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"Marvelous Marvin" Raber emerged victorious at Northfield Park with John Schlabach's good trotting mare, Catching Katie winning a Midwest Region Billings Trot there on Saturday evening, July 26 in a time of 2:00.3. Sent off as the even money favorite from the six-hole in the eight- horse field Raber left softly and ducked in the three hole as the field headed to the quarter which was trotted :29.3 . Second at the half in 1:00.3 when the field headed up the backside Raber moved his mare out to challenge Nordic Venture, and Gary "Soups" Campbell who was cutting the fractions, and by the third stanza Catching Katie had command and she trotted home an easy two-length winner for Raber. Larry "Overhand Serve" Steenbergen, who shadowed Raber's backside move, ended up overtaking Nordic Venture to finish second and "Trader Bud" Hatfield picked up the show dough with Really Really Sweet. Nordic Venture finished fourth. With her victory Catching Katie notched her fifth seasonal triumph and increased her yearly bankroll to over $23,000. She paid an even $4.00 for win. "Marvelous Marvin" hasn't competed earnestly in amateur races until 2008 but in recent years he's become a force to be reckoned with in the Billings Midwest Region. For Raber it was his third seasonal triumph and 25th of his amateur driving career The Billings trot at Northfield Park was the last prior to the Midwest Region #1 Series Final which will be contested at The Meadows on Friday, August 8. Despite finishing back in the Northfield Park Billings trot on Saturday, Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford still copped the points championship during the recently completed series and with that he earned berth in the Gold Cup Final on November 23rd at Harrah's Chester. However, set to join Oldford in the Midwest Region #1 Series Final on August 8 are the top point earners in the Midwest region. Included are Raber, Steenbergen, Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg II, "Soups" Campbell, Kelly "Sky" Walker, Ned "Nationwide" Hodkinson, "Lawbook Larry" Farley, and Victor "Blue White and " Gray. Nevertheless, should any of the aforementioned drivers fail to enter the finale those next highest in points can, and should, do so. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

"Coach Paul" Minore is a retired Phys. Ed. Teacher and track coach whose most famous pupil was the great track and field star and Olympic Gold Medalist, Carl Lewis. He is also an owner of Standardbreds and an amateur driver and last night (July 24) at Yonkers Raceway he won the $12,000 C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series Final #1 with his Wygant Prince in a time of 1:59.2. Minore has been driving more frequently of late and Wygant Price's triumph was his fifth this season and the 78th of his amateur driving career which began in 1994. Minore, who handles a horse as good as any amateur driver, sat a two-hole trip behind the pace-setter Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff with Get Packin and Minore rallied his trotter in the final strides to eek-out a nose victory. "My horse likes a trip and we got one tonight," Minore said after his victory. "Bob and I finished right together and it was so close at the wire that the starter had to tell us who won." Third place in that mile went to Nearly Uncle driven by "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli. Minore occasionally drives against professionals and has been racing his trotter at the Meadowlands on Friday nights. "It's a lot tougher there especially against the pros," Minore said and then added, "My horse loves amateur racing. It's a better class for him and he fits it well." With his victory in the Billings Final #1 Minore has earned a berth in the Gold Cup Championship which will be contested at Harrah's Chester on Sunday, November 23. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

