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The Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA held its 57th Annual Awards Banquet for the third consecutive year in Middletown, NY at The Fountains on Sands Road on Sunday, November 22. The night got underway with a cocktail hour at 5:30pm followed by dinner at 7pm. Honored were the outstanding efforts both human and equine at Monticello Raceway and Historic Track this year as well as prominent individuals for their contributions to the industry. The Excelsior Award was presented to the knowledgeable and hardworking Betty Holt, the executive director of the Harness Horse Breeders of NYS. Among her duties is traveling the state and visiting the pari-mutuel tracks and non-betting ovals twice a year in addition to running and attending various seminars and meetings that her office participates. The recipient of the prestigious Phil Pines Award was the award winning writer, Barbara Bedell, whose daily column in the Times Herald Record is read and enjoyed by readers from all walks of life. With harness racing a staple in the Hudson Valley, Barbara is a great promoter of good deeds by the people in the sport that evolved in and around Goshen NY as far back as 1837. Few people in harness racing are as pleasant to be around and or as talented as Eddie Hart who grew up near Goshen NY. His superb horsemanship and his easy going demeanor made it easy for the local scribes to present him with the John Gilmour Good Guy Award. Although Eddie has had many local standouts but he was catapulted into the national spotlight with the success of his top pupil, Roll With Joe. . Janet Terhune, the director of the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, was the 32nd recipient of the Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award for her tireless efforts and her expertise in promoting the sport at Historic Track as well as the Harness Racing Museum. Hannah Miller was named the Chapter's "Amateur Driver of the Year" and she's just the second woman to win such an honor. Hannah has been the scourge of the amateur races this year and she has recorded 32 winners this year alone and has a .447 UDR. And she 'dances every dance' as a member of many amateur driving organizations. . Young, Shawn Simons, 24, the son of talented horseman Mike Simons, was presented with the chapter's Rising Star Award. Just last week he received his full "A" license as a provisional driver Shawn had driven 19 winners and his future in the sulky seems secure. And an Award of Appreciation was presented to Monticello Raceway's longtime announcer Howard Oil who has been behind the Mighty M microphone since 1984. His love of harness racing and flawless race calls have endeared him to racing fans. Brenda Messenger, Dr. Scott Woogen and Phil Shapiro's KJ Erich was named the 2 Year Old Pacer of the Year" while P & J Stables Outsidecourt garnered the "2 Year Old Trotter of the Year" award". Three-Year- Old Pacer of The Year honors went to Robert, James and John Dill's filly, Moccasin Blue Chip, while Bob McNerney's Hollywood's That Way, was the choice for "3-Year- Old Trotter of the Year". The "Older Trotting Horse of the Year" award" went to Bill & Carol Fuhs and Lynette Buter's Best Friend Always while Jim Doherty Jr.'s Linda Marie took home the "Older Trotting Mare of the Year" trophy. Giddyallyougot walked away with the "Older Pacing Horse of the Year" award and Mike Schultz' Powerful Love was the unanimous choice for "Older Pacing Mare of the Year" honors. Since claiming races are a staple of Monticello Raceway's racing programs multiple awards were presented in the claiming categories. Claiming Pacer Awards for horses and geldings went to Ed and James Hall's Talldarknhandsome, Mike Schultz'Amazing Quest, and Larry Waldbaum's Where's Waldo. While Claiming Pacer Awards for fillies and mares were presented to Lou Vutianitis' Rusty's Treasure, Ed Hall's Rusty's Flying, Mike Schultz's Caviart Savannah, and Larry Stalbaum's I'm A Nice Girl. Claiming Trotter Awards for horses and geldings went to Mike Simons' Ashcroft, Dr. Sam Sbarra's Baltimor AS, and Barbara Russo's City Kid. Claiming Trotter awards for fillies and mares were presented to Mike Schultz' Grace N Charlie and Larry Stalbaum's Ellen's Streak. Mike Schultz's horses have won over 100 races this year alone at the Mighty M and he easily walked away with the "Owner of the Year Award". Giddyallyougot was named "Horse of the Year" as a result of the 7-year old Cams Card Shark gelding winning 16 races in 33 starts and amassing over $54,000 in purse money racing exclusively at the Mighty M. He is owned by C and F Associates and trained by Andrew Adamczyk and was driven by Bruce Aldrich, Jr. Hall of Fame publicist and past USHWA National president John Manzi, served as the banquet emcee. by John Manzi, for the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA

