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The granddaddy of all amateur racing organizations, the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series which came to fruition nearly four decades ago, has been the inspiration for all the amateur clubs that have since evolved. And there are many, much to the delight of the participants as well of the harness racing secretaries. When there are events at two different venues on the same evening, one can begin to see the positive impact that amateur racing is having on the industry. Earlier tonight ( November 11), a Billings Trot was slated at two different racetracks; one for the Midwest region members at Dayton Raceway in Ohio and another at Pocono Downs for members of the series' eastern region. "Yankee Joe" Lee was victorious with Soul Train in a 1:57.4 clocking at Pocono Downs while Ned "the Insurance agent' Hodkinson won the trot at Dayton Raceway with his own Mutinyonthebounty in a 1:58.4 clocking. At Wilkes Barre, Pa. Joe Lee went to post in an amateur race for the 79th time thus far this year and the New York Yankee's assistant locker room manager notched his 14th seasonal triumph. In his contest Lee got away softly from the pole position then picked up cover behind "Buffalo Bob" Davis with Dizzy Rizzy as the field headed to the halfway point. But as they neared the third stanza Lee wheeled Soul Train three-deep and they marched forward and at the top of the lane they were third. When the tight field headed for paydirt Soul Train began to ease away from his competition and went on to a 1-1/4 length triumph. Second place in that $12,000 contest went to Aventure driven by "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli, Dizzy Rizzy hung on for the show dough. The winner, owned by Blindswitch Racing, Good Friends Stable and Santo Farina , is trained by Al Annunziata. Sent off as the odds-on favorite Soil Train paid $3.00. Meanwhile, at Dayton Raceway in Ohio hot-handed Ned Hodkinson added to his Midwest region point lead when he reined Mutinyonthebounty to a wire to wire triumph. But victory didn't come easy with his trotter being challenged the entire mile by Keep the Cash (Patricia "the Write Stuff" Miller) and Fairground Drama (Rodney "Hot Rod" Bebeck). Despite the challenges throughout, from the parked horses, Hodkinson managed to get away with fairly even fractions. When the bunched field headed for home Mutinyonthebounty hung tough and managed to rebuff Fairground Drama who was on his throat-latch throughout the final quarter. Kelly "Sky" Walker finished third with Stemilt Touch. "He's such a nice horse,"Hodkinson said referring to Mutinyonthebounty."He's so handy and well-mannered and he loves to race." Hodkinson owns and trains the winner who returned a $10.40 win mutuel. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

Often overlooked when it comes to amateur harness racing is that a good many of the participating drivers are also owners and many race their own stock in the amateur races, especially in the granddaddy of all amateur events, the C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series. And furthermore, many of these gentlemen drivers employ professional trainers. Case in point: Longtime owner and sportsman, Dave "The Rave" Offenberg. On Saturday night (Nov. 4) in an east region Billings trot at Yonkers Raceway Offenberg gave his own trotter, Fiji, a picture-perfect drive and they rallied to a 1:59.2 victory over Gonna Fly and driver Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford. "I had the four hole and when the starter let us go I grabbed the lead and then surrendered it to Tony Verruso with Flirting Duesy," Offenberg said via telephone. "We were going a pretty good clip (:28.2) so I was content to sit the pocket as Tony's trotter cut the fractions and then up the backside endured a stiff challenge from Steve Oldford's Gonna Fly who eventually gained command and on the final turn and began to pull away. "When we headed for home I had daylight and Fiji proved to be the strong horse in the stretch and we went on to a length victory over Steve's trotter." Flirtin Duesy held on for the show dough. Fiji, a 4 year old Cantab Hall gelding, is owned by Offenberg's Allister Stables and trained by Eric "the Little Redman" Abbatiello. Although he has driven only 10 times this season tonight's triumph was the first of the year for Offenberg. But since he's been participating in amateur racing he had 51 career driving victories. "To me it's just a whole lot of fun being able to drive my own stock," Offenberg said. "If you can't have fun in harness racing you don't belong doing it." by John Manzi for the Billings Series

