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After the first leg of the long standing NAADA Trotting Series was snowed-out last Thursday at Monticello Raceway the 2017 edition got underway with two harness racing divisions at Yonkers on March 23 and when the dust had settled Hannah Miller and Bob Krivelin each emerged victorious in their respective $6000 splits. Off her award winning 2016 season "Hurricane Hannah" showed that she knows where the winners circle is by reining the Chris Marino-trained Winwood Scout to a gate-to-wire 2:00.1 victory in her division. That victory came on the heels of Hannah's stunning 1:52.4 triumph last week at the Meadowlands which established a new world standard for the fastest mile ever driven by an amateur driver. In tonight's contest Ms. Miller took no prisoners and set sails for the lead from the pole position. She and Linwood Scout were alone on the front-end in a :29.1 clocked first quarter and from there it was catch me of you can. And not surprisingly, nobody could as Winwood Scout rambled on to a 2-1/2 length victory in a 2:00.1 clocking over Dr. John Kokinos's Sim Brown. Bob Hechkoff took home the show dough with The Franchise. "Tonight was the second time that I drove Winwood Scout for Chris (Marino). Last year at Saratoga I finished second with him and tonight we got away with reasonable fractions and he was strong throughout the mile and we won rather handily," Hannah said via telephone after her driving victory. "He's a real nice horse to drive." The winner is owned by Howard Jacobs and for "Hurricane Hannah" it was her second driving victory of the fledgling season and her 75th in just 256 lifetime starts, The other division was also a wire to wire victory for Permanent Joy and driver Bob Krivelin. After stealing a 1:01 first half Peter Kleinhans and Toss Cartwright kept the pressure on Permanent Joy but they fell a neck short at the wire and finished second in the 2:00.2 mile. Tropical Storm Bi was two lengths behind the leaders at the wire and finished third. Permanent Joy is owned by Krivelin's Hero Stables and trained by Krivelin. For the food purveyor it marked his 204th career driving victory. By John Manzi for NAADA

The C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series kicks off its 36th season on March 30 at Yonkers Raceway followed by a Pompano Park-leg on Mon. April 3. And five days after that, the first of two legs at Freehold Raceway will be presented on Saturday April 8. Then, almost weekly, there will be races for amateur drivers at various racetracks in the United States and Canada through late November. Again the Billings will be run under the auspices of the Delvin Miller Harness Drivers Association. The series which began in the early 1980's is considered the Grand Circuit of Amateur Racing. Known for its constant traveling sideshow over the years some of the best amateur drivers in North America compete, or have competed, in it. And because of the success of the Billings a multitude of amateur clubs have now become part of the harness racing landscape. "Amateur racing has never been more popular than it is now" noted Tony Verruso, the CKG Billings Series president. "Just look at the handle at the amateur races and you can see we are a good bet. And not only that, amateur races are needed to help fill overnight cards at many racetracks. "Last year amateur racing action was with weekly record braking handles in races at the Meadowlands and at Pompano Park. Wagering was also strong in the NAADA Trotting Series at Yonkers, Freehold, and Monticello.' Various amateur clubs are now organized to help maximize the number of races and add benefits to the tracks that host them as well as abetting the various charities that each club represents. "Tens of thousands of dollars are raised each year through amateur driving for the benefit of each clubs charity. The CKG Billings is proud to contribute its driver's earnings to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame," Veruso added." This season being no exception Billings president Verruso has once again worked diligently and as a result has put-together another outstanding series of races at venues both in the United States and Canada. "You'll find that the current schedule has limited Canada dates as Dave Drew is still working tirelessly at getting us squared away up North", Verruso acknowledged. "So hopefully there will be some dates to add to our seasonal schedule." According to Verruso most rules remain the same except for the following: 1) The yearly earnings per start average has been lowered to $1,500 per start. 2) Because of the number of amateur clubs in the East, it is getting harder to fill two fields at any one venue and we never get two in the Mid-West. So this year we are going to let any horse entered for the $10,000 claiming price draw inside any horse entered for $15,000. " "It does not mean the $10,000 claimer will draw the inside post, just that said horse will draw inside of any $15,000 claimers," Verruso explained. "If need be, the race may be seeded and drawn in lots as is done in some of our races already." At season's end the Gold & Silver Cup Finals will be held at Yonkers Raceway on November 26th, the Sunday following Thanksgiving, "Yonkers has graciously offered to host the races at our normal purse level. They will feature the Gold Cup on their France Simulcast Program which should be a great showcase for Amateur Racing here in the States. "There is a very big amateur colony in Europe so it will be very nice to put on a good show for them. We will have to go with 10 horses at 1 1/4 miles as all the French Races do," Verruso stated. To become a member of the Delvin Miller Harness Drivers Association or for a complete listing of conditions and nominating costs please contact Verruso at or Billings Series VP, Steve Oldford at One can also get pertinent information on the Delvin Miller Harness Driving Series on the USTA website under amateur racing. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

