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Right on the heels of two regional mid-season finales the CKG Billings amateur driving series returned to its roots for a competition over the double oval at the harness racing meeting at Livingston County Family Fair in Fowlerville, Michigan. The fair, which has been thrilling locals since 1887, once again offered a full card of 17 harness races on Monday afternoon, July 27 despite the reproachful racing climate in the Wolverine State. And to the delight of local amateur drivers one was for Billings members in the Midwest region. Of course where ever there's a chance to drive a spirited Standardbred it's a good bet that Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford will avail himself an opportunity to compete. Joining Oldford in a quest for a victory were Jerome "Call me Jerry" Mihelich, " Lightning Larry" Steenbergen, Patrticia "the Write Stuff" Miller and Kelly "Sky" Walker. In that contest Oldford was up behind Gespacho , a trotter trained locally by June Du Russel. When the starter said go, Oldford sent his charge to the front and made every pole a winning one en route to an easy 2:05.4 victory over Beauty Chip and driver Jerry Mihelich. Hay Look Out finished third for Pat Miller. "I can't say enough good things about June Du Rusell," Oldford said after the race. "She's always helped the amateurs by supplying horses for us to drive" "She's just a great gal." " And there's no secret about the state of racing in Michigan but we're hopeful that things will get better in the future." It was the third seasonal triumph for Gerspach, a 7 year old altered son of Holy Guacamolie and his 21st in 87 career outings. For Oldford it marked his 11th seasonal driving victory and the 108th of his amateur career. The next Midwest region Billings action will be at the Summit Fair at Northfield Park on Saturday, August 1. That same night there will also be a Billings trot at Vernon Downs in the series east region. John Manzi

Paul "the Coach" Minore is hot. He now has won three of his last four starts in amateur competition with his latest victory coming in the prestigious CKG Billings East Region Mid-Season Final at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday evening, July 23 when he guided his own Wygant Prince to a 2:00.2 victory, a triumph made even more impressive since it came after starting from the eight-hole. It was their second consecutive triumph together after having been victorious in a time of 1:58.3 in a Billings leg at Saratoga Raceway on July 12. The $12,000 Mid-Season Final at Yonkers was for drivers who were the top point earners thus far in the year-long amateur driver's series. The contest went to post as a non-wagering affair prior to the first race on the betting card. If Minore was somewhat dejected after having drawn post position eight no one could tell when he gunned his trotter for the lead as the wings of the mobile gate folded and they showed the way by the first stanza in a swift :28.4. After a :31.1 breather Wygant Prince passed the halfway point relatively unchallenged. However, competition came as they headed up the backside but Minore and his charge continued unfazed and they passed the three quarters alone on the lead as the timer flashed 1:30.2. As Wygant Prince headed for home he had opened up another length on his competition and cruised to a two-length triumph over Gimme The Loot and driver Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin. Third place went to Pembroke Snapshot, driven by the series top point-earner, "Hurricane Hannah" Miller. It was the fourth seasonal triumph for the winner, an 8-year-old altered son of S J's Photo owned by his driver, and trained by Taylor Gower. For Minore, it marked his fifth seasonal driving victory and 84th of his amateur career. On Friday (July 24) the Mid-west Region Mid-Season Final for the top point earners in that division, will be contested over the five-eighths mile oval at The Meadows. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