YONKERS, NY--Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford and Peter "Enough Talk" Kleinshans each won their respective splits in the NAADA Trots tonight, Friday, November 3rd , at Yonkers Raceway. Oldford scored a come-from-behind harness racing triumph with Starsaboverallerage in 2:00.1 while Kleinhans won with Toss Cartwright in an exciting three-horse photo in a time of 2:00.4. Both races were non-wagering affairs and went to post prior to the first race on the betting card. In his division Oldford heeded trainer Allen Sisco's instructions and kept Starsaboverallerage covered as long as possible. "Going to the three quarters I was tight on Alan Schwartz's helmet and followed him and (his trotter) Linda Marie around the final turn and when I popped the (ear) plugs on Starsaboverallerage he exploded," Oldford explained. "My horse moved forward so quickly that I had to butt shuffle my sulky to clear room and when we had an open road he trotted around Monica Banca (with Brandos Muscle Man) and we went on to an easy length victory." Third place went to Wygant Prince, driven by Paul Minore. It was Oldford's first drive in the NAADA events this year although he has been a steady competitor in the Billings Series this year which , by the way, will be on display tomorrow night here at Yonkers Raceway, And after winning that organization's Travel Series Final earlier this season Oldford has already qualified for the $25,000 Billings Series Gold Cup Final which will also be here at Yonkers Raceway in late November. For Oldford,a former National Amateur Driver of the Year, the victory was his 13th this season and the 129th of his amateur driving career. To determine a winner in the second NAADA division wasn't near as easy as it was in the first split when three trotters, and their determined drivers, made an all- out charge to the finish line just heads apart. When the photo finish camera snapped it was determined that Peter "Enough Talk" Kleinhans and Toss Cartwright out-footed their competition to win by a head. Second place, right there, was Fox Valley Steffen and driver "Lady Jennifer" Lappe while the show dough was garnered by the pace-setter Tough Get Going, driven by "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo. When the gate sprung Faraldo and Tough Get Going took command and after steady early fractions Tough Get Going was still on the lead as the field rounded the final turn and headed for pay-dirt.They were overtaken momentarily by Fox Valley Steffen, but in the deep stretch Kleinhans and his charge trotted to the front and they were the first to the wire. It was the fourth seasonal triumph for Kleinhans and the 55th of his career. by John Manzi for NAADA

GOSHEN, NY - Each year for the past three decades the Auxiliary of Goshen Historic Track has been raising money for the National Historic Landmark. And this year is no exception. The Auxiliary, spearheaded by Judy Green and Eveline White along with a dedicated group of women, annually work tirelessly through various fundraisers to help raise financial support and at season's end they donate the money they raised to Historic Track. "The Auxiliary of Goshen Historic Track had a lovely evening a few nights ago at Limoncello's Restaurant in Goshen(NY) with six members of the Track Board. At that meeting we presented our annual donation to the Board, which this year was $10,000," noted Eveline White," co-president of the Goshen Auxiliary. "This generous donation would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of the Auxiliary members. Judy and I bid a sincere thank you to all!" At the dinner Auxiliary co-president, Judy Green, who is also a longtime member of the Historic Board of Directors, presented a $10,000 check to Steve Jones, president of the Historic Track Board of Directors. Board member Janet Durso joined in the ceremony. "We are always so very appreciative of the Auxiliary's dedicated efforts and we can't thank them enough," Jones said upon receiving the check. "Every year the ladies do an outstanding job and work tirelessly to raise money for Historic Track." by John Manzi for Historic Track