When the North American Amateur Drivers Association kicks off its Spring Trotting Series on March 16 harness racing participants will be eligible for a trip to France and become a part of an American Team that will challenge the top French amateurs in a Friendship Competition. "Upon the completion of our spring trotting series we will have a lottery drawing among the top five point-earners in the eight-week event to determine three drivers who will be eligible to travel to France and be among the American representatives in the Friendship Competition," noted NAADA president, Joe Faraldo. The North American Amateur Drivers Association had received a formal invitation for a rematch with the very competent French amateur drivers. The invitation was extended to Joe Faraldo during his recent visit to Paris for the Prix d' Amerique. The rematch is scheduled to center around races at famed Vincennes racetrack outside of the City of Lights as well as a racetrack in Normandy (yet to be named). According to Faraldo, there will be at least two races surrounded by some sightseeing of places popular with tourists and historians. The challenge will require six US amateur drivers and their guests. "The rematch will be an effort to avenge the terrible loss the US amateurs sustained at the hands of the French when they invaded our shores for a similar competition two years ago," Faraldo added. The selection of drivers will be limited to those who participate in NAADA's upcoming Spring Trotting Series which will commence on March 16 with weekly contests at both Monticello and Yonkers Raceways. According to Faraldo, his organization will select three other NAADA members for a six-man team needed to challenge France's best. The Friendship Competition against the French amateurs is tentatively scheduled for the 2017 Memorial Day weekend at, or about, the same time as the Elitloppet in Stockholm. John Manzi

Formed in the early 1980's on heels of the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) has long afforded both men and women the opportunity to test their skills in harness racing action. And since their inceptions the growing amateur movement has spawned various amateur clubs which, over the years, were starting venues for many successful professionals racing today, including the likes of George Brennan, Jordan Stratton, Joe Bongiorno, Greg Mertons and Jimmy Taggart, Jr., to mention a few. Although amateur racing didn't immediately become an integral part of the Standardbred scene, in recent years it has been one of the sport's bright spots. And today, not only do many race tracks depend on the amateur races to help fill their racing cards, but the movement has introduced new members who support the industry by purchasing horses and hiring professional trainers. After decades of producing events for amateur drivers beginning Thursday, March 16 and continuing weekly through May 11 the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) will launch its annual Spring Trotting Series which will offer races at both Monticello and Yonkers Raceways. The events will kick-off at the Sullivan County (NY) oval on Thursday, March 16 followed by action at Yonkers Hilltop oval on March 23. Racing at those venues will continue on consecutive Thursdays through May 4 culminating in a $15,000 Final at Yonkers on May 11 for the drivers who earned the most points in the preliminary legs. At Monticello the participating amateur drivers will race weekly for $4500 purses while at Yonkers participating members will vie for $6000 purses. However, should it fill, the Monticello Raceway final will be contested on Wednesday, May 10 and compete for a purse of $5000. The series is open to all amateur drivers as long as they become members of NAADA. Membership fee is $150 per calendar year. To inquire about the general conditions or to become a participant in the upcoming NAADA Spring Trotting Series please contact NAADA president Joe Faraldo at: 718.544.6800; ; or contact his vice president Alan Schwartz at: 845.292.8125; John Manzi for NAADA

The North American Amateur Drivers Association, which is on the verge of announcing dates for its Spring Trotting Series, has received a formal invitation for a rematch with the very competent French amateur harness racing drivers. The invitation was extended to Joe Faraldo, president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association, during his recent visit to Paris for the Prix d' Amerique. The rematch is scheduled to center around races at famed Vincennes racetrack outside of the City of Lights as well as a racetrack in Normandy. According to Faraldo, there will be at least two races surrounded by some sightseeing of places popular with tourists and historians. The challenge will require six amateur drivers from the US and their guests. "The rematch will be an effort to avenge the terrible loss the US amateurs sustained at the hands of the French when they invaded our shores for a similar competition two years which lasted some seven days and covered four racetracks," Faraldo said. "The selection of drivers will be limited to those who participate in NAADA's Spring Trotting Series which tentatively will commence in March with contests at both Monticello and Yonkers Raceways." The tentative schedule for the competition against the French amateurs is slated for the 2017 Memorial Day weekend at, or about, the same time as the Elitloppet in Stockholm. John Manzi for NAADA

