doing it?" he asks. Queried about his biggest thrill as an amateur driver it didn't take Offenberg much time to respond. "Obviously the first win was a big kick and all amateur wins are special. One of my greatest thrills was driving and winning an overnight race at Freehold against the pros (including Hall of Famer Cat Manzi) with my own horse that paid almost $100 to win. I've won several NAADA regional finals but winning the Billings Silver Cup last year was special." However, when it comes to driving Standardbreds as an amateur reinsman realism sets in. "I do race against the pros on rare occasions and am quickly brought back to reality just watching the driving skills they exhibit during a race. I guess that's why they're the pros and we are the amateurs." Offenberg, by his own admission, has been one of the fortunate few being able to participate in the sport as an owner, breeder and driver and has been blessed to have met many special people at all levels in the sport. "It is my hope that I can continue in the sport for many years to come," he added. by John Manzi for NAADA

'It's a pleasure when you have something between the shafts", were the first words out of harness racing driver Alan Schwartz's mouth upon his return to the paddock after driving Linda Marie to a new lifetime record winning the first leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's (NAADA) three track Fall Trotting Series in 1:58.1 at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon, September 22. After starting from the three-hole Schwartz hustled the 5-year-old Crazed mare to the lead when the starting judge said "go" and while still on the first turn allowed Bob Hechkoff to take command with Trotalot. Both drivers were aided in their quest for victory when the betting favorite, Here Comes Numbers (John Kokinos), went off stride at the start. After Schwartz grabbed leather and allowed Hechkoff to show the way they then raced one-two by the first stanza in :28.4. The order remained the same past the half in :59.2 and at the third stanza Schwartz had Linda Marie tight on Hechkoff's back. "I had a handful of horse as we shadowed Hechkoff and on the final turn she wanted to go so I moved her off the pylons," Schwartz related. "Once she saw daylight I just let her ramble and she ranged alongside Trotalot as we headed for home. "Then in the lane, when I tried to pull the ear plugs, they got stuck but it didn't matter. She (Linda Marie) was in high gear and she trotted on to an easy victory. Schwartz wasn't lying. Linda Marie trotted the last quarter in :28.3 en route to her third seasonal victory. Trotalot was second with Imacrazynewyorker getting up for the show dough, albeit 11 lengths behind the winner. Linda Marie is owned and trained by Jimmy Doherty Jr. She paid $7.20 for win. For Schwartz, it was his 572nd driving victory, the most of any active amateur driver. The international amateur driving club kicked off its three-track fall series here at the Mighty M with races to follow at Yonkers Raceway and Freehold Raceway. The NAADA Trot Series will culminate with a $15,000 final at Yonkers on November 3rd. by John Manzi for NAADA

Maybe it was the familiar surroundings of his home track or maybe it was the luck of the draw but whatever it was turned out to be right for "Baystate Bob" Kenney when he hustled Just Like Lloyd home first in 1:56.1 in the harness racing Eastern Region Billings Trot at Plainridge Park on the late summer afternoon of Friday, Sept.16. "It was racing luck and it turned out to be a real good horse race with three of us across the wire at the finish," Kenney said. According to Kenney he rushed his horse away from the gate but he ranged up alongside Bob" the Headhunter" Hechkoff with Trotalot as they headed toward the first quarter with Just Like Lloyd on the limb. However at the point, a bobble by "Hurricane Hannah" Miller's Jacks To Open who was behind Trotalot allowed Kenney to move his trotter down along the pylons. "Once there I got a solid two-hole journey until we headed for home," Kenney related. "And as we straightened in the stretch I moved to the outside and Hannah (Miller) went down the inside and all three of us were side by side when we hit the finish line and I was surely happy that Just Like Lloyd was a head better than the other two." Since the former business executive has retired earlier this year he has driven more winners thus far this season than amount of drives he had in any singular year since he began his amateur driver career in 2000. Kenney's victory today was his eighth in just 21 trips to post and in all of his previous seasons "Baystate Bob" had racked up only four winners, albeit from a very minimal amount of starts annually. Just Like Lloyd is owned by Di Stefano and Son Stable and trained by John Di Stefano. He paid $14.20 for win. By John Manzi for the Billings Amateur Series 

The CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series has been part of the harness racing scene for nearly 35 years and on Saturday (Sept. 10) was the first time this season that the Billings Series offered trots in both the Midwestern and Eastern Regions on the same evening. The Billings trot in the Midwest at Northfield Park was won by Max "Colonel" Schultz while David "Poppa" Glasser was victorious in the East at Tioga Downs. Schultz, a German amateur driver visiting the USA, scored a wire to wire triumph with Detailer in a 1:59.4 clocking and Glasser used similar tactics when reined Celebrity Stimulus home first in a 1:58 mile. Last year Schultz came to the USA around the time the Little Brown Jug was contested, and showed his American counterparts that he knows his was around the racetracks winning two Billings contests then. In tonights contest Schultz had Detailer on the lead as they trotted by the first stanza in :30 seconds and they were followed closely by Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford with Partyatyourplace. "Tonight, my horse was strong behind the (starting ) gate so I sent him to the lead and then slowed him down," Schultz related via a telephone conversation. The field trotted by half in 1:00.3 and up the backside "Chicago George" Bonomo took aim at the leaders with Flying Muscles although Schultz and Oldford were still one-two as the field passed the three quarters. In the lane Oldford angled Partyatyourplace out to challenge and they raced side by side to the wire. "I had perfect trip behind Max and when I pulled my horse out to challenge in the stretch we got to Detailer's his chinstrap but we couldn't get by and had had to settle for second," Oldford said. . Bonomo and Flying Muscles finished third. Both Detailer and Partyatyourplace are owned by Bert Hershberger and trained by J D Wengerd and according to Oldford if it wasn't for them the race probably never would have filled. Detailer notched his fourth seasonal victory and returned a $13.40 mutuel. Meanwhile in Billings action hundreds of miles away at Tioga Downs in New York's southern tier David "Poppa" Glasser reined his fifth victory of the season behind his own Celebrity Stimulus. Glasser and his charge started from the four hole and grabbed command almost instantaneously and they were three lengths in front in a :28.2 first quarter. From there Glasser let his trotter breeze and they were safely in front until the deep stretch when "Hurricane Hannah" Miller and MT Ur Pockets came calling. But Celebrity Stimulus hung on gamely for a neck decision over the country's leading amateur driver. Third place went to Linda Marie, driven by Bob "Rapid Rail" Krivlen. Glasser, president of a litigation company, was gracious to his help. "I am sincerely grateful that the trainers, and staff, who have cared for Celebrity Stimulus all year have him in such good shape. Without their hard work and skill I would not have won tonight. "As for the race, I had the racing luck tonight. No passing lane kept that closed and I was able to fight off the first over challenge," he related. The Billings trot went as a non-wagering affair after the third race on the betting card at Tioga Downs. By John Manzi for the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series

After a long hiatus Gregg "Fast Greggy" Keidel is back in the winner's circle after he reined Forceful Gale to a 1:58.2 victory at Scioto Downs in a $6000 Midwest region trot in the harness racing CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series. "It's been a long time between pots," Keidel joked. "But I've been busy with my job and I haven't driven much in the past six years." After starting from post position two, Keidel settled his charge down along the pylons in second position behind TK's Jelly Belly driven by Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg. Keidel sat cool even though Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford's Celtic Merchant was parked out from the get-go. "When we headed into the final turn I noticed that Ehrenberg began urging his horse so I moved out to challenge and thought I could clear," Keidel said. "But as it turned out I didn't clear although my horse had a half-length lead as we turned for home." Under strong urging TK's Jelly Belly regained command and was the first horse under the wire, a head in front of Forceful Gale. But TK's Jelly Belly's victory was not to be when the judges determined that Ehrenberg violated Ohio's whipping rule and they reversed the final order of finish and declared Keidel's trotter the winner. Third place went to Vaya Con Dios in rein to "Tiny Tim" Miller. Celtic Merchant faded and finished fifth. Keidel, is currently the racing secretary at Hollywood Dayton and Miami Valley race tracks but prior to that he spent many seasons at Running Aces Harness Park in Columbus, Minnesota. "Being away from the mainstream in Minnesota I didn't get a chance to drive much recently," Keidel said. "I'll bet I haven't driven more than three or four times in the past six years. But I'm happy to be back and even happier to have driven a winner, my first in a very long time." The race winner, Forceful Gale, returned a $4.40 win mutuel. He is owned by Ann Wrobble and trained by Jeff Brewer. And although Keidel was been on the schneid in recent seasons his driving victory tonight at Scioto Downs was the 102nd of his career. By John Manzi for the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series

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