When Diamond Tiara scored her 17th victory at Monticello Raceway on Tuesday afternoon, July 22nd that total continues to lead all others in races won this year in North America. And quietly, without much fanfare, Shortest Distance's 15th seasonal victory,,also on the Tuesday card, positions her a clear second on the North America leaderboard in races won in 2014. "One of our highlights last year was keeping track of Tracys Song as she kept piling up wins and now this year we have two pacers who are one-two in races won on the continent," noted Eric Warner the tracks senior director of racing. "And again this year it's the girls (mares) making all the news." Warner's comments are quite accurate where Diamond Tiara is concerned. The 7 year old daughter of McArdle-A Diamond In June has headlined many a story coming from the Mighty M this year. She was claimed from Philip Schultz for $9,000 by on June 16 by Al Annunziata and the following week Schultz claimed her back for the same price. But Schultz didn't have her long because Annunziata claimed her back again for $9,000 on June 30. During that three week stretch Diamond Tiara won twice and finished second when claimed on June 16. After throwing a clunker in her race on July 8 where she was beaten 24 lengths and finished last, Annunziata's Diamond Tiara bounced back on Tuesday (July 22) and wired the field in a season's equaling 1:55.2. Asked what happened to Diamond Tiara when she was beaten so badly on July 8, Annunziata explained: "Even though we stepped her up in class I knew there was something wrong with her.We had her scoped and found out she was full of mucus which tremendously hampered her breathing. I had the vet(veterinarian) work on her and today she was her old self and wired the field like she also did." Bruce Aldrich Jr. was at the lines for Annunziata and he sent Diamond Tiara to the front and she paced through fractions of :28.1, 58.1; 1:27.2 being shadowed closely by Mike Merton with Get Your Own. They were on Aldrich's back as the field headed for home but when Aldrich asked for more, Diamond Tiara kicked in and opened up daylight and paced a :28 final stanza en route to a three length triumph in 1:55.2. "She's (Diamond Tiara) got her issues," Aldrich admitted, "but when she gets to the top of the stretch on the lead she fights hard to win. And, as you have seen this year, she usually does (win)." In 24 seasonal starts Diamond Tiara has won 17 times and has three second and three thirds and has bankrolled $29, 311. Before Diamond Tiara was claimed from Annuniziata by Philip Schultz, Mike Watson had been her trainer. On July 7, with Watson's guidance, Schultz took Shortest Distance from Annunziata for $6,000 in a claiming race.. While racing for Annunziata, Shortest Distance had 14 wins in 23 starts and her first start for Watson and Schultz she finished fourth in a 1:56.4 mile with a $9,000 claiming tag. But yesterday (July22) Shortest Distance took home all the money racing with a $6,000 claiming price. Watson's driver of choice, Jimmy Taggart, Jr. was at the lines and they wired the field and with a gritty :28 last quarter held off hold Midnight Mass and Zeke Parker by a head in a time of 1:56.3. By the way, Taggart drove Diamond Tiara to 15 of her victories when she was in Watson's barn. On Tuesday both Diamond Tiara ($5.40) and Shortest Distance ($3.40) were betting favorites in their races. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

After making one of the best showings ever by an American a few weeks ago in the World Cup of Amateur Racing in Finland where he won two of the nine events in the competition, Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford returned to the good ole USA and emerged victorious in a Billings trot at the Fowlerville, Michigan Fair on Monday, July 21 On that beautiful summer afternoon at the Wolverine State's award winning Fowlerville Fair Oldford catch-drove trainer June Du Russel's Rub A Dud to a neck victory over What Do You Want and driver Larry "Overhand Serve" Steenbergen in a time of 2:05.1. The show money went to "Lawbook Larry" Farley with his own Rewrite The Rules. "I had the three-hole and sent my trotter to the lead and we opened up daylight," Oldford said. " We had six or seven lengths all the way until the stretch where Larry (Steenbergen) came charging but we held him off to win it," Oldford said. Oldford couldn't say enough good things about trainer June Du Russel. "I'd really like to thank trainer June Du Russel for her continued her support of amateur racing. She sent out two contenders today in the only leg of Billings action to be raced in Michigan this year. Her second entry, in his first start under June's watch, was the forth place finisher, Bold Strike, with new Billings member Jerry Mihelich aboard. "June has supplied Billings Gold Cup winner Rush N Supreme, Silver Cup winner Starry Night, along with series winners Howmuchubench, Howmacs Amigo, and Ace Hanover . June continues to train and race from her Millington, Michigan farm despite the adverse racing conditions in Michigan." On Thursday the east region of the CKG Billings harness Driving Series will have a semi-final at Yonkers Raceway while on Saturday there will be Billings action in the Midwest region at Northfield Park. And on August 1 at the Meadowlands the annual Hambletonian Amateur Trot is slated. byJohn Manzi, for the CKG Billings Series

