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Monticello, NY --- For the third time this season North America’s greatest harness racing traveling roadshow, the C.K.G. Billings Amateur Driving Series, has ventured to Canada, this time for races at Flamboro Downs on Sunday (Oct. 4) and at Woodbine Racetrack on Monday (Oct. 5). At Flamboro Downs, Steve “You’re Never Too” Oldford visited the winner's circle again when he guided Grandprix Seelster to a front-end victory in a time of 2:01.3 and at Woodbine “Racin’ Jason” Sgrignuoli won with E L Rock in a swift 1:56.1. In his trot over Flamboro Downs’ double oval, Oldford hustled his trotter away from post four with hopes of finding a hole down along the pylons but when nothing materialized he kept Grandprix Seelster going forward. “When I couldn’t find a hole on the first turn I sent my horse to the lead and after we made the front he was on cruise control the rest of the mile,” Oldford related by telephone after the race. A soft early fraction of :31.1 helped Oldford on his quest for victory. Once on top his horse trotted nearly :30-second quarters the rest of the journey and cruised home an easy four length winner in 2:01.3 over Tymal Fireitup, driven by Jason Sgrignuoli. Despite making a break behind the starting gate, “Howie the Horse” Gelfand garnered the show dough with Winem. The race winner, an altered son of Federal Flex, owned by Glengate Farms, Goldfinger Stables and his trainer, Patrick Hunt, paid $11.60 for win. And for Oldford, an automobile manufacturers rep from Croswell, Mich., it was his 12th seasonal driving victory and the 109th of his amateur career. After a second place finish at Flamboro Downs “Racin’ Jason” emerged victorious at Woodbine, winning with E L Rock, which made the second time -- in just two chances -- that he won with the 7-year-old Yankee Glide gelding in Billings competition. He reined E L Rock to a Billings victory at Mohawk Racetrack in mid-September. After a soft start where he got away in fourth position, Sgrignuoli moved for the lead but he was rebuffed by “Bullet Bob” Davis who was up behind Blush And Crush. “I fell in fourth place in the early going and sat there until we passed the half. At that point I pulled my trotter and was looking for the front but Bob Davis wouldn’t let me go, so I tucked in behind him and in the stretch my horse out-trotted his and we won it by a length,” Sgrignuoli said via telephone. Blush And Crush finished second and Strong Hope was third for Howie Gelfand. E L Rock is owned by Mark Herlihy and Robert Lovett and trained by Herlihy. He returned a $5.90 win mutuel. For Sgrignuoli, an electrician by trade from Dorval, Quebec, it was only his eighth drive this year but his second victory and seventh in his career, which includes just 66 amateur drives since 2007. John Manzi

MONTICELLO, NY- On Sunday, October 11, the longest running show in the Catskills, WVOS-FM's "The Bop Shop" hosted by John Manzi, will celebrate its 32nd anniversary. The four- hour radio show is heard on Sunday nights from 8pm until mid-night. The unique program which features music--mostly vocal group harmony records-- from the late 40's, 50's and early 60's is available on WVOS radio on 95.9FM and on Time Warner Cable channel 1962 in southeast New York , northeastern Pennsylvania and northwestern New Jersey. And it is now heard world-wide on the internet at "We have a fun program and we play enjoyable songs from small labels that never really go much airplay and since we've been on the internet we've been getting calls from listeners in Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Long Island and all over the East Coast; even from Alaska," Manzi relates. "We go back to the roots of rock n roll and rhythm n blues playing great songs from what is now known as the doo wop era. Sure we play chart records but mostly we feature vocal group harmony records but we also play some rock-a-billy and blues records, too." Currently with features like "the name game", "name that tune", "same thing only different", battle of the (record's) b-sides", "rate a record" and "common denominator", Manzi tries to keep his audience involved in the show. From time to time Manzi has live in-studio a cappella from vocal ensembles like Larry Chance and the Earls, Guy Villari & the Regents; The Shallows; the Cliftonaires; Mystique; the Creations, the Arrogants, the Excellents; Sentimental Journey; and BQE, to mention a few; and recently, Little Isadore and the Inquisitors . Every Sunday Manzi is joined by his sidekick, Joe "Doo Wop" Greco who has been with him since the beginning of the show in early October 1983. Also an integral part of the program are Steve "the Eggman" Ristano and Cindy "G". Besides playing the music, they inform the listeners of the background of the songs; talk about the personnel and where they originated from, as well as where songs placed on the Billboard charts. Manzi has always been a fancier of oldies music. His collection of 45RPM records exceeds 50,000 and his albums number more than 3000. He still plays records over the airwaves. For the first 25 years the Bop Shop was heard on WSUL-98.3FM but seven years ago Watermark Communications, which owns both WSUL and WVOS, switched the program to WVOS-FM when that station began an "oldies" format. When Manzi took over the Sunday night oldies show at WSUL radio in October 1983 little did he fathom that 31 years later he'd still be at it. "And the beautiful part of this music is that even though the records are 50 years old, and older, I'm always coming across vocal group harmony songs that I never heard before," Manzi said. "It's like listening to new music." "I really look forward to Sunday nights. I love the music and I love our audience."  