This year, more than ever before, the proliferation of amateur driving clubs has played a significant role in supplying horses to help fill betting races, especially at some racetracks on the east coast. And better yet, the public has come to feel as secure in wagering on the amateurs as they would on professional drivers. And what now has become a new normal, the participating amateurs are members of multiple clubs which among others include; the Billings series, The NAADA series, and at Monticello Raceway, the Catskill Club series. So it wasn't unusual that Tony Verruso, the president of Billings, also participated this season in the NAADA races as well as the Catskill offerings. On Thursday afternoon, Nov. 19, in the $7000 Final of the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club Series at Monticello Raceway Verruso scored a hard fought victory with Talldarknhandsome in a time of 2:00.4 over an extremely muddy racetrack. And, for the record, it was the third win the for that horse and driver combo in the five- race CADC series. Despite the inclement weather and the muddy racetrack the amateur drivers made a good showing with four horses on the wire at the finish. The eventual winner scooted to the lead from the two hole and took a seat behind the betting favorite, McCabe Hall (Tony Ciufettelli). Despite horses two and three wide in the early going Verruso was steadfast in holding his position until the field rounded the final turn and headed for paydirt, when at that point, he angled Talkldarknhandsome to the passing lane and under strong urging the veteran Lifesign gelding got up in the finals strides to overtake McCabe Hall and score th pacer's 16th win of the season. " The mud and the falling rain made it tough going out there today," Verruso said referring to the racing conditions on the track. "The outside flow just seemed to hang but that worked to my advantage since I was tight on Ciuffetelli's back right from the start. "When we reached the top of the stretch I angled the big guy to the passing lane he lumbered along slowly gaining ground with every long stride and at the finish he got his head in front of McCabe Hall for the victory. "He nice horse but he's so big that he has no real quick speed," Verruso added. "He needs constant urging but he usually gets the job done." Third place in the photo was Joe Lee with Dexter Jig while Paul Walker was fourth with Art;s Jimmy Ray, a half-length behind Dexter Jig. Talldarknhandsome, owned by Ed Hall and James Hall and trained by Dan Gill, paid $13.00 for win. For Verruso, it marked his sixth seasonal driving victory and the 59th of his amateur career. by John Manzi, for the Catskill Amateur Club

Monticello, NY - Each year since 1959 the Monticello Goshen Chapter USHWA has held an annual awards banquet to honor prominent people in the sport as well as the exploits of the local horses and horsemen who compete at Monticello Raceway and Goshen Historic Track and over the years, from the monies raised from those banquets, the chapter has donated tens of thousands of dollars to both Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. According to longtime harness racing publicist and past USHWA National president, John Manzi, the chapter members take pride in being able to donate money from those banquets back to the industry. "We are lucky to be based in the area where harness racing began and we feel it's our honor to donate annually to both Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame; after all, Goshen is to harness racing what Cooperstown is to baseball," Manzi says. This year's annual awards banquet, the 57th presented by the Monticello Goshen Chapter USHWA, will be held on Sunday evening November 22nd at The Fountains at the Wallkill Golf Club on Sands Road in Middletown, NY and once again it promises to be an outstanding gathering of great people in our sport. Besides honoring local horses and horsemen the chapter will also cite prominent industry people. This year the chapter's main honorees will be Betty Holt (Excelsior Award), Janet Terhune (Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award), local columnist Barbara Bedell (Phil Pines Award), Hannah Miller (Amateur Driver of the Year), Ed Hart (John Gilmour Good Guy Award), Howard Oil (Award of Appreciation) and Shawn Simons (Rising Star Award) . The Banquet is open to the public and tickets are still available for anyone who would like to attend. The ticket price of $65 includes a one-hour open bar, a full course dinner and door prizes. It promises to be a fun night and tickets can be purchased by contacting Shawn Wiles at ( or call him at 845-794-4100x458. Tickets can also be had by contacting Chris Tully at ( Fom the Monticello Goshen Chapter USHWA

