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Once again the Billings Gold and Silver Cup Finals will be raced at Harrah's Philadelphia both at distances of 1-1/4 miles, and they will be contested on the Sunday Nov. 23rd betting program. The $15,000 Silver Cup Championship Final will be race eight on the 14-race card while the $25,000 Gold Cup Championship Final will go to post in race 12. And unlike the other 12 races offered that day both Billings trots will be contested at a distance of 1-1/4 miles. As envisioned by Delvin Miller and his co-founders when they established the Billings Series back in 1981, many of the horses in the final events will be driven by their owners. Both races will feature Billings members who earned berths in their respective divisions after the fierce competitions during the six month series and unlike most races, the drivers not the horses, qualify for the finales. This season the Billings again continued as a true North American amateur competition when races were held at venues in the United States as well as in Canada and only those who earned the most points in the series, or won certain regional finales, became eligible to compete in the finals. Once again, Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford, a sales rep from Croswell, Michigan won the combined points championship and prevailed the points champion in the Eastern Region. "It was a fun competition right from the start and the series was embellished by the extraordinary hospitality the competitors were treated to by the host venues and also by Billings members who resided near some of the outposts among the States and Canadian provinces to which the series traveled," noted Tony Verruso, president of the Billings Series. "The 2014 Delvin Miller Memorial Championship Gold and Silver Cup Championships will be the successful culmination of the Billings Series. Eighteen passionate amateur drivers will compete in arguably the most balanced and competitive finales that the Billings has ever show-cased," The field-with drivers-in $15,000 Silver Cup Championship Final include: #1-Jimmer ("Bullet Bob" Davis), #2-Rompaway Alvin (Dave "Steady As" Yarock), #3-Massive Man (David "Poppa" Glasser); #4-Soulful Delight ( Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg II, #5-Rush N Supreme(Kelly "Sky" Walker); #6-Whatnblazes (Dave "Yes It's True" Offenberg), #7-Magglio (Mike "the Mortgage Man" Mitchell), #8-Rompaway Brandon ("Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli), and #9-Hartwell ("Peter " Sycamore Ventures" Gerry). The $25,000 Gold Cup Championship lines-up as follows: #1-Rodeo Red (Tony "the Capo" Verruso), #2 Wygant Prince ("Coach Paul" Minore), #3- Rebel Strike ("Mighty Matt" Zuccarello) #4- Tioga Thunder ("Chicago George" Bonomo); #5-Celtic Merchant (Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford,#6-Keystone Sadie (Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin), #7-Catching Katie ("Marvelous Marvin" Raber), #8-Life Long Hanover ("Michelle the Belle" Ruvola, and #9-Tagmaster (Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff). Driving skill, rather than post position or equine strength, will probably separate the winner from the trailers in each of the Championships especially since as the races are being contested at an added (1-1/4 mile) distance. by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Driving Club

The Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA held its 56th Annual Awards Banquet for the third consecutive year in Middletown, NY at The Fountains on Sands Road on Sunday, November 16. The night got underway with a cocktail hour at 5:30pm followed by dinner at 7pm. During the evening awards were presented to the deserving recipients and when they were all given out, banquet emcee John Manzi was the recipient of a friendly roast. The Harness Writers presented its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award to Ted Gewertz. He is, and has been, a prominent owner who has been part of many champions, including Deweycheatumnhowe, Giant Victory, Windsong Legacy, Somwherovrarainbow and Shebestingin,to name a few. His great love for the sport is unparalleled as is his desire to win. Ted is among the few who puts his money where their mouth is. Also honored was Ken Weingartner, who became the sixth recipient of the Phil Pines Award. No one writes more copy about harness racing than Weingartner. "I would guess I've written in the neighborhood of 3000 stories prior to joining the USTA and HRC," he says. A former Sportswriter Ken also has been a multiple newspaper award winner spanning news, sports, and editorial writing. For all that he has done for the Standardbred sport at the Little Brown Jug, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs and now at the new Meadowlands, Jason Settlemoir was the recipient of the chapter's Good Guy Award. A man of multiple talents it seems that there's nothing that Settlemoir can't do, except maybe winning the Mighty M's Battle of the Brain Trusts. And even