Monticello, NY - Ever since the resurgence of amateur harness racing in the early 1980's Monticello Raceway has been in the forefront of that movement. On the Thursday afternoon card of October 26th three events--two NAADA trots and one trot for Billings drivers were carded and when the races were declared official , Alan Schwartz, Jennifer Lappe and Bobby Krivelin each were victorious in their respective splits. Schwartz won the first NAADA Trot with Linda Marie in 2:00 while Lappe copped the second division with Fox Valley Steffen in a 2:00.3 clocking. Krivelin's triumph came in a Billings Trot when he guided Permanent Joy home first in 1.59. In his NAADA split Schwartz, driving Linda Marie for the first time, sent the 6-year-old Crazed mare to the lead when the wings of the mobile gate folded although it wasn't his pre-race plan. "I thought I'd follow Peter's (Kleinhans) horse (Toss Cartwright-the betting favorite from the rail) and sit in behind him but my mare got away quickly so I sent her to the lead and it was a good thing I did because Toss Cartwright made a break on the first turn," Schwartz related. Schwartz and his trotting mare stepped by the first quarter in a swift :28.4 and with the next stanzas well rated no others took a shot at the leader and she cruised though fractions of :31.1 and :30.3 before kicking in a :29.3 final quarter en route to a 1-1/2-length triumph over Tony Verruso's Flirting Duesy and Bobby Krivelin's Connie Keeper. Owned and trained by Jim Doherty, Jr Linda Marie paid $6.50 for win. The second NAADA split was a six-horse field with two women among the drivers-, and one, Jennifer Lappe, showed she knows her way around the racetrack when she kept her charge, Fox Valley Steffen close to the pace and then maneuvered him on the final turn so she had a clear passage to the wire. "I was content to follow the leaders as Paul (Minore) set steady fractions with Wygant Prince and on the final turn I looked for the short path to the wire and used the passing lane to my advantage. In the deep stretch we trotted by Ladys Big Stormont (Alan Schwartz ) and Wygant Prince (Paul Minore) and we were home free." Ms Lappe owns and trains Fox Valley Steffen who as the longest shot on the board paid $23.20. The final amateur race was leg of America's premier traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Series. In that contest seven trotters lined-up behind the starting gate and when the wings folded Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin and Permanent Joy took charge. After starting from the five hole Krivelin sent his veteran 9-year-old trotter to the front and literally toyed with the opposition and played catch me if you can. But no one could as he and his Trot For Joy gelding cruised through fractions of :29;:58.3 and 1:28.3 before finishing a solid two lengths in front of Tim Lizzie and driver "Yankee Joe" Lee for a two-length victory in 1:59 "He's super on the lead," Krivelin said upon his return to the paddock as he handed the lines to the horse's groom. "He's (Permanent Joy) is a nice old horse and a real pleasure to drive." Owned by the Hero Stables and trained by Krivelin, Permanent Joy won for the fifth time this season and 35th time in his career. He returned a $7.00 mutuel. by John Manzi for NAADA & The Billings Series  

A pair of David's were victorious in short field East Region Billings trots at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday night, October 19. The first split saw David "Poppa" Glasser guide Celebrity Stimulus to a gate to wire triumph in 1:59.4 while Dave "Steady As" Yarock used a similar route in which to get he and his trotter's picture taken in the harness racing winner circle. These were the 9th and 10th amateur contests since the week began on Sunday, Oct.15th and it's no wonder that the scheduled Billings trot at Dayton didn't fill on Saturday. But tonight in the greater New York City area the beat went Yonkers Raceway. In his split Glasser sent his own Celebrity Stimulus to the lead from the three hole and with no threatening challenges Glasser got his charge by the first quarter in a soft :30.1. When the trailers settled in behind the leader Celebrity Stimulus had things his own way and raced on the lead all the way to the wire and finished 1-1/4 length ahead of Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff's War Cry Hall. Third place went to Wygant Prince, driven by "Coach Paul" Minore. The winner, a 7-year-old Cantab Hall gelding is owned by Glasser Racing LLC and trained by Homer Hockstetler. For Glasser it marked his sixth seasonal driving triumph and 38th of his amateur racing career. Not to be outdone, Dave Yarock also sent his trotter, Landonfitz, to the front and they never ensued a challenge even as Yarock stole soft fractions. Landonfitz led three others by the quarter in :31 and half in 1:03 and then picked up the pace and trotted the next furlong in 29.3 with "Yankee Joe" Lee in hot pursuit with Flirting Duezy. After passing the third stanza in 1:32.2 a :29.2 final quarter kept all challengers at bay. Flirting Duezy held on for second while Tony "the Capo" Verruso garnered the show dough with Sam's Honeybee in the 2:02.1. Landonfitz , a 7-year old altered son of Jailhouse Jesse, is owned by Yarock and trained by Shawn Christner. For Yarock it marked his 5th seasonal driving victory and 61st of his career. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

