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In the first race on the Monday harness racing card of August 29 at Plainridge Park in Massachusetts, if one was to wager on a horse because they liked its name, it's a good bet they'd have wagered on Trotalot, an accomplished 9-year old altered son of SJ's Photo. And for those game individuals who did, they would be raking in the profits because Trotalot won the trotting contest in the eastern region of the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series. Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff, an executive recruiter by trade, was at the controls when Trotalot took the lead from the pole position and led the field throughout winning the race in a time of 1:56.4. But that triumph didn't come easy especially when Just Like Lloyd and driver"Bay State Bob" Kenney came calling at the end of the mile. Trotalot and Just Like Lloyd matched stride for stride in the deep stretch but Hechkoff's charge prevailed, albeit by a long neck. "I heard Bob's (Kenney) trotter coming at us and gaining slowly but thankfully they ran out of racetrack," Hechkoff said. Third place went to Shelikescandy in rein to "Buffalo Bob" Davis. Trotalot paid $4.00 for win which was the trotter's fifth victoryof the season and 23rd of the gelding's career. He's owned by RBH Ventures and Kyle Spagnola and trained by Spagnola. For Hechkoff, it marked his 10th seasonal driving victory and 87th of his amateur career. Next Billings action will be in the Midwest region over the five-eighths mile track at Scioto Downs in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, September 3rd. John Manzi

Perhaps not well known but the rules that governed the recently completed North American Amateur Drivers Association Trotting Series at Monticello Raceway stated that the top three in points upon the completion of the 10-week series would be eligible for a drawing with the winner earning an all-expense paid trip to New Zealand when a NAADA Team will compete against their harness racing counterparts down under in a Friendship Competition in early December. Peter Kleinhans was the winner of that lottery drawing on Saturday, August 27. He prevailed over Hannah Miller and Tony Ciufettelli and now he'll be the captain of the American team in that competition. Kleinhans competed in seven of the ten legs in the series and drove three winners which earned him 53 points, third best in the 10-week series. When contacted about winning the drawing Kleinhans was really excited. "I was shocked but I'm absolutely looking forward to race in New Zealand," he said. "I never thought I'd be in a position to win the trip but I'm thrilled and certainly appreciative. I was there when I was 10 years old and this is a great opportunity to once again return to New Zealand." To quell any debates about the lottery drawing NAADA president and founder, Joe Faraldo, photographed the entire procedure and displayed it on Facebook. "Peter's name was drawn over the other finalists who were eligible to win a free trip to New Zealand as part of a US team traveling there in December of this year," Faraldo explained. "Peter has been an asset to NAADA and drives a horse very well. He will be a great ambassador for amateur racing down under." But before the Friendship Competition takes place in New Zealand NAADA member and top American amateur driver, Hannah Miller, will represent the U.S.A. in the upcoming World Cup of Amateur Racing which begins on September 7th in Budapest, Hungary. John Manzi

After being out of harness racing action for a while Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford stormed back at the Darke County Fair in Greenville, Ohio and guided Celtic Merchant to a near track record victory in Midwest Billings action on Thursday evening, August 25. After starting from the pole position Oldford went down the road and made every pole a winning one en route to a 1:59.4 triumph. "It was good to be back in the sulky and even better being in the winners circle," Old ford said via telephone after his driving victory. "I know Celtic Merchant went a good race but I was surprised when they told me that my old warhorse was just a couple of ticks off the track record." According to Oldford, trainer Terry Deters had Celtic Merchant in top form and he got over the track real easy. They trotted through fractions of :30.2; 1:00; and 1:30 before finishing six lengths ahead of runner-up Patient I D driven by "Lawbook Larry" Farley. Third place went to Rompaway Beau and Gregg "Fast Greggy" Kiedel. "Greenville is a very nice Fair and everyone there went out of their way to accommodate us," Oldford added. "Our race was sponsored by Donuts For Charity and everyone received donuts after the race." Celtic Merchant, a 13 year old Angus Hall gelding, notched his fifth seasonal triumph and 47th of his outstanding career while raising his lifetime earnings to over $367,000. Oldford, vice president of the CKG Billings Series and the Harness Racing Museum's multiple recipient of their Amateur Driver of the Year Award, scored his sixth seasonal driving victory and the 116th of his amateur career. By John Manzi for the C.K.G.Billings Amateur Driving Series