that's probably going to happen for Jason in the near future. George Casale was the unanimous choice for the 31st annual Amy Bull Crist Award for his dedicated service at Historic Track. George is the vice president of the Board of Directors at Goshen's half mile oval and also serves as volunteer counsel to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. He is also a U.S.T.A certified judge and George serves in the stand making sure there are no infractions of the rules during each race. An Award of Appreciation was given to Monticello Raceway's and Historic Track's award winning track photographer, Geri Schwarz. She won the George Smallsreed Photography Award from the United States Trotting Association a few years ago and there's hardly a racing day that goes by that Geri hasn't come up with an unique photo to go along with her spot- on race finishes and winners circle photographs. This year's Excelsior Award for deeds done to promote racing in New York State went to Albert and Michelle's Crawford Farms. And few harness horse breeders have made a larger multi-media splash this year than Crawford Farms in Durhamsville, NY. Unfortunately illness kept Michelle and Albert from attending the award presentation although National USHWA president and longtime chapter member, Chris Tully accepted it in their behalf. The Rising Star Award went to 25-year-old Jason Ryan who has shown the local scribes that he has a great talent for driving a harness horse. He started the year at Monticello than went to Running Aces Harness Park in Minnesota where he finished as the leading driver with 90 wins in their short season. He has since continued his winning ways upon returning to the Mighty M The Caretaker of the Year Award went to one of hardest working gals on the backstretch, Nicole Devaux from the Keith Haase Stable Horse of the Year honors went to the Ed Hall-owned, Jimmy Marohn, Jr.-driven, Danny Gill-trained, Rose Run Nash. His 19 seasonal victories still ranks him tops in races won by a trotter in North America this year. Poppy Sydney Ridge was named the 3-year-old colt trotter of the year while KJ Brenda garnered the 3-year-old trotting filly award. Rose Run Nash was also the older trotting horse of the year award while Linda B won the older trotting mare award.. The older pacing horse award went to 17-time winner Vincent Fra while 20-time winner Diamond Tiara took home the older pacing mare award Since the majority of the races this year were claiming races pacing awards went to Reflection Of Blue, Rusty's Flying, an Mr. Tommy Fra. Claiming trotter awards were garnered by Bertos Angel and Menard Hanover. Upon the completion of the awards ceremonies Bob "Hollywood" Heyden moderated a panel consisting of Chris Tully, Moira Fanning, George Casale and Dr. Herb Burns who were the evening "roasters". They conjured their best comedic lines and each "beat-up" banquet emcee John Manzi. However Manzi got the microphone last and zinged his "roasters" as all seemed to enjoy the night especially when all 180 in attendance left the banquet hall chuckling. From the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of USHWA

The often raced and often claimed pacing mare, Diamond Tiara notched her 20th seasonal victory at Monticello Raceway when she defeated a field of claimers in a time of 2:00.4 over a sloppy racetrack on Monday November 17. With her victory the 7-year-old daughter of McArdle now is just two wins shy of the track record of 22 victories set by another claiming pacer, Golden Storm GB, back in 1985. Once again Jimmy Taggart, Jr. handled the driving chores for trainer Mike Watson and as he's done nearly every time before, gunned Diamond Tiara to the front this time from the five-hole and they had a length and half lead when they passed the first stanza in :30.3. From there, it was catch me if you can, and nobody could as Diamond Tiara made every pole a winning one en route to an easy five-length victory over Artemis Blue Chip and driver Jimmy Devaux. "She (Diamond Tiara) has raced her heart out all season long and those miles on the front end have taken a toll on the ole gal," Taggart said after the race. "She's always been game but lately she's been tailing off at the end of a mile. Today the muddy track probably didn't sting her as much and she finished like her old self." Asked if the track record for most wins in a season is an objective, Taggart answered; " We'll take it week by week. If she wins again soon then we'll probably look to at least tie the record. But she's not the soundest horse in the world." Again owned by (Phillip) Mike Schultz after multiple claims to get her back, Diamond Tiara was sent off at odds of 4-5 and paid $3.60 for win. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Earlier this week the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) and Tim Rooney made a check presentation to the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation of greater New York. The amateur drivers organization raised $7500 from their spring and fall trotting series and that amount was matched by Yonkers Raceway president Tim Rooney, and a total $15,000 was donated to that organization that is determined to find a cure for breast cancer. "The North American Amateur Drivers Association was proud to donate to this cause and the impetus for which came from our female amateur driver extraordinaire Monica Banca. And it was extremely gracious of Tim Rooney to match our funds which drove the contribution up to $15,000," said NAADA president Joe Faraldo. The NAADA revenues were mainly comprised of the amateur driver's nominating, starting and entry fees, along with additional funds from the organization's treasury. "And of course we'd be remiss not to thank the amateur drivers who not only participated in those races but were good enough to donate their percentages for the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure Foundation," Faraldo added. The oversize check presentation was made in the Yonkers Raceway winners circle on Tuesday (Nov. 12) by John Manzi, for NAASA

When you're hot you're hot, and Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin is proof of that. The talented harness racing amateur driver won the $12,000 Eastern Regional Final Wednesday night (Nov.12) at Mohegan Sun Pocono with his Hero Stables' Permanent Joy in a time of 1:57 over the swift five-eighths mile oval. But you say one victory doesn't make him 'hot'? Well how about this: it was Krivelin's second consecutive triumph in amateur driving competition having won the $14,000 Final of the North American Amateur Drivers Association over Yonkers Raceway's double oval last Thursday with Current Crisis, another of his trotters that he enjoys driving. And in his last five races against fellow amateurs Krivelin has three wins, one second, and one third. In the Eastern Regional finale Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff gunned his Tagmaster to the lead when the wings of the mobile gate folded and then played hardball parking favored Rebel Strike driven by "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello and they raced side by side past the first stanza in :28 and by the half in :58. Krivelin took advantage of the parked pair and moved Permanent Joy to the outside up the backside and trotted by everyone as they passed the three quarters in 1:27.1. Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford was locked in behind the tiring leaders with Celtic Merchant and could do nothing as Permanent Joy trotted to the lead. Oldford shook lose in the lane but it was too late to be able to catch Krivelin but his CelticMerchant did earn the place money. Teezer Bree, with Tony "the Capo" Verruso aboard, came from far back and they weaved between horses in the lane to garner the show. Sent off at odds of over 5-1, Permanent Joy paid $13.40 for win. After the race was completed the group went to the dining room and broke- bread which is customary among the amateur drivers. According to Oldford, the trot at Pompano Park on Thursday, Nov. 13 will be the final preliminary event prior to the Billings $25,000 Gold and $15,000 Silver Cup Finals and winner there could possibly earn a berth in the rich series finales. by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Driving Club      

The Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA scribes know talent when they see it and they have been on the money with their recent choices for their annual Rising Star Award recipient. In recent years they've cited Jordan Stratton, Jimmy Marohn, Jr. and Austin Siegelman but through the years they've named George Brennan, Jimmy Taggart, Jr. and Greg Merton to name a few. This year their Rising Star Award will go to 25-year-old Jason Ryan and it just so happened that he won four races on the Tuesday card(Nov. 11) here at the Mighty M. His first victory was with Tiffany Barrett's Kevin's Apple ($27.40) in 1:58.2 and he followed that with a 1:56.3 triumph behind Steven Moore's KB's Bad Boy ($15.60). With win number three he lit up the toteboard with Laurie Patistas's Jet Set Style in a 1:56.4 mile. The pacer paid $72.50, $17.20 and $13.60 across the board. Ryan capped his afternoon when he won the 12th and final race with Andrew Adamczyk's See You Smile in a time of 1:55.4 and that win was worth $17.40 for each two dollar mutuel ticket. "After the races were completed somebody called me 'longshot Ryan because all my winners paid double figures," Ryan said. "I know a couple of them had a decent chance but I was certainly surprised with Jet Set Style being 35-1 from the rail. But (trainer) Lounsbury had one (Mr Tommy Fra) in there that was odds-on and he never got untracked from the seven hole. Starting from the inside I got a two-hole trip and my horse finished strong." The transplanted Canadian began the season here at the Mighty M in early January and he opened some eyes with his driving abilities over the months that he was here. He later moved on to Saratoga Raceway and then during the late summer back Running Aces Harness Park in Columbus, Minnesota where he competed well the previous year. But this season at the Minnesota race track Ryan finished as leading driver with 90 winners. When that track closed he moved back to Monticello Raceway and he plans on being here throughout the winter. He currently had driven 148 winners thus far this season which is his best output thus far in his fledgling career. Asked what the future will bring he replied "I'd like to race at Yonkers and the Meadowlands in the future but I know I'll have to pay my dues before I'll be able to," Ryan admitted. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Monticello Raceway's award winning track photographer, Geri Schwarz, has a knack for getting a unique photograph. Here she caught JB Rose acting ornery in the winner's circle on November 10th after she won her contest in a time of 1:56.1 for driver Bruce Aldrich, Jr. Trainer Danny Gill (left) is seen trying to settle her down while the children look on in amazement. "She did it again ( reared and stood on her hind legs)," Schwarz said after snapping the photograph. " She did the same thing last week after she won. The horse is a messugenah (crazy)!" For the record JB Rose settled down and had her picture taken and no one was hurt. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Eight drivers with the most points in the preliminary legs of the North American Amateur Drivers Association’s fall trotting series lined up behind the mobile starting gate at Yonkers Raceway last week on November  6 and they competed for the $14,000 purse that was offered in the series finale.  Although there was plenty of action in the early going Bob Krivelin, and his trotter Current Crisis, followed cover after the half and then swung three- deep on the final turn and cruised onto an easy six-length triumph in a time of 2:00.1. When the gate sprung Bob Hechkoff gunned Get Packin to the lead  and they played hardball with Paul Minore who was up behind  Wygant Prince. After a :28.2 first stanza both trotters raced head-to-head by the half in :58.3 and at that point trailing horses moved to the second tier and Get Packin continued to led as Wygant Prince began to fade  and Wygant Prince’s tiring  forced the second tier trailers to got three wide. That group was led by Hannah  Miller and Rev It Now followed by Current Crisis and Jimmer, with Bob Davis at the lines. When the outer flow came off the final turn Current Crisis began to open up an insurmountable lead which the 8-year old Currant Cast gelding held until the photo finish camera snapped. Second under the wire was Rev It Now and Jimmer took home the show dough. The race was a non-wagering affair and presented prior to the first race on the betting card Krivelin, one of the top amateur drivers in the country, has twice represented the United States in the World Cup of Amateur Racing. His win at Yonkers was his 14th this season and 166th of his amateur driving career. Each year via their trotting series NAADA president, Joe Faraldo makes sure that money is raised for a worthy charity. This season an amount of $7500 was raised and it was matched by Tim Rooney which made a total of $15,000 for the Susan G Komen Race For The Cure of Breast Cancer.  by John Manzi, for NAADA

Since 2011 Jimmy Taggart has won plenty of races here at Monticello Raceway but it's been nearly three years since he has driven five winners on one card. However, on the 11-race Tuesday (Nov. 4) card the talented reinsman added another milestone to his resume when he drove five winners. Taggart, who passed the 3000 career win plateau last season, began his afternoon with a 1:56.3 victory with Luanne Case's pacer, Shark Income ($16.40) and followed that with a 1:59 triumph with Jimmy Doherty Jr. and Jodie Doherty's trotter, Tobell ($4.10). Taggart's next victory was behind Flirting With Disaster Stable's, Myra's Hiho ($3.10) in a time of 1:58.1 and then Jimmy proceeded to win the final two races on the card. He won the afternoon's pacing feature with Phillip Schultz's pacer Ideal Bid ($3.20) in a time of 1:54 and then copped the 11th and final race with Gerald Decker's Kennanskingwilliam ($3.00) in a time of 1:56.1. Taggart, with his even temperament, just takes his winning in stride and he's not very vocal about it, and for that matter, or anything else he does. He did however say that he had some horses in the right place and that they raced real good for him. The 44 year old catch-driver who gets first call from top trainer Gary Messenger, has already driven 201 winners this season and this season marks the fourth consecutive year that Taggart has won 200 or more races. His mounts thus far this season have earned nearly $750,000. Currently Taggart is fourth in wins on the local leaderboard. A product of the amateur ranks here at the Mighty M in the late 1980's when he turned professional during the 1988 season Taggart now has 3303 driving victories to his credit. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