The second leg of the three-track international Friendship competition between the visiting New Zealanders and the hometown NAADA team was contested Tuesday night (Oct. 17) on the betting card at Yonkers Raceway and when the judges hung the official sign the Kiwi’s Cheree Wigg emerged victorious with Big Turn On in a 1:57.1 clocking. Second place went the New Zealand’s Gavin Cook while the USA’s Jennifer Lappe saved face for the NAADA team by finishing third. But the race was dominated by the talented ladies with the Kiwi’s Colleen Nequs finishing fourth giving the visitors three of the first four placings. When the starting judge said “Go” New Zealand’s Mike Maynard charged to lead from the six-hole with 62-1 shot Every Intention and they had command at the first stanza as the timer flashed :28.1. Still in command as they passed the halfway point in :57.2 the early fractions soon began to take toll on the leader. Still second but tiring as they paced by the three quarters in 1:27.1 Maynard and Every Intention watched as Ms Wigg and Big Turn On zoomed by to take command. In the lane Big Turn On was the strong horse and rebuffed a late charges from both Dirty Devil (Gavin Cook) and Lucky Man (Jennifer Lappe) to score a solid one length triumph .“It was great,” Cheree Wigg said via telephone about her driving victory tonight at Yonkers. “I got away OK from the mobile in third place, followed the leaders and then popped out at the three quarters and skipped away on the turn. My horse was strong and held off the others to win it.” The winner, a six year-old altered son of Mr. Big, is owned by Joseph Di Francesco and trained by Bruno Nicolo. He paid $12.20 for win and set up a $75.50 all-Kiwi exacta. The final leg of the USA-New Zealand Friendship Competition will be contested tomorrow (Wednesday) at Monticello Raceway where two events are slated as races three and six on the 10-card. by John Manzi for NAADA

CAMPBELLEVILLE, ONT -- It was the last day of the lengthy harness racing race meet at Mohawk Racetrack and among the 10 races offered on the Monday, Oct 16th card were two events for Billings amateur drivers. And once again they were well received. "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello was victorious in the first trot with Taurus du Parc in 2:00 while the second went to Lets Leavem, driven by Shane "The Freelton Flash" Arsenault in a 1:57 clocking. Both winners were mostly dismissed by the betting public. In his contest Zuccarello gunned his trotter to the lead from the six-hole and they had command as they passed the first stanza in :28.4. with Dave "Modern Legend" Drew in hot pursuit with Swan For Dee. The two leaders raced one-two until the top of the stretch when they were joined by The Power Of Many and driver David "Poppa Glasser When the field headed for home a real horse race ensued as the three aforementioned trotters raced side by side all the way to the wire with 7-1 shot Taurus du Parc finishing a head in front of Swan For Dee. A head farther back in third place was The Power Of Many. For Zuccarello it marked his first winning drive of the 2017 season and the 12th of his amateur driving career. Lets Leavem is owned by Fellows, Knechtel, and Szabo of Bradford, Ont. and trained by Robert Fellows , He returned a $17.80 win mutuel. Pay-offs to those with winning tickets were even bigger in the second Billings split when Shane Arsenault swept the field around the final turn with Lets Leavem and then rallied to an easy 2-1/2 length triumph over Justasmalltowngirl in rein to Daniel "In The Lion's Den" St Pierre. Third place went to Bobby "I'm Back" Ciavardini. Disregarded by the betting public Lets Leavem paid $33.10; $11.10 and $6.40 across the board. The veteran Angus Hall gelding is owned by Sarah Town and trained by Arsenault. It was the second winning drive of the season for Arsenault and 129th of his career, as well as his 654th victory as a trainer. Next Billings action will be at Yonkers Raceway on October 19th. by John Manzi for the Billings Amateur Series

Harness racing's greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series, employed plenty of action on Sunday, October 15 when the granddaddy of all amateur racing organizations had contests at two different racetracks, one in the USA at Northfield Park in greater Cleveland, Ohio and the other in Canada at Flamboro Downs in Dundas, Ont. "Tiny Tim" Miller won the Midwest region Northfield trot with Song In My Heart while "Gentle Ben" Hollingsworth copped the Canadian event- a pace-behind with Michelle's Deuce over Flamboro's double oval. In his event Miller took no prisoners and sent his trotter down the road from the four-hole and made every pole a winning one en route to a solid 1-1/2 length triumph over Kelly "Sky" Walker's Stemilt Touch. Patricia "the Write Stuff" Miller took home the show dough with 45-1 shot, Keep The Cash. The winner, owned by Bert Hershberger and trained by JD Wengerd, was sent off the 6-5 favorite and returned a $4.40 win mutuel. For hot-handed Miller it was his fifth driving victory in just 10 seasonal starts. In the Canadian Billings pace later Sunday evening "Gentle Ben" had the prohibitive favorite Michelle's Deuce and drove like one is supposed to when deemed the best in the filed and rushed the 8-year-old Armbro Duece mare to the lead and remained unchallenged throughout coasting to an easy 1:59.1 triumph to notch the mare's 6th seasonal victory. The battle for second money saw Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford and No Teasing Me out-foot Thrift Shop with David "Poppa" Glasser to the wire to garner the place dough. Owned by the LINK Stable and trained by Corey Johnson, Michelle's Deuce paid $3.50 for win. It was Hollingsworth's first seasonal driving victory(from just 4 starts) and 21st of his limited career. Billings action continues on Monday night with two trots on the card at Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville, Ont. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

