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Harness racing drivers Hannah Miller and Bob Hechkoff each won their respective divisions in two NAADA Trotting events at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon, May 21. Hannah scored behind Pembroke Snapshot in 2:00.4 while Hechkoff was victorious with Saint Patty's Doll in a 2:01.4 clocking. In their split hot-handed Hannah gunned Pembroke Snapshot for the lead from the eight-hole but had to settle in the cat-bird seat behind Dave Yarock who got away quicker with Nautilus De Vie. When they passed the first stanza Nautilus De Vie tripped the timer at :28.4 and from there Yarock and Miller raced one- two until they headed for home. In the stretch Pembroke Snapshot proved to be the stronger horse and he trotted on to a one- length triumph over Nautilus De Vie. Peter Gerry finished third with Candid Man. "When we rounded the final turn I was ready to use the passing lane but my horse drifted out so I let him and when we straightened for home I was confident that we would be the best," Miller said. As the trotters navigated through the lane Miller sat calmly as Pembroke Snapshot overtook the leader to scored his third seasonal triumph. Asked why she sat relatively still in the sulky Miller quickly replied;" He (Pembroke Snapshot) doesn't like to be hit with the whip and he gives all he has without it." Owned by the Nick Surick Stable and the JL Benson Stable, the winner returned a $3.40 win mutuel. In the other division Hechkoff used the front end route to notch a head victory with Saint Patty's Doll holding off a hard charging Samswinner, driven by Joseph Lee, for a neck triumph. Confronted by road trouble throughout the mile Hannah Miller finished third with Rev It Now. In a rare occasion in an amateur race the winner was claimed for $18,000 by the Rob Harmon Stable. However, Hechkoff remained philosophical after losing his mare. "I was looking for a trotter to race in the amateur races and bought her at Pompano Park a few weeks ago," he said. "I hated to lose her so quickly but that's the game. You know there's a lot of guys buying horses for the amateur races and we help fill races on the betting cards of the tracks at which we race." Hechkoff's RHB Ventures was the owner of record and Kyle Spagnola was the mare's trainer. She paid $4.40 for win. An amateur race from the Catskill Amateur Club also graced the Mighty M's Thursday racing card. Hannah Miller and Rise Above It were the easy winners but a driving infraction caused them to be placed out of the money. Minnesota Hanover, driven by Matt Zuccarello, ended- up with first money in that pacing contest. John Manzi for NAADA

Right on the heels of having hosted a group of amateur drivers from France the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) is readying for a contingent ofharness racing  amateur drivers from Spain on Sunday, May 31. According to NAADA president Joe Faraldo the team of Spaniards which they will be hosting are from Mallorca and many are world class amateur drivers. And even before the Spaniards have arrived they have plans to return the favor and entertain a group from NAADA in late September. "We have planned the races in Mallorca in September the weekend of 26 & 27" noted Augustin Mascaro-Pou, one of the amateurs who'll be driving in the Friendship Competition. "Sept 26 we will have races in the small track of Manacor and Sept. 27 in Son Pardo where also will be the biggest international race that we have in Spain where will come eight top trotters from France, which is part of the European Tour of French trotters." Although NAADA will field different teams at each venue the Spanish team slated to be making the trip to America for this International Friendship Competition include the following drivers: Jaume Bassa-Riera -- - Partner in Sport Trot company of horse products - Winner of the Spanish Breeders Crown; Represented Spain in 2001 in European Apprentices Championship Augustin Mascaro-Pou.