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According to the harness racing rules of the recently completed nine-leg North American Amateur Drivers Series held at Monticello Raceway one of the top three finishers in the series finale, dubbed "the Don Quixote Trot" would be eligible to represent NAADA when they compete in a USA vs Spain Friendship Competition in Mallorca, Spain in late September. Upon the completion of that event Monticello Raceway's senior director of racing, Eric Warner, drew one name from a hat from the three top finishers in the series finale and the winner was Hannah Miller. "Hannah was not only the winner of our series, but now the winner of the paid trip for one to Mallorca, Spain to compete in late September at their tracks in a return engagement against the Spanish amateurs," noted Alan Schwartz, the vice president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association. Now Miller will be part of the NAADA team who undoubtedly will be seeking revenge against the Spanish amateurs who drubbed the North American amateurs in a Friendship Competition when they visited the USA earlier this year. Miller has been the most prolific amateur driver in the USA this season not only competing in the NAADA Series but also in the Billings, the Catskill Amateur Series and the GSY Series. Thus far this year the talented 23 year old miss is carrying a .438 UDR on the strength of 21 wins, 14 seconds and 11 thirds in 74 starts and she has bankrolled nearly $100,000 in purse money. Joining Miller on the NAADA team when they compete in Mallorca will be Alan Schwartz, Joe Pennacchio and Joe Faraldo. John Manzi

Could it have been the home court advantage that facilitated the three Canadian harness racing amateurs to finish one-two-three in an eastern region Billings Trot at Grand River Raceway on Monday August 17th? Probably not, because none of the drivers are regulars at that Elora Ontario, Canada racetrack and they drive there only occasionally. Maybe it was that they had the favorites in the race but that too was false. But whatever it was Canadians "Handy Dan" St Pierre, "Howie the Horse" Gelfand and "Dynamite Dave" Drew were the first three drivers under the wire at the finish of that Billings Trot. St Pierre guided 13-1 shot Were Rolling to a gate to wire victory in a time of 2:01.1. But for "Handy Dan" the wire came up just in time because Gelfand and 6-1 shot, Wine Photo, were charging at the finish only to be rebuffed by a nose in the deciding photo. Kashs Caviar and Drew, sent off at odds of over 27-1, were just one length behind the first two finishers and garnered the show dough. Although not promoted as such but in what turned out to be four American amateurs vs four Canadians the best placing by a US driver was a fourth place finish by "Bullet Bob" Davis when he got Incredible Frank home in fourth best in the eight horse race. Other participants in that first Billings trot in Canada, thus far this season, included (in the order in which they finished) Steve" You're Never Too" Oldford, "Racin' Jason" Sgrignuoli, "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello, and "Lightning Larry" Steenbergen. The race winner, Were Rolling, owned by Bob Dancetovic of Paris, Ont. , paid $22.70 for win. The visitors couldn't thank their hosts at Grand River Raceway enough for their efforts in not only getting a Billings leg at their wonderful Canadian raceway, but also for the VIP treatment they were given. Meanwhile, earlier in the day at the Muskingum County Fair in Zanesville, Ohio, "Marlin the Magician" Smith won a Midwest region Billings trot with YF Crasher over Action ear-to-ear (Andrew "Keep On Trucking" Coblentz) and Hometown Jeff ( Michelle the Belle" Ruvola) in a time of 2:03.3. For Smith, who has only driven six times thus far this year, it marked his first trip to the winners circle this season and his seventh winning drive of his amateur career. By John Manzi for the CKG Billings Series