Two short fields went to post in the NAADA Trots at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday, Oct. 12 before the betting car got underway and when the dust settled "Hurricane Hannah" Miller and "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo each emerged victorious in their respective harness racing splits. Miller won her division with Pine Tab in 2:03.2 while Faraldo scored with Tough Get Going in 2:01.2. Despite his outstanding and time-consuming efforts in producing all aspects of the International Trot slated for Saturday (Oct. 14) Faraldo found time to sit behind a spirted steed in his own NAADA Trotting Series. "Actually this race was scheduled for Wednesday but it was held over until tonight (Thursday) which was the night of the boat ride for our International Trot guests which caused a minor dilemma for me," Faraldo said after his victory. "I really wanted to go on the boat ride but I knew I had a good shot to win the NAADA race tonight." According to Faraldo he drove Tough Get Going at Monticello Raceway last week and a mishap behind the starting gate caused him to finish back. "I knew he (Tough Get Going) had a great chance to win tonight and I wanted to be in the driver's seat even though I had to pass on the International Trot boat ride around Manhattan Isle with all my friends," Faraldo said. "You know, I don't have that many live mounts when I drive and I didn't want to pass up this one." And Faraldo ,the president of NAADA, assumption was correct and he gunned his charge to the front and took no prisoners while making every pole a winning one. Second place went to Fox Valley Steffen driven by Jennifer Lappe. Billings president Tony Verruso finished third with Sam's Honeybee. Tough Get Going is a 4 year old Kadabra gelding owned by D'Elegance Stable, Richard Banca and Carmine Iannacone and trained by Banca. The other division saw Hannah Miller send Pine Tab to the lead and with the short field they didn't encounter any challenges as the two time National Amateur Driver of the Year got her trotter to the halfway point in a soft 1:03.2 Still Pine Tab needed a :59.4 second half to hold off Bobby Krivelin's Permanent Joy for ahead victory. Third place went to SJ Better Days in rein to Bob Hechkoff. It was Ms Miller's 22nd winning drive thus far this year and her 95th in just 322 career trips to post. Pine Tab is an 8-year-old Cantab Hall gelding owed by the JL Benson Stable and trained by Nick Surick Both NAADA races were non-wagering events. by John Manzi for NAADA

Kew Gardens, NY -A rematch with the invading New Zealanders is set to begin on Friday Oct. 13th when a contingent of Kiwi's arrive on American soil Friday, Oct. 13th to begin an amateur harness racing driving competition at three different race tracks in New York State. Races are slated at Yonkers Raceway, Saratoga Raceway and Monticello Raceway. "Late last fall a contingent of NAADA members traveled to New Zealand for an international amateur driving contest there and now we have the pleasure of reciprocating," noted Joe Faraldo president of NAADA. "We didn't fare very well Down Under but it didn't really matter What did was sharing the comradery and friendships fostered by amateur racing." The Kiwi's are coming with a powerful foursome consisting of Gavin Cook, Mike Maynard, Cheree Wigg and Coleen Negus and they will drive at all three venues. However, the NAADA Team members will change at each participating race track. Scheduled to drive at Saratoga on Monday, Oct. 16 are Tony Cuiffetelli, Bob Davis, Alan Schwartz and Gerry Fielding. At Yonkers on Tues. (Oct 17) Joe Lee, Joe Faraldo, Jennifer Lappe and Peter Kleinhans will represent NAADA. And at the final leg at Monticello on Wednesday (Oct 18), Alan Schwartz, Gerry Fielding, Monica Banca and Joe Faraldo will represent the Americans. Nightly dinners at outstanding restaurants along the journey will be supplied by the hosting North American Amateur Drivers Association(NAADA). Also on Saturday Oct 14th the visiting Kiwi's will dine at Yonkers Raceway while they enjoy the $1,000,000 International Trot and the rich finals of the New York Sire Stakes program. Enclosed below is the competition itinerary. New Zealand/USA Friendship Competition October 13th - 19th 2017 Friday Oct 13th...... Day of Rest at the Bentley Hotel - 62nd Street,, NYC Meet at 7:00 PM for dinner at Zero Otto Nove West 21st Street, NYC Saturday Oct 14th pick-up from Hotel at 10:30 AM to arrive at Yonkers Raceway to enjoy The International Trot and finals of the NY Sire Stakes... Dine at the track...Back to hotel.. Sunday Oct 15th. Pick up -8:30 AM to compete at Saratoga Raceway.. Enjoy the town of Saratoga. Dinner at Lonfellows Union Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY Monday Oct 16th - FREE DAY to explore New York City... Meet our host Peter Kleinhans for dinner at 7 PM at The Redeye Grill 7th Ave, New York, NY Tuesday Oct 17th - Pick up at 10 AM.. to visit and have a guided tour of the 9/11 Memorial Museum in Manhattan. Transport to Yonkers Raceway for 2nd leg of competition. Dinner at Tra Di Noi and back to Hotel. Wednesday Oct 18th. Pick up at 10 AM for transport to Monticello Raceway for final leg of competition. Farewell dinner at the River Palm, Mahwah NJ in the evening. Thursday, Oct 19--Kiwis return home by John Manzi for NAADA  