Once again be reminded that international Amateur driving challenges are grand vehicles for human relations as witnessed by the recently completed harness racing competition between the North American Amateur Drivers Association and the New Zealand Amateurs. When it was over the final score was the least important aspect. The friendships shared were paramount. NAADA member Joe Lee, who was also a participant in the Friendship Challenge, summed up the final two races, one each on Saturday, Dec. 10 and the other on Sunday, Dec. 11. Lee began his synopsis on the off day of December 9 by stating, "Peter Kleinhans got to call the fourth race at Adlington Racecourse in New Zealand. Since the thoroughbreds have a strong group of announcers from Down Under calling races in the US, Peter may be one of very few who turned the tables around and called a harness race on New Zealand soil. Lee then continued; "The hosts here in New Zealand have kept us quite busy. They had so many wonderful things planned for us each day. Sometimes upwards of 13 hours a day. It has been a great experience and truly will be hard to top should the New Zealand amateurs ever come to the states for some driving. "On Saturday we opened the card at Addington Raceway. Twelve horses went to the post; nine across and three in the second tier. Peter Kleinhans, driving Earthbound, left from the eight-hole and while crossing over to be third on the first turn the pacer uncharacteristically made a break and Peter had to take the horse to the inside and off the course. "Meanwhile, I left out of the 12 post and got away eighth with Jema Jet and then moved to be in the two-wide flow for the first lap of the mile and 5/8th race. After the first lap I pulled Jema Jet to the outside and began the three- wide line of horses and paced up toward the leaders with a lap to go. "Gerry Fielding had a tough task driving Red Under Fire from the outside post. He got away last and had a rail trip for the two lap distance and over on in the stretch to be 7th. Dave Offenberg was driving a Bettors Delight gelding, Better Backim and they got a way toward the back of the pack. "There was quite a bit of pace up front and with me and others pressing. Dave was able to launch his horse with a huge move from the back of the pack the last half of a mile and paced forward the entire lengthy Addington homestretch to finish third, just a nose off second losing the entire race by 2.5 lengths. Saturdays Race "Sunday's racing took us to Motukarara Raceway which is a mile and an eighth racetrack for grass racing. The amateur clan was in the second race on the all grass card. "The race was contested at a mile and a quarter this time. Dave Offenberg had a tough go here with an unruly and nervous horse who was making his first start in over a year. "I floated away from the five-hole leaving him and moved to be first-over with the leader down the long green backstretch. "I was driving an in-foal mare named Stylish Babe, who Peter Kleinhans drove Thursday. She was making her last career start and I took her up to the leader until the top of the stretch where she tired and we finished back in the field. "Gerry Fielding was driving (the host) Gavin Cook's, Red Maro, who I drove Thursday night and was racing on short rest. We got away toward the back of the pack and made a big move on the last turn and even took the lead into the stretch before tiring in the extremely long turf stretch. "Peter Kleinhans drove The Edge of Reason. He had the rail and got away third on the inside.. As the flow developed and got three lines deep, Peter's horse got shuffled and didn't make enough headway in the lane to gain on any of the leaders. Sundays Race "Unfortunately the Americans, who all had their first experience on the grass, finished 10th 11th 12th and 13th for a reverse superfecta. Everyone had a great experience driving on the grass. It certainly is a different type of racing. "We were partnered up with four other New Zealand drivers since we were a team of four and they had more representatives. When all was said and done, the hometown Kiwi's took the competition and won the bragging rights. But who really cared? by John Manzi, with Joe Lee, for NAADA