There are few amateur harness racing drivers who log as many miles as Steve Oldford. The automotive manufacturers rep from Croswell, Michigan thinks nothing of hopping a plane to race in an amateur contest no matter where it is. On Thursday, July 23 Oldford winged his way to Monticello Raceway to drive in the final leg of the 10-race NAADA Spring Series and his efforts paid dividends when he guided the Dan Gill-trained Up Front N Crazy to a romping 14-length victory in a time of 2:01. Although Up Front N Crazy was sent off at odds of over 9-1 he won like a 1-5 shot. But there were extenuating circumstances. When Matt Zuccarello's trotter Gray N Cloudy-- 5-2 on the tote board--made a break on the first turn it scattered the field and allowed Oldford's charge to open up daylight on his competitors. However, Oldford's luck continued when Joe Pannacchio's Sir Winston, who was following just two length behind Upfront N Crazy as the two passed the half in 1:00.4 had nothing in the tank. "My horse was empty at that point," Pennacchio said of his veteran trotter who came into the race with two consecutive wins in the NAADA Series. "He must have bled?" Pennacchio assumption was correct because at the third stanza Oldford's trotter had a seven length lead which was opened to 14 lengths at the finish. "I skirted the trouble in the first turn and we trotted clear and when there was no one around me as we headed for home I actually thought there might have been more problems for those in the rears," Oldford said after the race. "But thankfully there were no more trouble." With Sir Winston fading as he headed to the three quarters it allowed the trotters in the back of the pack to gain ground quickly on him. Dave Yarock rallied the strongest with CSI What's My Name and they finished in second place while Nice Dream, driven by Gerry Fielding caught Sir Winston yards before the wire to take home the show dough. Sir Winston held on for fourth money. For the record, Picture Perfect, the betting favorite in the race driven by Hannah Miller, was interfered with by Zuccarello's breaking horse on the first turn and went off-stride vanquishing any hope of victory for Miller and those who wagered on him. Up Front N Crazy, owned by Edward Hall, paid $20.60 for win. A condition to the series stated that the drivers with the most points who participated in six of the 10 legs would be eligible to draw for an all expense trip to Mallorca and join NAADA team who will race against their Spanish counterparts in a Friendship Competition in mid-September. However, that drawing, which is forthcoming, will be announced at a later date by NAADA president, Joe Faraldo. As for Oldford, he's back on the road this time to drive in the CKG Billings Spring Final which will be contested over the five-eighths mile oval The Meadows tomorrow night. John Manzi  

Paul "the Coach" Minore and Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff made it two victories in a row in amateur contests when each won a division of the CKG Billings trot at the Meadowlands on Friday night, July 17 after the former won a NAADA trot and the latter a Billings event both at Monticello Raceway the previous day. Coach Minore was victorious at the Big M with Hallanet in a time of 1:57.3 while Hechkoff romped to a 1:54.4 triumph in a Billings split with Keystone Thomas. And both drivers made a quarter pole move to the lead after the first few furlongs and then each cruised on to open lengths victories. Minore's trotter was three lengths ahead of "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello's Gray N Cloudy while Hechkoff guided his charge to an easy six length victory over Current Crisis driven by Dein "the Jupiter Gem" Spriggs. In his contest Minore and Hallanet left from the pole position and parked Zuccarello and Gray N Cloudy by the quarter in :28.1 and thenMinore retook command and Hallanet raced relatively unchallenged the rest of the mile. They had a comfortable four length lead as the field headed for home and at the wire Hallanet was a 3-1/4 length victor over Gray N Cloudy. Pixel Queen finished third for "Joltin Joe" Pennacchio. Hallanet is owned by his driver and trained by Taylor Gower. Sent off at odds of over 13-1 he paid $28.20 for win. Hechkoff's Keystone Thomas went a whale of a race after he left hard from the 10-hole and followed "Yankee Joe" Lee and Dream Rocker's cover on the limb as Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg and Fuel Cell parked both trotters to a :27:2 first quarter. After Lee cleared with Dream Rocker Hechkoff gained command with Keystone Thomas and the ball game was nearly over as the veteran trotter passed the half in :56.1 and then went on to a oh-so-easy six length triumph over Current Crisis. Dream Rocker held on for the show dough. It was two-wins-in-a-row for Keystone Thomas after "the Headhunter" drove him to a 1:55.4 victory in his last start in the GSY Series also at the Big M in early July. Keystone Thomas, owned by Hechkofff's R.B.H. Ventures and Kyle Spagnola and the latter doubles as the horse's trainer. He paid $8.80 for win. Amazingly, or maybe not so amazing, is the fact the overwhelming majority of the 20 trotters slated to start in the Billings Series at the Meadowlands on Friday are all owned by their amateur drivers. Hallanet Keystone Thomas John Manzi    