After an enjoyable, but then again an unsuccessful harness racing competition against the Spaniards in Mallorca, Spain, "Hurricane Hannah" Miller picked up where she left off before leaving the good ole USA and reined a winner in a Billings Trot at the Red Mile in Lexington, Ky. On Thursday, October 1st. With the recent proliferation of amateur racing two NAADA trots also went to post that evening at Yonkers Raceway with Dein Spriggs winning his split while Allan Sisco scored in the other. At Lexington's Red Mile Hannah Miller, the point leader in the Billings Series, added more to her resume when she guided Jacks To Open to a 2:00.2 victory over at racetrack rated good. After going off-stride behind the starting gate Miller got her charge back trotting and although they never went down along the pylons until the homestretch the veteran trotter proved to be the strong horse and went on to a 1-1/2 length triumph over the race's pace-setter, Speed Hanover, who was driven by "Lawbook Larry" Farley. Third place went to Majestic Lady Jo and driver Richard "the Lionhearted" Bertrand. "The track last night was very bad and my horse was not getting over it very well," Miller explained, and then added "luckily he came back trotting quickly after he ran behind the gate." Miller is a member of multiple amateur driving organizations and as a representative of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) she was one of four who recently ventured to Mallorca, Spain for an international driving competition. She returned to the States on Tuesday (Sept. 29) and was asked about her experience racing overseas. "The Spain trip was amazing, I had such a good time over there. The racing is much different and I didn't seem to have much luck but it was still a good experience and I'm so glad I went," Miller said. Jacks To Open, owned by her driver and the Nick Surick Stable and trained by Surick, paid $3.40 for win. Meanwhile at Yonkers Raceway earlier that evening Dein Spriggs showed why he was named National Amateur of the Year by the US Harness Writers. He not only won his non-betting split behind Saint Patty's Doll in a time of 2:00 which was his 20th driving victory of the season but it was also his 404th of his prolific amateur career. Spriggs, known as "the Jupiter Gem" when competing in the Billings Series, used the front-end route to victory behind the 6-year-old Conway Hall mare. They rebuffed a late charge from Sam's Honeybee and driver Tony Verruso. Three more lengths in the rears was third place finisher Super Chuck, driven by Brad Rathbone. Saint Patty's Doll is owned by Karma Racing, Inc. and trained by Rob Harmon. The other NAADA trot went to Allan Sisco with Magglio in a time of 1:58. After they who scooted away to open lengths on the field they were never in trouble and chugged home a solid 10-length winner over Mari Bi who was in rein to Joe Faraldo. Hallanet, with Paul Minore in the sulky, garnered the show dough. The winner, trained by Sisco, is owned by Stephen Oldford and the Oldford Farms LLC. For Joe Faraldo it was his first drive since returning from Mallorca where he unsuccessfujlly led his team in a competition with the Spanish amateurs. "They kicked our butts but no one seemed to really care", Faraldo explained. "Besides visiting many special sites on Mallorca we raced and then broke bread together each evening. After all, amateur racing is a great excuse for human relations." by John Manzi for the Billings and NAADA