---. Police Officer. General Secretary of European Amateur Drivers Federation (FEGAT). Winner of Spanish Amateur Championship in 2006 and Spanish reprresentative in 2007 European amateur championship. Miquel Vich-Capo-- Breeder and Livestock dealer. Winner of Spanish Amateur championship in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Spanish Amateur Champion in 2012 .. Spanish rep in World Amateur Cup in 2014. Bernardo Jaume-Cirer--A partner in kitchen manufacturer's company and winner of many races on the European continent. At least one of the Spanish competitors is fairly well known by NAADA's Joe Faraldo. "I have raced with Jaume (Bassa-Riera) in Taranto, Italy several times and finished behind him every time. Maybe this time an American team can turn the tables on my good friend," Faraldo said. "Jaume has gone to the World Cup events more than anyone else appearing as far away from home as New Zealand. He was also the translator for the exceptional Spanish reinsman who competed in the World Cup for Professional Drivers which concluded at Yonkers Raceway where the Spanish guy finished third to Jodie Jameson and Corey Callahan." The Spanish contingent is expected to arrive at JFK International Airport on May 31. After a day of touring New York City and enjoying outstanding sights and excellent cuisine the driving competition will begin Tuesday, June 2 at Yonkers Raceway. On Wednesday (June 3) the competition moves to Monticello Raceway and after the races the group will head to Goshen for a tour of the Hall of Fame and Historic Track. An entertaining trip on the World Yacht with dinner and dancing will take place on Thursday. Then Friday (June5) after a tour of the Mark Ford Farm in Goshen the contingent will be off to Tioga Downs for a race there. On Saturday (June 6) a 6am departure from Stewart Airport in Newburgh, NY will get the Spaniards to south Florida where they will drive in the two races at Pompano Park that evening. The following day the Spanish contingent will head back home to Mallorca. John Manzi for NAADA

Like all other not-for-profit organizations, Goshen's Historic Track is in need of funds and the venue's annual golf outing is a fun way to raise money to help perpetuate the harness racing National Historic Landmark. Spearheaded by GHT Board Members, Frank "the Hands" Baldassare and Patrick English, the outing will take place at the Golf Club at Mansion Ridge, 1292 Orange Turnpike, Monroe, NY on Monday, June 29, 2015. A tax deductible donation of $175.00 will include: 18 holes of golf with a cart; lunch from 11:30 -12:30pm followed by a shot-gun start (-4-man teams; best ball format) with a shot-gun start at 12:45pm. Also included are on- course beverages all afternoon followed by a sit down dinner at Miguel's Tavern at Mansion Ridge Golf Course.And during dinner there will be are door prizes and raffles including a raffle for a 50-inch flat screen TV, and all participants will receive appreciation gifts valued at approximately $100. Registration is between 10:30-11:30am on June 29.Tee Sponsorships are available at $100. "We believe this is about as good a golf package as is offered anywhere and the golfers will certainly enjoy the magnificent course," said Baldassare, the treasurer of the Historic Track Board of Directors. "Besides great value for your money and a guaranteed fun day, your donations will help to maintain Historic Track, the oldest active trotting harness track in the world." For further information or to sign-up for the outing please call Baldassare at 201-803-1390 or English at 845-551-8713. Further information is available from Linda Myers at Historic Track by calling 845-294-5333; or email her at info@historictrack.com John Manzi  

Two trots in the season-long C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series were presented at Freehold Raceway on Saturday (May 16) and when the judges declared them official Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg II and James "Jimmy Boy" Marshall IV each emerged victorious in their respective splits. Ehrenberg scored with Fuel Cell in 1:59.4 and Marshall won behind Flowing James in a 2:01.3 clocking. For Ehrenberg and Fuel Cell it turned out to be a laugher when a breaking horse on the outside interfered with two others in the race which allowed Fuel Cell to scoot away to an easy lead from the pole position. Once on top Fuel Cell encountered little resistance as Ehrenberg kept the pedal to the metal as they trotted by the first stanza in :29.1 as they rebuffed any early challenges. At the halfway point Fuel Cell had two on Stand Guard and "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello as the timer flashed :59.3. From there Ehreberg played catch me if you can and Fuel Cell opened the lead to nine lengths at the three quarters and coasted home an oh-so-easy 10-length winner. Tony "the Capo" Verruso came from far back to finish second with Sam's Honeybee, who was a length better than Ballagio Hanover, handled by Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford. Sent off as the favorite in the race Fuel Cell paid $4.20 for win. He is owned by his driver and trained by Bruce Lauer. It marked Ehrenberg's second driving victory of the season and the 47th of his amateur driving career. In the other division Flowing James had a new driver in "Jimmy