On the beautiful summer afternoon of July 16, the ninth leg of the NAADA spring trotting series went to post at the harness racing meeting at Monticello Raceway and when the judges hung the official sign, Bob Hechkoff emerged victorious with Alternat Thursdays. They scored a two length triumph over Swift Blizzard and Paul Minore in a time of 2:00.3. Joe Lee finished third with Laser Lucy. When the wings of the mobile gate folded Minore hustled Swift Blizzard toward the lead from post five but they didn't gain command until Alan Schwartz, driving Typical Newyorker, grabbed leather and allowed Minore command just before the quarter mile timer flashed :29.3. At that point the eventual winner was third along the pylons some three lengths behind the leader. Once on top Minore kept his trotter moving forward but as the field headed to the half Hechkoff moved off the pylons to challenge as the field passed the halfway point in 1:00.3. However, Minore wasn't about to yield command and Swift Blizzard and Alternat Thursdays raced as a team by the three quarters in 1:30.1. The leaders were still side by side around the paddock turn and when they straightened for home Alternat Thursdays was the strong horse and refused to lose. Swift Blizzard faded but held second place and Laser Lucy was strong enough to rebuff Typical Newyork for the show dough. "He's a handful before the race and a handful after a race but once he's behind the gate you can drive him with two fingers", Hechkoff said of Alternat Thursdays as he was taking off his gloves in the paddock after the race." "But he's really not my kind of horse because he doesn't leave the gate quickly and I like a horse that can grab the racetrack. Still he's got class and is always on gait." Despite going into the race with no wins in 21 starts Alternat Thursdays had amassed almost $25,000 on the strength of six seconds and one third. In what turned out to be a wide open contest where six trotters went off at odds of 5-1 or less, Alternat Thursdays was the weak favorite at 1.95-1 and returned a $5.90 win mutuel. The winner is owned by Hechkoff's R.B.H Ventures and trained by Kyle Spagnola. It was the first seasonal win for Alternat Thursdays and the 10th this year for Hechkoff. John Manzi

On Sunday July 19 the Monticello Harness Horsemens Association (MHHA) will sponsor a bar-be-cue (BBQ) at Hanofee Park in Liberty, NY to honor memory of Robert "Bo" Beauregard who passed away unexpectedly earlier this year. "Bo's wife Marybeth and his children, along with other family members, will be there to greet and thank all attendees. "Not only was Bo a good trainer and a director of our horsemen's organization but he was a great guy and will be remembered for his good nature and humor. For years he would dress-up as Santa Claus for our annual Christmas Party always to delight the children, noted Alan Schwartz, president of MHHA. "With this upcoming BBQ we are hoping to get some donations for the trust fund for his young children, John and Stephen." The BBQ will start at noon and continue until dusk this coming Sunday. For a $20.00 donation food and soft drinks will be available all day. There will be fun and games for the children and swimming is also available. Anyone interested in making a donation to the "Bo Bo Fund" is asked to send it to MHHA c/o Monticello Raceway, Raceway Road, Monticello, NY 12701. "We guarantee that 100% of all donations will go to the trust fund for his two boys," Schwartz added. For further information, or to purchase tickets to Bo's BBQ, please call MHHA at 845-791-7747 or call 845-794-4100x559. John Manzi

In his other life Paul "the Coach" Minore was a Phys Ed teacher and track and field coach at Willingboro High School in New Jersey whose most famous pupil was the great track and field standout and former Olympian great, Carl Lewis. He got involved in amateur harness racing prior to his retirement and now Minore devotes himself fully to the sport he loves. On Sunday afternoon, July 12, in a CKG Billings Series trot at Saratoga Raceway "Coach Paul" rallied his veteran trotter, Wygant Prince, to a come-from-behind triumph in a 1:58.2 clocking. It was close a close finish but in the deep stretch they trotted by Morosita Bi and driver James "Call Me Jimmy" Marshall IV to win by a neck. The pace-setter Timmy T, driven by Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin, faded and finished third. "I fell into the two hole leaving (the starting gate) and when Bobby (Krivelin) wouldn't let Jimmy (Marshall IV) go I got a perfect trip. With all the speedy fractions on the front-end all I had to do was wait for room in the stretch and when it came my horse was fresh and he trotted to victory,"Minore said. Timmy T, the 3-2 betting favorite in the race, sped out to the lead from the six hole. Once there Krivelin played hardball and parked-out Morosita Bi and the two trotters raced as a team through speedy fractions of :28.2; :57.1 and 1:26.4 until the top of the lane when Marshall's trotter gained command. In the stretch Morosita Bi was confronted by Wygant Prince and the veteran trotter went on to victory and both Wygant Prince and "Coach Paul" each had their third seasonal triumphs; Wygant Prince against other trotters and "Coach Paul" against other amateur drivers. The winner is owned by Minore and trained by Taylor Gower. He paid $20.40 for win and for "Coach Paul" it marked his 82nd amateur driving victory. John Manzi