Besides the great camaraderie shared with their hosts as far as enjoyment on NAADA's venture to Mallorca, Spain for an international amateur driving competition with their Spanish counterparts, the best that could be said was that it was relegated to great food and fine wines because on the racetrack they were vanquished again. The following is a first hand view by NAADA president and team leader, Joe Faraldo on the final day of the international amateur driving competition between the North American Amateur Drivers Association and the Spanish amateurs. "At Son Pardo in Palma there were two twelve horse fields. They pre-raced us with paella and roast suckling pig. When the racing began it looked like the twelve horses were all over the place behind the eight-horse gate reminiscent of Yonkers during a French racing afternoon and once again the Spaniards kicked butts. Of course, just by the numbers 8 vs 4, it was likely that would happen just because of the traffic and team racing the Europeans engage in. "In the first of two races, Alan Schwartz's horse had not raced for 3 years. "When he asked the trainer about that, the reply was "She had a good rest" and also if she cannot finish, just bring her back." "It did not instill confidence and needless to say, the horse was ready to go back after the 1/2." " (Joe) Pennacchio was best of American blood and finished 4th. "The second race was about the same 8 vs 4. Pennacchio's horse was so unruly, that he could not start in the race and it dumped Joe." "So we were down to three. Hannah got behind two breakers leaving the course only to be disqualified. "I was on top in a heartbeat and was up by 10 at the half and it seemed certain that I was going to bring it home." "Unfortunately at the end, my charge, Benigno Duran, drew a posse an they wiped that lead away as the bottom-them-out strategy failed down that long, long stretch." "I was so sure that I was third I kept insisting all the next day that I indeed finished third but somehow the judges saw (Alan) Schwartz on the far outside and I ended up fourth." "The protesting did not end as the mantra of the day continued with "I was robbed". "The final US tally had Schwartz with two thirds,Pennacchio with a fourth, and I had a fourth." "In the winner's circle presentation all the American drivers were presented with beautiful personally engraved plaques cast in Spanish silver and we stood for pictures." "As usual Hannah Miller won that photo by open lengths!" "Dinner was awesome, all home raised beef and pork products barbecued and, as usual, super abundant." "Then came more wine until we just about couldn't stand at all." "An invitation was extended to our friends for a rematch in the US next year in September and maybe we can change the results." "Tonight there was another dinner with the drivers featuring jamon,suckling pig, and just about everything else including empanadas and Majorcan bread. "If nothing else, we beat them at eating." John Manzi

Harness racing has always been an integral part of David "Proud Poppa" Glasser's life since his folks, Arthur and Evelyn were prominent horse owners during his youth and his love for the sport never diminished over the years. True, he got a college education but he always dabbled in and loved any opportunity that afforded him a chance to sit behind a spirited steed. And on Saturday evening (Sept. 26) at Vernon Downs the president of a litigation support company scored his first seasonal driving victory when he copped a Billings trot in a time of 1:57.2 with Celebrity Stimulus, a 5-year-old altered son of Cantab Hall which he co-owns with Joel Golub. After starting from the two-hole Glasser was content to allow "Howie the Horse" Gelfand to take command with De Nada at the first stanza as the timer flashed :27.2. From there Glasser sat chilly and followed the cover afforded by Gelfand's charge even when trailing horses made moves up the backside to challenge the leader. But on the final turn Glasser saw daylight and moved his trotter alongside Da Nada and then charged to the lead as Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff rallied with favored Berkshire. Both trotters raced side-by-side down the lane but after their covered trip Celebrity Stimulus was the strong horse and spurted off to a 1-1/2 length triumph. Although Berkshire faded in the deep stretch he held on for second place a length ahead of Pixel Queen who was in rein to Scott "the Driving Doctor" Woogen. Celebrity Stimulus, trained by Homer Hochstetler, was sent off as second choice in the race and paid $5.50 for win. The Billings Series moves on with races slated at both Yonkers Raceway and the Red Mile on Thursday, Oct.1st. by John Manzi for the Billings Series  

Although the American harness racing amateurs hoped for different results when they traveled to Mallorca for the second edition of the Spain vs. NAADA Friendship Competition their hopes vanished when reality set-in. Led by Joe Faraldo, president of NAADA and joined by Hannah Miller, Alan Schwartz and Joe Pennacchio the American team is doing little more than enjoying the food, wine and camaraderie with their hosts. Faraldo shared the following sentiments after the first day of the competition. "Midst a rich brownish earth, calm breeze, winery tours and into the depths of the their most famous caves, surrounding us with kindness and hospitality, the Spanish then proceeded to clobber our NAADA amateurs once again. This time the races were on a track no greater than 650 meters long on a track that is only wide enough for six across with a running horse (Thoroughbred) rail. And then add a field of ten horses and set the distance at 1750 meters, about three times around with a bell-lap for the benefit of Spanish and Americans alike. "Compare that to our half-milers, which are a large 800 meters by comparison, and it was easy to see the slaughter that began. "In the first event four brave souls, led by the hot handed Hannah Miller, waged battle with the six Spanish drivers who clearly had the home track advantage and perhaps the better horses which gave them an all round edge. Going for a purse of 700 Euros the American team bested only a third place gained by Alan Schwartz. The second event found no American in the top five. "However after the race we were treated to an elaborate cocktail party where the main talk, fortunately for us, centered around the upcoming International Trot to be held at Yonkers on October10th after a twenty year hiatus." According to Faraldo, on Sunday the competition moves on to Son Pardo racetrack in Palma, the bustling town and capital of Mallorca with the Americans hoping for better results.That will be followed by a farewell dinner of Paella and roast suckling pig. "At Son Pardo racetrack a group from the French PMU subsidized a race of 50,000 euros with a plane load of French horses shipped in." Faraldo added. "The PMU has made great strides in Spain and it continues,along with Le Trot, to propagate the continent with their breed and betting distribution system to the advantage of all, now sending about 100 French trotting horses to Ireland long a stronghold of American pacing blood." John Manzi