She's known to her fans as "Hurricane Hannah" Miller because again this year she has taken harness racing amateur racing by storm. For the dedicated 24-year-old miss it marks the second consecutive season that she has earned the honor of being named the National Amateur Driver of the Year. And it's no surprise that Hannah has the right to claim the title again. Just look at her accomplishments this past season; from 109 trips to post she won 31 races, had 20 seconds and 11 thirds for a whopping .420 UDR. Along the way Hannah danced every dance as a member of multiple amateur organizations witnessed by her 109 trips to post, far and away more than any of her counterparts. She won the combined points title for the second consecutive season in the granddaddy of them all, the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series, and she won the points title in the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club Series last summer. She's traveled and won two races in two starts at Mohawk Raceway in Canada and recently romped home a winner in the $25,000 Billings Series Final at Harrah's Chester on November 20. And when you factor in that she finished a very close second in the World Cup of Amateur racing last fall in Budapest, Hungary losing top honors by just one point against some of the world's best amateur drivers it speaks volumes in itself, especially since hers was the best performance ever by a U.S. representative in the prestigious international event. "I am thrilled to be named the National Amateur Driver of the Year and there are a lot of people that have helped me earn this award and I can't thank them enough," Hannah said via email. "They include Nick, who has put so much time and effort into helping me with all my amateur endeavors, and all of the trainers and owners that have given me the opportunity to drive for them. And of course my family, who continuously provides support for me on and off the track." For the record Hannah's dad is the outstanding trainer Erv Miller, who is fourth all-time in training victories, and her brother Marcus is a rising star in the sport. Hannah's spectacular performance this past fall in the prestigious World Cup of Amateur Racing was an unexpected pleasure for the USA. She battled respected international amateurs from 12 different countries in Budapest, Hungary and produced the best results ever by an American participant. "The World Cup was a trip of a lifetime and although I would have liked to have won it, I was honored just to be able to go and represent our country," she said. A rather innocuous comment for someone who won two races and was the point leader until the final contest where the Italian representative finished just one point better than Hannah's total. "Still I'm proud that I did well, although I would have loved to won it," Hannah explained. Miller has put a degree in business from the University of Central Florida on hold for now while she drives in the amateur races. "I'm going to use the degree eventually, but right now I'm just having fun driving," she says. By John Manzi for USHWA

WILKES-BARRE PA - In his story by harness racing Communications Hall of Famer John Manzi, written in his capacity of publicist for the C.K.G. Billings Amateur Driving Series, he quotes Billings participant David Glasser as agreeing with the old adage "If you think your horse is the best, send him right to the lead." And Glasser, a 50-year-old president of a litigation support company and a licensed driver for 36 years (we'll explain that math in a minute), lived up to the letter of the law in his stated maxim, putting his own Celebrity Stimulus on the lead and never surrendering control in taking the $12,000 C.K.G. Billings Series Eastern Regional Final by a nose in 1:57 on Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Glasser obtained a matinee license for driving at age 14, and was driving in purse races at age 16. This precociousness and durability adds first irony and then support to his Billings sobriquet as "Poppa," but he's retained his skills over the years despite only sporadic sulkysitting, with eight of his 32 career victories coming in 2016 - and none likely to be more important than this one. Starting from the rail, Glasser went away swiftly with Celebrity Stimulus, a 6YO altered son of Cantab Hall, with 2015 Amateur Driver of the Year Hannah Miller filling the two-hole from post two with Jacks Or Better and Karets (PP6, driver Joseph Lee) stuck outside in midpack. After getting the quarter in 27.4, Glasser started backing the pace down, and Miller took a shot with her horse, vacating the two-hole before the 58.2 half. Celebrity Stimulus and Glasser increased the backstretch speed to 28.4, and Miller ducked back into the pocket with Jacks Or Better, leaving Karets and Lee again outside raw to the 1:27.1 3/4s. Through the lane, Miller came up the famed Pocono Pike, and Lee rallied the indefatigable Karets, but Celebrity Stimulus responded to Glasser's urging to win by a nose in 1:57 over Karets, with Jacks Or Better, the race favorite, settling for third. John Butenschoen recently took over the training of Celebrity Stimulus from Homer Hochstetler after the season at Vernon came to an end. There was an $18,000 event for "nw 7 races" on both gaits. The pace went to the Dragon Again gelding Have Not Read It, who stepped up in class but nevertheless posted his second straight victory for owner/driver Simon Allard and trainer/brother Rene, winning by two lengths in 1:53.2. On the trot, the veteran B Yoyo took advantage of a "nw17500L4" AE condition, moving out from the two-hole in the stretch and winning easily in 1:54 as the favorite, with Jim Marohn Jr. handling the Striking Sahbra gelding for ainer Richard Johnson and owners Bill Lambos and Dionisios Liberatos. And for those following the recent successful pairing of driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Chris Oakes, they did win a race together on Sunday at Pocono, but it took them until race six to visit the winner's circle. (But not to worry about a total break with the recent tradition of the team starting the card off hot - for Napolitano swept the Double at Philly this afternoon en route to three victories on that card. And the Pocono win came with Oakes' first starter of the night, so he still has "early speed.") PHHA / Pocono  