Seven days after the Meadowlands carded three amateur trots on their Hambletonian weekend night time betting card of August 7th Monticello Raceway followed suite on its Thursday August 13th afternoon harness racing program also carding three amateur races for fans to wager on. Two were trots in the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series while a third was a pace for was members of the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club. Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin and Dave "Yes Its True" Offenberg each won their respective Billings splits while Tony "the Capo" Verruso was victorious in the CADC Pace. Sent off as the odds-on favorite Krivelin made a laugher of his Billings division when he guided Permanent Joy to a seven length triumph over "Pacin' Peter" Gerry's, Flex The Muscle, in a 1:58.1 clocking. Offenberg, a 21-1 outsider with Kings Cavalier, sauntered home a solid one length victor over Dave "Steady As" Yarock's CSI What's My Name in a time of 2:00.3. Krivelin, last year's USHWA Amateur Driver of the Year, bided his time traveling along in third position and then moved Permanent Joy to the lead after the halfway point. From there they kept opening daylight on their completion and cruised home an easy winner over Flex The Muscle for the mare's third seasonal triumph. Hallanet finished third for Paul "the Coach" Minore. Owned by Krivelin's Hero Stables ,Permanent Joy, an 8-year-old daughter of Trot For Joy not only scored her third seasonal triumph but her 21st of her racing career. For Krivelin it marked his 9th seasonal triumph and his 176th of his amateur driving career. Offenberg's route to victory was different than Krivelin's. King's Cavalier got away slowly from the seven hole and was some 11 lengths in the rears at the first stanza. When the duo passed the half they were still seven lengths behind. However, up the backside Offenberg moved his trotter three-deep as they passed the three quarters and at the top of the stretch they had their sights on the pacesetter, Swift Blizzard and driver Paul Minore. In the lane King's Cavalier trotted by the odds-on favorite CSI What's My Name to score his first seasonal triumph. Sam's Honeybee was third for Tony Verruso while Swift Blizzard faded and finished sixth. Owned by Offenberg's Allister Stables and trained by Eric Abbatiello it was the 16th career victory for the 8 year old Yankee Glide gelding. The victory was also the first of the year for Offenberg and his 47th of his amateur career. The third amateur race on the card saw Tony "the Capo" Verruso guide Ed and James Hall's Talldarknhandsome to a 1-1/4 length victory over Son Day who was driven by "Yankee Joe" Lee. After allowing Ken "Farmer" Heins to take command with Horseshoe Tavern before the first quarter Verruso shadowed the leader all the way until mid-stretch where he angled Talldarknhandsome to the outside and they rallied to victory over Son Day. Third place went to CC's Lover N driven by "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello. It was second seasonal driving victory and 55th of his career for Tony Verruso who is also the president of the Billings Series. For Talldarknhandsome, a 7-year old altered son of Life Sign trained by Dan Gill, it marked his 11th win this year. John Manzi

Maybe harness racing fans will now understand the growing importance of amateur racing especially with three pari-mutuel races for Hambletonian Amateurs presented on Hambo weekend at the Meadowlands. In what was the Big M's last overnight card prior to the racing of fabled Hambletonian, amateur drivers supplied three fields of trotters to assist in filling that Hambo weekend card on Friday night, August 7th. True, not all trotters that raced that night were owned by the participating amateurs and not all horses that raced fit the Billings criteria which by not doing so many Billings members didn't earn any series points by competing. But the bottom line is, the amateur movement helps fill race cards. And bettors seem to like wagering on amateur races which was brought to light the previous day at Monticello Raceway when the amateur race there was the best bet race on the card. Although 18 participants at the Meadowlands on Friday were Billings members the winner of each of the amateur races didn't earn a point in seven month CKG Billings Harness Driving Series because their trotters didn't fit the Billings horse criteria or weren't a Billings member. Some may find it unusual that an amateur driver could win two betting races on one card, especially at the Meadowlands, but that's exactly what Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff did on Friday. In the first Hambo Amateur event the executive recruiter started in the second tier (post 11) with his own No Recess and stayed along the pylons until the homestretch where they caught the pacesetter, Permanent Joy driven by Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin and then out-footed them to the wire for a head decision in a time of 1:55. Paul "the Coach" Minore finished third with Hallanet. Although Kivelin and Minore earned Billings Series points Hechkoff didn't because his trotter didn't fit the Billings conditions. And in the second Hambo Amateur split Hechkoff took no prisoners and went down the road with his own Keystone Thomas and made every pole a winning one en route to a two length victory over Falcor Bluestone and driver Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg II in the identical time of 1:55. Third place went to Wygant Prince handled by "Bullet Bob" Davis.However, none of the top three finishing horses fit Billings criteria so no series points were earned by their drivers. When Max Schulz was victorious in the final Hambo Amateur trot he had the thrill of winning a race at America's biggest harness racing venue. And, not a Billings member he, of course, didn't earn any series points. Schulz , a visiting amateur driver from Germany, won a Billings split by disqualification last week at Northfield Park and rowed that same boat home at the Big M again being placed first this time with Insider Access, a horse loaned to him by Billings series vice president, [i]Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford. Futuristic Bride finished second for "Joltin' Joe" Pennacchio and Dave "Steady As" Yarock, who was first under the wire with Mr Ridgetaker, found his trotter was placed third after having interfered with others while on a break earlier in the mile. Pennacchio and Yarock gained Billings points but the visiting Max Schulz didn't. Now, Billings points aside, the competing amateurs fortify the claim that amateur racing not only is growing in statue but an important tool in helping fill race cards during a period in while breeding is on a decline. Next up for the Billings members will be a pair of trots at Monticello Raceway on Thursday, August13. by John Manzi for the CKG Billings Series