On October 20th In the C.K.G. Billings Trotting Series preliminary leg at Dayton Raceway "Michelle the Belle" Ruvola duplicated her dad's fete of the previous week when she too won a Billings Trot with Lifelong Hanover. Her dad, "Chicago George" Bonomo, was victorious in the Billings with that same trotter the previous week at the new Dayton, Ohio racetrack. Ruvola is an accomplished horse-woman and a good harness driver as she has proven over the years in Billings' finales and in other amateur competitions. For the gal who drives when she doesn't have business obligations, it marked her second win in seven seasonal starts and 37th of her driving career. On occasion George and Michelle drive together on the same card and at times in the same race but the past two weeks marks the first time that they raced against one another and then switched horses following week, and that both were victorious with the same horse (Lifelong Hanover) marks a first for them, and maybe a first for any other father-daughter driving duo, who have two horses in the same race. In the Dayton race last Saturday Ruvola got away in fourth position from the five-hole and was content to hug the pylons until late in the mile as Steve "You're Never too" Oldford and TK's Diva cut the quick early fractions. However, when Oldford's trotter reached the head of the lengthy homestretch she began to get leg weary and "Lawbook Larry" Farley and Margarita Man took a shot at the leader. They did pass Oldford's trotter but trouble was looming when Ruvola and Lifelong Hanover whizzed by everyone and finished 1-1/2 lengths ahead of Margarita Man to take home the lion's share of the $7500 purse. Third place went to the betting favorite Soulful Delight, driven by Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg II . By the way Michelle's dad George Bonomo got parked-out with their other entrant, Tioga Thunder, and finished off the board. The race winner, Lifelong Hanover, and for that matter Tioga Thunder, are both owned by George and Rose Bonomo. Lifelong Hanover returned a $9.20 payoff. The event at Dayton Raceway was the final preliminary leg of the C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series in the Midwest Region and with her triumph Ms. Ruvola has earned a berth against the boys in the in the $25,000 Delvin Miller Memorial Gold Cup Final which will be contested at Harrah's Chester Downs on Sunday, November 23rd. Ruvola is the seventh driver to qualify for the Billings finale. Others who also have earned the right to participate include: Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff, "Coach Paul" Minore, Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford, "Marvelous Marvin" Raber, "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello, and "Chicago George" Bonomo, which again will set-up a father -daughter tussle.  the individual or entity to which they are addressed. If you are not the intended recipient you are hereby notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited. This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are considered privileged and confidential and may not be used by either party in any pending or future legal proceedings. by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Driving Club Empire Resorts, Inc. and Monticello Casino & Raceway, Inc., 204 State Route 17B, Monticello, NY 12701 845-794-4100

There's hardly anyone involved in harness racing who hasn't heard of Ken Weingartner. And if by some chance they hadn't, there's a good probability they've read some of his news releases because Ken sends out plenty as the media relations manager for the US Trotting Association. Weingartner is precisely someone whom the late great Phil Pines would have been proud to be associated with. And an association of sorts will be formed on November 16 when the Monticello -Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) presents the chapter's prestigious Phil Pines Award to him at their 56th Annual Awards Banquet. "I would guess I've written in the neighborhood of 3,000 stories since joining the USTA and HRC, and yet almost every day brings excitement and the potential to discover or witness something special," Weingartner said. "Not a lot of people can say that about what they do." Weingartner is beginning his 13th year as the media relations manager for the U.S. Trotting Association's Harness Racing Communications division since he was hired in 2002 by Ellen Harvey. "I got to know Ellen and Gen Sullivan while writing for the Messenger-Press. So that's how I landed here when Gen left," he explained. Weingartner grew up in central New Jersey and was introduced to harness racing by his father who began taking Kenny to Freehold Raceway before he could walk. In the ensuing years, Weingartner spent countless Saturday afternoons at the track, where he honed his skill for picking winners and betting losers. Harness racing remained a leisure pursuit until the late 1990s, when Weingartner was named managing editor of the weekly Allentown Messenger-Press in New Jersey. With the opportunity to determine coverage in the newspaper, Weingartner