With the blowing wind and the intermittent rain making an awful afternoon for racing at Monticello Raceway professionals and amateurs alike had to be at the top of their game just to navigate the muddy racetrack. Arguably, going was the toughest for the participating amateurs who rarely drive during these kind of circumstances. Despite the deplorable conditions two NAADA trots, and one Catskill Club pace, dotted the 10-race Mighty M card and when the afternoon had ended Bobby Krivelin, Tony Ciuffetelli and Bob Hechkoff each were victorious in their contests. In the first of two NAADA trots, Krivelin, a three time Amateur Driver of the Year, got away slowly from post six with Permanent Joy and they continued forward movement and gradually gained on the pace-setter, Alternat Thursdays (Bob Hechkoff) who was leading the field by open lengths from the get-go. Fifth at the half and then fourth heading into the final turn Krivelin hustled his veteran gelding three-deep around traffic and at the top of the lane they took aim at Alternat Thursdays. By midstretch they had pulled even with the leader and under gentle urging Permanent Joy trotted by Alternat Thursdays and went on to a length victory in 2:01.3 over the muddy racetrack.Ozymandias, in from Saratoga, finished third for Matt Zuccarello "Going three deep on the final turn was winning move, " Krivelin chirped after the race. "If I didn't move around horses on the final turn Hechkoff would have gotten away from my horse and our fortunes would have been reversed." .Permanent Joy, owned by the Hero Stables and trained b y Krivelin paid $6.40 for win. A second NAADA Trot was a laugher for Bob Hechkoff's, No Recess. With the field shortened to six and a break before the start by Starsaboverallerage (Tony Verruso) No Recess burst to the lead and played catch me if you can which no one was able to do. Hechkoff got his charge over to a half in 1:01.2 and once he gave the trotter his head No Recess poured it on and began opening daylight on Windsun Galliano and Tony Ciuffetelli who was shadowing the leader. But No recess had too much class for this field and cruised to an easy six-length triumph in a 2:00.4 clocking. Windsun Galliano held second while Knockout Rosie and Bob Davis finished third, some 10 lengths behind the winner. This was No Recess's third consecutive victory and eighth of the year. Co-owned by RBH Ventures and Kyle Spanola and trained by Spagnola No Recess paid just $2.40 for win. The other amateur event, a pace in the Catskill Club's Series, saw Tony Ciuffetelli and McCabe Hall out-foot Hannah Miller's Rise Above It in the deep stretch to garner the lion's share of the purse. After racing on the lead from the reel, McCabe Hall braced for a stiff challenge by Rise Above It as the two headed into the final turn. Initially it appeared that Rise Above It was going to overtake McCabe Hall on the paddock turn but when they straightened for home McCabe Hall inched back to the lead and according to announcer Howard Oil's final words "McCabe Hall would not be denied!". At the wire the 13 year old Cambest gelding was a length better than Rise Above It in the 2:00.1 mile.Shark Treasure was third for Gerry Fielding. Ciuffetelli also owns and trains the winner who returned an $8.30 win mutuel. By john manzi for NAADA & the Catskill Club

On Veteran's Day , Nov. 11,at Monticello Raceway two local amateur driving clubs made donations to the local veterans food bank in Monticello. Both the North American Amateur Drivers Association and the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club each donated $1000 to help feed their less fortunate veteran brothers. Accepting the checks was Kathy Kreiter, the program administrator of the Sullivan County Veterans Food Bank of Monticello which is combined with the Sullivan County Federation for the Homeless. "We appreciate the donations which will be an incredible help to our organization for the less fortunate veterans," Kreiter said upon receiving the money. Alan Schwartz is the vice president of NAADA while Gerry Fielding is the president of CADC. Both are amateur drivers and veterans of the Armed Forces and Schwartz is also the president of the Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association and he served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam Conflict. "As the Vice President of NAADA and a veteran myself, I'm extremely happy to be able to help my fellow veterans , "said Schwartz after he presented the huge check replica in the winner's circle at Monticello Raceway. His comments were echoed by Fielding in his presentation. But earlier this season, in late October at Yonkers Raceway, at the conclusion of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's annual fall trotting series the organizations president Joe Faraldo presented to the Breast Cancer Foundation a check for $3000. "We (NAADA) have been donating to worthwhile charities for many years now and it is our pleasure to be able to do so," Faraldo said. "The revenues are mainly comprised of amateur driver's nominating, starting and entry fees, along with additional funds from the NAADA treasury. Additional money came from the greater revenues collected this year when NAADA hosted international amateur driving competitions this season. "NAADA and its membership are grateful to the participating race tracks for permitting our members to race for these most worthwhile causes," by John Manzi, for North American & Catskill Amateur Clubs

If you don't think that amateur racing is now an integral part of the sport's fabric, consider this. Yesterday (Nov. 5), of the nine races carded at Monticello Raceway four were for amateur drivers; two were Billings trots and two Catskill Club paces. Hannah Miller won both Catskill Club races and if she hadn't been interfered with in her Billings start the talented lady would have had her first "hat trick". Still, it was the third time this season that "Hurricane Hannah" drove two winners on one card. In further action, the Billings trots went to Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff and to "Dandy Don" Hoover. In her first Catskill Series pace Miller left softly with ER Leon as John Kokinos and Liberate Hanover led the field by the first stanza in :28.2. With Tyler's Great and Tony Verruso still on the limb heading to the halfway point Miller wheeled ER Leon three-deep, circled the leaders, and went on to an easy five-length triumph in a time of 1:57. Liberate Hanover held on for second while Dexter Jig and Joe Lee finished third. Sent off as the prohibitive favorite ER Leon paid $2.10 across the board. After the race it was announced that the winner was claimed for $5000 by local trainer Steve Moore. In the second Catskill Club pace Miller scored again, this time with Rise Above also in a 1:57 clocking. After staring from the seven-hole and despite making a break before the starting judge said go Miller used a second-over cover trip to finally gain command before the clubhouse turn the second time around. Once on top it was all Hannah and her pacer as Rise Above It skipped away to a four length lead at the three quarters which was opened to seven lengths at the finish. McCabe Hall and Tony Ciuffetelli finished second and Art's Jimmy Ray (Paul Walker) was third. Strangely, especially for Hannah whom the bettors adore, her pacer, Rise Above It paid $13.60. Also on the card were two Billings trots just weeks before the rich series finales which will be contested at Harrah's Philadelphia on November 22. Adding to his Billings point lead Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff cruised to an easy victory in his split when only three horses remained in contention after a breaking horse on the first turn caused interference, not only with Hannah Miller's Jacks to Open, but with the trailing horses. After the first turn Alternat Thursdays and "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo's Dreamsteeler raced one-two all the way to the final turn before Hechkoff's trotter drew off to a four length triumph over Faraldo's. Third place -16 lengths behind the winner-- was Shallow Hal and driver Simeon "Hot Rod" Hunsdon. With Miller's Jacks To Open knocked off his feet on the first turn, and sent off at odds of 1-5, it made those who backed the winner joyous when Alternat Thursdays returned a $14.40 win mutuel. In the other Billings trot "Dandy Don" Hoover worked out a great journey when he left strongly with Choke Hold and parked "Coach Paul" Minore's Wygant Prince to a :29.2 quarter before yielding command. Hoover then sat chilly in the two-hole as Wygant Prince parked Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford and Starsaboveallerage until the latter finally tired as the two headed into the final turn. With Wygant Prince still in command as the field straightened for home Hoover rallied Choke Hold and they trotted on to a length victory in a 2:01 clocking. Wygant Prince held second while Chocolate Xplosion and Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin took home the show dough. Choke Hold, trained by Lon Rosenfeld, was sent off at odds of 13-1 and paid $28.00 for win. by John Manzi for the Billings Series and Catskill Amateur Club Series