When the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) joined FEGAT in the early 1980's that earned the organization an opportunity to name the American entrant in the FEGAT World Championship for Amateur Drivers (the World Cup). Although this harness racing competition started as an event every four years it has melded into an international competition every two years. Hannah Miller, the USA's National Amateur Driver of 2015, will carry America's colors when she competes in six races against her counterparts from 13 other international countries in Budapest, Hungary beginning August 31 and continuing until September 4. "I'm proud and overwhelmed in being the American representative to the World Cup," Ms. Miller said. "It will be challenging for me to compete mostly against men who, for the most part, are seasoned veterans, but I look forward to the challenge and I hope I do well." Miller is the daughter of trainer Erv Miller, the 2005 Trainer of the Year and number three ranked trainer in terms of wins with more than 4800, and is the sister of professional driver Marcus Miller. "Hurricane Hannah" Miller, 24, is a member of many amateur driving clubs including among others, the Billings Series, NAADA, and the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club, and not surprisingly she is the current leader in each series. Last year when she won the National Amateur Drivers Award she had driven 32 winners, the most ever by an amateur in one season. She already has 27 wins and is on target to eclipse last season's stats. According to NAADA president Joe Faraldo, "Hannah is the best and we're sending our best to Budapest to race in the World Cup." Hannah is no stranger to racing abroad having anchored the American Team when they traveled to Majorca last fall to race against the Spanish amateurs. And earlier she was on the American team which traveled to greater Naples, Italy to race against their veteran amateurs. Slated to leave for Budapest on August 29 Hannah will be joined by her parents Erv and Heidi Miller, her boyfriend Nick Surick and NAADA founder and president, Joe Faraldo along with his wife Yma. John Manzi

The CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series, harness racing's traveling roadshow, was on the move again on Saturday, August 20 stopping at Saratoga Raceway for two divisions on the betting card. When the dust had settled Bob" the Headhunter" Hechkoff and "Yankee Joe" Lee each emerged victorious in their respective splits. Hechkoff won with Through The Night in 1:59.4 while Lee was triumphant with Hidden Identity in a 1:58.3 clocking. In his division Hechkoff settled Through The Night in the two-hole when the gate sprung and allowed Swift Blizzard and Tony "the Capo" Verruso to take command and lead the field by the first stanza in a swift :28.3. Verruso and Hechkoff were one-two past the half and remained that way as the buzzed by the third stanza. At that point "Hurricane Hannah" Miller took a shot at the leaders with Shanghai Jack as they headed into the final turn but he flattened out as Through The Night overtook Swift Blizzard. But as they headed for home "Bullet Bob" Davis had Shelikescandy in high gear and they were closing in on the leaders with a rush, but for Davis the wire came up too soon as Hechkoff's trotter won the contest, albeit by a nose over Davis' charge. Swift Blizzard held on for third money. Through the Night, owned and trained by Kathleen Allen paid $17.60 and sparked an $86.00 exacta. It was the ninth seasonal victory for Bob Hechkoff and 86th of his amateur driving career. In the second Billings contest Hannah Miller took early command with Winwood Scout and then gave up the lead to Joe Lee and Hidden Identity in a soft :29.3 first quarter. Lee then kept the pedal to the metal and Hidden Identity remained undaunted on the front-end and trotted the final half in :58.1 en route to a 1-1/4 length over Winwood Scout. I'm Fabulous, with Scott "the Driving Doctor" Woogen was third best. The winner, owned and trained by Tom Milici went off as the odds-on favorite and returned a $3.50 mutuel. For Joe Lee, the locker room manager for the New York Yankees, it marked his sixth driving victory of the season and 16th of his fledgling career. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