"Bullet Bob" Davis may have started out slowly in this season's CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series but lately he's caught fire winning his last three starts in harness racing's seven-month traveling sideshow. His latest victory was at Batavia Downs on Friday night, September 2 when he guided pacer, Royal Ashton, to a 1:57.3 triumph in a Billings test there. Davis, a self- employed business man and horse owner from Saratoga Springs, NY, thinks nothing of getting in his car and traveling the Billings circuit to drive against his fellow amateurs. And all his wayfaring hasn't been in vain, especially of late. "On August 30th I drove 15 hours -- one way -- to race on Prince Edward Island in the Canadian Maritimes and I won the Billings split there. Then on September 13th I traveled seven hours one way from my home in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., to race in the Billings series at Flamboro Downs and scored a victory there, too," Davis explained. "And my third win in a row in the Billings was on September 25th after trekking five hours to Batavia Downs." At that western New York double-oval, Davis used the front end route with his catch-drive to vanquish his competition. Sent off as the second choice from the two-hole Davis not only rated an even mile but his charged incredibly paced every quarter in exactly :29.2 en route to a 1:57.3 tally. "I never really had any challenges until the half but even then my horse was well in command and we sailed home an easy winner," Davis said. That he did. A late charge from "Howie the Horse" Gelfand, with favored Precise Accusation, fell a length short at the wire. Third place, some three lengths behind the winner, was Inform, driven by Anthony "Tough Tony" Cuiffetelli. Royal Ashton, a 4-year old His Mattjesty gelding, owned by Keith Pinkowsi and Curtis Edholm and trained by Mihajlo Zdjelar, Jr. paid $6.50 for win. On Saturday (Sept 26) Davis will try to keep his win-streak alive when he comes in Billings event at Vernon Downs. John Manzi

With four of their members in Mallorca, Spain competing against Spanish amateurs in an international harness racing Friendship Competition two divisions of the North American Amateur Drivers Association fall trotting series went to post Thursday (Sept.24) at Yonkers Raceway and when the judges hung the official signs Bob Hechkoff and Bob Davis each emerged victorious in their respective divisions. Hechkoff, no stranger to the winners circle this year, got his picture taken again when he guided his own Alternat Thursdays to a hard fought 1:59.1 victory in the first of two non-wagering events while Bob Davis, currently with a hot-hand, scored a come-from- behind triumph with Hallanet in a time of 2:01.4. Hechkoff, who enjoys gunning his stock to the lead, did so again when he hustled Alternat Thursdays to the front from the seven-hole to gain command in a :28.4 first quarter. Once on top Hechkoff braced for a challenge from Paul Minore who moved first-up with Wygant Prince as the field headed to the halfway point. From there the two trotters raced head- to- head past the third stanza and into the final turn. As the field headed for home Alternat Thursdays, still in command, had to reach down for more when Matt Zuccarello and Falcon Bluestone came calling. Still three lengths off the leader, Zuccarello's trotter mounted a fierce charge to the wire only to be rebuffed and fall short by a head to Hechkoff's Alternat Thursdays. Wygant Prince, after being on the limb for more than half the mile, hung on for third money. It was the third seasonal victory for the 10 year old altered son of Andover Hall whose career earnings are approaching $400,000. The winner is owned by R.B. H. Enterprises and for Hechkoff it marked his 16th seasonal driving victory. In the other split Hallanet went an overland trip from the three-eighths to the wire and overtook the pace-setter, Blazin Delores, in the final 100 yards to score a solid one-length victory. After hooking up in a head-to-head dual with Majestic Jo (Dave Yarock), Blazin Delores was strong nearly all the way to the wire but in the final strides she succumbed to the late charge of Hallant. Brad Rathbone finished third with Super Chuck. Hallanet, a 4 year old Cash Hall mare owned by Paul Minore, scored her third seasonal triumph. It was the second consecutive driving victory and third of the season for Bob Davis. Meanwhile in Malllorca, NAADA mates; Joe Faraldo, Hannah Miller, Joe Pennacchio and Alan Schwartz will battle Saturday and Sunday with the same Spanish amateurs who soundly defeated them on American soil earlier this year. John Manzi for Naada