For the 29th time this season Hannah Miller has emerged victorious in an amateur driving competition with the most recent victory coming in the first division of NAADA's fall trotting series at Freehold Raceway on Saturday (Oct. 31) against a field of harness racing male counterparts when the 5-foot; 4-inch miss scored a 1:59.2 triumph with Jack's Reef. A second NAADA event went to driver Bob Hechkoff and No Recess when they turned back six others in a time of 1:58.4. But once again the main story-line was the girl defeating her male counterparts at their own game. Miller, from a harness racing family has put her business degree from Central Florida University on hold while she has fun racing in amateur events. And with her success she's in no hurry to pursue that business degree. Despite starting from the six-hole In her NAADA split she fired her trotter to the lead which was yielded when Alan Schwartz and Cassa's Image allowed her to take command in a :28.4 first panel. But from there it was catch me if you can and nobody could as Miller and Jack's Reef kept the pedal to the metal and eventually drew off to a three-length triumph over Cassa's Image. Bluebird Kidsqueen garnered the show dough for driver Dave Offenberg. "Jack's Reef was very good today," Miller said after her driving victory. " I was able to leave and get to the front from the outside and once I cleared Jack was strong the rest of the mile." Owned by Jordan Derue and trained by Vincent Fusco, Jr. Jack's Reef was sent off as the even-money favorite and paid $4.00 for win. Also sent off as an even-money favorite in the second NAADA division No Recess and Bob Hechkoff didn't disappoint their backers either. After starting from the pylon position, No Recess made every pole a winning one en route to a 1-1/4 length triumph over second choice, Permanent Joy and driver Bobby Krivelin. Tony Cuiffetelli and Tagmaster had to go three-deep around tired horses on the final turn but still managed to rally for third money. The winner is co-owned by Hechkoff's R.B.H. Ventures and Kyle Spagnola and is also trained by Spagnola. No Recess returned a $4.00 mutuel. For the 6 year old Rich Boy gelding it was his sixth seasonal triumph and for Hechkoff, who's enjoying his best season in the sulky, it was win number 18 for the executive recruiter. John Manzi for NAADA