Monticello,NY- On Sunday, October 8, the longest running show in the Catskills, WVOS-FM's "The Bop Shop" hosted by John Manzi, will celebrate its 34th Anniversary. The four-hour radio show is heard on Sunday nights from 8pm until mid-night. The unique program which features music--mostly vocal group harmony records-- from the late 40's, 50's and early 60's is available on WVOS radio at 95.9FM and on Time Warner Cable channel 1962 in southeast New York. And the show can be heard world-wide on the internet at "We have a fun program and we play enjoyable songs from small labels that never really go much airplay and since we've been on the internet we've been getting calls from listeners in Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, the greater New York area, including Long Island and all over the East Coast; even from Alaska," Manzi relates. "We go back to the roots of rock n roll and rhythm n blues playing great songs from what is now known as the doo wop era. Sure we play chart records but mostly we feature vocal group harmony records but we also play some rock-a-billy and blues records, too." Currently with features like "the name game", "name that tune", "same thing only different", battle of the (record's) B-sides", "rate a record", and "common denominator", Manzi tries to keep his audience involved in the show. Over the years Manzi has had live in-studio a cappella from vocal ensembles like Larry Chance and the Earls, Guy Villari & the Regents; The Shallows; the Cliftonaires; Mystique; the Creations, the Arrogants, the Excellents; Sentimental Journey; and BQE, to mention a few; and recently, Little Isadore and the Inquisitors. Every Sunday Manzi is joined by his sidekicks, Cindy "G" and Steve "the Eggman" Ristano. But it is not unusual that visitors, knowledgeable in doo wops, join Manzi in the studio from time to time. Before his passing earlier this year Joe "Doo Wop" Greco had been with Manzi since the beginning of the show which started in early October 1983. Besides playing the music, Manzi informs the listeners of the background of the songs; talks about the personnel and where they originated from, as well as where songs placed on the Billboard charts. Manzi recently retired from Monticello Raceway -after 41 years- where he had been the longtime director of publicity and public relations. He has always been a fancier of oldies music and his personal collection of 45RPM records exceeds 50,000; and his albums number more than 3000. Though it's rare in today's world he still plays his 45RPM records over the airwaves. For the first 25 years the Bop Shop was heard on WSUL-98.3FM but eight years ago Watermark Communications, which owned both WSUL and WVOS, switched the program to WVOS-FM when that station began an "oldies" format. Recently, both WSUL and WVOS have been purchased by Bold Gold Media. When Manzi took over the Sunday night oldies show at WSUL radio in October 1983 little did he fathom that 34 years later he'd still be at it. "The beautiful part of this music is that even though the records are 50 years old, and most older, I'm always coming across vocal group harmony songs that I never heard before," Manzi said. "It's like listening to new music." "I really look forward to Sunday nights. I love the music and I love our audience." John Manzi