The final leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's Trotting Series, along with the final of the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club series, was featured at Monticello Raceway on the sunny afternoon of Thursday, August 18 and not surprisingly, "Hurricane Hannah" Miller, North America's leading amateur driver, walked away with a pair of driving victories in just two trips to post while a third harness racing contest went to Peter Kleinhans. Hannah won a NAADA Trot with Rocket Master in 1:58.1 and she copped the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club pace with Stoman in 1:57.3 which raises her win-total to 26 thus far this season. Kleinhans scored a 2:00.4 triumph with Zoli in a second NAADA Trot. In the first of two NAADA races Hannah scored a come-from-behind triumph with Rocket Master when they trotted by Alan Schwartz's Linda Marie in mid-stretch to score a two length triumph. Woody finished third for Joe Lee. "I had a steady hold of him (Rocket Master) and we left the (starting) gate softly because he is rough on the straightaways," Hannah explained. After settling in fifth position Ms. Miller moved her trotter up behind Cassa's Image (John Kokinos) who went first up. She followed her cover until the final turn where she wheeled Rocket Master three-deep and challenged the pacesetter, Linda Marie overtaking her and then trotting on to victory. "I moved him (Rocket Master) three wide on the final turn because he trots the turns well and when we straightened for home he was in full gear and I knew we were going to win it," Hannah said. Rocket Master is owned by his driver, the Surick Stable, and the Erv Miller Stable, and trained by Nick Surick. Sent off as second choice in the eight-horse field Rocket Master notched his fifth seasonal triumph and paid $6.20. Hurricane Hannah's second driving victory was in the final leg of the Catskill Amateur Club's Pace when she guided Stoman to a gate-to-wire triumph in 1:57.3. Last week the veteran pacer was claimed from the John Hallett barn by Bob Lounsbury but the horse's new address made no difference when Lounsbury again handed the lines to Ms. Miller "I fired him up when the gate left and when he made the front I had a handful of horse," Hannah said. "I tried the back him down a bit but he was raring to go." And go he did, pacing through fractions of :27.4, :58.2 and 1:28 before finishing two lengths in front of KB's Badboy, driven by Barry Addison. Shark Treasure finished third for Gerry Fielding. Owned by Bill Damburg and now trained by Bob Lounsbury, Stoman notched his fourth season victory and returned $3.40 to his backers. Talk about dominance, it was Hannah Miller's ninth driving victory in the 10-week Catskill Club's series.. In the other NAADA Trot Peter Kleinhans was content to follow the leaders with Zoli and then moved him three-wide on the final turn and went on to a 1-3/4 length triumph over the even-money favorite, Fox Valley Steffen, driven by John Kokinos. Bobby Krivelin took home the show dough with Current Crisis. "I eased him away from the gate because last week he made a break before the start," Kleinhans said after his victory. "I wanted to be conservative and I babied him and we got shuffled back but when I pulled him (at the three quarter pole) he was all business. He raced real. well" Owned by John Sullivan and trained by John Mc Dermott Zoli paid $6.60 for win. For Kleinhans is was his 51st career driving victory.-30- by John Manzi for NAADA and CADC

The American vs Italy Friendship Competition kicked off at Monticello Raceway on the warm and sunny afternoon of August 17 with the amateur harness racing drivers competing in both a pace and a trot on the betting card. The pacing race went to USA's Bobby Krivelin who reined Five Star Stud to a 2:00.2 victory while Giancarlo Moretti scored a 2:01.1 triumph in the trot with Samsawinner. In the first contest race Krivelin heeded advice and sent Five Star Stud to the lead from the three-hole and led the competition to the first panel in :28.3 while the USA's Peter Kleinhans (Show Topper) and Italy's Otello Zorzetta (Art's Jimmy Ray) were hung on the limb. Five Card Stud showed the way by the half in 1:00.1 and was still strong on the lead by the three quarters in 1:30. Both Show Topper and Art's Jimmy Ray were going the long mile but still in the race. When the field headed for home Krivelin tapped his pacer a couple of times and Five Star Stub responded and sailed home a 1-1/2 length winner over Show Topper and Peter Kleinhans which gave the American team win and place competition points. Otello Zorzetta, a winner of 471 races in his home country, took home the show dough with Art's Jimmy Ray. "My horse was good today, "said Krivelin, who drove Five Star Stud for the first time. "I listened to the trainer (Antonio Grillo) who asked me to send his horse to the lead and keep the bit tight in his mouth. I kept a tight hold on him (Five Card Stud) which kept him brave and he went the best mile in his last six starts." The winner, owned and trained by Antonio Grillo, notched his second win in 29 seasonal starts and paid $16.60 for win. For Bobby Krivelin, a three time National Amateur Driver of The Year, it was his 13th driving victory this season and it marked his 197th lifetime winner. Since the front-end worked so good for Krivelin in the first USA-Italy Friendship Competition race he used that same strategy in the next event, which was a trot. Up behind 5-2 second choice, Mr. Invincible, Krivelin gunned the trotter to the lead from post three and they command on the first turn and led the competition by the first quarter in :28.2 in the process keeping Trojan Horse, driven by the USA's Dave Offenberg, parked out. The two Americans raced one-two by the half in :59.3 with Italy's Giancarlo Moretti and Samsawinner tucked in nicely in the two hole. Just before the three quarters flashed 1:30.1 Moretti had Samsawinner out to challenge the leader and in the lane Samsawinner drew off to a three-length triumph. Mr. Invincible held on for second and Dream Defence N finished third for Italy's Roberto Michelotto. Moretti, a principal in Italy's world famous Murano Glass, was sporting a huge smile when he handed the lines to the horse's caretaker upon his return to the paddock and said, through an interpreter "I had a terrific two-hole journey and when I asked him (Samsawinner) to go he won the race easily." Samsawinner, trained by Bruce Aldrich, Sr. notched his 52nd career triumph. Owned by Woody Hoblitzel the trotter paid $19.00, $8.10 and $7.40 across the board. For Moretti it was his first American triumph and his 57th driving victory, overall. At days end the American team lead the visiting Italians 43-41. Tomorrow the same Italian team will battle against an American team consisting of Hannah Miller, Joe Faraldo, Tony Verruso and Tony Ciufettelli at Yonkers Raceway. by John Manzi for NAADA