Freedomformysoul established a new Monticello Raceway track record for freshmen pacing colts when Jimmy Morrill, Jr. drove the son of If I Can Dream to a 1:55.2 triumph in their division of the $110,000 NY Sire Stakes. The victory erased the former standard of 1:55.3 set by Share The Delight during 2007. Coming into the race off a stunning 1:53.3 track record last week at Saratoga Raceway Freedomformysoul was understandably the overwhelming betting favorite and Morrill used the front-end route for an easy victory over Rockntouch and driver Yannick Gingras. After getting looped on the first turn by Mikado Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald) Morrill wheeled his colt back to the lead and they passed the first stanza in a stiff :28.0 and then paced the second quarter in :28.2 reaching the halfway point in :56.2. From there it was catch me if you can, and no one could. "I got to the half faster than I wanted to, so I didn't even pull the (ear) plugs." Morrill admitted after the race. "He's one of the best 2 year olds I've ever driven. He's the real deal." Owned by the Freedomformysoul Stable and trained by Nancy Johansson the son of If I Ca Dream paid $2.30 for win. Southwind Masimo won a division of the NYSS in 1:55.4 for Patrick Lachance. That final time was abetted by speed duel for the lead between We Think Alike (Ray Schnittker) and Old Man Cleary (Yannick Gingras) with early fractions of :27.1, :56.2. Lachance had Southwind Masimo out after the half and they swept to the front up the backside and were all by themselves at the wire some 11-lengths ahead of K Ryan Blue Chip and driver Joe Pavia, Jr. "They were playing hardball up front which worked out good for me," Lachance said in the winners circle when he stopped for a photograph. Southwind Masimo is owned in Canada by Hudson Standardbred Stable and Conrad Leber and trained by Lachance. The winner paid $27.60 for win. In yet another NYSS split Americanprimetime, sent off at odds of over 78-1, lit up the tote board and paid $161.50 for win when Tyler Buter drove him to victory in a time of 1:57. They rallied from five lengths back at the top of the lane to collar Ultimate G, driven by Jason Bartlett. Americanprime time is owned by the Rock N Roll Stable and trained by Rick Dane, Jr. Jason Bartlett won a pair of $110,000 NYSS splits. His first was with Twin B Stingray in 1:56.4 pacing a :28- second final stanza en route to victory. And they needed every bit of that to hold-off Bet You and driver Yannick Gingras by a head. Twin B Stingray is owned by J & T Silva Racing Stable and C C Stables and trained by Aaron Lambert. He paid $20.20 for win Bartlett's other sire stakes victory came with My Spirit Soars in1:57.2 for owner Daniel Van Wart. After putting My Spirit Soars on the lead, Corey Braden made a quarter pole move with odds-on favorite JD He's Da Bomb and Bartlett let them take command before the half. From there Bartlett bided his time and in the lane rallied My Spirit Soars to a head victory over Berkley and Scott Zeron. "I didn't want to go with him (Corey Braden) when he came at me near the half so I let him go. If I didn't my colt would probably not have gotten a check (piece of the purse)," Bartlett admitted. Trained by Tom Fanning, My Spirit Soars paid $5.90 for win. Excelsior Series winners and their drivers included: Can't It Be Me (2:00-Bruce Aldrich, Jr.); Southwind Rex (1:58.4-Jeff Gregory); Spiritintheclouds (2:00.3-Mickey McGivern); Artistic Major (1:59.2-Brent Holland) and Hayden's Little Man (1:59.3- Phil Fluet) by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

A racing oddity will occur on Friday night, July 25 at Yonkers Raceway when three full brothers race there that evening. In the first $6,700 Excelsior Stakes, going as race number one prior to the betting card getting underway, BJ Anthony will be making his first start for a purse. Then, in the $44,000 Open Trot, race eight on the betting card, the $146,000 seasonal winner Tober will again take on the best trotters on the grounds and will likely be the favorite off a 1:54.2 victory against similar company last week. In race nine, a $20,000 conditioned trot, Gaelic And Garlic, a lifetime winner of almos$270,000 with a 1:55.2 victory this year, will start from post one. All three horses are by Credit Winner and out of La Tapitia by Cumin. All were bred by Bernie White of Pine Bush, NY and raised on his Tamarack Manor Farm in the hamlet. White, a longtime owner of Standardbreds was also the president of the Board of Directors of Historic track for over 12 years. "It's not often that anyone sees two full brothers racing on one program but three, that's nearly unheard of," White said. White and Kristie Leigh Farm own BJ Anthony and Gaelic And Garlic while Tober, a career winner thus far of $514,000, is owned by Kristie Leigh Farm and Joe Betro. All three horses are trained by Eddie Hart on Tony Statuto's Kristie Leigh Training Farm in Goshen NY and all will be driven by Jason Bartlett. by John Manzi, for Historic Track