Monticello, NY -- It was bombs away in the NAADA trots at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon (Sept. 28) when both harness racing winners, each starting from the seven-hole, sparked exorbitant payoffs. In the first division Tony Verruso scored a 2:02.3 triumph with Sam's Honeybee and returned a $76.50 mutuel while in the second split Paul Minore guided his old warhorse Wygant Prince to a 1:59.3 victory which really lite up the toteboard when the veteran trotter paid $130.50-$27.40 and $14.20 across the board. When the gate sprung in their split, which was arguably the better field of the two, Minore sent Wygant Prince away swiftly and they gained command midway around the first turn and then led the field by the first quarter in :28.3. Once on top Wygant Prince marched steadily forward unchallenged by the half in :59. and past the third stanza in 1:29 before any realistic challenge developed. And when did it came from Tony Ciuffetelli with favored Tropical Storm BI. But it was too late as Minore's trotter crossed the finish line like an even money favorite. Third place went to Brandos Music Man, driven by Monica Banca. "I don't always get a chance to ask him to leave because of various circumstances but today I took a shot and it proved to be fruitful,"Minore, a retired high school track coach, said referring to Wygant Prince. "He's been racing real good lately so I thought I'd take a chance and seek the front. It turned out to be a winning move." Minore owns the winner, a 10-.year old SJ's Photo gelding, who with this victory raised his lifetime earnings to over $365,000. He's trained by Taylor Gower. The other split was a 'dogfight' all the way to the wire as Tony Verruso's Sam's Honeybee showed tremendous grit in the deep stretch. After getting away sixth some nine lengths off the leader Verruso erased three of those lengths as Sam's Honeybee passed the halfway point, but still in sixth place. With a big a sweeping move up the backside Sam's Honeybee had on her trotting shoes and when they came off the final turn they were second on the far outside and then took command and braced for the challenge which came from Cassa's Image (Jennifer Lappe) With both drivers all-out urging their horses in the deep stretch Sam's Honeybee prevailed by a head. Joe Lee and Woody were right there but had to settle for the show dough. "My mare was really game in the stretch and we battled all comers right to the wire," Verruso said of Sam's Honeybee. "She's always tough in the lane and she showed it today." Sam's Honeybee, dismissed by the wagering public paid, $76.50-$18.80 and $6.10 across the board. She's owned by Verruso and trained by Carl Gillespie. By John Manzi for NAADA

DELAWARE, OHIO, Sept. 21--The Hall of Fame Amateur Harness Racing Series began last winter in Florida at Pompano Park with future legs contested at Historic Track and the Meadowlands and culminated in the series finale at Delaware, Ohio on Jug Day, September 21. That well contested final saw Ned Hodkinson and his veteran trotter Mutinyonthebounty rally in the final strides to notch a stunning victory in a time of 1:58.4. Previous series winners included Steve Oldford, Dein Spriggs and Hannah Miller. On Thursday at the home of the Little Brown Jug Ned Hodkinson was content to allow Dein Spriggs to cut the fractions with Rompaway Beau. Hodkinson stalked the leader throughout and overtook him at the top of the stretch and then held off late rushes by both Gregg Keidel's Tinder and Kween Mightus, driven by Peter Gerry. They finished second and third respectively. Owned and also trained by Hodkinson, Mutinyonthebounty was sent off at odds of over 8-1 and returned $18.80 to all his supporters. The HOF Amateur Series is the brainchild of both Museum Trustee, Steve Oldford and Dein Spriggs, who by the way is currently running for USTA Director from District Six. Says Spriggs, "This amateur series was, and is intended, to raise funds for the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY as well as increasing membership to the museum." The starting fees collected from the participating amateur drivers along with matching funds totaled more than $10,000 this season with hopes that number will increase precipitously in future seasons. "This year, our first, we raised over $10,000 for the Museum and Hall of Fame and we gained members for the Harness Racing Museum," said Steve Oldford. According to Oldford the 2018 Hall of Fame Amateur Series will commence at Lexington Kentucky's Red Mile this coming Thursday,October 5th. "We'll be renaming the track's Gentleman's Amateur Trot to now be known as the Hall of Fame Amateur Drivers Series Trot,with all starting fees and other ancillary levies to be donated to the Harness Racing Museum," Oldford added. The entire dates for the 2018 HOF Amateur Series will be forthcoming. By John Manzi  