It doesn't happen often but last night at Yonkers Raceway "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo won a race- and a Billings trot at that- when he scored a come-from-behind harness racing victory with Dreamsteeler in a time of 2:01 in his division. The other split went to James "Jimmy Boy" Marshall, IV when his trotter, Flex The Muscle stopped the timer at 2:00.2. In his non-betting event, Faraldo settled his trotter in along the pylons in the early going and was fourth as the field passed the first panel. Nearing the half, Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff was first to move with Alternat Thursdays followed by Dave "Yes Its true" Offenberg with Whatnblazes. But smartly Faraldo sat still until the field approached the third stanza and at that point Dreamsteeler was full of trot so Faraldo just fed her racetrack. They went three-deep and were head to head with the Alternat Thursdays as they straightened for home. In the lane Dreamsteeler began trotting away from the others and rallied to a two-length victory over Alternat Thursdays. Four lengths farther back was Celebrity Stimulus in rein to David "Poppa" Glasser. "It's been a long time since I sat behind one that didn't wear a lip cord," Faraldo said jokingly. "As (John) "Sep" Gilmour used to say whenever I got lucky enough to win one at Monticello, 'even a blind squirrel sometimes gets an acorn.'" Deamsteeler, a 4 year old daughter of Cash Hall is owned by the PT Stable and trained by Richard Banca. Although Faraldo, a prominent attorney, is quick to joke about his driving abilities he was named USHWA's Amateur Driver of the Year in 2000 and tonight's victory was the 139th of his racing career. Jimmy Boy" Marshall had a similar trip with Flex The Muscles and they were in fourth position at the quarter after leaving from the three- hole. Heading to the half he moved out behind Starsaboveallerage (Allen Cisco) who was hung out by the ABC Banker, who was driven by "Bullet Bob" Davis. Up the backside Marshall hustled his trotter alongside Davis' charge and they were one-two heading into the final turn. Down the stretch both ABC Banker and Flex The Muscle raced eye to eye to the finish with the latter prevailing by a nose in a 2:00.2 clocking. Third place, a length behind the top two finishers, was Admirable Hanover handled by Vanessa "the Contessa' Karlewicz. The winner, an 8-year-old Muscles Yankee stallion, is owned by the Arden Homestead Stable and trained by Chuck Connor, Jr. It was the trotter's third seasonal win pulling a sulky. (Flex The Muscle is equally adept racing under saddle). For Jimmy Boy Marshall it was his third seasonal driving victory. John Manzi

On Thursday afternoon (October 29) at Monticello Raceway two paces in the Catskill Amateur Club Series a pair of harness racing Tony's emerged victorious; Tony Ciuffetelli with McCabe Hall and Tony Verruso with Talldarknhandsome. Cuiffetelli, a retired correction officer from Saratoga Springs, used the front-end route to score a 1:57.4 pacing triumph with his own McCabe Hall holding off a late charge by ER Leon, driven by Hannah Miller. After starting from the five-hole Ciuffetelli, a graduate from the Morrisville Equine program, parked out Paul Walker and GoGo Buckeye to a :28.2 first panel. With McCabe Hall still on cruise control as they passed the midway point Hannah Miller, who was second-up with ER Leon, moved her pacer around Walker's and was then in second place but still on the limb. For there McCabe Hall and ER Leon raced side by side around the final turn and into the home stretch. The two pacers were head to head through the lane with Ciuffetelli's McCabe Hall the stronger of the two at the wire with McCabe Hall a neck winner over ER Leon. Third place went to Casimir Jubilee with Allan Cisco aboard. "He's a classy old horse and a pleasure to drive," Ciuffetelli said of McCabe Hall. Owned and trained by Ciuffetelli the winner returned a $5.80 win mutuel. Recovering from a bad bout with Lyme Disease it was Cuiffetelli's third driving victory in 14 seasonal starts and 26th of his amateur career. The second Catskill amateur event, also a pace, saw Tony Verruso notch his second consecutive victory behind Talldarknhandsome. One of the biggest horses racing today Talldarknhandsome approaches 18 hands and surprisingly the big fella is lazy, and a stat which seems odd since the 7-year-old Life Sign gelding scored his 15th victory today. After Gerry Fielding and Tyler's A Big Star parked Verruso's pacer past the quarter in :28.3 Fielding kept his challenger on the limb as the field passed the halfway point in :57.3. However rounding the third turn Tyler's a Big Guy took a misstep and went off-stride which caused confusion among the trailing horses. Talldarknhansome being first-over cleared Tyler's A Big Star as did Hannah Miller with Rise Above it. But the breaking horse scattered the field and it became a two horse race from the five-eighths to the wire with Talldarknhandsome prevailing by length over Rise Above It. Third place went to Art's Jimmy Ray in rein to Paul Walker. "He's not easy to drive,"Verruso said of Talldarknhandsome. "He'd so big he's hard to see around and he runs out on the turns and runs in on the straightaways. But with constant urging he just keeps going forward." Owned by Ed Hall and James Hall and trained by Danny Gill Talldarknhandsome paid $3.10 for win. Verruso, president of the Billings Series, notched his 5th seasonal victory and 58th of his amateur career. by John Manzi for the Catskill Amateur Club

'Neither rain, nor snow, nor gloom of night can stop the mail' paraphrases a slogan once used by the United States Postal Service. But those words could be used to depict the harness racing conditions that the participating Billings members had to endure on Saturday night (Oct. 24) in their Midwest region trot at Dayton Raceway in the final competition before the regional finals. Nevertheless, despite the deplorable weather conditions Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg not only was a convincing winner with Windsong Illusion in a time of 1:57.4 but in the process he established a new lifetime mark with the 6 year old altered son of Kadabra. YL Crasher and Gary "Soups" Campbell sped to the lead when the wings of the mobile gate folded and kept Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford and Bold Strike on the limb as the leaders passed the quarter pole in a swift :27.4. At that point Ehrenberg was in third along the pylons. "It was really tough going out there with the pouring rain and the sloppy racetrack but I figured if I let Steve in in front of me that when I decided to make a move I wouldn't have to go around him and I'd have clear sailing," Ehrenberg related via telephone after the race. It turned out to be a great strategy because after a :58.2 half Ehrenberg moved out to challenge YL Crasher and he was alongside Campbell's trotter at the third panel as the timer flashed 1:27.2. From there Windsong Illusion began to draw off and they coasted home an easy four- length winner over Bold Strike. Third place went to the betting favorite Heza Rube driven by Bob "Lumberman" Troyer. The winner, owned and trained by Rod Debeck, was sent off at odds of almost 7-1. It was the second win in 10 seasonal starts for Windsong Illusion. He returned a $15.80 mutuel payoff. And for Ehrenberg, a real estate magnate from Lewis Center, Ohio, the victory was his third this season and 48th of his amateur driving career. John Manzi