Monticello, NY --- The North American Amateur Drivers Association team is already in Spain and has been spending good tidings in Barcelona. On Thursday (Sept 24) they will head to the Spanish island of Mallorca and try to avenge the defeat the Spanish amateurs laid on the NAADA members in their first meeting earlier this year in the USA. This past spring the Spaniards were guests of NAADA in a Friendship Competition and they thoroughly vanquished their American counterparts in a series of races on American soil. The NAADA team of Joe Faraldo, Alan Schwartz, Hannah Miller, and Joe Pennacchio will need to be at the top of their game in the upcoming races on Mallorca. “Sure, we’re the underdogs in this international competition but for years, win or lose, I’ve been saying that amateur racing is a good excuse for human relations,” said Joe Faraldo, president of NAADA. “We’re happy to be here in Spain and look forward to having a great time with our newfound friends.” According to Alicia Schwartz, an officer of NAADA, the following is an itinerary for the Americans in the driving competition on Mallorca. Thursday, Sept 24  Pick up at the airport and taken to our accommodations. Afterwards, we will have a welcome dinner in the coastal town of Cala Millor (just 15 minutes to the vacation house).  Friday, Sept. 25 Wine tour experience in the city of Santa Maria (50 km away) visiting the winery and vineyards and tasting wines and Majorcan food. The tour will be about four hours in duration. Saturday, Sept 26  Visit to the famous Caves "Cuevas del Drach" in Porto Cristo, about 10 minutes from our vacation house. Lunch at the race track of Manacor. Two races (first race post time is at 4 p.m., amateur races probably will be second and fourth). After the races we will go to the Hotel Valparaiso in Playa de Palma for the presentation with French and Spanish Federation, accompanied by finger food and dinner.  Sunday, Sept. 27 Lunch at the race track of Palma. We’ll have two races (first race probably at 4 p.m.). After the races we will have dinner on the way to our vacation house.  Monday, Sept. 28  At night we will have a casual party dinner, with wine and cocktails to highlight wonderful Mallorca food. Tuesday, Sep. 29 Return to the USA John Manzi

Far and away the biggest thing that has happened to amateur harness racing this season, can be said in just two words...Hannah Miller. The 24 year old daughter of top trainer Erv Miller has taken amateur racing by by a hurricane. The 24 year old miss notched her second driving double on a betting card this year when she reined two winners in amateur events at Freehold Raceway on Saturday, Sept.19. An outstanding devotee of amateur racing Miller travels far and wide to participate in amateur events. She's known as "Hurricane Hannah" when racing in the CKG Billings Series and driving predominantly against male counterparts she not only draws attention from her competitors but also by the betting public. At Freehold Raceway on Saturday she won her Billings contest with Jacks To Open in a time of 2:00.3 despite the horse's contentiousness. "Jack was a little head strong and I didn't want to wrestle with him too much," Hannah said. "I was being a little cautious in the first turn since he hasn't been on a half in a while so I bided my time first-over and we were able to get there." Although they never were along he pylons Miller sat calm in the sulky while "Coach Paul" Minore cut the swift early fractions with Wygant Prince. Still on the limb up the backside Jacks To Open marched steadily forward and raced head-to-head with Minore's trotter to the top of the lane. Finally on the lead as the field headed for paydirt Jacks To Open rebuffed a solid challenge from Permanent Joy and Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin who shadowed Miller's charge throughout. At the wire Jacks To Open was a neck better that Permanent Joy with Kings Cavalier and Dave "Yes Its True" Offenberg another length back in third place. Owned by Miller and the Nick Surick Stable, Jacks to Open, a 5 year old altered son of Conway Hall notched his seventh season triumph. He paid $4.00 for win. In an earlier amateur trot in the GSY Series Miller scored a come -from- behind victory with Casanova Lindy in the identical time of 2:00:3. "In Lindy's race I was looking to get to the lead but there were several leavers and luckily past the half I was able to get in the two hole and wait for the passing lane and my horse was the strongest through the stretch, Miller explained. Second place went to Alternat Thursdays with Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff aboard while Krivekin took home the show dough with Cassa's Image. Casanova Lindy, a 12 year old SJ's Photo gelding, is owned by his driver along with the Erv Miller Stable and Nick Surick Stable. It was the trotters 12th seasonal triumph. He paid $3.40 for win. Both of Miller's winners are trained by Nick Surick who himself drove three winners on the Freehold card that afternoon. "Hurricane Hannah" continues to be amateur racing's top story with amazing credentials. In 88 starts she has 25 wins, 17 seconds and 13 thirds which equates to a whopping .441UDR. On Sunday evening (Sept 20) she will wing her way to Spain to join Joe Faraldo, Alan Schwartz and Joe Pennacchio as representatives of the North American Amateur Drivers Association when the NAADA vs Spain Friendship Competition II continues on Spanish soil later this week. John Manzi