After a very competitive year the top nine harness racing drivers with the most points in the western region of the seven- month CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series convened at Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway on Saturday night, November 12 for the $10,000 regional final and when the judges declared the trotting contest official "Tiny Tim" Miller and Vaya Con Dios romped to an easy three-length triumph in a 1:57.2 clocking. It marked the second time this season that Miller has driven the 6-year old Conway Hall gelding to victory in Billings action. After starting from the two-hole Miller worked out a picture perfect journey en route to victory. When the wings of the gate folded Miler settled his charge down along the pylons and was in third position at the first stanza in :28.1 as Ned "the Insurance Agent" Hodkinson had Mutinyonthebounty on the lead. Despite Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg's TK's Jelly Belly pressuring Hodkinson's trotter on the outside still Mutinyonthebounty got first call as the field sped by the halfway point in :58. After putting away TK's Jelly Belly Mutinyonthebounty appeared to be in complete control as he trotted by the third quarter in 1:27.2.. However, when the field headed for home company began to arrive with the presence of Upfront Chip Daddy (Michelle "the Belle"Ruvola) and Vaya Con Dios. Both the aforementioned trotted by Mutinyonthebounty in the deep stretch but it was "Tiny Tim's" Vaya Con Dios-- who had a two-hole journey all the way-- who rallied to victory. Upfront Chip Daddy finished second while Mutinyonthebouny faded and finished third. Vaya Con Dios, owned by JMF Racing and trained by JD Wengerd, was sent off the betting favorite in the race and returned a $4.00 win payoff. For Tim Miller it was fifth driving victory this season in just 17 trips to post, and the 40th of his amateur racing career which began in 2001. Tomorrow evening (Nov. 13) at Pocono Downs the Billings final in the east region will be contested. Then the following Sunday the Delvin Miller Gold and Silver Cup Champions will be presented at Harrah's Chester Downs. by John Manzi for the Billings Amateur Driving Series

Planned for and presented on November 10, the 241st Anniversary of the founding the United States Marine Corps, local amateur clubs had two races- a trot and a pace- at Monticello Raceway for military veterans who are also harness racing amateur drivers and at days end both the North American Amateur Drivers Association and the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club each presented a check for $1000 to the Sullivan County Veterans Food Bank director Kathy Kreiter. In the trotting event, army veteran, Irving Bluestein, took no prisoners and went down the road to score a 2:01.1 victory with Pocket Passer while Alan Schwartz, a former Marine who served in Viet Nam, rallied Worth Watching to a 1:58.1 triumph in the pacing contest. Bluestein sent Pocket Passer to the lead from the two-hole and played hardball when the betting favorite, Whata Hustler (Jimmy Marshall IV), challenged for the lead. But Bluestein remained undaunted and kept the pedal to the medal and didn't allow Marshall's trotter to get the lead in .28.4 first quarter. Still out in the fresh air Whata Hustler couldn't take command and the leaders raced one-two past the half in :58.3. When Marshall's trotter began to tire Pocket Passer opened up a two length lead at the third stanza and remained in front all the way to the wire. Don Hoover, a former member of the National Guard, got Grecale AS up for the place money while Gerry Fielding, an Army Reservist, took home the show dough with Maggie O. "I felt bad about having to park out (Don) Hoover but it was the right move at the right time," said Bluestein, who came in from Dedham, Mass. just to compete in the veterans races. Pocket Passer, owned by Mark Levy, Carl Gillespie and Betsy Phillips, and trained by Gillespie, paid $8.40 for win. Alan Schwartz, the winningest amateur driver currently competing, scored a length victory- his 575th - when he guided Worth Watching to a solid length victory as the betting the pacing contest. Sent off at odds just over even- money Schwartz settled his pacer in the three hole on the first turn as former army reservist Allen Sisco cut speedy fractions of :27.4 and :58.2 with Smokey's Luck . As they headed to the halfway point Schwartz moved Worth Watching off the pylons and took aim took aim at Smokeys Luck but his charge didn't gain complete command until they rounded the final turn. When the field headed for home Smokey's Luck began to tire and Worth Watching took the lead and held off a hard charging Fox Valley Leo, driven by Navy veteran Jimmy Marshall IV, to score a one length triumph. Gerry Fielding finished third with Art Retreat. "When we rounded the final turn I wasn't sure that I was going to beat Allen's horse (Smokeys Luck) but by mid-stretch he tired and we went on to victory," Schwartz related. The winner, owned by Ed and James Hall and trained by Dan Gill, paid $4.10.. After the final race all the competitors in the veteran's races gathered in the winner's circle to present $1000 checks - one each from NAADA and CADC -to Kathy Kreiter, director of the Sullivan County Food Bank. by John Manzi for NAADA and CADC

