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(Monticello, NY). Having reached a 50 year milestone working in the harness racing industry (with 34 years serving as Monticello Raceway’s publicity director), today John Manzi announced his retirement effective December 19th, 2014. Commenting on his retirement, Manzi stated, “Every race has to come to an end. And after five decades of answering the call to the post, the time is right for me to relax a little and enjoy my golf clubs and my grandchildren. "After seeing so much being at the helm of the Monticello Raceway public relations office for many years," Manzi said, "one thing remains supremely important to me. It’s all of the good people I have met and the friends I have made.”  While he is officially retiring, Monticello Raceway management and John Manzi have agreed that he will continue to write articles for the track and from time-to-time he will offer assistance to racing operations office. Laurette Pitts, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Empire Resorts, Inc., owner of Monticello Raceway, stated, “John Manzi is simply an industry legend. Through good times and bad, John played a pivotal role in promoting the harness racing sport. Utilizing his unique brand of creativity, he generated an incalculable amount of good will and positive exposure for Monticello Raceway.  While his booming laugh and friendly smile will be greatly missed, we understand his desire to enter this new phase of his life.” Manzi began his harness racing career in 1958, three years before he would graduate from Monticello High School, when he began working as a trainer at the stables his family owned locally. He consequently began his racing career where he won seven out of eight of his first races at local county fairs.  In 1974, after living and racing all over the East Coast, he got a chance to come back home when he became the assistant to Monticello Raceway Racing Secretary. Two years later, after a brief stint as Racing Secretary, Manzi was assigned to Monticello Raceway’s office of publicity and public relations. In 1980 he was promoted to the position of publicity director. From racing elephants, to camels, to elephants against camels, to having a former New York Giants football player race against a horse, Manzi built an impressive legacy of garnering attention for Monticello Raceway. Monticello Casino and Raceway Assistant General Manager Shawn Wiles commented, “Everyone in our industry knows about John’s uncanny ability to generate positive publicity. What few people know is that apart from managing the big publicity events for our track, John is a universal ambassador for the entire harness racing sport.” A tireless fundraiser, Manzi has helped numerous industry organizations offset day-to -day expenses through his benevolent efforts. He has been the impetus for money raised and donated to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, the Goshen Historic Track, the Saratoga Harness Hall of Fame, the Standardbred Retirement Fund and the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. As a driving force in the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (“USHWA”), he runs its annual banquet that honors their local horsemen and then uses the proceeds to fund numerous other worthwhile causes throughout the year. Besides his promotional work of the sport at Monticello Raceway, he has done publicity for the New York Sire Stakes and other New York State races and worked for Bruce Hamilton when he was the executive director of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State. He is also the publicist for the Billings Amateur Driving Series and the North American Amateur Drivers Association. He is a former national president of both USHWA and the Harness Publicist Association.   Manzi's exceptional efforts have not gone unnoticed through the years. He is a member of the Communicator's Hall of Fame in Goshen and has received the Proximity Award from USHWA, the Pinnacle Award from the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, the Appreciation Award from Harness Horsemen International, the Laurel Award from New York City USHWA and was named USHWA's Person of the Year in 1992. “I can’t thank Monticello Raceway management enough for all the wonderful years I’ve spent here.” Manzi added. “I grew-up in the area, graduated from Monticello High School in 1961, and always had a special feeling in my heart for Monticello Raceway; like ‘it was my own race track’. Some say I’ve been good for the raceway, but I say the raceway has been good for me. I couldn’t have been more dedicated if I had owned the raceway myself.” The entire Monticello Casino and Raceway management team and employees thank John for his years of dedicated service and wish John a long and healthy retirement.  by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

After again running another successful harness racing awards banquet in late November the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of U.S. Harness Writers again donated $3000 to Historic Track at their monthly Board Meeting on December 10. The presentation of the check was made to Steve Jones, President of Historic Track's Board of Directors by John Manzi, the chapter's banquet chairman who is also a longtime Historic Track Board member. "The check looks like is has seen better days," Jones said to which Manzi replied, "Still, it's worth $3000 and you can take that to the bank!" The donation will be matched and the National Historic Landmark will actually end-up with $6,000. For the 31st consecutive year the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association has donated to Historic Track the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Last summer the organization presented a $3000 check to Museum President Ebby Gerry, Jr. prior to the ceremonies at the Hall of Fame Banquet in Goshen, NY in early July. Since the mid 1980's the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA has donated money to Goshen Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum. Money raised for the donations is made possible from successful chapter banquets and the continued support of the chapter's charity journals. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