Monticello, NY - Two divisions in the North American Amateur Drivers Association Fall trotting series were on tap on Thursday afternoon (Sept.15) at Monticello Raceway and when the dust cleared Joe Lee and Tony Farina each emerged victorious in their respective splits. Lee won with Mario Bi in a time of 2:00.4 while Farina scored behind Chelseas Chance in 1:59.3. Lee, the assistant equipment manager for the New York Yankees, subbed for Joe Faraldo and he scored an easy victory with the 4 year-old Andover Hall stallion. After getting away slowly from the three hole Lee had Mario Bi some nine lengths off the leader as Pembroke Snapshot and Hannah Miller showed the way in the :28.3 first stanza. When the field headed for the halfway point Lee was out and going with his trotter and they were in third position on the limb but just two lengths off the lead. However, up the backside Mario Bi trotted to the front and it was 'Katey bar the door' from there on as Lee's trotter opened up daylight and cruised home an easy three length winner. Gimme The Loot was second under the wire for Bobby Krivelin but a racing infraction caused the trotter to be disqualified and placed last. That allowed Tagmaster and Tony Ciuffetelli to be moved up to second and Pembroke Snapshot to the show position. Owned by Joe Faraldo, Mario Bi paid $6.00 for win and for Lee it was his third driving victory of the year and eighth since he began amateur racing in 2010. In the other split, young Tony Farina scored an impressive come-from-behind triumph with Chelseas Chance, a 4-year-old daughter of Kadabra, in 1:59.3. Sent off as the 8-5 favorite in the contest Farina was content to follow the leaders through fractions of :29.1; :59:1 and 1:29.4 . In fourth position, four lengths off the lead at the top of the stretch, Chelseas Chance rallied with a :28.3 final quarter to score a 1-1/2 length victory in 1:59.3, her sixth of the season. Second money went to Current Crisis (Bobby Krivelin) while Typical New Yorker took home the show dough for Tony Verruso. Jerry Ray trains the winner for The Absolute Return Stable. She returned $4.70 win mutuel. For 24-year old Tony Farina it was his second driving victory this year and second of his fledgling career. On Sunday a NAADA contingent consisting of Joe Faraldo, Alan Schwartz; Joe Pennacchio and Hannah Miller will wing their way to Spain for a return competition with the Spanish amateurs on the island of Mallorca. by John Manzi, for NAADA