Harness racing's greatest traveling sideshow, the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series, moved on to Vernon Downs 9/10ths-mile oval for an eastern region contest on Thursday evening, August 13. And when that trot was declared official, David "Poppa" Glasser and Celebrity Stimulus emerged victorious in a 1:57 clocking. it seems there's an old adage about driving in a harness race which states, if you feel your horse is the best send him to the lead and if he gets beat on the front-end he probably wasn't the best. According to the driver David Glasser only the first part of that statement is correct because after his front end journey with Celebrity Stimulus his trotter hung game and scored neck victory over "Tough Tony" Ciufettelli's, Star Studded Cast, who enjoyed a two-hole journey. Glasser sent Celebrity Stimulus to the lead from the six-hole and they had command at the first stanza in a snappy :27.3 with Star Studded Cast tucked comfortably in the two-hole. The two leaders were raced one-two past the half in :58.2 and when the field straightened up the backside "Bullet Bob" Davis make a serious challenge with Shelikescandy and they reached the third stanza in 1:27.4 only a head behind the leader. On the final turn Celebrity Stimulus trotted away from Davis' mare but then had to contend with Ciufettelli's Star Studded Cast who drew alongside the Celebrity Stimulus as the two headed for paydirt. A serious stretch duel then ensued and although Star Studded Cast was giving his best efforts Celebrity Stimulus battled back and hung gamely for a neck victory. Shelikescandy and Bob Davis took home the show. Glasser owns the winner who's trained by Homer Hochstetler. A 9-5 favorite on the morning line Celebrity Stimulus went off at odds of 3.65-1 and paid $9.30 for win. It was the third winning drive this season for Glasser, who is the president of a litigation support company. by John Manzi for the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series

Two divisions of the ninth and next to last leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's (NAADA) summer trotting series were contested at Monticello Raceway on the hot and steamy afternoon of Thursday, August 11 with Dr. John Kokinos and Alan Schwartz each victorious in their respective harness racing divisions. Kokinos won his split with Cassa's Image in a 1:57 clocking while Alan Schwartz copped the other with Imacrazynewyorker in 1:59. In the Catskill Amateur Driver Club's pacing series, which has been running concurrently with the NAADA trots, Hannah Miller emerged victorious reining Stoman home first in a 1:57.1 clocking. Both Stoman and Imacrazynewyorker are trained by John Hallett. In his split Schwartz took no prisoners and went down the road from the pole position with Imacrazynewyorker and they made every pole a winning one en route to a one length victory over Paul Minore and Wygant Prince. Lou Lou's Princess finished third for Hannah Miller. The winner is owned by Hallett and Oglesby and trained by John Hallett. He paid $4.40 for win. Kokinos romped in his division with Cassa's Image when confusion behind them on the first turn allowed them to gain an insurmountable lead and they cruised to an easy five length victory in a 1:57 clocking. Upfront N Crazy was second best for Tony Verruso while Paul Minore and Zoli took home the show dough. The winner, owned by the Hero Stable, returned a $14.60 win mutuel. In the lone Catskill Club Pace, the sports current leading amateur driver, Hannah Miller, didn't get nervous after being parked, relaxed her charge and then eased her pacer, Stoman, to the front nearing the halfway point and from there it was Katey bar the door as Stoman cruised to a three length triumph. Fly To The Angels, a 37-1 shot, finished second for Allen Cisco and KB's Bad Boy finished third for Barry Addison. John Hallett trains the winner for owner Jason Mac Dougall. Stoman paid $4.40. On Wednesday (Aug. 10) at the Wayne County (Pa.) Fair 'Hurricane Hannah' drove Pierce to a stunning 24-length pacing victory in a time of 1:58.4. The talented miss now has 24 wins, 14 seconds and six thirds in 92 seasonal starts good for a .407 UDR. Next Thursday,upon the completion of the NAADA Series at the Mighty M,the top three drivers with the most points in the series will be in a drawing with the winner earning an all-expense paid trip to New Zealand to compete against their amateur counterparts there. Leaders include: Hannah Miller (52); Alan Schwartz (48);Tony Ciufettelli (46); Peter Kleinhans (40) Tony Verruso (36). John Manzi