Even before the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club August Series got underway time was allotted for a presentation to harness racing driver Hannah Miller, the overall point winner in the CADC spring series which ended a few weeks ago. Miller proudly accepted the plaque from CADC president Gerry Fielding prior to the Thursday, August 7th race card getting underway at Monticello Raceway. In the spring series Miller displayed a driving prowess unequalled by any of her competitors en route to five victories in the organizations spring events. "This was unexpected," Miller said upon receiving her trophy. "I has no idea that they would make a presentation to me today and I was surprised when they did, pleasantly so, I might add. "I love driving in the amateur races and I really have no desire to become a professional. Racing in the amateurs is fun." "Amateur racing has become more visible since Hannah has been competing," Fielding noted. "She can handle horses well and is not intimidated by her competition, which for the most part' are men. She's a real good driver and a real asset to the amateur movement. We're glad she committed." Besides driving in the Catskill Amateur Series Hannah also competes in the Billings Series and the GSY Series. Thus far this year the talented miss is carrying a .457UDR on the strength of 21 wins, 14 seconds and 11 thirds in 71 starts and she has bankrolled nearly $100,000 in purse money. Although Hannah Miller is a good driver and gets the bettor's attention whenever she competes in a race, still she needs the power in front of her, something she didn't have on that August 7th afternoon. On Thursday in the inaugural of the four-race CADC August Series Miller drove the Dennis Watson-trained Classy Character from post five and the bettors sent her of at odds of 4-1. Nearly left at the gate her horse got away slowly and never fired in a race that had many gaps after speedy fractions were set by Ken Heins with Horseshoe Tavern. The race winner, CC's Lover N, was even money favorite from post four and driven to a 1:58.2 three length victory by Matt Zuccarello. Blow Out and Joe Lee finished second with Horseshoe Tavern third. The winner, an 11 year old New Zealand bred pacer, is owned by Miquel Alejo Hernandez. He paid $4.00 for win. Eric Warner, the track's senior director of racing is pleased with the amateur races that are carded at the Mighty M. "Fans love to wager on the amateurs," he says. "They bet over $82,000 on that race alone today and it was the best bet race on the card." By John Manzi for the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club