began writing a column, called "Horse Play," that focused on the harness racing community in central Jersey. The column appeared regularly until Weingartner was hired by the USTA in November 2002. "When I started working as managing editor of the Messenger-Press, I was talking to someone about how disappointing it was that harness racing got so little attention in the area, particularly when so many of the top trainers and horses are in the area. And then it hit me, I'm the boss now. I can write about whatever I want. So I began writing about harness racing, without ever imagining where it would lead. It was just a fun way for me to become more involved in the sport, and bring it to a wider audience. Brian Magie let me jog a horse back then, which kind of led to the "Pitchfork Diaries" series when I started working at HRC." For someone who loves racing Ken believes he has the best job in the world. "There are so many mornings when I'm wandering around the training centers that I just feel so lucky, because it's hardly a job," he says. "I enjoy the racing, for sure, but I really enjoy getting to know the people and the horses. And I love to tell their stories. I'm fortunate to get to tell the stories of a Foiled Again or Arch Madness or any great champion," he added. But I'm also lucky to get to tell the stories of drivers, trainers and owners getting their first wins, or small family stables winning with a homebred." Weingartner's professional career began prior to graduating college. In the winter of his senior year, he was named the public relations director of minor league baseball's Williamsport Bills, the then-Class AA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, and began working with the team while completing his degree in communications. The franchise moved at the end of the season, but Weingartner was hired as a Sportswriter by the Williamsport Sun-Gazette. He later served as the sports information director at his alma mater, Lycoming College, and as a Sportswriter for several weekly newspapers in New Jersey. Weingartner received multiple awards - spanning news, sports and editorial writing - from the New Jersey Press Association, as well as recognition from the College Sports Information Directors of America. Prior to joining HRC, he was honored by the New Jersey chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers for his coverage of the sport. In 2007, he received the Golden Pen Award from the Standardbred Marketing and Media Association. by John Manzi for Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA

Two well contested divions of trotters in the North American Amateur Drivers Association went to post at Yonkers Raceway prior to the betting card getting underway Thursday and when the dust had settled Dave Glasser and Shane Darish each were victorious in their respective divisions. Glasser won with Sir Siro in a time of 2:00.4 while Darish was triumphant with Alaric in 2:02.4. In their event Glasser had Sir Siro in a pocket behind the pace-setter, Tagmaster driven by Bob Hechkoff and he was content to follow the leader. Paul Minore was the first to attack when he moved Wygant Prince out to challenge the leader near the half-way point and they made a run all the way to the top of the stretch. Meanwhile Glasser was sitting chilly and in the lane he fed Sir Siro racetrack and the veteran trotter zipped by Tagmaster and then held off a late charge from Rev It Now and Hannah Miller to score a length victory in 2:00.4. Tagmaster held on for third money. Wygant Prince faded and finished fourth. Sir Siro is trained by Danny Gill for the Blue Forest Stable. In the other trot, Frank Darish's grandson, Shane Darish, sent Alaric to the lead from the two- hole but when Chuckie B and Alan Schwartz came calling he allowed them to take command as the two approached the firststanza. However, no sooner had Schwartz moved his trotter down along the pylons than Darish was out and retook the lead. From there Alaric went on to a two length triumph over Rompaway Alvin and driver Dave Yarock. Jimmer and Bob Davis took home the show dough in that one. Alaric is owned and trained by Johnny Kolkowski. The Yonkers trots were the final leg of this year NAADA Fall Series. The top eight drivers with the most points in the series will battle on Thursday, November 6 for a $14,000 purse. Should the next eight in points enter there will be a $5000 consolation at Freehold Raceway on November 7. Those who earned a berth in the finale and their points in the series are as follows: Bob Hechkoff (37), Hannah Miller (36), Kelly Walker (25), Bob Davis (21), Dave Yarock (21), Shane Darish (20), Bobby Krivelin (16) and Paul Minore (15). Dave Glasser with 14 points, and Matt Zuccarello with 12 points, are the also eligibles.  by John Manzi, for the North American Amateur Drivers