Who would have ever imagined that amateur harness racing drivers would be able to do double duty; that is: driving at one racetrack during the afternoon and at another in the evening? Well it happened again yesterday (Thurs. Oct.22) when Monticello Raceway hosted two Billings Series trots and a Catskill Amateur Drivers pace in the afternoon while Yonkers Raceway accommodated three trots in the NAADA Series. It was the fourth time this season that amateur drivers were afforded the opportunity to compete at two different raceways on the same date. And many did. The most prolific on Thursday was Bobby Krivelin. He not only won a Billings trot at Monticello Raceway in the daytime but last night (Thurs. Oct. 22) he scored a decisive victory with Permanent Joy in his NAADA division at Yonkers. Of the 17 drivers who competed in the three Yonkers Raceway trots, 10 also raced in the afternoon at the Mighty M. However Krivelin was the only one with a driving double, although Dave Offenberg came close when he finished second at Monticello and was victorious at Yonkers when he reined his King's Cavalier to a 2:00.1 triumph in his NAADA division. For that matter the reigning amateur driving queen, Hannah Miller, also had a win at Monticello and a second place finish at Yonkers. Joe Lee , the New York Yankees Assistant Clubhouse Manager, won the other NAADA trot at Yonkers when he guided Keystone Boca home first in a time of 1:59.4. In Krivelin's race, he sent Permanent Joy to the lead from the three-hole and they eased their way to a 1:01 half before turning on the afterburners and trotting to a three-length 1:59 triumph over Commissioner Daley and driver Matt Zuccarello. Hallanet, with Bob Davis in the sulky, garnered the show dough. Another NAADA trot saw Dave Offenberg start slowly with King's Cavalier only to move him fuirst-up approaching the half and then travel an overland route to a solid one length victory over Tagmaster and Tony Ciuffetelli. Third place went to Wygant Prince driven by Paul Minore. In a third NAADA event, Joe Lee and Keystone Boca had to trot a :29.1 first quarter to gain command over Hannah Miller and Pembroke Snapshot but after that Keystone Boca had control all the way to the wire for a 1-1/4 length victory over Miller's charge in a time of 1:59.4. Third place went to Bambino Hall and driver Jimmy Marshall IV. John Manzi

Harness racing's greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series, made a stop at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon (Oct. 22) and when the judges hung the official signs "Hurricane Hannah" Miller and Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin emerged victorious in their respective trotting divisions. Miller won with Casanova Lindy in a time of 1:59 while Krivelin was victorious with Current Crisis in 2:01.1. Ms. Miller, who has been leading her gentlemen rivals in races won this season added her 28th victory to her 2015 resume when she used the front-end route with Casanova Lindy to turn back Alternat Thursdays, driven by Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff. After starting from the three-hole Miller gunned her trotter to the lead and had command on the first turn and they led the field by the quarter in :28.3. Dave "Yes It's True" Offenberg was stuck on the limb with Whatnblazes and they pressed Casanova Lindy on the outside past the half in :58.1. Still second on the outside Whatnblazes raced neck and neck with Casanova Lindy by the third stanza in 1:29.4. Meanwhile Hechkoff's trotter was enjoying a two hole journey from the get-go and was just a length behind Casanova Lindy as the field trotted into the final turn. When they straightened for home Whatnblazes tired which gave Alternat Thursday a clear shot at the pace-setter and Hechkoff moved his charge to the outside and took aim at Casanova Lindy. Both trotters raced side by side through the lane but strong urging by Miller was what was needed for Casanova Lindy to prevail by a neck at the wire. "He gets lazy sometimes and I sometimes have to get after him a bit in the stretch," Miller said after her driving victory Asked why she decided to race Casanova Lindy on the lead when he's been racing from off the pace, Miller replied; "He's good on the front-end but unfortunately we've been drawing outside positions which makes it hard to gain command without taking the race out of him early in the mile", she said. "Today with the three hole I decided to shoot for the lead which we gained on the first turn and though we were challenged most of the way my horse got a breather as we headed to the three quarters. And even though Bob (Hechkoff) had a good trip behind me the entire way when he moved to challenge in the stretch his yelling and whipping only made my horse dig in more," Miller explained. Third place went to Rose Run Nash, driven by "Bullet Bob" Davis. Casanova Lindy notched his 13 seasonal triumph and paid $4.30 for win. He is owned by the Nick Surick Stables and the Erv Miller Stables and trained by Nick Surick. Krivelin, USHWA's three time Amateur Driver of the Year, felt his trotter Current Crisis was the best in their race so despite leaving from six-hole Krivelin gunned for the lead but Dave "Steady As" Yarock and CSI What's My Name weren't inclined to let Current Crisis have command.however,as they headed for the half-way point Current Crisis trotted to the front before the half which was clocked in :59.2. "We got a breather up the backside which was all my horse needed to win," Krivelin said. "He's nice horse to drive and he knows how to win and he's especially tough when he's on top ." Vanessa "the Contessa" Karlewicz, an outstanding equestrian, reined Candid Man home in third place. The winner is owned by Krivelin's Hero Stables and trained by Krivelin. Current Crisis was sent of as the prohibitive favorite in the six-horse field and returned a $2.50 win mutuel. A third amateur race sponsored by the Catskill Amateur Club, saw Tony Verruso work hard behind a sluggish Talldarknhandsome to score a 1:59 victory over Art's Jimmy Ray and driver Paul Walker. Third place went to Casimir Jubilee driven by Steve Oldford Owned by Ed Hall and James Hall, Jr. the winner paid $5.80. Three more amateur races --in the NAADA Trotting Series--are carded at Yonkers Raceway in the evening. John Manzi