"Marvelous Marvin" Raber notched his first amateur driving victory of the season when he guided Washingtonian to a stunning 1:56.4 victory in a Midwest region CKG Billings Series trot at Northfield Park on Friday evening, July 10. Sent off as the betting favorite in the race from the two-hole Raber quickly took command with the veteran Malabar Millennium gelding and led the eight-horse field by the first quarter in a swift :28 seconds. From there Raber played catch me if you can and nobody could as Washingtonian toured the speedy double oval in a time of 1:56.4 for a seven length triumph. "I was being hard pressed by Steve Oldford (with Bold Strike, the second choice in the wagering) but when his horse made a break going to the half I felt very confident in our chances to win it. My horse was still strong and he trotted away from the field and cruised to an easy victory," Raber explained. Speed Hanover and "Lawbook Larry" Farley finished second while YF Crasher and "Marlin the Magician" Smith took home the show dough. Washingtonian, owned and trained by Larry Clabaugh, notched his second seasonal triumph and returned a $4.40 win mutuel. It was only the fourth seasonal drive for Raber who now has 34 career driving victories. Now with eight venues in the books in the Billings Midwest regionals Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford continues to lead the with 53 points. Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg is second with 30 points and "Hurricane Hannah" Miller's, 27, is currently third best. Raber now with 23 points ranks fourth while Larry Farley, with 19 points is fifth. Rounding out the top ten are: "Michelle the Belle" Ruvola (18) "Bullet Bob" Davis (14.5), Bob "Lumberman" Troyer (14), "Chicago George" Bonomo (13) and Kelly "Sky" Walker (13). John Manzi

Hunch players who wagered on Gimme The Loot capitalized when Bobby Krivelin drove the 10 year old Credit Winner gelding to 2:01 victory in the NAADA Trot at the harness racing meeting at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon, July 9. And those with winning tickets on Gimme The Loot were saying just that when they went to the mutuel windows for the $35.60 payoff. Overlooked from post position six and sent off at odds of over 16-1, Krivelin drove Gimme The Loot like he was the odds-on favorite in the race when he sent the veteran trotter to the lead and parked all comers. Among those on the limb was the 3-5 favorite Bluebird Kidsqueen driven by Dave Offenberg. Also getting fresh air on the outside behind Offenberg was second choice, Casanova Lindy and driver Hannah Miller. It was clear that Krivelin wanted to be on the lead and his trotter responded well rebuffing all challenges. Casanova Lindy started from the seven-hole, never saw the pylons and although he had to go the long mile he still was strong enough to make up three lengths in the stretch to finish just one length behind the winner. Third place went to Typical Newyorker in rein to Alan Schwartz. "The public made Offenberg's horse the hot favorite but I knew the one to beat was Hannah Miller because I chased her and Casanova Lindy home and finished second to her last Sunday at Goshen," Krivelin said in the winners circle after his victory. "I was inside of her (Hannah) today and I wanted to be on the lead. As it worked out she had road trouble and couldn't get a clear shot at me early on." "But her horse went a big trip on the outside the entire mile." Owned by the Hero Stables of Goshen, NY and trained by Krivelin, Gimme The Loot notched his third seasonal triumph. For Krivelin who was USHWA's Amateur Driver of The Year last season, it was his seventh seasonal driving victory and 174th of his amateur career. Later that afternoon at the Afton (NY) Fair (some 75 miles from Monticello) there was a Billings Trot carded and immediately after her second place finish at Monticello Raceway in the NAADA Trot "Hurricane Hannah" drove for one and half hours to Afton, NY to participate in Billings contest there. In the short five- horse field at Afton Hannah had the four-hole with Pembroke Snapshot, a trotter with whom she won with at Monticello Raceway earlier this year. Over the Afton Agricultural Fair's double-oval Miller and Pembroke Snapshot defeated Drill Sergeant Sam and Tony "the Capo" Verruso in a time of 2:08. Third place went to Mighty Moe and driver "Bullet Bob" Davis. The winner is owned by the Nick Surick Stable and the JL Benson Stable and trained by Surick. It was the fourth seasonal triumph for Pembroke Snapshot and the 21st driving victory this season for Ms. Miller. And let it not be said that "Hurricane Hannah" doesn't dance every dance. Besides competing in the Billings Series she also participates in the NAADA Trotting Series, the Catskill Club's pacing events, and the GSY Series at the Meadowlands. After her second place finish at the Mighty M on Thursday and her victory at Afton later in the day, the 23 year old now has a phenomenal .500 UDR on the strength of 21 wins, 12 seconds and 10 thirds in 2015 John Manzi