Harness racing's great traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series, moved to Ontario, Canada these past two days with a race at Flamboro Downs on Sunday (Sept.13) and two at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday (Sept. 14). A different winner emerged in each event; "Bullet Bob" Davis and "Racin Jason" Sgrignuoli at Mohawk and Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin at Flamboro. It marked the second time in the last three weeks at contingents of Billings members traveled north of the border to Canada to compete. And for some it meant long rides in automobiles to get to their venues. Take Bob Davis, for instance. He traveled seven hours one way from his home in Saratoga Springs to race at Flamboro and Mohawk. And by his own admission he drove 15 hours--one way- to race on Prince Edward Island on August 30. However, Davis' traveling these past few days wasn't in vain. He won a decisive 1:58.4 victory with Blush And Crush at Mohawk on Monday night. "And I finished third with a 55-1 shot from the eight hole at Flamboro on Sunday" Davis interjected. But the cream rose to the top Monday at Mohawk when, despite being told to keep his trotter off the gate, Davis gunned Blush And Crush to the lead and played catch me if you can. "Surprisingly I got away with soft fractions of :30 and 1:01.3," Davis said from his car on his way home to Saratoga last night. "And when I pulled the (ear) plugs after the half my horse opened a three length lead and we coasted home an easy winner." Hurricane Hannah" Miller, whose mounts seems to take money in the wagering pools no matter where she races, finished second with favored Utopia. Third place went to Excuse Me Please, driven by "Racin' Jason" Sgrignuoli. Blush And Crush, owned by Leo Racicot, paid $6.80 for win. Despite getting home at 3 am Davis made it to work at his home improvement business later that morning. Jason Sgrignuoli's victory was similar to that of Bob Davis'. But Sgrignuoli, who drove seven hours from Montreal to compete in the Billings trots in Ontario, had a tougher time gaining command with his trotter, E L Rock in his split. "I started slowly from the three hole looking for a pocket but none developed. So I floated to the lead which Bob Krivelin (who was on the front end) didn't seem to want to relinquish," Sgrignouli said. "We finally cleared and once on top we never had any challenges and were home easy winners." They finished six lengths ahead of Cimeronken and driver Dave "Modern Legend" Drew in that 1:56.1 trotted mile. Kelly "Sky" Walker took home the show dough with Rush N Supreme. It was Sgrignouli's fifth drive of the season thus far and for the master electrician, it was his first win in 2015. Owned by Mark Herlihy and Robert Lovett, E L Rock paid $20.20 for win. And on Sunday, September 13 at Flamboro, Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin scored a hard fought victory with Empire Strikesback in a time of 2:01 when they held off a fast closing Blazing Shot who was driven by "Handy Dan" St Pierre. Bob Davis finished third with New Favorite. Owned by Alan Fair, Empire Strikesback returned a $14.90 win mutuel. Later this week the Billings Series returns to the States with action at Freehold Raceway on Saturday and at Delaware Ohio on Sunday. By John Manzi, for the Billings Series  

There's an old adage that states "you can't keep a good man down". Applying those same sentiments to the recently completed Billings Trot at Plainridge Park on Labor Day(Sept. 7) it needs adjustment to "you can't keep a good woman down", referring to "Hurricane Hannah" Miller's victory there with Jacks To Open. "I was having stomach and kidney problems and I was in the hospital for a few days. I'm glad to be back and I'm feeling much better," Miller said referring to missing two NAADA Series drives at Freehold Raceway on Saturday. The Billings point leader, Miller picked up where she left off and notched her 23rd seasonal triumph with a gate to wire victory behind Jacks To Open over Plainridge Park's five eighths mile oval. Taking advantage of the pole position in the six-horse field Miller fired the veteran Conway Hall gelding to the lead and they were comfortable in the :28.1 first split. From there, Jacks To Open raced virtually unchallenged for the remainder of the mile and in the lane the trotter opened up daylight on the field and cruised home an easy five length winner in a time of 1:57.2. Although shadowed throughout by Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff, his charge,Berkshire, couldn't stay with the winner as the field headed for paydirt and finished second. Northern Nandi garnered the show dough for Tony "the Capo" Verruso aboard. Owned by his driver and the Nick Surick Stable, Jacks To Open paid $3.40 for win and notched his sixth seasonal victory. Miller, who had a five hour drive from her home in New Jersey to compete, now has a .443 UDR on the strength of 23 wins, 16 seconds and 12 thirds in 81 trips to post. Extremely happy to have Hannah back in action her boyfriend Nick Surick added: "We're off to Chicago for some stake races on Saturday night (Sept 12) followed by Billings races in Canada, Sunday (Sept 13) at Flamboro, (Downs)and Monday (Sept. 14) at Mohawk Racetrack. John Manzi  