The second half of the seven month CKG Billings Harness Drivers Series kicked off with action on two fronts on Saturday night , August 1 with one midwest region division at Northfield Park and two splits in eastern region action at Vernon Downs. An oddity happened In the midwest region when , young Max "the attacker" Schulz, a visiting amateur from Dulmen, Germany, got a chance to race in America's granddaddy of all amateur series and won his contest with Say It Best in a solid 1:57.2 over the Northfield Park double oval. Also that evening, races at Vernon Downs saw the return of veteran amateurs Simeon "Hot Rod" Hunsdon and Vladimir "Butch" Melnichenko when the former's trotter Shallow Hal was a head better than the latter's Fox Valley Photoq in a 1;58 clocking the first split while the second division saw Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff's No Recess trot away to a four-length triumph in 1:55.4 over betting favorite Jacks To Open, who was driven by "Hurricane Hannah" Miller. In the race at Northfield Park Bold Strike and driver Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford were first under the wire but the trotter was off stride at that point and lapped-on by Say It Best, and because of the infraction it reversed the order of finish. "My horse raced well but as we neared the finish he bobbled and went off-stride and Max's trotter, who was shadowing me, ended up as the race winner,"Oldford said. "Max is an amateur club champion back in Germany and is visiting America mainly to see the upcoming Hambletonian and when we found out we offered him a chance to drive in our Billing trot here (at Northfield Park) and now he's one for one in races in America." Third place in the Northfield Park Billings contest went to Rush N Supreme driven Kelly "Sky" Walker. Say It Best, owned and trained by Johnny Yoder and sent off at odds of over 11-1, paid $25.20 for win. "Since Max is here to see the Hambo we are trying to get him a drive in Hambletonian Amateurs at the Meadowlands this coming Friday (Aug. 7)," Oldford added. In years past Simeon Hunsdon was always battling for the point lead in Billings competition but in recent weasons he hasn't been driving with regularity. His drive at Vernon Downs on Saturday was only his second this season and for runner-up "Butch" Melnichenko it, too, was his second time in the sulky thus far this year. Hunsdon sent Shallow Hal to the lead from the six-hole and made every pole a winning one to score a head triumph over Melnichenko's Fox Valley Photoq. Alternat Thursdays finished third for Bob Hechkoff. Shallow Hal, owned by Richard Ruffles and trained by Claude Huckabone, Jr. paid $20.00 for win. For Hunsdon, It marked the 80th winning drive of his amateur career. In the second Billings split at Vernon Downs that evening "the Headhunter" zipped to the front with No Recess when the gate sprung and they cruised to a four length victory over Hannah Miller's Jacks To Open and in a time of 1:55.4 "Butch Melnichenko took home the show dough with Choke Hold. Hechkoff's R.B.H. Ventures owns the winner who's trained by Kyle Spagnola. It was the trotters' third seasonal triumph and Hechkoff's 12th winning drive this year. Billings action will continue Friday night, August 7th with the Hambletonian Amateurs performing. John Manzi

Right on the heels of two regional mid-season finales the CKG Billings amateur driving series returned to its roots for a competition over the double oval at the harness racing meeting at Livingston County Family Fair in Fowlerville, Michigan. The fair, which has been thrilling locals since 1887, once again offered a full card of 17 harness races on Monday afternoon, July 27 despite the reproachful racing climate in the Wolverine State. And to the delight of local amateur drivers one was for Billings members in the Midwest region. Of course where ever there's a chance to drive a spirited Standardbred it's a good bet that Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford will avail himself an opportunity to compete. Joining Oldford in a quest for a victory were Jerome "Call me Jerry" Mihelich, " Lightning Larry" Steenbergen, Patrticia "the Write Stuff" Miller and Kelly "Sky" Walker. In that contest Oldford was up behind Gespacho , a trotter trained locally by June Du Russel. When the starter said go, Oldford sent his charge to the front and made every pole a winning one en route to an easy 2:05.4 victory over Beauty Chip and driver Jerry Mihelich. Hay Look Out finished third for Pat Miller. "I can't say enough good things about June Du Rusell," Oldford said after the race. "She's always helped the amateurs by supplying horses for us to drive" "She's just a great gal." " And there's no secret about the state of racing in Michigan but we're hopeful that things will get better in the future." It was the third seasonal triumph for Gerspach, a 7 year old altered son of Holy Guacamolie and his 21st in 87 career outings. For Oldford it marked his 11th seasonal driving victory and the 108th of his amateur career. The next Midwest region Billings action will be at the Summit Fair at Northfield Park on Saturday, August 1. That same night there will also be a Billings trot at Vernon Downs in the series east region. John Manzi