Bob "the Lumberman" Troyer came from far back with Heza Rube to win the harness racing Billings trot at Northfield Park in a time of 1:57 on July 2. Nine horses were drawn in the contest but when the field went behind the starting gate two late scratches whittled the it to seven. Heza Rube started from the five hole and got away in the back of the pack after "Marvelous Marvin" Raber set sails with Washingtonian and they led the field by the quarter in a stiff :27.3. At that point Huza Rube was some 13 lengths behind the leader. "They left hard so I took a seat," Troyer explained. Raber had the pedal to the medal and Washingtonian zipped by the half in :56.3 with the eventual winner 15 lengths in the rears. Four lengths in front of Hometowne Jeff and "Michelle the Belle" Ruvola as they passed the three quarters in 1:25.4 Washingtonian still had a huge lead on Heza Rube but on the final turn Troyer was coming and coming hard. He made up five quick lengths on the turn and when the field straightened for home Troyer had Heza Rube wide open and they rallied to a neck victory over Washingtonian. Third place went to Hometown Jeff and Michelle Ruvola. "I had owned him (Heza Rube) and sold him to Marty Wollam a few years ago so when he entered him in the Billings trot he asked me if I would like to drive him," Troyer explained. "Of course I said sure and I am glad I did. He's always been a nice horse but he really surprised me when we won tonight because we were so far back most of the mile." Now owned and trained by Marty Wollam, Heza Rube, a 5 year-old altered son of Master Lavec paid $4.80 for win. It was the trotter's second seasonal victory. For Troyer, who has been a longtime participant in Billings races, it was his first drive of the year. The victory was Troyer's 73rd of his amateur driving career. John Manzi

Hannah Miller has taken amateur harness racing by storm. The 24 year old miss scored her 19th victory in 58 seasonal starts when she guided Rise Above It to a 1:57.3 victory in their division of the Catskill Amateur Club's spring pacing series at Monticello Raceway on July 2. And that "Hurricane Hannah" is carrying a lofty .485 UDR one can easily understand the betting public's faith in her abilities. Sent off as odds-on favorite in her race Miller left softly with Rise Above It and when the field settled she moved first-up as the field headed to the half. "He's not a horse that can leave real hard and I knew Matt (Zuccerello with Minnesota Hanover) would be pushing off from the rail so I let everyone settle and then moved first over," Miller explained. Up the backside Rise Above it charged to the front and on the final turn he had five lengths on the field. From there he cruised home an easy winner over CC's Lover and Alan Schwartz. Third place went to Logan's Dragon driven by Dr. Jennifer Lowrey. "He raced real well and was looking for company at the wire," Miller added." Owned by Melvin Fink and Clifford Grundy Rise Above it paid $2.70 for win. He's trained by Nick Surick who had thanks for the owners when he said; "I just want to thank my owners Mel and Cliff for letting Hannah use their horse in series and supporting her and it paid off for them today with a win in the series finale." In the NAADA Series driver Joe Pennacchio made it two in- a -row in with Sir Winston when he guided the veteran gelding to a 2:01 victory over Superiorcourt and driver Bob Krivelin. Third place went to Alan Schwartz with Chuckie B. After a 2:00.1 victory last week while racing on the front end Pennacchio Sir Winston duplicated that effort and once again raced on the lead. "I said last week if he doesn't bleed he'd win and he didn't and we won," Pennacchio said. "He didn't bleed and this week either and he won again." When two horses broke at the start Pennacchio and Sir Winston raced unhurriedly on the lead and got away with easy fractions for the classy old veteran. After a soft half Pennacchio parked all comers and Sir Winston finished strong for a 1-1/2 length triumph. Despite a victory last week and starting from the pole position today the betting crowd didn't have much faith and sent Sir Winston off at odds of over 7-1. Owned by Joe P Racing and trained by Dan Altman he paid $16.40. By John Manzi for NAADA and the Catskill Club