When announcer Howard Oil gave his last call in Monticello Raceway's ninth race on Thursday (Oct.30) he shouted "bombs away" to describe Edgar's trotting victory whose odds on the board were 99-1, which are the biggest numbers that are abled be posted on the Mighty M tote board. However, after the mutuel room computations were completed the horse's actual odds were 146-1 which produced a $294.50 payoff for every two dollar wager. Driven by Jimmy Marohn, Jr. , Edgar was third at the top of the stretch and rallied to a one length victory over 27-1 Montana Steel (Jim Taggart, Jr.) in the 2:02.1 mile. That 6-1 exacta combination paid a whopping $1374.00. Of course, odds of that magnitude aren't normal. In this case they were precipitated by the failure of 1-9 shot, Catman Dude's inability to get away trotting. Owned by Robert Dineman and trained by Delores Basilone, it marked Edgar's first victory of the season after 18 previous starts. As big as the payoff was it still was the biggest ever here at the Mighty M. That honor belongs to Cam Can Kadandy and driver Greg Annaloro when they won and paid $377.00 on September 26, 2012. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Jason Settlemoir will be honored at the upcoming Awards Banquet of the Monticello Goshen Chapter USHWA on November 16. A man who wears and has worn many hats in the harness racing industry will be the recipient of the chapter's Good Guy Award. At age 37 Settlemoir is already accomplished but his star continues to rise and it seems that there is nothing in the Standardbred sport that he can't do. His list of accomplishments is amazing. However, much of his fortune was dictated by fate. First his association with trainer/driver Terry Holton and then later with a meeting with Dave Stoltz. When Jason was a youngster in Newark, Ohio he found out that Terry Holton moved and was on his paper route and it was his association with Holton that helped direct Settlemoir's future. "When Terry found out I was interested in harness racing he took me under his wing. He was like a dad to me and took me with him when he raced around the fairs and raceways and taught me all about racing. Terry had wanted me to be a catch-driver but I refused to clean stalls," Settlemoir remembered. "When we traveled I'd practice calling races in the car and I enjoyed it. So instead Terry helped me to call races at some of the fairs. I got to call my first race at the Hartford (Ohio) Independent Fair." But vivid in his memory is the time Terry helped him to get me the announcer's job at the West Virginia State Fair. "I was only 13 years old at the time so I had to get my mother and grandmother to drive me there, " he laughed. Settlemoir graduated high school in 1995 then matriculated at Ohio State University and then at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. In 1995 he went to work at Scioto Downs for Bob Steele and Jerry Kalb and he was there for nearly 10 years where there wasn't anything there that he didn't do, or learn to do. "I was the simulcast program manager, worked in the money room, worked in admissions and programs, assistant race secretary, track announcer, you name it I did it," Settlemoir said. Two mottos that Settlemoir said he learned and lives by are; "I will never ask someone to do something that I wouldn't do or have not done and the other is 'an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of gold'. In 2005 he worked for a while at the USTA as director of advertising and it was there that he had a conversation with a customer he met at Scioto Downs Dave Stoltz; a meeting that would forever change Settlemoir's life. "Dave asked me how would I like to work for a good friend of his who had two race tracks in New York. He gave me his number and told me to call him. I did. It was Jeff Gural and he asked me if I'd like to join his organization. Unfortunately it was at a time when I had many personal problems; my granddad had recently passed away and Terry Holton had advanced pancreatic cancer, I thanked Mr Gural and told him at this time I can't." However it wasn't too long after that initial phone call that Settlemoir again heard from Gural. This time Gural called him and this time they connected. "I asked Mr. Gural about a contract and he told me he doesn't do contracts. He told me to shake his hand and we'll have an agreement," Settlemoir explained. "I guess you could say I'm a pretty lucky guy that I got an opportunity to work for him. He's a man of his word." Initially Jason was heavily involved with both Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs but when Gural and his company started the New Meadowlands Settlemoir had more on his plate. And he responded to his new duties magnificently. In 2006 he was awarded the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Lew Barasch Breakthrough Award for his work in opening up Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs and was inducted into the Upstate New York Chapter of USHWA's Hall of Fame in 2011. Settlemoir is also simulcast director for the Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio as well as the second announcer at the legendary racetrack. He is vice president of Harness Tracks of America; and past president of the