Paul "the Coach" Minore is hot. He now has won three of his last four starts in amateur competition with his latest victory coming in the prestigious CKG Billings East Region Mid-Season Final at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday evening, July 23 when he guided his own Wygant Prince to a 2:00.2 victory, a triumph made even more impressive since it came after starting from the eight-hole. It was their second consecutive triumph together after having been victorious in a time of 1:58.3 in a Billings leg at Saratoga Raceway on July 12. The $12,000 Mid-Season Final at Yonkers was for drivers who were the top point earners thus far in the year-long amateur driver's series. The contest went to post as a non-wagering affair prior to the first race on the betting card. If Minore was somewhat dejected after having drawn post position eight no one could tell when he gunned his trotter for the lead as the wings of the mobile gate folded and they showed the way by the first stanza in a swift :28.4. After a :31.1 breather Wygant Prince passed the halfway point relatively unchallenged. However, competition came as they headed up the backside but Minore and his charge continued unfazed and they passed the three quarters alone on the lead as the timer flashed 1:30.2. As Wygant Prince headed for home he had opened up another length on his competition and cruised to a two-length triumph over Gimme The Loot and driver Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin. Third place went to Pembroke Snapshot, driven by the series top point-earner, "Hurricane Hannah" Miller. It was the fourth seasonal triumph for the winner, an 8-year-old altered son of S J's Photo owned by his driver, and trained by Taylor Gower. For Minore, it marked his fifth seasonal driving victory and 84th of his amateur career. On Friday (July 24) the Mid-west Region Mid-Season Final for the top point earners in that division, will be contested over the five-eighths mile oval at The Meadows. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

There are few amateur harness racing drivers who log as many miles as Steve Oldford. The automotive manufacturers rep from Croswell, Michigan thinks nothing of hopping a plane to race in an amateur contest no matter where it is. On Thursday, July 23 Oldford winged his way to Monticello Raceway to drive in the final leg of the 10-race NAADA Spring Series and his efforts paid dividends when he guided the Dan Gill-trained Up Front N Crazy to a romping 14-length victory in a time of 2:01. Although Up Front N Crazy was sent off at odds of over 9-1 he won like a 1-5 shot. But there were extenuating circumstances. When Matt Zuccarello's trotter Gray N Cloudy-- 5-2 on the tote board--made a break on the first turn it scattered the field and allowed Oldford's charge to open up daylight on his competitors. However, Oldford's luck continued when Joe Pannacchio's Sir Winston, who was following just two length behind Upfront N Crazy as the two passed the half in 1:00.4 had nothing in the tank. "My horse was empty at that point," Pennacchio said of his veteran trotter who came into the race with two consecutive wins in the NAADA Series. "He must have bled?" Pennacchio assumption was correct because at the third stanza Oldford's trotter had a seven length lead which was opened to 14 lengths at the finish. "I skirted the trouble in the first turn and we trotted clear and when there was no one around me as we headed for home I actually thought there might have been more problems for those in the rears," Oldford said after the race. "But thankfully there were no more trouble." With Sir Winston fading as he headed to the three quarters it allowed the trotters in the back of the pack to gain ground quickly on him. Dave Yarock rallied the strongest with CSI What's My Name and they finished in second place while Nice Dream, driven by Gerry Fielding caught Sir Winston yards before the wire to take home the show dough. Sir Winston held on for fourth money. For the record, Picture Perfect, the betting favorite in the race driven by Hannah Miller, was interfered with by Zuccarello's breaking horse on the first turn and went off-stride vanquishing any hope of victory for Miller and those who wagered on him. Up Front N Crazy, owned by Edward Hall, paid $20.60 for win. A condition to the series stated that the drivers with the most points who participated in six of the 10 legs would be eligible to draw for an all expense trip to Mallorca and join NAADA team who will race against their Spanish counterparts in a Friendship Competition in mid-September. However, that drawing, which is forthcoming, will be announced at a later date by NAADA president, Joe Faraldo. As for Oldford, he's back on the road this time to drive in the CKG Billings Spring Final which will be contested over the five-eighths mile oval The Meadows tomorrow night. John Manzi  