It'll be business as usual on Monday, July 21 when Monticello Raceway's simulcast signals will again be available to all outlets. The Monday race card will feature the outstanding 2 year old pacing colts and geldings in the New York Sire Stakes who'll compete in five divisions for over $110,000 in purse money. The strong undercard will offer over $50,000 in purses in the five Excelsior Stakes, also for freshmen pacing colts and geldings. In all, the Monday, July 21 program will offer 13 races with first post slated at 12:50pm. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway  

It'll be a great afternoon of action on Monday, July 21 when Monticello Raceway features New York-bred 2 year old pacing colts and geldings. There will be five divisions of the $110,000 New York Sire Stakes which will be joined by five splits of freshmen colt pacers in the Excelsior Series who'll compete for total purses in excess of $50,000. The day will commence with arguably the best $21,800 NYSS division on the 13 race program when two speedy freshmen, Freedomformysoul and Rockntouch, clash in the first race on the card. Both were NYSS winners at Saratoga Raceway on July 12, and both with eye-opening performances. Freedomformysoul, a son of If I Can Dream-Hello Grin, in only his second lifetime start made a quarter pole move to the front and then bristled to a stunning 1:53.3 victory for driver Jimmy Morrill, Jr. He'll start from the pole position again with Morrill in the bike. In his first lifetime start Rockntouch, sailed wire to wire for a splendid 1:55 triumph also with Morrill at the controls. However, on Monday Yannick Gingras will be in the pilot's seat when this son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Touch Of Bogart leaves from the two-hole Freedomformysoul is trained by Nancy Johansson for the Freedomformysoul Stable while Monte Gelrod conditions Rockntouch for Freddy Monteleone. In another NYSS division, race four on the card, the undefeated Oneisalonelynumber and Aimo Hanover will lock horns. Both pacers won their respective NYSS divisions at Saratoga in identical times of 1:57.3 Oneisaloneynumber, an altered son of Bettor's Delight-No One Is Alone is trained by Casie Coleman for the West Wins Stable and Adriano Sorella while Aimo Hanover, an Artiscape colt out of Allamerican Celeb, is owned by the Doug Ackerman Stable and trained by D.R. Ackerman. Jimmy Morrill, Jr. will drive the former while Jeff Gregory will handle the latter. In a third split, race eight, K Ryan Bluechip gets the nod as the early line favorite. He was a close second to Freedomformysoul at Saratoga officially timed in 1:54.1. The son of Art Major-Fool That I Am won a baby race at Pocono Downs in 1:54.2 on June 20. Joe Pavia, Jr. trains and drives K Ryan Bluechip for Steve Held, Joe Barbera, the AGC Stable, and Harbor Point Hospitality. They will leave from post four on Monday afternoon. Then fourth split, race 10, will feature K-Rock, a Rock N Roll Heaven-Sunduel A colt who was 1:55.1 NYSS winner at Saratoga for Bruce Aldrich, Jr. From the powerful Ron Burke Stable K-rock will be driven by Yannick Gingras when they start from post three. JD He's Da Bomb, who earlier this season won two baby races at Tioga Downs- the fastest in 1:57.1- will be the one to beat in the final NYSS division which will go as race 12. Blocked and beaten just a length in his NYSS split at Saratoga and individually timed in 1:55.4 the Art Major-Cherry Bomb colt will leave from the pole position with Corey Braden at the lines. Paul Bernardo trains JD He's Da Bomb for Joe Martinelli. "These sire stakes races appear to have some of the best pacing colts we've ever seen, especially at this time of the year," noted Eric Warner the track's Sr. Director of Racing. "Fans will be in for a pleasurable afternoon." The undercard also features some nice colts in three Excelsior "A" divisions and two Excelsior "B" divisions. They'll be joined by three overnight events. The 13-race card will get underway at 12:50pm. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Quietly, and without much fanfare, Rose Run Nash keeps winning. Yesterday (July 16) at Monticello Raceway the harness racing 5 year old Trainforthefuture gelding notched his 13th seasonal triumph and continues to lead all trotters in races won in North America. Driven, once again, by Jimmy Marohn, Jr. and carrying a $10,000 claiming tag, Rose Run Nash scored a neck victory in 2:00.1 when he came from sixth at the three quarters to collar both Famous Dude (Bruce Aldrich, Jr.) and Larissa (Mike Merton) who finished in a dead-heat for second. "This is the best race he (Rose Run Sam) went all season. He trotted his last quarter in :28.4 and had to come a long way to win it," trainer Danny Gill said after the mile. He then added "Now we're up two," meaning that Rose Run Nash has a two-win lead over four others each with 11 wins. When queried about the gelding's sire, Trainforthefuture, Gill replied quickly. "Oh, he's Ohio- bred and I've had him just about a year now. He's a sweetheart, just a pleasure to be around and Jimmy (Marohn, Jr.) says he's always on the trot (doesn't break stride) and real handy in a race," Gill was leading trainer here two years ago and was second to Lounsbury last season, This year, again, his pupils are winning plenty of races. Currently Gill is in a fight-not literally- with Bob Lounsbury and Gary Messenger for leading trainer honors. At days end, Messenger is in command with 79 winners, four more than Gill's 75, while Lounsbury is close with 73. John Manzi

Gural Hanover's victory in his $59,100 division of the New York Sires Stakes for sophomore colts and geldings on Tuesday afternoon (July 15) was an eye-opening one when Jimmy Morrill, Jr. guided the big altered son of Crazed-Givemearing to a new all age trotting track record of 1:55.2. It was the fastest trotting mile in the 58-year history of the Mighty M and it erased the former standard of 1:55.4 set by Man About Town in 2007. In doing so Gural Hanover set a new standard for 3 year-old trotters expunging the 1:57.1 mark co-held by Green Day (2007) ,Gaelic And Garlic (2012) and Ex King (2013). Morrill also won the second $59,100 NYSS split with Zoey De Vie in 1:57.3 and he was victorious in three Excelsior Stakes which gave him five winners on the card. But Gural Hanover was the overwhelming star of the day. In against his arch rival Expressive Action (Mike Simon) Morrill chose to send Gural Hanover to the lead from the four-hole on the hot and humid afternoon. They gained command on the first turn and cruised by the first quarter in :28.2. From there Morrill let the big fellow ramble past the half in :57.2 two full lengths ahead of Expressive Action and that was as close as Mike Simon's trotter could get to Morrill's. At the third stanza Gural Hanover had a three- length lead which was opened to four at the wire. Expressive Action finished second with Hallanet and Trond Smedshammer another length back in third position. "He's push button," Morrill said of Gural Hanover in the winner's circle after the race. "You can leave with him, put him in a hole or do whatever you want and you can drive him with two fingers. He's a monster and a real pleasure to sit behind real pleasure to sit behind." Lightly raced Gural Hanover only had one start as a freshman and was victorious in 2:00 at Balmoral Park in late September. This far this season the big bold-going gelding now has four wins; one second and one third in six seasonal starts and his bankroll has swelled to over $104,000. Owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E and Panhellenic Stables and trained by Ron Burke the winner returned a $2.30 win mutuel. Morrill, unquestionably the dominant force on the NYSS circuit, also copped the second $59,100 NYSS split with Zoey De Vie, a Conway Hall-Pauls Wink gelding trained by Heidi Rohr. In that contest Flyhawk El Dorado and driver Mark MacDonald seemed to have everything under control as they led Zoey De Vie and odds-on favorite Cash Me Out (Mickey McGivern) through fractions of :28.3; :59; and 1:28.4. However, as Flyhawk El Dorado rounded the final turn the trotter went off stride which opened an easy path to the finish for Zoey De Vie who rallied and kept Cash Me Out at bay to score a one length victory in a new lifetime mark of 1:57.3. "He's a good colt who has had some bad luck but we got good luck today." Morrill said referring to Flyhawk El Dorado making a break as the field turned for home. "We were in the right place at the right time but we still trotted a :28.3 last quarter to win it." Owned by Jesse and John De Long, Zoey De Vie paid $8.10 for win. All the 3 year