Boy" Marshall IV but the youngster proved he was equally adept in getting the veteran trotter to the winners circle as were a couple of professional drivers who handled the lines in previous contests. As the wings of the mobile gate folded Marshall sent Flowing James to the lead from the five-hole and they easily had command early -on and they had a three length lead as the field passed the first stanza in :29.1. Heading to the halfway point favored Casanova Lindy and driver "Hot-Handed Hannah" Miller were on the limb and they got no respect from "Jimmy Boy" who kept them in the fresh air. Scott "The Driving Doctor" Woogen, with Sleek N Beautiful, were tight on Marshall's back from the get-go and refused to yield any room along the pylons. Up the backside Prince Lauxmont and "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo tried a three-deep move with Prince Lauxmont with hopes of circling Miller's steed but they barely got by Casanova Lindy. As the field headed for paydirt there was no catching Flowing James and he sailed under the wire a solid length winner over Doc Woogen's trotter. Prince Lauxmont. "Smokin' Joe" did however, end up third best with Prince Lauxmont. Flowing James, owned and trained by Tara Hynes, scored his sixth seasonal triumph and returned a $5.60 win mutuel. For Marshall, it was his second driving victory in eight starts this year and third in 14 career outings. Presently Steve Oldford's 38 points are seven better than Hannah Miller's 31. Tony Verruso's 24 is third best and James Marshall and Doc Woogen, each with 20 points,are tied for fourth on the Billings' leaderboard. John Manzi

Harness Racing Driver Hannah Miller and Rev It Now teamed-up again this time winning the $14,000 Final of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's Trotting Series at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday, May 14. Once again Miler sat cool and collective while trailing the leaders until the final turn where she revved-up Rev It Now and the veteran Revenue S gelding rallied for a 2:01.3 victory winning by a head over Wygant Prince and driver Paul Minore. One-half farther length back in third place was Tony Verusso with Flirting Duezy. It marked the sixth time that Miller had reined Rev It Now to victory in the NAADA Series and for the hot-handed lady she now has 11 wins, 6 seconds and one third in 28 seasonal starts which equates to a .524 UDR. As he has done in the majority of his races lately Rev It Now started slowly from post four and was next to last at the quarter where pace-setter Tagmaster (Bob Hechkoff) tripped the timer in :29.4 despite being challenged from command by Starsaboveallerage (Steve Oldford). But Oldford wasn't alone on the limb. Trailing him was Bad I Am (Alan Schwartz) while Minore was snuggled in along the pylons in second position behind the leader, Tagmaster. When the field headed toward the first quarter Miller moved Rev It Now out third-over and sat comfortably following those in front of her. "With two tiers of horses in front of me I decided that I better move out third-over so not to get boxed in later in the mile," Miller said. Up the backside Schwartz moved three-deep and the field bunched-up heading into the final turn. It was there that Miller got after her trotter and she moved him to the far outside on the turn and when they straightened for home Rev It Up was 'flying' on the far outside. Still some three lengths behind at the top of the lane Miller hustled Rev It Now and they passed the leaders and rallied for a neck victory over Wygant Prince, who never saw daylight until mid-stretch. "He's a grinder and we went a long mile but we had cover all the way," Miller said referring to her journey with Rev It Now. "On the final turn I got him fired up and he was the strong horse in the deep stretch. He's a classy ole guy who knows when he's heading for home. We really get along good together." The winner is co-owned by her driver, her dad Erv Miller and her proud boyfriend, Nick Surick, who doubles as the horse's trainer. Although he didn't have a mount in the series finale NAADA president Joe Faraldo was on hand overseeing the final event and was pleased with the outcome and complementary of Hannah Miller. "It was a real good race and an exciting one, too, with just 2/5ths of a second separating the first five finishers. All in all it was a good series. "And 'Hurricane Hannah' stuck it to the boys again. She comes from a family of horse people and she certainly knows her way around the race track. We're really going to need her when we host the amateurs from Spain in an international competition in early June" The North American Amateur Drivers Association makes it their business to donate money to worthwhile charities. Recently they made substantial donations to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation in 2013 and to the Susan B Komen Breast Cancer Foundation last season. "After our Trotting Series this fall we'll make another donation to charitable organization," Faraldo added. John Manzi