U.S. Harness Writers Association and sits on the board of directors for the United States Trotting Association, and in September of this year Settlemoir was elected to the prestigious Little Brown Jug Society. He is also active in the sport as a Standardbred owner and he was appointed to the Board of Directors for American Racing and Entertainment in September 2011. Also in 2011, he received the Tioga County United Way Appreciation Award. Jason sat on the board of directors for the Tioga County Chamber of Commerce, the Southern Tier Red Cross and the Tioga County United Way, where he was chair for the annual campaign drive before making his move east. Currently he is the CEO/GM of New Meadowlands Racetrack and Winners OTW at Bayonne, N.J., and is vice president of racing, simulcast and sponsorship for American Racing and Entertainment (Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs). He and his wife, Lori, reside in Cream Ridge, New Jersey, with their sons Jeffrey and Travis. Born in the Buckeye State, Settlemoir is an avid fan of Ohio State sports and Cleveland Browns football. He likes spending time at home with the family. by John Manzi, for Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA

Monticello, NY--Few harness racing horse breeders have made a larger multi-media splash this year than Crawford Farms of Durhamville, New York.   From the second-story Crawford Farms mural at The Meadowlands to the Red Mile Grand Circuit meet where the water trucks proudly displayed the farm’s iconic insignia, racing fans are constantly reminded of the dynamic duo’s substantial commitment to the sport.  Evident across multiple digital platforms, the Crawford’s are very active on social media and have produced and broadcast several TV commercials during key, nationally televised harness races, including the Hambletonian.   Driven by a passion for the sport, and a desire to help harness racing prosper, the Crawford’s have sponsored this season’s Meadowlands Pace, Kindergarten Classic, Crawford Farms Trot and the Red Mile Grand Circuit meet.  In addition to vast purse support, they have recently completed a state-of-the-art equine therapeutic spa, 40-stall barn, and an 8-stall horse exerciser at their central New York breeding & racing operation.   For their considerable investment in the future of the Standardbred and support of harness racing and breeding in the state of New York, the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association has awarded Crawford Farms their annual Excelsior Award.   The award will be presented on Nov. 16 at the chapter’s 56th annual awards banquet.  Somewhat surprised when they learned of the award, Michelle and Albert Crawford were humbled by the honor.   “We love this business, and we are very pleased that someone has noticed and appreciated our efforts” noted Albert, son of the late Jim Crawford who was the affable former president of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State.    “My wife and I are committed to breeding top horses in New York State and supporting the industry in the process.  We know that it is a considerable challenge, but we are rolling up our sleeves and eager to do the work!”   Michelle, the spark that energizes much of the daily operations added, “Every day that I am on our farm I am amazed at the work ethic and dedication that our staff contribute to our vision.  Whether we are breeding, foaling, weaning or performing racehorse rehab, they always give 110%, and for that I am very grateful.”   The farm, which was founded in 1966 by Jim and Patricia Crawford, continues to be a family affair.  The 100-acre nursery has continued to expand not only their footprint, but also their broodmare band.  Their yearling consignments to Lexington and Morrisville have continued to improve in scope and scale.   When they are not raising future harness racing stars, Michelle and Al own and operate one of the most successful healthcare lending institutions in the nation, Bankers Healthcare Group.  In fact, BHG was ranked as the 5th Fastest Growing Private Company by Inc.   Formed in 1992 from a modest group of four finance experts, BHG now employs close to 200 business professionals.   From the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA  

MONTICELLO NY---Beginning Monday, November 3 and continuing throughout the remainder of the year all post times at Monticello Raceway will be at 12:25p.m. "With the change to Daylight Savings Time we will begin our racing programs one-half hour earlier the before," noted assistant general manager of racing and facilities, Shawn Wiles. "We annually set post times earlier during this time of the year in an effort to get our races completed during the daylight hours." The Sullivan County oval offers live harness racing on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. However, on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27 there will be no racing. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

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