Paul "the Coach" Minore and Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff made it two victories in a row in amateur contests when each won a division of the CKG Billings trot at the Meadowlands on Friday night, July 17 after the former won a NAADA trot and the latter a Billings event both at Monticello Raceway the previous day. Coach Minore was victorious at the Big M with Hallanet in a time of 1:57.3 while Hechkoff romped to a 1:54.4 triumph in a Billings split with Keystone Thomas. And both drivers made a quarter pole move to the lead after the first few furlongs and then each cruised on to open lengths victories. Minore's trotter was three lengths ahead of "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello's Gray N Cloudy while Hechkoff guided his charge to an easy six length victory over Current Crisis driven by Dein "the Jupiter Gem" Spriggs. In his contest Minore and Hallanet left from the pole position and parked Zuccarello and Gray N Cloudy by the quarter in :28.1 and thenMinore retook command and Hallanet raced relatively unchallenged the rest of the mile. They had a comfortable four length lead as the field headed for home and at the wire Hallanet was a 3-1/4 length victor over Gray N Cloudy. Pixel Queen finished third for "Joltin Joe" Pennacchio. Hallanet is owned by his driver and trained by Taylor Gower. Sent off at odds of over 13-1 he paid $28.20 for win. Hechkoff's Keystone Thomas went a whale of a race after he left hard from the 10-hole and followed "Yankee Joe" Lee and Dream Rocker's cover on the limb as Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg and Fuel Cell parked both trotters to a :27:2 first quarter. After Lee cleared with Dream Rocker Hechkoff gained command with Keystone Thomas and the ball game was nearly over as the veteran trotter passed the half in :56.1 and then went on to a oh-so-easy six length triumph over Current Crisis. Dream Rocker held on for the show dough. It was two-wins-in-a-row for Keystone Thomas after "the Headhunter" drove him to a 1:55.4 victory in his last start in the GSY Series also at the Big M in early July. Keystone Thomas, owned by Hechkofff's R.B.H. Ventures and Kyle Spagnola and the latter doubles as the horse's trainer. He paid $8.80 for win. Amazingly, or maybe not so amazing, is the fact the overwhelming majority of the 20 trotters slated to start in the Billings Series at the Meadowlands on Friday are all owned by their amateur drivers. Hallanet Keystone Thomas John Manzi    

On the beautiful summer afternoon of July 16, the ninth leg of the NAADA spring trotting series went to post at the harness racing meeting at Monticello Raceway and when the judges hung the official sign, Bob Hechkoff emerged victorious with Alternat Thursdays. They scored a two length triumph over Swift Blizzard and Paul Minore in a time of 2:00.3. Joe Lee finished third with Laser Lucy. When the wings of the mobile gate folded Minore hustled Swift Blizzard toward the lead from post five but they didn't gain command until Alan Schwartz, driving Typical Newyorker, grabbed leather and allowed Minore command just before the quarter mile timer flashed :29.3. At that point the eventual winner was third along the pylons some three lengths behind the leader. Once on top Minore kept his trotter moving forward but as the field headed to the half Hechkoff moved off the pylons to challenge as the field passed the halfway point in 1:00.3. However, Minore wasn't about to yield command and Swift Blizzard and Alternat Thursdays raced as a team by the three quarters in 1:30.1. The leaders were still side by side around the paddock turn and when they straightened for home Alternat Thursdays was the strong horse and refused to lose. Swift Blizzard faded but held second place and Laser Lucy was strong enough to rebuff Typical Newyork for the show dough. "He's a handful before the race and a handful after a race but once he's behind the gate you can drive him with two fingers", Hechkoff said of Alternat Thursdays as he was taking off his gloves in the paddock after the race." "But he's really not my kind of horse because he doesn't leave the gate quickly and I like a horse that can grab the racetrack. Still he's got class and is always on gait." Despite going into the race with no wins in 21 starts Alternat Thursdays had amassed almost $25,000 on the strength of six seconds and one third. In what turned out to be a wide open contest where six trotters went off at odds of 5-1 or less, Alternat Thursdays was the weak favorite at 1.95-1 and returned a $5.90 win mutuel. The winner is owned by Hechkoff's R.B.H Ventures and trained by Kyle Spagnola. It was the first seasonal win for Alternat Thursdays and the 10th this year for Hechkoff. John Manzi

On Sunday July 19 the Monticello Harness Horsemens Association (MHHA) will sponsor a bar-be-cue (BBQ) at Hanofee Park in Liberty, NY to honor memory of Robert "Bo" Beauregard who passed away unexpectedly earlier this year. "Bo's wife Marybeth and his children, along with other family members, will be there to greet and thank all attendees. "Not only was Bo a good trainer and a director of our horsemen's organization but he was a great guy and will be remembered for his good nature and humor. For years he would dress-up as Santa Claus for our annual Christmas Party always to delight the children, noted Alan Schwartz, president of MHHA. "With this upcoming BBQ we are hoping to get some donations for the trust fund for his young children, John and Stephen." The BBQ will start at noon and continue until dusk this coming Sunday. For a $20.00 donation food and soft drinks will be available all day. There will be fun and games for the children and swimming is also available. Anyone interested in making a donation to the "Bo Bo Fund" is asked to send it to MHHA c/o Monticello Raceway, Raceway Road, Monticello, NY 12701. "We guarantee that 100% of all donations will go to the trust fund for his two boys," Schwartz added. For further information, or to purchase tickets to Bo's BBQ, please call MHHA at 845-791-7747 or call 845-794-4100x559. John Manzi