With an explosion of amateur harness racing gaining credibility among the racing fans and dotting the programs at many racetracks the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) is currently staging a 12-race Fall Trotting Series at four east coast raceways with the first leg presented at Freehold Raceway on Saturday, September 5th. Then, on a weekly basis, events will follow at Saratoga, Monticello and Yonkers Raceways and culminate in a $15,000 Final at Yonkers on December 3. On Saturday afternoon at Freehold Raceway two $5,000 divisions were contested with Tony Ciuffetelli and Bob Hechkoff each emerging victorious in their respective splits with the former winning with Tagmaster in a time of 2:02.3 while the latter scored with Alternat Thursdays in 2:00. Tagmaster, a 12 year old altered son of Tagliabue, a mid-August purchase from Bob Hechkoff's R.H.B. Ventures by Tony Ciuffetelli, battled valiantly to score a one length triumph over Blazin Delores and driver Jimmy Marshall IV. Pembroke Snapshot finished a close third for Bob Hechoff who was subbing for an ill Hannah Miller. Hechkoff and Pembroke Snapshot cut the fractions only to be overtaken by Tagmaster as they rounded the final turn and then they succumbedto second place finisher, Blazin Delores, just before the wire. It was Tagmaster's second start for Ciuffetelli after his purchase on August 18. Prior to mid-August, Tagmaster was a pleasurable and rewarding drive for more than two years for Hechkoff. The trotter won more than 20 times while property of Hechkoff's R.H.B. Ventures. It was Tagmaster's first victory for Ciuffetelli and the trotter's 63rd lifetime win. He returned a $15.60 mutuel. For Ciuffetelli, a trucker and part-time trainer, it marked his 24th career driving victory. In the second NAADA split Hechkoff sent Alternat Thursdays to the lead from the two-hole and, as usual, took no prisoners. They sailed through fractions of :28.2; :58.2; and 1:28.2 and finished a four-length winner over Hallanet and driver Paul Minore. Gimme The Loot was third for Bobby Krivelin. Alternat Thursdays has been racing for Hechkoff since he purchased the veteran trotter in late May. It was their second victory together and the 37th career win for the 9-year-old Andover Hall gelding. Sent off as the betting favorite, Alternat Thursdays paid $5.60 for win. Enjoying his best season in the sulky Hechkoff, a headhunter by trade, notched his 15th win and 69th since joining the amateur ranks in 2000. Hannah Miller, the leading amateur driver this year currently with 22 wins, was noticeably absent from the NAADA action at Freehold Raceway. "She's been in hospital for two days with some problems - home this afternoon but very weak and couldn't drive - all good and she should be back driving in the Billings Monday at Plainridge (Racecourse)", her boyfriend Nick Surick said via email. By John Manzi for NAADA

Winning races is nothing new for Dein "the Jupiter Gem" Spriggs. In his amateur career the two-time USHWA Amateur Driver of the Year has won over 400 times. Last night, Saturday, August 29, the real estate mogul from South Florida added two more to his career total after having won both Billings races at Charlottetown Driving Park on Prince Edward Island, Canada. But living up to its claim as an international amateur driving competition the CKG Billings Series also offered a trot last night in the USA at Tioga Downs in New York's southern tier where Dave "Steady As" Yarock emerged victorious. Eight top class amateur drivers winged their way to PEI for the always enjoyable races there which also includes a great comradery with the local officials and local horsemen. Besides Spriggs, the USA participants also included Billing Series point- leader, "Hurricane Hannah" Miller and last year's Billings Series Gold Cup winner, "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello. In the first Billings split, pace, Hannah Miller sent All Out to the lead from the five hole and they were challenged nearly every step of the mile. After Zuccarello had Caughtfoolinaround a head in front on the outside at the halfway point they tired and although All Out got a short breather up the backside when he turned for home he was all out and Dein Spriggs and Windmere Express shadowing Miller's pacer throughout the mile rallied in the final strides to notch a neck victory in a 1:59.4 clocking. Eyes Of Glory finished third for "Bullet Bob" Davis. Owned by Windmere Farms the winner returned a returned a $16.80 mutuel. In the second Billings event, also a pace, Spriggs never had a bit of trouble after he sent the odds-on favorite, Red Magician, to the lead from two hole and they rebuffed all others en route to a 1:59.1 triumph. However, in the deep stretch, the winner had to reach down for more to hold off a fast closing Whitesand Artist and driver Bob Davis at bay at the finish. Draven Seelster garnered the show dough for Dave "the Litigator" Glasser. Owned by Dan and Ronnie Rennie red Magician paid $3.70 for win. Meanwhile back in the States, Dave Yarock added insult to injury in his Billings event at Tioga Downs when his trotter, Mr Ridgetaker, made a break at the start and then went on to score an eight-length victory in the 1:58 mile. Mr Ridgetaker overtook the pace-setter, Gimme The Loot (Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin), at the halfway point and then trotted away from his competition for an easy victory. Sam's Honeybee with Billings Series president Tony "the Capo" Verruso at the lines rallied from far back to finished second in a tight photo over third place finisher Gimme The Loot. The race winner, owned by his driver, returned a $7.30 mutuel payoff. For Dave Yarock it marked his 54 amateur driving victory in a career which began in 2007. Next up for the Billings drivers will be a contest at Scioto Downs on Fri. Sept. 4 followed by a return trip to Canada in mid-September at tracks in Ontario. by John Manzi, for the C K G Billings Series

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

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