While American Pharoah was rallying for a Kentucky Derby win, party goers at Goshen Historic Track's First Annual Derby Day celebrated the two historic tracks. Over 100 people from all walks of life watched the Kentucky Derby on big-screen TVs that were set-up trackside while enjoying great food and beautiful weather. There was also a live band, a chance to wager at the OTB facility which is adjacent to Historic Track and lots of ladies' hats! One of the worst winters in recent memory put a lot of stress on the Track's facilities. General Manager, Tim Masters, came up with the idea of the fundraiser in order to ready the Track for the upcoming racing season and to draw attention to the Historic Landmark's not-for-profit status. Realizing the Track's fullest potential is an objective he shares with all of the Board members and staffers at Goshen Historic Track. Together, and with local businesses and organizations, they pulled together a truly memorable event that will probably become an annual tradition at the Track. And they raised needed funds for the track's coffers. John Manzi    

There was harness racing action in the C K G Billings Harness Driving Series in both the east and Midwest regions this past weekend and not surprisingly "Hot Handed Hannah" Miller got her picture taken in the winner's circle once again. She has hit the amateur driving ranks like a hurricane and Saturday afternoon (May 2) "Hot Handed Hannah" blew the boys away again when she guided Pembroke Snapshot to a gate to wire victory in a time of 2:00.4 in her east region division of the two Billings trots that were carded at Freehold Raceway. After she turned down a challenge by Sam's Honeybee and driver Tony "the Capo" Verruso at the halfway point Ms. Miller kept after her charge and he responded trotting away from Sam's Honeybee to score a two-length triumph. Mark "Shoprite" Schullstrom garnered the show dough with 43-1 shot Catalyst. The winner, a veteran 10 year old altered son of S J's Photo, trained by Nick Surick is co-owned by the Nick Surick Stable and the JL Benson Stables. Pembroke Snapshot was Ms. Miller's fourth winner in her last six starts and her ninth in 25 seasonal outings. Sent off as the odds-on favorite the trotter paid $2.80 for win. A second Billings trot saw Scott "the Driving Doctor" Woogen rally Sleek N Beautiful to a come-from-behind victory in 2:00.2 after finally wearing down the pace-setter Blazin Delores who was in rein to "Jimmy Boy" Marshall IV. Despite a two-hole journey, Swift Blizzard and "Coach Paul" Minore finished two lengths behind the winner in third place.. Doc Woogen also owns the 7-year-old CJ's Secret mare who's trained by Gary Messenger. She paid $15.60 for win. For the driving doctor it marked his 138th career victory. The first Billings trot in midwest region competition at Miami Valley Raceway was on Sunday (May 3) and when the dust had settled former USHWA Amateur Driver of the Year, Kelly "Sky" Walker, rallied his veteran trotter Rush N Supreme to a come from behind victory in a time of 1:56.4. They stalked and finally wore down Jailer and driver Richard "Don't Call Me Dickie" Bertrand to score a one length triumph. Third place went to the early pace-setter Y F Crasher, driven by Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg II. Walker's journey with Rush N Supreme was made a bit easier when Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford's 3-2 shot, Bold Strike went off stride after the start. They did, however, finish fourth after trailing by 15 lengths at the first stanza. Walker also owns and trains the 11-year old SJ's Caviar gelding who recorded his 45th win. Rush N Supreme paid $4.40 for win. And since Walker began driving in 2004 he notched his 101st victory. by John Manzi for the CKG Billings Series