In his other life Paul "the Coach" Minore was a Phys Ed teacher and track and field coach at Willingboro High School in New Jersey whose most famous pupil was the great track and field standout and former Olympian great, Carl Lewis. He got involved in amateur harness racing prior to his retirement and now Minore devotes himself fully to the sport he loves. On Sunday afternoon, July 12, in a CKG Billings Series trot at Saratoga Raceway "Coach Paul" rallied his veteran trotter, Wygant Prince, to a come-from-behind triumph in a 1:58.2 clocking. It was close a close finish but in the deep stretch they trotted by Morosita Bi and driver James "Call Me Jimmy" Marshall IV to win by a neck. The pace-setter Timmy T, driven by Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin, faded and finished third. "I fell into the two hole leaving (the starting gate) and when Bobby (Krivelin) wouldn't let Jimmy (Marshall IV) go I got a perfect trip. With all the speedy fractions on the front-end all I had to do was wait for room in the stretch and when it came my horse was fresh and he trotted to victory,"Minore said. Timmy T, the 3-2 betting favorite in the race, sped out to the lead from the six hole. Once there Krivelin played hardball and parked-out Morosita Bi and the two trotters raced as a team through speedy fractions of :28.2; :57.1 and 1:26.4 until the top of the lane when Marshall's trotter gained command. In the stretch Morosita Bi was confronted by Wygant Prince and the veteran trotter went on to victory and both Wygant Prince and "Coach Paul" each had their third seasonal triumphs; Wygant Prince against other trotters and "Coach Paul" against other amateur drivers. The winner is owned by Minore and trained by Taylor Gower. He paid $20.40 for win and for "Coach Paul" it marked his 82nd amateur driving victory. John Manzi

"Marvelous Marvin" Raber notched his first amateur driving victory of the season when he guided Washingtonian to a stunning 1:56.4 victory in a Midwest region CKG Billings Series trot at Northfield Park on Friday evening, July 10. Sent off as the betting favorite in the race from the two-hole Raber quickly took command with the veteran Malabar Millennium gelding and led the eight-horse field by the first quarter in a swift :28 seconds. From there Raber played catch me if you can and nobody could as Washingtonian toured the speedy double oval in a time of 1:56.4 for a seven length triumph. "I was being hard pressed by Steve Oldford (with Bold Strike, the second choice in the wagering) but when his horse made a break going to the half I felt very confident in our chances to win it. My horse was still strong and he trotted away from the field and cruised to an easy victory," Raber explained. Speed Hanover and "Lawbook Larry" Farley finished second while YF Crasher and "Marlin the Magician" Smith took home the show dough. Washingtonian, owned and trained by Larry Clabaugh, notched his second seasonal triumph and returned a $4.40 win mutuel. It was only the fourth seasonal drive for Raber who now has 34 career driving victories. Now with eight venues in the books in the Billings Midwest regionals Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford continues to lead the with 53 points. Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg is second with 30 points and "Hurricane Hannah" Miller's, 27, is currently third best. Raber now with 23 points ranks fourth while Larry Farley, with 19 points is fifth. Rounding out the top ten are: "Michelle the Belle" Ruvola (18) "Bullet Bob" Davis (14.5), Bob "Lumberman" Troyer (14), "Chicago George" Bonomo (13) and Kelly "Sky" Walker (13). John Manzi