Jordan Stratton won six races in six starts as Goshen Historic Track kicked-off its 177th season of harness racing on Thursday, July 2 at the Cradle of the Trotter. Featured on the afternoon card were the NYS Fair Stakes for 2 and 3 year-old trotters and pacers  Stratton won with sophomores; Saint Misbehavin (2:04:4), For Kevin’s Sake (2:03:3) and Everywhere Fast (2:06.1); and he won 2 year old races with; Second Turn (2:05); Bullvillebingo (2:09) and Cash Not Credit (2:09). Asked if this was his best day in the sulky he replied; “I won six races twice at Monticello (Raceway) but not consecutively. I guess six wins in six drives has to be my best day.” Stratton,a Middletown NY resident currently with 2569 career winners, honed his craft at Monticello Raceway where he was the youngest driver, at age 21, to win the track’s driving title in 2009. For the past five seasons he’s been among the driving leaders at Yonkers Raceway. Stratton is slated to drive in six of the seven races on which will comprise  Historic Track’s Friday, July 3rd program. John Manzi

Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg II took no prisoners and made every pole a winning one en route to a 1:59.3 harness racing victory with King Trut in a Billings trot at Scioto Downs on Friday night, June 26. But in doing so King Trut had to rebuff a strong late challenge from YF Crasher and driver "Marlin the Magician" Smith. "The complexion of the race changed dramatically when Steve Oldford's trotter (Bold Strike) made a break before the start which allowed my horse get away with soft early fractions," Ehrenberg explained. Bold Strike, the 1-2 betting favorite- was riding a two race win streak where he was victorious on the front end both times. However with him a non-factor King Trut and Ehrenberg were able to dictate their own fractions. They passed the quarter in :29 and by the half in 1:00 flat. However Smith had YF Crasher on Ehrenberg's back from the get go and when the two leaders rounded the final turn and headed for paydirt Smith had his trotter neck and neck with King Trut. They came down the stretch like a team hooked -to-pole but YF Crasher couldn't pass the pace-setter and King Trut valiantly fought off his challenger to score a neck decision. In third place three lengths further back was Hometown Jeff driven by Michelle "the Belle" Ruvola. King Trut, a 10 year old Self Possessed gelding owned by Aimee Ranger and trained by Chris Short returned a $19.80 win mutuel. It was King Trut's sixth seasonal triumph and Ehrenberg's 47 career driving victory. With his victory Ehrenberg, now with 24 points, moves into second place on the CKG Billings mid-west region leaderboard behind Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford's 45. In third placewith 17 points is "Lawbook Larry" Farley followed by "Hurricane Hannah" Miller's 16. "Bullet Bob" Davis and Kelly "Sky" Walker are tied for fifth, each with 13 points. John Manzi