For the past few decades the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) has been hosting amateur drivers from various countries in Europe and Down Under and currently plans are being finalized by the amateur driving group for an upcoming Friendship Competition against their harness racing counterparts from Italy. Four veteran amateur drivers from Venice will be coming in to challenge the NAADA members in a series of races at three different American racetracks with races slated at Monticello Raceway (8-17), Yonkers Raceway (8-18) and Tioga Downs on (8-19). Those who will be driving for team Italy include; Raffaello Ruffato (110 lifetime wins), Giancarlo Moretti (55 wins), Roberto Michelotto (74 wins) and Zorzetto Otello (462 wins). Coming along with the Italian amateur drivers is their club representative, Luigi Cardin. Although the Italian team will be constant at all three venues NAADA will field a different team at each racetrack. "We look forward to once again hosting our friends from the Venice area of Italy," said NAADA president, Joe Faraldo. "We were their guests in the past and we've previously reciprocated by hosting them here in the States. We always have a wonderful time although we usually end up on the short end the stick. But make no mistake, we (NAADA members) will do our best to win this upcoming competition. However, winning or losing is incidental, it's the camaraderie that is shared with these competitions that is the important thing." "We have what we hope will be an entertaining visit for our Italian guests, "Faraldo continued. "Tom Grossman will host the participants and sponsor a luncheon at his Blue Chip Farm on Tuesday (8-16) and then the visitors will tour Goshen Historic Track and enjoy the nearby Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. "After driving at Monticello Raceway on Wednesday (8-17) the visitors will make a stop at the Bethel Woods Museum, the site of the original Woodstock Festival in 1969," noted NAADA event coordinator, Alicia Schwartz, who was an integral part of finalizing the agenda. Along the way Mrs. Schwartz says there will be a tour of the Mark Ford Training Center, in Goshen, NY and shopping at the Woodbury Common Outlet Mall in Central Valley, NY as well as great dinners at local area restaurants each evening. Then on Saturday (August 20) the visiting Italians will be able to explore and enjoy two days in greater New York City. By John Manzi for NAADA

The CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series began the second portion of this year's harness racing competition at Yonkers Raceway with two Eastern Region non-betting divisions on Thursday, July 28 with a pair of Joe's each emerging victorious. "Joltin' Joe" Pennacchio copped his division with Windsong Illusion while "Yankee Joe" Lee took home first money in the second split. In the Eastern Region #1 Final the previous Thursday, also at Yonkers Raceway, the series point leader "Hurricane Hannah" Miller won that event and now becomes eligible for the Billings Gold Cup Final later this year at Harrah's Chester Downs. At Yonkers with "Joltin' Joe" Pennacchio, subbing for Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford who was stranded in the Midwest, worked himself a good journey with Windsong Illusion, staying close to the leaders and then exploding in the stretch to trot by Shanghai Jack and "Hurricane Hannah" to score a one-length triumph in a 1:59.3 clocking. Bluebird Kidsqueen finished third for Dave "the Rave" Offenberg. Pennacchio was happy to get the mount behind Windsong Illusion and he was extremely gratified on his driving victory. "It was just one of those things, a picture perfect trip, and though it doesn't happen that often it's nice when you're on the winning end of it,"Pennacchio said after this triumph."I got away third and then ended-up with a two-hole Journey behind Hannah (with Shanghai Jack) and then came up the inside in the stretch and trotted by her." Windsong Illusion is owned by Oldford Racing, LLC and trained by Allen Cisco. It was the fourth seasonal triumph for Windsong Illusion and the 155th driving victory for Joe Pennacchio, a retired investment manager. A second non-wagering amateur split was copped Rocket Master, driven by "Yankee Joe" Lee, the New York Yankees' clubhouse manager who scored his fifth seasonal driving victory. Starting from post five Lee was content to allow his trotter to leave the gate slowly and they were in fifth position as Trotalot and Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff showed the way by the first stanza in :28.4. Lee followed cover as the field headed for the half and remained in fifth pace although closer to the pacesetter. Rocket Master didn't shake lose until the final turn but when he did gained command at the top of the lane and then went on to an easy three length triumph over Cassa's Image driven by John "the Veterinarian" Kokinos. "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo took home the show dough with For You Almostfree. "We got away next to last," Lee admitted, "but we came third-over heading to the half. We were closing in on the leaders up the backside and on the final turn I had plenty of horse. We began passing horses and by mid-stretch we had it wrapped up and we coasted home an easy winner." It was the third seasonal victory for Rocket Master who's owned by Ronald Cohen and trained by Mike Forte. For Lee, who only gets a chance to drive when the New York Yankees are out of town, or not scheduled to play on Thursdays, it was his fifth seasonal driving victory and 15th of his amateur career. Next Billings action is slated for Saturday night, July 30 at the Summit Fair at Northfield Park. by John Manzi for the CKG Billings Series