olds in Excelsior Series performed also admirably. Winners -with drivers--were: JL Cruze (1:59.4-Jimmy Marohn, Jr.); Crazzy Crazzy (1:58- Jimmy Morrill, Jr.); Winbak Glory (1:59.2-Jimmy Morrill, Jr.); General Bill Brown (1:57.3-Mark MacDonald); Flyhawk Thriller (1:58.1-Jimmy Morrill, Jr.) and Consumer Rate (2:01.1-Mark MacDonald) by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Over the weekend both Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg II and Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff added points to their seasonal totals each winning their respective C.K.G. Billings trotting events; Ehrenberg with TK's Karma at Scioto Downs in the midwest region and Hechkoff with Get Packin at Tioga Downs in the east. In his Midwest region event at Scioto Downs on Friday (July 11) Ehrenberg took advantage of starting from post five with TK's Karma inside of the betting favorite Catching Kate, driven by "Marvelous Marv" Raber, had to leave from post eight. In doing so Ehrenberg hustled his trotter to the lead in a :27.4 first quarter while Raber settled Catching Kate down along the pylons but in eighth position. Ehrenberg kept TK's Karma moving right along on the front end while Raber had to begin to grind toward the leader as the field headed for the half. Catching Kate finally drew even with TK's Karma as the field approached the final turn but in the lane it was all TK's Karma as the 8 year old daughter of Victory Sam trotted away to a two length victory in a time of 1:57.2. Catching Kate held on for second while What Do You Want finished third for Larry "Overhand Serve" Steenbergen. TK's Karma, owned and trained by Terry Millhoan, paid $12.20 for win. And for Ehrenberg it was his 43rd amateur driving victory. Meanwhile the following day (July 12) at Tioga Downs in non-wagering eastern region action Bob Hechkoff and Get Packin made it two in a row in Billings competition when they survived a tight three-horse photo and garnered first money in a time of 1:59.4. Hechkoff had Get Packin on the lead and they rebuffed all challenges and especially the one rallied by Mr. Jim Dandy and Dave "Yes It's True" Offenberg who came from sixth at the top of the lane and passed everyone but the winner who was a head better at the wire. Just another nose farther back in third place was Dreamnwillie driven by "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello. Get Packin is trained by Brandon Simpson and owned by Hechkoff, who drove his fourth winner this season and his 48th of his amateur driving career. by John Manzi, for the CKG Bilings Amateur Drivers Series

MONTICELLO, NY- For the 31st consecutive year the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association has again made a donation to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Organization representatives presented a $3000 check to both Museum President Larry Devan and Museum Director Janet Terhune prior to the ceremonies at the Hall of Fame Banquet on the lawn of the Museum in Goshen, NY on July 6. Last November at a Historic Track Board of Directors Meeting the Monticello-Goshen Chapter also donated $3000 to that National Historic Landmark. And earlier this year the chapter made a $500 donation to the Saratoga Harness Hall of Fame. Since the1980's the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Goshen Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum. Money for the donations was made possible from successful chapter banquets and the continued support of the chapter's charity journals. "We thank all those who participate in our annual awards banquet and charity journal and we are very fortunate to be able to raise the money..... and when we do.... it is our pleasure to donate the profits back to the industry; especially to Historic Track and to the Harness Racing Museum Track, which are not only in our own back yard but very dear to the hearts of everyone in harness racing," noted Chris Tully, USHWA National President as well as the president of the Monticello-Goshen Chapter. Monticello-Goshen USHWA vice president and USHWA National Second VP, Shawn Wiles, added: "Goshen is to harness racing what Cooperstown is to baseball." Prior to annual donations to the Hall and Historic Track the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA used to support a college scholarship but it was decided long ago that when the organization donates money it would be in everyone's best interest to support the harness racing industry. On Sunday evening, November 16th the chapter will hold its 56th Annual Awards Banquet at The Fountains on Sands Road in Middletown, NY. by John Manzi, for the Monticello-Goshen USHWA Chapter