Prior to going out for the post parade in the NAADA Trot at Monticello Raceway harness racing driver Joe Pennacchio was queried about his chances with his veteran trotter Sir Winston who was to start from the five-hole. Without much hesitation he said: "If he doesn't bleed he'll win." Well, Sir Winston, a career winner of over $390,000, didn't bleed in the race and was victorious just like Pennacchio predicted. When the starter said go Pennacchio gunned the veteran 9 year old Revenue S gelding to the lead and they had some racing luck when Alan Schwartz's trotter Typical Newyorker, who was pressuring him for the lead, made a break directly in front of the 1-2 betting favorite Casanova Lindy (Hannah Miller) who was hot on Schwartz's tail. Unfortunately Typical Newyorker's misstep made a tough journey for Miller who had hoped for a covered trip behind Schwartz. When that inkling didn't work out Miller found herself hung out and with little chance of gaining the front-end from Pennacchio. "Her horse wasn't coming that strongly so I didn't want to grab into my horse since he might have bled if I did," Pennacchio admitted. So Casanova Lindy went the long mile never seeing the pylons and it wasn't until the deep stretch that he tired and finished just two lengths behind Sir Winston in third place. Nautilus De Vie, who was traveling along in the catbird's seat with Dave Yarock at the controls, used the passing lane to finish second. Pennacchio's Joe P Racing Stable owns the winner who's trained by Dan Altman. Sir Winston paid $26.20 while winning his second seasonal contest. For Pennacchio, a retired business CEO, it was his sixth seasonal driving victory and the 149th of his amateur career. After the race, Pennacchio and Miller headed for Yonkers Raceway where they were scheduled to drive that night in the Billings Series. John Manzi

When is the first horse across the finish line not the race winner? When said horse is disqualified. That's exactly what happened in the eight race yesterday (June 24) at Monticello Raceway. Sultry Susan, a 2-year -old daughter of Art Major-Parlay Hanover was making her first harness racing pari-mutuel start with Jimmy Taggart, Jr. in the bike. The filly was cruising along on the front end until confronted by Bullville Go and driver Bruce Aldrich, Jr., but as they ranged alongside, Sultry Susan bolted to the outside which caused interference with Bullville Go and although Sultry Susan was first under the wire she was disqualified. Not knowing the judges final decision driver Jimmy Taggart, Jr. took Sultry Susan to the winners circle for a photograph and one was taken prior to the filly being placed out of the money for interference.However while in the winners circle Sultry Susan did her "Hi Ho Silver" act; standing on her hind legs.She then returned to all four and exited. It was shortly after that her connections found out that she was being disqualified. by John Manzi for Monticello Raceway

Harness racing's greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series, was in full swing this past weekend with races at three different tracks; Friday at Northfield Park, Saturday at Tioga Downs (both results previously reported) and yesterday, Sunday, June 21, at Buffalo Raceway. As he did at Northfield Park last Friday Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford again drove a winner in a Billings split at Buffalo on Sunday when he reined pacer, Lady Jill to a neck victory over Ms Luck and driver "Hot-Handed Hannah" Miller in a 1:59.4 clocking. "Bullet Bob" Davis was third with Delightful Caitlin. "I had the two hole and when Hannah (Miller) left like a rocket I let her go and settled in behind her and we passed the quarter in 29 seconds flat. Hannah's pacer then went another 29 -second quarter and we were at the half in :58.1. So I just bided my time until we turned for home. When we did I urged my mare and she dug in and we caught Hannah just before the wire to win by a neck." The winner, Lady Jill, owned and trained by John Mungillo, paid $6.00 for win. For Lady Jill, a 7 year-old daughter of Camluck, it was her fourth seasonal triumph and for Oldford, it marked his ninth driving victory thus far this season. In the other Billings split, a trot, after confusion on the first turn, "Lightning Larry" Steenbergen got away to a huge lead with Peaceful Prince and they had eight lengths on the field as they passed the first stanza in :29.4. At that point Davis and Stag's Leap were in second place followed by Hannah Miller with Timer. The order remained the same past the half in :59.4 but when they straightened up the backside Miller moved Timer out to challenge and they were second as the three quarter timer flashed 1:32. From there Peaceful Prince and Timer raced head to head through the stretch but neither could stave off Delightful Caitlin who rallied on the inside to score a 1-1/4 length triumph in a time of 2:03.3. "When Hannah was side by side with Larry I thought my only chance to win was to wait for the passing lane." Davis said. "So I sat and waited and when there was room I aimed my horse down the passing lane and the old veteran he did the rest and hustled to victory." Stag's Leap, a 10 year old son of Muscles Yankee, owned and trained by Dan Mullet, scored his second seasonal victory. He paid $11.20 for win. Next Billings action is slated for Yonkers Raceway on Thursday night, July 25. In the afternoon that day there will be races for amateur drivers in the NAADA Trotting Series and the Catskill Amateur Club's pacing series. John Manzi for the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series

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