Amateur harness racing seems to be getting more prominent with each passing season. Not only do an overwhelming amount of members own horses and employ professional trainers but, as a group, they support various charitable and worthwhile organizations. According to Joe Faraldo, president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA), members of his organization over the years have donated nearly $70,000 to needy causes. Included among them are the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Awareness and various Veteran's organizations. "The NAADA has sent $1,000 to the Special Strides Project near Freehold Raceway and provided a $500 check to help the American Harness Racing Secretaries as we do every year for their annual meeting as a way to show our appreciation for their help and patience with us," Faraldo said. "In addition, this Saturday evening we will present a $3000 check to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, a breast cancer awareness event organized by Monica Banca and Kristen Bartlett at Yonkers Raceway. Any of our members wishing to join us are obviously more than welcome for the photo op and presentation. "And later this year, on or near Veterans' Day, NAADA vice president, Alan Schwartz, will donate a $1000 check to the Sullivan County Veterans Food Bank and Federation of the Homeless in Monticello, NY. John Manzi

A pair of trots went to post at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon (Oct.15) and a couple of harness racing "Bob's" emerged victorious. Bob Davis won the first split while Bob Hechkoff copped the other; Davis scored with ABC Banker in 2:00.2 and Hechkoff with No Recess in 1:58. Davis, who co-owns ABC Banker, said he had been telling his trainer Danny Gill to have ABC Banker's drivers send the trotter to the lead because "he is tough on the front-end". So when ABC Banker drew the two-hole Davis exercised his opinion and sent the horse to the lead and in the process he played hardball and refused to yield command when the betting favorite Pembroke Snapshot (Hannah Miller) challenged. He kept Miller on the limb in a :29.2 first panel and never yielded in the :58 first half. As they head into the clubhouse turn ABC Banker scooted away and by the third stanza they had three lengths on the field. On the final turn Dave Offenberg rallied with King's Cavalier and although he was strong down the lane Davis' charge kept him at bay and ABC Banker won by a solid length. After a making a break behind the gate Sam's Honeybee rallied to finish third. "I hated to park everyone," Davis said, "but I wanted to be on the lead. And, like I told Dan (Gill), ABC Banker likes being there and he is strong when he's on thefrontend." Davis's partner in ownership of the winner is Terry Vanvalkenburgh. ABC Banker paid $26.00 for win. Despite being sent off at odds of 3-5 No Recess didn't win like an odds-on favorite in the second NAADA division. Still his 1:58 clocking was very impressive on Monticello's double oval. "I had a good trip but he's a real nice horse," Hechkoff said of No Recess, a veteran trotter that he purchased with trainer Kyle Spagnola back in late May. Hechkoff indeed had good journey when he got away quickly from the two-hole and allowed Tony Farina to take command with Chelseas Chance before the quarter which was trotted in a swift :27.4. Hechkoff sat chilly behind the leader as Chelseas Chance trotted by the half in :58. Farina, not only had the lead by the third stanza but his trotter had opened a three length which he carried to the head of the lane. But in the stretch Chelseas Chance's stride shortened and Hechkoff and No Recess revved up a charge which saw the trotter coral the leader and win by a head in 1:58. Bad I Am garnered the show money for driver Alan Schwartz. No Recess paid $3.50 for win. Meanwhile that afternoon at the Lancaster, Ohio Fair YL Crasher made a laugher out of the three -horse Billings trot when Gary "Soups" Campbell reined him to a 10 length win over Play Fair and driver Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford. Michelle the Belle" Ruvola finished third with Hometown Jeff. Surprisingly, YL Crasher, owned and trained by Marlin Smith, paid $3.00 for win in the three horse contest. John Manzi