This year USHWA's National Amateur Driver of the Year Award goes to Bob "Rapid Rail" Krivelin and it could be said that Krivelin won the honor in a split decision. His name rose to the top over other prolific drivers and for the New York City wholesale food purveyor it marks the third time that he has received this prestigious award. When Krivelin was notified he was on vacation in Florida relaxing, swimming and playing golf. But when he answered his cell phone and found out the news, to say he was jubilant would have been an understatement. "I'm really happy and proud to be named the top amateur driver again this year, especially when the amateur driving colony is the best it's ever been. To be chosen over the talented others really makes me feel great," Krivelin said via cell phone. "I work hard at staying in shape and I feel that this was my best year yet, and I feel I'm driving better than I ever have. I drove with more confidence this year ,too." From 74 seasonal starts Krivelin has 15 wins, 10 seconds and 13 thirds for a very respectable .336 UDR. His seasonal victory total is second only to the 22 winners he reined during 2001 when he was named Amateur Driver of the Year for the first time. Two years ago Krivelin copped his second amateur driving title and although he rarely drives more than 75 times a year he thus has far reined 167 winners since he began his amateur career in 1996. Some of his triumphs this season include winning the $12,000 Billings Eastern Region Final with Permanent Joy in a time of 1:57 at Pocono Downs on November 12 and Krivelin won the $14,000 Final of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's spring trotting series with Current Crisis in a 1:59.3 clocking at Yonkers Raceway back in May. "I love amateur racing," he says. "In what other sport can a participant get a chance to compete side by side with their hero's? That's a big draw for the amateur movement in harness racing." And while he was on the subject Krivelin expounds how harness racing wouldn't be the same if it weren't for the amateurs. "Just look at how many invest in race horses and employ professional trainers and drivers.Take Doc (Scott) Woogen for instance; he must have 40 horses with various trainers and drivers many of which he drives himself when time allows. And me, I have 13 horses, three which I train and drive myself, and the rest with professional trainers and drivers. And like many other amateur guys I purchased a farm to house my stock." From a young age Krivelin, who hails from the Bronx, was bitten by the harness racing bug. "When I was a youngster I used to sneak into Yonkers Raceway with some friends after the seventh race when they opened the gates," Krivelin said unashamedly. "Those days, foolishly, youngsters weren't allowed in the grandstand. "It was from the excitement and fun of the races at Yonkers that I got hooked on harness racing. The crowds were tremendous, the racing top notch, so what wasn't there to like?" After becoming a successful businessman and then spending much of his leisure time around the Meadowlands he purchased a few horses and in 1996 "Kriv", as many of his friends call him, drove his first race. He finished fifth with Straight Talk at the Meadowlands in 1996 and it was behind that same trotter that year that he won his first race (2:04.2) at Rosecroft Raceway. Winning your first race is often like that first girlfriend who most men usually remember with reverence. But not Kriv. Although in 2003 he drove his own Rapid Rail to a Hambletonian Oaks elimination victory-thus his nickname-- and then finished second in the Final, still he claims his greatest thrill thus far was winning his first race against professional drivers at the Meadowlands in 2001. "I won with a trotter by the name of Heathen Hall who was by Incredible Abe and my dad's (first) name was Abe, "Krivelin said as he recalled the joy of that victory," Although I had won some amateur races at the Meadowlands before it was my first win against field of professionals and it came from the 10-hole. I not only beat the pros but the top drivers that night." But Krivelin is an amateur driver in the true sense of the word. Although he currently owns 13 horses and employs multiple trainers, his main profession is a wholesale food purveyor-or as he claims 'a distributor'-- and he and his partner supply 500 restaurants in New York City, including some of the very best. Much of the money he has earned from his vocation Krivelin has put into the racing game, and says, maybe with tongue in cheek --and maybe not---"It's great when you get hooked on harness racing.... but when you do it's all that you think of and it takes up your whole life." by John Manzi, for USHWA  

Due to the impending snow predicted for the Catskill region in southeastern New York State, Monticello Raceway is cancelling its Tuesday (Dec. 9) racing program. Also cancelled are Tuesday's day and night simulcasts. Qualifying races slated for Wednesday, December 10 will be postponed and raced on Thursday, December 11. The entry box for those qualifiers will remain open until 11:45am on Wednesday. Weather permitting, live racing will resume on Wednesday. First post slated for 12:25pm by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Although qualifying races at Monticello Raceway were scheduled for Wednesday (Dec. 3) , due to a forecasted ice storm on Tuesday evening, the qualifiers will be postponed until Thursday (Dec. 4). Post time on Thursday will be at 10am. Because of the postponement the entry box will remain open until 11:45am on Wednesday. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Due to the impending heavy snowstorm Monticello Raceway is cancelling its live race card on Wed. Nov. 26. Also cancelled are the morning qualifiers on Wednesday as well as the evening simulcasts. However, afternoon simulcasts may be available. With no racing scheduled on Thanksgiving Day, (Nov27) the next live racing program from Monticello Raceway will be on Monday, December 1. First post is slated for 12:25pm by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway  