Hannah Miller, the 23-year old miss who has been the scourge of the harness racing amateur ranks, added yet another victory to her fledgling resume when she guided Rev It Now to a come from behind 2:01.4 triumph in the seventh leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Series held at Freehold Raceway on Saturday, April 25. And that accomplishment came on the heels of her win in the final event in the USA-French Friendship Competition the night before at the Meadowlands which vaulted the American team to victory over the French squad. Like she has done in all of her races, the daughter of top trainer Erv Miller, again remained undaunted while competing against her male counterparts. In Freehold's third race on the betting card Hannah started slowly with her trotter and got away sixth at the first stanza, some 12 lengths behind of the early speed duel between Blazing Delores (Jim Marshall IV) and Wygant Prince (Paul Minore). After the :28.3 first quarter Miller waited until the field headed for the halfway point before moving he trotter off the pylons. Still sixth at the half, but now nine lengths behind Wygant Prince's lead, Miller began to urge her trotter up the backside and at the three quarters the crowd could anticipate what was going to happen. On the final turn Rev It Now circled the leaders and took command in the homestretch and trotted away to a solid one-length victory over a fast closing 36-1 shot, Bellagio Hanover, driven by Steve Oldford. Wygant Prince held on for the show dough. The winner is owned by her driver, her dad Erv Miller, and her boyfriend, Nick Surick who is also the horse's trainer. Rev It Now paid $5.80 for win. With her victory Ms. Miller is tops in points in the NAADA trotting series. With just two legs remaining her 59 points is seven better than Alan Schwartz's 52. Rounding out the top five are;Bob Hechkoff (40),Tony Verruso (35) and Paul Minore (22). It's just a shame that the mainstream media doesn't pick up this story of a young woman defeating her male colleges in a sport completely dominated by men. Her triumph at Freehold was her seventh in 22 starts this season and the talented lady has been first or second twelve times driving along with a .460 average. By John Manzi for NAADA

When Maurice Chevalier sang "thank heaven for little girls for they grow bigger every day"; little did NAADA president Joe Faraldo know how true those words were until the USA-French Friendship Competition was completed at The Meadowlands on Friday night (April 24) when America's Hannah Miller won the final leg of the event which vaulted the USA team to a harness racing victory 107-96. Miller reined Jacks to Open to a 1:57.1 triumph which was the second conquest by a girl in the four -race competition. The USA's Monica Banca had won the first leg at Yonkers Raceway last Tuesday (April 21). The girls really came through for us," Faraldo admitted, and then added that winning or losing never really comes into play because amateur racing is a good excuse for human relations. But don't get me wrong, winning is still preferred." After the French team was licensed in New Jersey they had a tour of the new Meadowlands grandstand before they put on their battle gear and readied for the competition in the first race on the betting card. Going into the race it appeared the USA team had the stronger steeds in the 10-race contest and although Hannah Miller's horse got the late money and was sent away as the favorite it took a confident drive by the young lady to get him to the winners circle. When the wings of the staggered starting gate folded Bob Hechkoff gunned his Bambino Hall to the lead from the 10-hole and they had control in a :28.2 opening stanza. Meanwhile Miller and Jacks To Open found a position along the pylons in the back of the field. Hechkoff was forced to keep after his trotter because Picture Perfect (Steve Oldford) was getting plenty of fresh air challenging while on the limb. Smartly, Ms Miller moved Jacks To Open second-up a behind cover supplied by Picture Perfect at the halfway point as the timer flashed :56.4. Oldford's trotter kept going forward which also moved Jacks To Open closer to the lead as the field passed the three quarters. On the final turn Miller moved her charge three-deep and they trotted around Picture Perfect and then took aim at Bambino Hall who had scooted away to a four-length lead at the top of the long homestretch. Perhaps it was the quick pace in the early going that took a toll on the Hechkoff's trotter but as they headed for paydirt Jacks To Open ranged alongside the leader and then spurted away to score a one length triumph over Bambino Hall. Third place was garnered by 55-1 long shot Bloomfieldcantifly, driven by yet another girl, France's Sophie Blanchetiere. The winner, owned by KDM Stables and trained by Nick Surick, paid $4.40 for win. Hannah Miller continues to ride her amazing hot streak. Her record this season now stands at six wins in 21 starts with 12 of those 21 races resulting in an in-the-money finish. In her fledgling career, Miller has won 15 of 41 starts. After her victory which gave the USA the upper hand