On Tuesday afternoon (July 15 ) Monticello Raceway will host 3 year old trotting colts and geldings in both the New York Sire Stakes and the Excelsior Series. Two NYSS events, along with five Excelsior's, will offer over $163,000 in purse money. The NYSS events mark the third of eight legs for the sophomore trotters at various New York racetracks en route to the $225,000 Final at Yonkers Raceway on September 13. Along the way the competing colts and geldings will earn points in each leg, depending on the placements, with the top eight point recipients earning a berth in the rich finale. Although the Excelsior's outnumber the NYSS, five to two, those competing in the sire stakes events, at least at this time, are the cream of the crop and each division will go for a purse of $59,100. Two of the Division A Excelsior's go for $12,600 purses while the three Division B trotters each race for $6600. The NYSS trots will go as races eight and 12 on Tuesday's 13-race card and both fields contain quality trotters. The first $59,100 split pits Gural Hanover, an altered son of Crazed-Givemearing, against Expressive Action, a Conway Hall-Yetta's Angel colt. Both young trotters have similar credentials with each having three wins, one second and one third in five starts. And both have won on big tracks in 1:54 and a piece although Expressive Action has already earned over $167,000 while Gural Hanover's current bankroll tops $75,000. However the latter has defeated the former in the two previous NYSS events at Saratoga Raceway and at Buffalo Raceway. The odds-maker sets a 4-5 morning line odds on Gural Hanover while Expressive Action has been rated at 2-1. Gural Hanover is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E Stable and Panhellenic Stable and will start from the four- hole with Jimmy Morrill, Jr. at the controls. Meanwhile, Expressive Action, trained by John Grasso for the John Grasso Stable, Inc. will have his regular driver, Mike Simons, in the sulky when they start from post position two. Cash Me Out, with three consecutive victories-two in NYSS action-has been rated the 2-1 early line favorite in the second $59,100 division. His last, a 1:56.4 come-from-behind triumph over Expressive Action at Buffalo Raceway was a beaut. The Cash Hall-China Victory colt has four wins and three seconds in eight starts and over $88,000 in earnings. Owned by Traylor Racing, trained by Cheryl Mc Givern, Cash Me Out will start on the far outside from post six with Mickey McGivern at the lines. Flyhawk El Durado, the winner of last year's $225,000 2 year old colt and gelding final, will be the main competition in the six horse field. Trained by Mark Ford for Martin Scharf the Conway Hall-El Paso Gal colt has purses of over $77,000 and a best win time of 1:54.1 taken at Mohawk Racetrack in Canada. Mark MacDonald will be in the pilot's seat when the colt leaves from post four. The five Excelsior Stakes trots make a solid undercard on the Tuesday program. First post will be at 12:50pm. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Newcomer and talented horse woman, Vanessa" Tall In The Saddle" Karlewicz an expert equestrian, traded her saddle for a ride behind a spirited trotter and won her maiden voyage as driver in the harness racing game when she guided Conway Cruiser to a 2:07.4 victory in a leg of the C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series at the Afton (NY) Fair. In that race Vanessa went to the lead from the three-hole and never yielded command in spite of a fierce challenge by Drill Sergeant Sam and driver Peter "Sycamore Ventures" Gerry. After shadowing Ms. Karlewicz until the top of the lane Gerry had his sights on victory when he moved his trotter out to challenge. But victory was not to come, at least for Gerry, becaus Ms. Karlewicz was ready for the challenge and hand-drove Conway Cruiser to the wire to score a neck victory over Drill Sergeant Sam. "I got away third and moved up to second behind Vanessa near the half and at the top of the stretch I thought I'd be able to beat her to the wire but she downright out-drove me. I got to her horse's neck but I couldn't get by her," Gerry related. According to Gerry, Ms. Karlewicz is and equestrian of high caliber. "She's an equestrian trainer and her specialty is Grand Prix events. She also hunts and jumps and has competed in our aces under saddle (RUS) "I think now she's been bitten by the harness racing bug and we will all benefit with her being involved in our sport," he added. The next Billings event will be on Friday (July 11) at Scioto Downs followed by another trot at Tioga Downs on Saturday (July 12) by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