At a recent meeting of the Auxiliary of Goshen Historic Track at Delancey's Restaurant in the village, the Auxiliary made a $7,000 donation to the members of the Historic Track's Board of Directors who joined them for dinner that evening. Accepting the $7,000 check from co-president Judy Green was Steve Jones, President of the track's Board of Directors . "We are always so very appreciative of the Auxiliary's dedicated efforts and we can't thank them enough", Jones said." The ladies do an outstanding job and work tirelessly to raise money for Historic Track." Money is raised annually through the efforts of members of the Historic Track Auxiliary with an array of fundraisers. Last year $7,000 was donated and in previous years they donated more. And over the past few decades the amount of the Auxiliary's donations is well into six figures . "We apologize that our donation isn't what it usually has been but these are tough times. Still we are always very pleased to be able to provide a $7000 donation to the track from the efforts of our very dedicated volunteers," said Auxiliary co-president Eveline White. by John Manzi, for Goshen Historic Track

Senior director of racing Eric Warner has announced that the draw schedule at Monticello Raceway during the week of Thanksgiving will be altered as follows. On Tuesday, Nov. 25 he'll draw post positions for Monday, December 1. On Wednesday, Nov. 26 he'll draw pp's for Tuesday, December 2 No draw on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day On Friday the draw will be for Wednesday, December 3 Then on Monday, December 8 the draw schedule returns to normal. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

After seven months of competitions in the C.K.G Billings amateur driving series the $25,000 Gold Cup and $15,000 Silver Cup Championships were contested at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon, November 23 with "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello victorious in the Gold with Rebel Strike while Kelly "Sky" Walker copped the Silver with Rush N Supreme. Both events were on the betting card and each was contested at a distance of 1-1/4 miles, which has been the regular feature in the Billings Series finales. But for Zuccarello his 2:31 driving victory was only half of his prize that day. His friend Charlie Longo said that "Mighty Matt" hit the daily double at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday and he was not only referring to Matt's victory but more importantly Longo reported that Zuccarello proposed marriage to his longtime girlfriend Kim Velardi. He even got down on one knee in the winners circle after his victory to make that proposal. The road to that proposal began when Zuccarello left softly from the five-hole and settled in fifth position with Rebel Strike. He was content to follow the leaders until the backside the final time around. When Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff moved Tagmaster in front of him, Zuccarello followed the cover and by the top of the stretch he had Rebel Strike within striking distance. In the lane Rebel Strike was the strong horse and Zuccarello got him up in the final strides to hold off a hard- charging Catching Kate and driver "Marvelous Marvin" Raber to score a neck victory in a time of 2:31. Keystone Sadie finished third for Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin. "It was the greatest day of my life", Zuccarello offered. "I really had a perfect trip. It couldn't have been scripted better. And Charlie's right, I hit the daily double. It was real nice to end the season a pair of wins; Kim's hand and the Gold Cup Championship." It's true Matt felt mighty at days end but then again, so did Mike Simons who owns Rebel Strike especially when his horse got the lion's share of the $25,000 purse. Rebel Strike paid $9.20 for win and for Zuccarello who is looking forward to next season, it was his fourth Billings triumph this year. Another gentleman, Kelly "Sky" Walker had sort of a daily double of his own on Sunday, too. He won the $15,000 Billings Silver Cup Championship with Rush N Supreme in a time of 2:30.4 and he is also is the owner of Rush N Supreme. But Walker's journey to the winners circle was different than Zuccarello's. He too, started from the five-hole but gunned Rush N Supreme to the front and got away with a soft 30.3. From there Walker rated his horse on the front end with each quarter trotted around 30 seconds. After rebuffing a challenge by Dave "Steady As" Yarock and Rompaway Alvin as the field passed the third stanza Rush N Supreme trotted home an easy 1-1/2 winner over Whatnblazes, driven by Dave "Yes Its True" Offenberg. Rompaway Alvin held on for third money. Sent off the even money favorite Rush N Supreme paid $4.00 for win. For Walker it was 9yh seasonal; driving victory and the 98th of his amateur career. "The Billings Season was marked again by 5 separate series and we once again saw an increase in new members. Also noted was an upswing in participation from our core members. The shorter Series format seems to be well received by most and we will continue to make adjustments to try and refine it for the future," said Billings Series president, Tony "the Capo" Verruso. " One such adjustment will be the increase of the money conditions and claiming price in the Mid-West. Starting next year. The conditions for the East and Mid-West will once again be the same. The new slot money in Ohio has rejuvenated racing there and hopefully it will do the same for our membership in that region." by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Driver Series

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

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