Not since the rebirth of amateur racing in 1980 has the movement been more visual then its been this season. With the proliferation of amateur driving clubs races are not only afforded but have helped fill harness racing programs ever since wagering on the events has been nearly universal. The granddaddy of all amateur racing is the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series which was followed closely by the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA). Both organizations had races on the Sunday afternoon betting card at Saratoga Raceway; two Billings trots and one NAADA trot. And many of the drivers are members of both organizations. Billings winners included Simeon " Hot Rod" Hunsdon and "Coach Paul" Minore while "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli emerged victorious in the NAADA event. Hunsdon used the front-end to perfection in the first Billings trot when he gunned Shallow Hal to the lead from the four- hole and got away with a soft 1:01.2 first half. From there he turned the after burners on and Shallow Hal trotted the final two stanzas in :58.4 to score an oh-so-easy 2:00.1 victory over Gimme The Loot who was in rein to "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo. Tony Ciuffetelli took home the show dough with Jelectric. Richard Ruffles owns and trains the winner who returned $12.60 for win. For Hunsdon, an electrical contractor from nearby Fort Edward, NY it was only his seventh drive this season and his second win. In his long amateur career which began in 1985 Hunsdon has 81 driving victories.. The other Billings split went to Paul Minore, a former high school track coach from Yardville, NJ who's most famous pupil was the great track and field star, Carl Lewis. "The Coach" drove his own Wygant Prince to a head victory in a time of 1:59.1. After being stung with a :28 first panel by "Bullet Bob " Davis and Montana Skies, Minore made the front-end and led the field by the halfway point in :57.4. They reigned supreme past the three quarters in 1:28.2 and still had enough in the tank to hold off a fast charging Celebrity Stimulus and driver David "Poppa" Glasser by a head. Montana Skies held on to finish third. Taylor Gower trains Wygant Prince who notched his fifth seasonal victory. He paid $18.20 for win. And for Minore it marked his 85th career driving victory. Tony Ciuffetelli donned his NAADA hat when he drove his own Tagmaster to a gate to wire triumph in 1:58.3. Dismissed and sent off at odds of over 43-1 the veteran Tagliabue gelding paid a whopping $88.50 for win. Although she had a good two-hole trip with Jack's Reef, Hannah Miller couldn't gain on the leader and had to settle for second place. Bad I Am finished third for former National Amateur Driver of the Year, Alan "the Intimidator" Schwartz. It was Ciuffetelli's second victory with Tagmaster since his secured ownership of the veteran 11 year old Taglibue gelding in mid-August. The trotter previously gave former owner Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff three winning rides earlier this season. John Manzi

It used to be known as The Red Mile's Gentlemen's Trot alluding to the amateur drivers all being male but on Thursday afternoon, (Oct 8) in Lexington, Ky. that race was won by a lady driver, none other than the season's leading amateur, Hannah Miller. And although not billed as a CKG Billings Series event the majority of the drivers--actually all- are, or were members of harness racing's great traveling sideshow. Although sent off as the weak favorite "Hurricane Hannah" got away slowly with Pembroke Snapshot despite a soft :29 second first panel where she was some four lengths behind the leaders. Then when the pacesetter, Windsong Illusion, driven by "Lawbook Larry" Farley trotted the next two furlongs in 28 seconds Miller and Pembroke Snapshot were seven lengths behind Farley's trotter in a :57 first half. As the field headed to the third stanza Miller moved Pembroke Snapshot out to make a run at the leader but they were still some five lengths behind. When they were rounding the final turn the leaders seemed to be coming back to Pembroke Snapshot as the trotter was closing in on Windsong Illusion and when they straightened for home a stretch duel emerged with both trotters all out for victory. But at the wire Pembroke Snapshot got the last call and a long photo ensued which showed that he was a nose winner over Windsong Illusion. Four lengths farther back was the third place finisher Play Fair, driven by Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford. It was the fifth seasonal triumph for Pembroke Snapshot, a 10-year-old altered son of SJ's Photo, owned by the Nick Surick Stable and the J L Benson Stables and trained by Surick. He paid $4.80 for win. For Ms. Miller it marked her second driving victory against her counterparts at the Red Mile having won a Billings Trot last Thursday with Jacks To Open. The 5-foot-4--inch lass is the leading amateur driver in the nation. From 90 trips to post "Hurricane Hannah" has 27 wins, 17 seconds, and 13 thirds for a whopping .453UDR. On Sunday (Oct. 11) afternoon two Billings Series Trots and a NAADA Trot are carded at Saratoga Raceway. John Manzi

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