John Gilmour, a nine- time Monticello Raceway driving champion, passed away on July 5th in Monticello, NY and on July 9 the raceway and many of his fellow horsemen eulogized him and is many accomplishments of his six-decade career here at the Mighty M. At that service, Gilmour's all-time favorite horse My Buddy Chimo, was walked from the paddock to middle of the racetrack in front of the grandstand by fellow horsemen and family members. Once there they were joined by a horde of fellow drivers, more family members, and longtime friends and they gathered around My Buddy Chimo as Zeke Parker placed a blanket on the horse and the emcee spoke of Gilmour's prowess in the sulky. The blanket had copy on both sides; one side included his race wins and congratulated him on a great career and the other had a tongue -in-cheek comment of Gilmour's fierce competiveness when he competed in a horse race. It was well known by his fellow drivers to never try to wrestle the lead from him once he was in command and the statement on the blanket extolled that sentiment. Known around the backstretch as "Sep", Gilmour had accumulated 4492 driving victories in his six- decade career. He was one of the four famous Gilmour brothers which included Buddy, George and Lloyd. Collectively they drove over 14,250 winners, mostly during the heyday of harness racing where two-track driving daily was never an option. Among the members of his family who were on hand for the ceremony included; his daughters, Janet and Heather, his son Michael and granddaughter Megan, his ex-wife April Karkos and his longtime girlfriend Vita Yakin. Cousins Dean Gilmour and Mark Gilmour also attended as did several nieces nephews and grandchildren. Zeke Parker took the microphone and told the assembled crowd of some of his experiences while racing with Gilmour. "I'd park him and he'd park me but after the races we'd go across the street and have a beer together," he said. "John was a tough competitor on the race track but off the track he was just the opposite, a real mellow easy going guy." by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

It seems like 1:54.3 is a final race time that 4-year-old stallion pacers like to adhere to at Monticello Raceway. On Tuesday (July 8) Only The Lonely joined two others in the Mighty M record books when the son of Western Ideal-Lonesome Day reeled-off a wire to wire triumph in 1:54.3 in his first pari-mutuel start this season. That mile equaled the record held by both All My Life (2005) and Lover Boy (2012). Marcus Miller was in the sulky for trainer Nick Surick and sent Only The Lonely to the lead from the seven-hole and they were in command before the quarter mile was paced in :28.2. From there Miller was just buggy ridding as they passed the half-way point in :57.3 and then they came a final half in :57.0 to win by a one and -a- quarter lengths over Memory Game and by JohnMike Merton. Only The Lonely came into the race off a 1:52.1 qualifier at Gaitway Farm with his trainer at the lines on June 23. Surick watched today and was pleased with his horse's mile. "He won in 1:50 and a piece last year and earned over $96,000 and he went a real good mile here in his first start this year. He We didn't want to face the 'bearcats' in his first start back so I called Eric (Warner Monticello Raceway's director of racing) and he told me he had a race for non-winner of seven races lifetime so we decided to bring him here for his first pari-mutuel start, Surick said and then added,"He (Only The Lonely) went a good mile today on the half-mile track here and he looked like himself. He's a nice horse and we're looking for a year from him." Co-owned by Surick, KDM Stable and the J.L. Benson Stable Only The Lonely paid $3.50 for win. Marcus Miller and Nick Surick teamed- up again in a later race and were victorious with Yanoyanomenow in a time of 1:55.0 However Only The Lonely's 1:54.3 wasn't the fastest mile on the hot and humid afternoon. Trainer Bob Lounsbury's CC Stormy was victorious for Bruce Aldrich, Jr. in 1:54.1. The same combination scored again with Dreamluck in 1:54.4. Also on the card the winningest horse in North America, Diamond Tiara now in a new barn, faced the boys for the first time this year after winning 17 times against her own gender, and she didn't fare well. She finished off the board for the first time in 23 seasonal starts. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

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