Hunch players who wagered on Gimme The Loot capitalized when Bobby Krivelin drove the 10 year old Credit Winner gelding to 2:01 victory in the NAADA Trot at the harness racing meeting at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon, July 9. And those with winning tickets on Gimme The Loot were saying just that when they went to the mutuel windows for the $35.60 payoff. Overlooked from post position six and sent off at odds of over 16-1, Krivelin drove Gimme The Loot like he was the odds-on favorite in the race when he sent the veteran trotter to the lead and parked all comers. Among those on the limb was the 3-5 favorite Bluebird Kidsqueen driven by Dave Offenberg. Also getting fresh air on the outside behind Offenberg was second choice, Casanova Lindy and driver Hannah Miller. It was clear that Krivelin wanted to be on the lead and his trotter responded well rebuffing all challenges. Casanova Lindy started from the seven-hole, never saw the pylons and although he had to go the long mile he still was strong enough to make up three lengths in the stretch to finish just one length behind the winner. Third place went to Typical Newyorker in rein to Alan Schwartz. "The public made Offenberg's horse the hot favorite but I knew the one to beat was Hannah Miller because I chased her and Casanova Lindy home and finished second to her last Sunday at Goshen," Krivelin said in the winners circle after his victory. "I was inside of her (Hannah) today and I wanted to be on the lead. As it worked out she had road trouble and couldn't get a clear shot at me early on." "But her horse went a big trip on the outside the entire mile." Owned by the Hero Stables of Goshen, NY and trained by Krivelin, Gimme The Loot notched his third seasonal triumph. For Krivelin who was USHWA's Amateur Driver of The Year last season, it was his seventh seasonal driving victory and 174th of his amateur career. Later that afternoon at the Afton (NY) Fair (some 75 miles from Monticello) there was a Billings Trot carded and immediately after her second place finish at Monticello Raceway in the NAADA Trot "Hurricane Hannah" drove for one and half hours to Afton, NY to participate in Billings contest there. In the short five- horse field at Afton Hannah had the four-hole with Pembroke Snapshot, a trotter with whom she won with at Monticello Raceway earlier this year. Over the Afton Agricultural Fair's double-oval Miller and Pembroke Snapshot defeated Drill Sergeant Sam and Tony "the Capo" Verruso in a time of 2:08. Third place went to Mighty Moe and driver "Bullet Bob" Davis. The winner is owned by the Nick Surick Stable and the JL Benson Stable and trained by Surick. It was the fourth seasonal triumph for Pembroke Snapshot and the 21st driving victory this season for Ms. Miller. And let it not be said that "Hurricane Hannah" doesn't dance every dance. Besides competing in the Billings Series she also participates in the NAADA Trotting Series, the Catskill Club's pacing events, and the GSY Series at the Meadowlands. After her second place finish at the Mighty M on Thursday and her victory at Afton later in the day, the 23 year old now has a phenomenal .500 UDR on the strength of 21 wins, 12 seconds and 10 thirds in 2015 John Manzi

Bob "the Lumberman" Troyer came from far back with Heza Rube to win the harness racing Billings trot at Northfield Park in a time of 1:57 on July 2. Nine horses were drawn in the contest but when the field went behind the starting gate two late scratches whittled the it to seven. Heza Rube started from the five hole and got away in the back of the pack after "Marvelous Marvin" Raber set sails with Washingtonian and they led the field by the quarter in a stiff :27.3. At that point Huza Rube was some 13 lengths behind the leader. "They left hard so I took a seat," Troyer explained. Raber had the pedal to the medal and Washingtonian zipped by the half in :56.3 with the eventual winner 15 lengths in the rears. Four lengths in front of Hometowne Jeff and "Michelle the Belle" Ruvola as they passed the three quarters in 1:25.4 Washingtonian still had a huge lead on Heza Rube but on the final turn Troyer was coming and coming hard. He made up five quick lengths on the turn and when the field straightened for home Troyer had Heza Rube wide open and they rallied to a neck victory over Washingtonian. Third place went to Hometown Jeff and Michelle Ruvola. "I had owned him (Heza Rube) and sold him to Marty Wollam a few years ago so when he entered him in the Billings trot he asked me if I would like to drive him," Troyer explained. "Of course I said sure and I am glad I did. He's always been a nice horse but he really surprised me when we won tonight because we were so far back most of the mile." Now owned and trained by Marty Wollam, Heza Rube, a 5 year-old altered son of Master Lavec paid $4.80 for win. It was the trotter's second seasonal victory. For Troyer, who has been a longtime participant in Billings races, it was his first drive of the year. The victory was Troyer's 73rd of his amateur driving career. John Manzi

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