Monica Banca doesn't drive often but when she does she's a force to be reckoned with. Today, (Thurs. Sept 21) in a division of the NAADA Trotting Series at Monticello Raceway Ms. Banca went to post for the 13th time this season and logged her seventh harness racing seasonal driving victory when she scored a 1:59.4 triumph with Brandos Muscle Man. After settling in the three hole after the wings of the mobile gate folded Banca, was content to follow the leaders until Joe Lee, who was traveling along near the back of the pack moved Tim Lizzi off the pylons as the field headed to the halfway point. That challenge precipitated a move from Banca who was moved her trotter out to challenge the pacesetter Ladys Big Stormont (Alan Schwartz). When they rounded the clubhouse turn for the final time Brandos Muscle Man had command and braced for Wygant Prince and driver Paul Minore who moved out from behind Schwartz's trotter and ranged alongside Brandos Muscle Man. as they headed for the three quarters. They raced one-two around the final turn and in the lane it appeared Wygant Prince would trot by the leader but that was not to happen as Brandos Muscle Man Dug in and rebuffed Wygant Prince to score a neck victory. Three lengths farther back was Tim Lizzie in third place. "My horse raced real good last week when we finished second beaten by just a head," Banca said after the race "Today I moved earlier than I wanted to so I wouldn't get locked in, but Brandos was strong and trotted to the lead. When we headed for home Wygant Prince began gaining ground but my horse dug in and wouldn't let him pass." Banca co-owns the Muscles Yankee 9-year old gelding with the Rock and Roll Stable. Trained by Rick Dane, Jr. Bandos Muscle Man paid $7.50. In the other NAADA split Dave Yarock used the front-end route for a trip to the winners circle with Mr Ridgetaker. After starting from the two-hole Yarock got away with a fairly soft :29.2 first quarter and had his sights set on racing on the front-end which could easily be determined when Alan Schwartz and Grand Vision).came alongside near the quarter pole and he kept them on the limb They raced one-two to the halfway point with the order remaining the same as they trotted by the three quarters in 1:30.3. When the field came off the final turn Mr Ridgetaker had three lengths on field and cruised home an easy winner "He raced good last week when we finished fourth (by length and a half) but today he was at the top of his game,"Yarock said referring to Mr Ridgetaker. "We had a better post this week and he was strong the whole mile." Sam's Honeybee with Tony Verruso aboard, snuck up the passing lane late to garner second money while Jennifer Lappe finished third with Fox Valley Steffen. Mr Ridgetaker, also owned by Yarock, is trained by Dawn Devaux. He returned a $10.20 mutuel. John Manzi

She's only been harness racing full time for the past four years but one thing is for sure about "Hurricane Hannah" Miller and that is she doesn't need to take her racetrack around with her because everywhere she goes-and even in Europe, she wins. On Sunday afternoon, September 17 the talented miss guided Pine Tab to an easy 1:59.4 victory over seven others in a Billings Trot at the home of the Little Brown Jug, Delaware, Ohio. Sent off as the 7-5 favorite Hannah sent Pine Tab to the lead and they had command on the first turn as her competitors filed in along the pylons behind her which allowed the talented miss to get away with a soft :30 first quarter. Bob "Lumberman" Troyer and Oneeyedmomma were the first to move followed closely by Kelly "Sky" Walker and Rush N Supreme as the field headed to the halfway point. However, Ms Miller got them by that stanza still a length in front as the timer flashed 1:01. When Pine Tab straightened in the backstretch he had company in the presence of Oneeyedmomma. But that challenge faded as Miller's charge rounded the final turn. And when they headed for home Pine Tab opened daylight on the field as Gregg "Fast Greggy" Keidel and Kween Mightus took over second place. In the deep stretch it was all Pine Tab who went on to a three-length 1:59.4 victory over Keidel's trotter. Rush N Supreme out-footed Oneeyedmomma to garner the show dough. Owned by the JL Benson Stable and trained by Nick Surick Pine Tab paid $4.40 for win . And if that wasn't enough "Hurricane Hannah" won the Tim Fouts Memorial Driving Championship with odds-on favorite Banging The Drum in a swift 1:57.1 a little later on the Sunday card. It was her 21st amateur victory thus far this year. Ned Hodkinson's Badger Quinn finished second with third place going to Picasso Forever handled by Kelly Walker. Banging The Drum is owned by Robert Brooks and trained by Jimmy Lupton. He paid $3.40 for win. A very happy Hannah Miller was contacted after her victory in the Fouts Memorial and she said. "This was my second time driving here at Delaware and I couldn't be any more happy with how the day went! "Pine Tab was able to leave out of the gate well here and get the lead pretty easy and he was in hand at the wire. That was my first win here at the Delaware County Fair and I had another win in the Tim Fouts Memorial later on the card. I'll drive here again on Thursday." An annual event, the Fouts Memorial pits drivers---one from each--who are members of the industry's various amateur clubs By John Manzi for the Billings Series

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