The seventh of ten legs in the North American Amateur Drivers Association's (NAADA) trotting series was presented on Thursday, July 28 at Monticello Raceway on a hot an steamy afternoon and when the events were finalized Bob Kenney and Bob Krivelin each emerged victorious in their respective harness racing splits. Kenney won with Come And Tell Pap in 2:00.3 while Krivelin eeked- out a victory with Permanent Joy in a 1:58.3 clocking. Kenney, a retired computer salesman from Belchertown, Massachusetts, took no prisoners and went wire to wire with Come And Tell Pap and scored an easy two- length triumph over Current Crisis and driver Bob Krivelin. It marked the third time that these pair pf Bob's finished one-two in the NAADA trots this season. When the gate sprung Kenney sent his charge to the lead from the pole position and they trotted through quarters of :29 and :59 rebuffing any and all challenges along the way. Still with a one-length lead as they passed the third stanza Come and Tell Me Pap scooted off to a three length lead as they headed for home and at the wire Kenny's trotter was two-lengths better than Krivelin's, Current Crisis. Zorgwijk Impact rallied from far back to garner the show dough for Joe Pennacchio. "He's a good horse," Kenney said referring to Come And Tell Pap after his driving victory. "He won over $40,000 last year but he's been sick this year. We nurtured him and now he's coming back strong. He was great today and it was almost like a training trip for him." Owned by Kenney's wife Linda and the Di Stefano and Son Stable and trained by John Di Stefano Come And Tell Pap won his first race this season and returned an $11.40 win mutuel. However, Krivelin made amends in the second NAADA trot when his Permanent Joy held on for a nose triumph over a persistent Aventure, who was driven by Tony Ciuffetelli. But after the judges reviewed the race they found a racing infraction by Ciufettelli and his horse was placed out of the money. Krivelin sent Permanent Joy to the front from the two-hole and they took charge in a :29 first quarter. From there Krivelin kept the pedal to the metal and his trotter showed the way through a :57.4 half. After they passed the third stanza in 1:27.3, Aventure, who was menacing Permanent Joy throughout the mile, staged a late charged but came up a nose short. And it was all for naught as Ciuffettelli's trotter was dis-qualified. Woody, driven by Joe Lee, was moved up to second place and I'm Fabulous was granted the show dough for driver Tony Verruso. "My horse races best when he's on top and although we went to some fast early fractions he was still strong enough to hold on for the win," Krivelin explained and then added that this was the only time that Permanent Joy has had a harness on him since his last race on July 22nd. "He lives out in a paddock at my farm and for exercise we tow him behind another horse when we jog," Krivelin added. "He (Permanent Joy) seems to really like this routine." Owned by Krivelin's Hero Stable and trained by Krivelin, Permanent Joy paid $11.60 for win. By John Manzi for NAADA

Still the granddaddy of all amateur harness racing organizations, the CKG Billings Series reached the halfway point in its 2016 Eastern Region season and on Thursday, July 21 the top eight series point-earners convened at Yonkers Raceway to compete in the $14,000 Eastern Region #1 Final. And fittingly, the top point earner in Billings action thus far this year, "Hurricane Hannah" Miller, added yet another driving victory to her outstanding resume when she guided Jacks To Open to a 1:58.4 victory. Ms Miller made her victory look easy when she hustled Jacks To Open away from the pole position behind the mobile starting gate and allowed "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli and Star Studded Cast to take command. "I tried to get out of there quickly and when Tony gunned his horse to the lead I felt I would get a good trip following Star Studded Cast," Miller said. Settling in behind Ciuffetelli's trotter Miller followed his lead through comfortable fractions of :28.2 and :58 but a strange thing happened as the field headed up the backside. "Unbelievably, Tony's horse just made a right turn," Miller said. "I guess the horse thought he should be pulling up or something but whatever the reason was it worked on terrific for me." Jacks To Open inherited the lead and it was ballgame. The veteran trotter scooted away to an open lengths lead and at the wire he finished five lengths in front of runner-up, The Franchise, driven by Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff. Third place went to For You Almostfree, driven by "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo.. Ciuffetteli did get Star Studded Cast going the right way after his right turn and they ended up with fourth money. For "Hurricane Hannah" it was her 20th seasonal driving victory and second amateur win of the day after having won a Catskill Amateur Club Pace with Stoman at Monticello Raceway during the afternoon. Jacks To Open is owned by the Nick Surick Stable and Hannah Miller and trained by Nick Surick. The race went as a non-wagering affair prior to the first race on the betting card. by John Manzi for the CKG Billings Series