Joe Faraldo, president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association, confirmed today that Gerry Fielding will be the fourth and final member of the NAADA team that will wing their way to New Zealand to compete against their Down Under harness racing counterparts in a series of Friendship Races slated for early December. Fielding will join Peter Kleinhans, Dave Offenberg, and Joe Lee, all of whom have been previously announced to represent the USA in the forthcoming competition. Fielding, a graduate of Rider College and longtime Monticello (NY) native, has been involved in harness racing for many decades and obtained his initial New York license in 1960. "I got started in the business jogging horses and breaking yearlings helping the John Manzi Stables at Monticello Raceway," Fielding acknowledged. "I've also been involved in harness racing through the Ron Ingrassia and Gary Messenger Stables." By 1981, Fielding began delving into harness racing more avidly. He obtained an amateur license that season and over the years, usually with less than 20 drives annually, he thus far has driven 64 winners. Fielding's involvement in the sport has increased over the years not only as an amateur driver but as founder and president of the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club (CADC). "For 20 years I was the vice president of the Billings Series and have long been a member Board of Directors at Goshen Historic Track," he said. "As a member of the Board of Directors of Goshen Historic Track I chair the racing committee serving as a licensed Presiding Judge and matinee race secretary." An amateur driver with 64 wins to his credit Fielding is proud of having driven the winners of two Billings consolations as well as four CADC Pacing finals. He also won the Goshen International Trot and a North American Amateur Drivers Associations Final at Yonkers. "At Monticello (Raceway) a few years ago I won the Bob Grant Trot and I hold a track record there," he added. "I am a former "Amateur Driver of the Year" at Monticello Raceway --named by the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA-- and I have had the privilege of racing in Canada, Finland, Estonia, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Spain as well as 11 different states in the US. Over the years Fielding has owned several harness horses. "My partner on many horses, Dr. Scott Leaf, keeps me active as an owner of many Standardbreds," he said. Fielding is involved in multiple sports, much to the envy of his septuagenarian friends. He is a world class skier and has also been in the ski business most of his life, too. And he is still active today. "I have been on the New York Tramway Council for over 30 years; appointed by multiple New York governors. We (the Tramway Council) are an arm of the NY Dept. of Labor Division of Safety & Health promulgating all legislation In NY. The Monticello, NY resident has been married for 48 years to Kathy and together they've raised three children and are the proud grandparents of seven. By John Manzi for NAADA    

When country songster Jerry Reed warbled 'When You're Hot, You're Hot' he could have been talking about Tony Ciufettelli because no one in amateur harness racing currently is hotter than Ciuffetelli. The former corrections officer reined his own Aventure to a come-from- behind triumph in a time of 1:58.3 to garner the winners share of the $15,000 final of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's Fall Trotting Series at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday night, November 5. (NAADA). For the hot-handed Ciufettelli it was his sixth driving victory in his last eight starts and 11th overall this year. And for the first time this season a NAADA series trot was placed on the wagering card which brings the Westchester Country oval even with all the other racetracks that use amateur races as part of their betting programs. When tonight's NAADA Final was ready to start Aventure seemed to have other ideas. Sent off as the betting favorite his backers got a scare when Aventure went off stride behind the mobile starting gate but Ciuffetelli stayed calm and got his trotter back on gait just before the starter said "go". At the first stanza Aventure was fifth position some seven lengths off Lady's Big Stormont (Alan Schwartz) who was clear on the engine. But as he headed to the half Schwartz drew company. Ciuffetelli was the first to move off the pylons and the two others who followed that move became non-factors. As the field trotted to the three quarters Aventure ranged alongside The Franchise (Bob Hechkoff) who was traveling along in the two-hole behind Lady's Big Stormont. As they rounded the final turn Aventure and The Franchise traded positions and as they headed for paydirt Ciuffetelli took aim at Schwartz's trotter. In the lane Aventure gained on Lady's Big Stormont with every stride and as they neared the finish it was clear that Ciuffetelli and Aventure would be the winner despite the late rally by The Franchise. At the wire Aventure was a length winner over the hard charging The Franchise with Lady's Big Stormont a head farther back in third place. Besides owning Aventure, Ciufettelli also trains the 5-year-old Muscle Mass gelding who scored his sixth triumph this year and raised his seasonal bankroll to over $41,400. He paid $4.10 for win. by John Manzi for NAADA