Amateur harness racing is certainly escalating. On Friday, July 14, the amateurs emulated the pros when a group raced during the afternoon at Monticello Raceway and then traveled to Saratoga Raceway for two Eastern Region Billings trots in the evening. One of the trekkers ,Tony "the Capo" Verruso, the president of the Billings Series , won his contest at Saratoga when he guided Gaelic And Garlic to a 1:58.1 triumph after he finished third in a NAADA Trot at Monticello earlier in the day. The other split went to "Bay State Bob" Kenney when he rallied Rev Up The Spice to a 1:59.2 triumph. In his division Verruso was sent off at odds of 9-2 and found the two-hole with Gaelic And Garlic as he neared the first quarter which was stepped in :28.3. Following the cover provided by Winwood Stout and James "Jimmy Boy" Marshall IV, Verruso sat chilly when "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli pulled Aventure first-up as the field headed to the halfway point. Verruso bided his time and in the lane he rallied his trotter to a one length victory over Marshall's charge. Aventure hung on for the show dough. "After I fell in behind Marshall I had a picture perfect trip from there," Verruso related. "He (Gaelic And Garlic) responded well in the stretch when he saw daylight. He's is a real nice horse and a pleasure to drive." Owned by Bernie White and the Kristie Leigh Farm and trained by Melissa Beckwith, Gaelic and Garlic, a career winner of more than $373,000, paid $11.20 for win. It was the Capo's fourth seasonal driving victory and 64th since he began amateur racing in 1999. In the other split Kenney gave his trotter a similar journey falling into the two- hole and then stalking the leader, Trotalot and Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff, until the deep stretch and then rallying to victory. Lisa Jane finished third for Simeon "Hot Rod" Hunsdon. It was Kenney's second consecutive victory with Rev Up The Spice having won a Billings trot at the Afton,(NY) Fair last Friday. The winner is owned by Di Stefano & Son Stable and trained by John Di Stefano. Sent off at odds of over 14-1 Rev it Up Spice returned a $30.40 win mutuel. For Kenney it was his fifth driving victory in just 12 seasonal starts this year. by John Manzi for the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series

MONTICELLO, NY - For the past five weeks at Monticello Raceway Thursdays have featured races driven by amateur drivers. And July 14th was no exception. Two trots in the NAADA Series were carded as well as a pace in the Catskill Club's Amateur Series. When it was all over Alan Schwartz and Peter Kleinhans were each victorious in their respective NAADA splits while "Hurricane Hannah" Miller copped the Catskill Club's pace. Schwartz led the NAADA brigade winning his division with Lady's Big Stormont in an eye-opening 1:57.2 over Bob Hechkoff's The Franchise. When the wings of the mobile gate folded Schwartz gunned his recent purchase to the lead and took no prisoners. Lady's Big Stormont, whom Schwartz claimed last week for $12,500, zipped by the first stanza in a stiff :28. Still comfortably in hand they were two lengths in front as they trotted by the half in :57.3. Although Bob Hechkoff and The Franchise enjoyed a two-hole journey they were outclassed when the field turned for home as Schwartz's charge drew off to a two length victory. Third place went to Woody, driven by Joe Lee. "I just claimed him here last week and he sure has a lot of trot, but he's a handful. He grabs on when jogging and is tough behind the gate and when scoring down he's on the muscle but he's got a big engine," Schwartz said referring to Lady's Big Stormont. "So I'll have to put up with his ways." Trained by Raheim Strong, Lady's Big Stormont scored his sixth seasonal triumph and paid $4.30 for win. The next NAADA trot on the Thursday card saw Peter Kleinhans send Toss Cartwright to the lead in after the half and then jog away to 9-length triumph over Typical New Yorker and driver Alan Schwartz. Kleinhans and Toss Cartwright didn't see the pylons until they wrested the lead from Tony Verruso and Up Front N Crazy as the two trotters passed the halfway point. Then surprisingly, even to Kleinhans, his trotter began to open daylight on the field and they cruised home an oh-so-easy winner over Typical Newyorker. Up Front N Crazy took home the show dough for Tony Verruso. "When we passed the half in :57.4 I thought he'd (Toss Cartwright) be tired but I was I pleasantly surprised to see us run away with the race," Kleinhans said. "This is my girlfriend's horse and I wish she could have been here today to see him win today." Owned by Collene Cash and trained by John McDermott, Toss Cartwright paid $4.80 for win. Amateur racing's current leading driver, "Hurricane Hannah" Miller, scored her 18th seasonal victory when she guided Stoman to a wire to wire triumph in a 1:56.1 clocked mile in the Catskill Club's pace. But victory didn't come easy. When the starter said go Miller sent Stoman to the front from the pole position but she had pressing company from Late Night Flight and driver Monica Banca. Their horses raced head to head past the quarter pole in a swift :27.2, that was until Miller opened a hole behind her for Banca's pacer to fall into, which Monica did. But by then Ms. Miller had little hope of giving Stoman a breather and they traveled by the half in :56.2. "I was quite concerned with the fast early fractions but I didn't want to get in behind Monica's horse," Miller said after the race. " The :56-half had me concerned even though I had a snug hold on him (Stoman) right from the start. Still they were fast fractions." As the field headed for the third stanza Stoman had opened up a three-length lead on the field. Barry Addison and KB's Bad Boy--last week's winner in this event--began a charge at the leader but it was too little, too late and they had to settle for second money. Shark Treasure rallied from far back to finish third for Gerry Fielding. Stoman, a 10-year-old Market Report gelding is owned by Jason MacDougall and trained by John Hallett, He paid $4.20 for win. After the amateur races at the Mighty M were contested, Miller and a contingent of others hit the road to Saratoga Raceway--2-1/2 hour ride-- for two Billings trots carded late on the Saratoga Harness race card. by John Manzi for the NAADA and Catskill Amateur Club  

If you think amateur harness racing isn't an integral part of the sport don't tell Monticello Raceway's director of racing Eric Warner because he just won't believe you. On Friday afternoon, July 6 Warner carded six betting races for amateur drivers; two in the CKG Billings Series, two in the NAADA Trotting Series; and two in the Catskill Amateur Club's Series. Many of the participants are members of all three organizations. "The amateur races truly help us fill our betting cards and the fans wager on them with confidence," Warner said. "More than half our Friday card was for amateur drivers" In what started out as a pleasant afternoon weather-wise Mother Nature turned the tables when half-way through the racing program the skies opened up and rain made the enjoyment of driving more than a bit unbearable. But the amateurs persevered through the extreme weather conditions and responded as professional drivers would have. Not surprisingly, "Hurricane Hannah" Miller was the star of the day. The talented miss drove two winners and had three seconds in five drives. Other winners included "Smokin' Joe Faraldo, Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff; "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli and "Boppin' Barry" Addison won his first pari-mutuel race. Bob Hechoff won the first Billings contest when he guided The Franchise to a wire to wire 1:58.2 victory over Hannah Miller and Jacks To Open. "The inside post (pylon position) helped but once I got him through the first turn I knew he'd be good from there," Hechkoff said after his victory. "He's a real horse." Owned by RBH Ventures and Spagnola Racing The Franchise paid $7.20 for win The second Billings trot went to For You Almostfree and driver by Joe Faraldo in a 2:00 clocking despite being parked out for the entire mile. They collared pacesetter Shanghai Jack and Hannah Miller in the final strides to score a head triumph. "When I saw Hannah go to the whip in the stretch I knew her horse was in trouble," Faraldo said. "I urged "Almostfree" a bit and he just kept grinding and we collared her at the wire. He's a classy old-timer." The veteran Glidemaster 8-year-old stallion, a lifetime winner of almost $480,000, is owned by Faraldo, Wittstruck and Tietel and trained by Richard Banca. He paid $8.30 for win. Hannah Miller's first triumph was with pacer Tijuana Party in a 1:58.2 clocking in a Catskill Amateur Series event. In that one Hannah left softly from the four-hole as Late Nite Flight (Monica Banca) and Shark Treasure (Alan Schwartz) locked horns in a :27.2 first quarter. After Schwartz settled in along the pylons Ms Miller sent her charge to the front as the field passed the halfway point. From there it was all Hannah and Tijuana Party as they rambled to a three-length victory over Late Nite Flight. "He (Tijuana Taxi) is a real pleasure to sit behind. He's got quick speed and can leave like a rabbit.And you can drive him with two fingers", Miller said. It was the third consecutive victory for Miller and Tijuana Party who paid $2.90 for win. Hannah co-owns with trainer Nick Surick. Hannah's other victory was in a NAADA Trot behind Scottish Cross in a pounding rainstorm. Starting from the far outside they went wire to wire in a 2:01.2 clocking holding off a late charge by Tony Ciuffetelli and Mack's Gold Band. Owned by Allard racing and trained by Rene Allard, Scottish Cross paid $3.70 for win. However, the veteran 11 year old Angus Hall mare was claimed for $18,000 by Howard Taylor. Tony Cuiffetelli won a NAADA trot with the veteran 12-year-old Tagmaster in 2:02.4 as the rain continued fall relentlessly. They got to the front easily and were chased the entire mile by Hannah Miller and Lou Lous Princess. But Tagmaster was up to the challenge and finished a one length winner over Lou Lous Princess. Ciuffetelli owns and trains the winner who paid $11.20 for win. The last amateur race on the card will always be a memorable one for Barry Addison who drove KB's Bad Boy to a 1:58.4 triumph over McCabe Hall and Tony Ciuffetelli. It was Addison's first lifetime victory. "I had the pole and I let Monica (Banca with Allamerican Dice) go and then retook," Addison said. "Once on top again "KB's" was comfortable and pretty much cruised to victory. It's always special when do something for the first time and I don't think I'll ever forget this, my first win." Sent off at odds of 5-2 the KB's Bad Boy returned a $7.20 mutuel. by John Manzi for the Billings, NAADA and Catskill Amateur Series

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