Once again a lady is making big news in amateur harness racing. No, this time it isn't "Hurricane Hannah" Miller, even though she finished fifth in the mile. Tonight belonged to "Super Sarah" Svanstedt as the talented miss romped to an oh-so-easy eight-length triumph with Sky Hanover in a 1:55.4 clocking in the Billings Trot in the second race on the betting card at the Meadowlands. However, the outcome prior to the start wasn't a real mystery especially for chalk players, who along with the betting public sent Sky Hanover away at odds of 40 cents on a dollar. And "Super Sarah" didn't let her backers down. After getting away softly Sky Hanover fell into sixth position after leaving from the three-hole as Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff and Keystone Thomas showed the way to a :28.1 quarter. With Allen "Slam" Cisco and Karets supplying pressure on the limb it forced Hechkoff to take the field by the halfway point in :56.4 . But lurking near the back of the pack Ms Svanstedt swung Sky Hanover to the outside behind cover of two others on that same route. Still in sixth position as the leaders passed the half when the field straightened out up the backside "Super Sarah" fed her trotter racetrack and they went three wide around the front-enders and Sky Hanover ranged alongside Keystone Thomas with less than a quarter mile to go. When the two headed for paydirt Sky Hanover put on his trotting shoes and opened up daylight with every stride. And when he reached the finish line he was an eight-length winner over Hechkoff's Keystone Thomas. Third place went to Mark's Gold Band driven by "Buffalo Bob" Davis. It was the second win thisw season for the Donato Hanover 4 year old mare sent off as the prohibitive betting favorite. Sky Hanover paid $2.40 for win. He is owned by Knutsson Trotting and trained by Ake Svanstedt. by John Manzi for the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series

When Monticello Raceway's director of harness racing, Eric Warner, found that the track lost a driver in the North American Amateur Drivers Association's $5000 seven- horse consolation he went to work immediately to secure another driver to keep the race with decent betting interests. With only a few possible drivers who were eligible to compete (this race was for the NAADA participants who didn't earn enough points for the series finale) Warner called down to Freehold Raceway and asked John Calabrese if he's be able to come and drive in the race slated on Wednesday November 2nd at The Mighty M. And when Calabrese said he'd come it turned out to be a win-win situation for both him and the Sullivan County oval. The 7-horse field went to post in the second race and when it was declared official Calabrese won the event with Woody in a 2:00.1 clocking. Perhaps the fact that Woody had the pole position made it easier for Calabrese confirm that he'd take the trip to Monticello, still it was a gracious gesture on his part knowing that amateur drivers receive no remuneration for their efforts. Also benefiting from Calabrese's trip to drive Woody was the horse's owner, Woody Hoblitzell, who got for him one of the more talented amateur drivers competing today. As aforementioned, Woody and Calabrese started from the pole position and they got away fourth position four lengths behind Come And Tell Pap (Bob Davis) who got first call in the :29.2 first panel. With Davis' charge on the lead Calabrese followed Paul Minore who moved Wygant Prince off the pylons and they were one-two on the limb as the field headed to the halfway point. As the field trotted to the three quarters Wygant Prince gained command with Woody and Calabrese in hot pursuit. When they straightened for home Woody was the strong horse and the Glidemaster 6-year-old gelding rallied to a 1-1/4-length victory over Minore's trotter to score his third victory of the season. Come And Tell Pap hung on for the show dough. Trained by Bruce Aldrich, Sr., Woody paid $7.80 for win. And for Calabrese, he is having his best year since he began competing in amateur racing in 1991. His victory was the 12th this year in 39 starts and considering his five seconds and three third place finishes Calabrese owns a .405 UDR.this season. On Saturday night, November 5 the top eight point earners in the recently completed NAADA Series will battle in the $15,000 Final on the betting card at Yonkers Raceway. John Manzi

In early December four members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) will travel New Zealand to represent America in a series of races in a Friendship Competition against their harness racing counterparts from Down Under. Leading the USA team will be Peter Kleinhans who earned that honor after winning a lottery drawing upon the completion the NAADA Summer Trotting Series. Recently the international amateur drivers organization had released that Dave Offenberg will join Kleinhans on the overseas journey to represent the USA in the competition. Now NAADA has named Joe Lee to join the aforementioned and in upcoming weeks they'll name the fourth and final member of the USA team. Joe Lee is the assistant to the head equipment manager of the New York Yankees and has been for 22 years. He is also a member of many amateur driving organizations and this year he has been able to compete in amateur races more than in past seasons. Thus far this year "Yankee Joe" has eight wins, 10 seconds and eight thirds in 64 starts and all with what would be considered in the industry as "catch drives". Asked how a youngster from New York City got so involved in harness racing, Joe was pleased to expound. "My parents owned some Standardbreds when I was a kid and I grew up going to Freehold, Roosevelt, Yonkers and the Meadowlands. I show-jumped horses for just about 20 years so I definitely was always around horses. "Going to the racetracks as much as I did, I wanted to see what it was like to sit behind one rather than in a saddle, so my good friend Sandy Goldfarb put me in touch with Buzzy Sholty who trained many of Sandy's horses over the years. "I began going to White Birch Farm (in New Jersey) every Saturday morning and any other chance I had. I would leave my house at 4:45 in the morning to get there on time and start jogging and training the barn with Buzzy. Buzzy, knowing I had been around horses began trusting me right away with some of his horses and I never looked back. "In 1995, while in high school, I was offered a position with the New York Yankees as their batboy which I enjoyed for three seasons. After that I got the opportunity to become an assistant to the head equipment manager, and have done so ever since. This year completed my 22nd season there. "Since 2001, I have worked in the Financial Services industry. I was a financial advisor with UBS from 2001-2004. In 2004 my team and I started our own registered investment advisory firm in Westchester (NY). I have assisted families with the managing of their assets and helped with their estate planning since 2001. "It has been a great thrill over the past few years to own some horses with family and friends. An even bigger thrill is the excitement of going behind the gate and racing. It never gets old. I have been so fortunate to have so many trainers give me the opportunity to drive their horses and am thankful for the relationships I have developed in the sport. Being invited to represent the NAADA in New Zealand is a thrill and an honor. "Many people drive in the NAADA races and to be asked to go is definitely something that I couldn't even think of turning down. It is always a thrill to go to a new racetrack and drive but this time it's combined with sharing the experience with other people from the opposite end of the planet that share the same passion of the sport as I do. I look forward to the experience and thank everyone involved that puts these trips and competitions together. "I think it's always important for the amateurs, as well as everyone involved in racing, to do what they can to spread their enjoyment for racing so the sport can continue on." by John Manzi for NAADA

Billings action in the Midwest region was on tap Saturday night (Oct. 22) at Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway with a nine-horse field going to post on the betting card and despite having to start from the eight-hole Ned "the Insurance Agent" Hodkinson stuck it to his competitors and pulled off a real harness racing stunner when he guided 27-1 shot Mutinyonthebounty to a wire to wire 2:00.1 victory in the Billings trot. Hodkinson took no prisoners and sent his veteran trotter to the front and at the quarter pole they were a solid length in front of Power of Justice driven by Victory "Blue and" Gray, Jr. as the timer flashed :28.4. Not content to be covered in the two-hole Gray angled his trotter out to challenge Hodkinson's charge as they trotted to the halfway point. But when Gray Hodkinson fed Mutinyonthebounty his head and the old-timer logged a 29-second third stanza leaving Power of Justice fading on the limb. As the field headed for paydirt Mutinyonthebounty opened up a little daylight and he needed every bit of the two length lead he had gained to hold off a hard charging Keep The Cash, who was driven by Pat "the Write Stuff" Miller. Although "Chicago George" Bonomo gave Don Swan a picture perfect journey the trotter never fired in the lane and they finished third, two lengths behind the winner. Although Hodkinson hasn't been driving as much as he had been in years past still he tallied his 52nd career driving victory tonight. Mutinyonthebounty, a 7-year-old altered son of Mutineer, trained by Ron Steck, scored his fifth seasonal triumph and paid $57.60; $16.60 and $11.40 across the board. By John Manzi for the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series  

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