against their French counterparts Hannah was asked how she felt. "I feel great now but I was a little worried before the race because Perfect Picture won in (1):55.2 last week", she said. "But the race set-up right for me. When he (Perfect Picture) got hung out I saw an opportunity and took advantage of it by moving second-up at the half and then following cover all the way to the top of the stretch. In the lane my horse was the strongest and at the finish we were the best." Now that the competition is over, on Saturday night (April 25) NAADA will treat their guests to a boat ride around the Statue of Liberty on the World Yacht. Then on Sunday the French amateurs will head for home. by John Manzi for NAADA

After driving a winner in the first leg of the seven-month C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series at Pompano Park last Saturday, Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford was back in the winners circle at Northfield Park on Thursday (April 23) after the completion of the second leg of the seven month series. Up behind his own Bold Strike, Oldford took no prisoners and used the front-end route to score an easy three-length victory in a time of 1:59.2. For the Croswell, Michigan automotive manufacturer rep marked his 103rd career win. He (Bold Strike) was full of trot and when the gate sprung he was in high gear so I just let him ramble,"Oldford said via phone after the race. "We had an easy lead and were never seriously challenged throughout the mile." Perhaps no serious challenges arose because after the :28.2 first quarter Oldford kept the pedal to the metal as Bold Strike trotted the next three quarters in :30 and a piece to lead Pembroke Snapshot and driver "Hot-Handed Hannah" Miller to the finish wire. Third place went to Good Friend driven by "Lawbook Larry" Farley. Although Oldford was pleased with his driving victory he couldn't say enough nice things about Hannah Miller who is beginning to make a name for herself as an excellent harness driver. "She's won quite a few races lately against some veteran amateur drivers and wherever she races she's usually the one to beat," he said. "She did a masterful job tonight with her trotter despite having to start from the eight hole. She gunned him out of there and found the two hole and got a good journey. However, my horse was strong on the lead... but she was second best." For Oldford, USHWA's Amateur Driver of the Year in 2013, it was his second consecutive driving victory and third in his last five starts. Already Oldford has six winners this season and has his sights on winning more than19 races which is his most prolific output since he started amateur driving in earnest in 2006. John Manzi

Hannah Miller sat a pocket and waited until the long homestretch to send Rev It Now to a 2:00.4 victory in her division of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's trotting series sixth leg presented at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday, April 16. And although Alan Schwartz used an overland journey from the half with Bad I Am he sparked similar results in their 2:00.3 triumph. For Ms. Miller it marked her third consecutive victory in the NAADA series after having been victorious at Monticello Raceway and Freehold Raceway in previous weeks. In her $6000 non-wagering split, Miller appeared to have the best trotter in the race and like she has done often this season, she gave Rev It Now a picture-prefect drive. She waited patiently in a pocket until the homestretch at which point she urged her trotter to overtake the pace-setter, Gimme The Loot, driven Joe Faraldo, and then hold off a late charge by Tony Verruso with Sam's Honeybee. At the wire Rev It Now was a solid one-length winner over Sam's Honeybee who photo-ed out Gimme The Loot for the place money. The 9-year old altered son of Revenue S is owned by Miller, her boyfriend, Nick Surick and her dad, Erv Miller. Schwartz, too, has been hot-handed of late with three wins in his last five starts. The 68 year old former Marine, is also one of the sport's top amateur drivers,currently with 580 career wins. In his division Schwartz left softly from the four-hole and as the field neared the halfway point he had Bad I Am out following the cover on the limb provided by Steve Oldford with Starsaboveallerage. Oldford's trotter cleared the pace-setter, Tagmaster (Bob Hechkoff), before the final turn and then braced for Schwartz with Bad I Am. Starsaboveallerage was determined by Bad I Am wore him down in the final strides to score a head victory. SF Ciro with Matt Zuccurello at the lines, finished third, some 4 lengths behind the top two. For Bad I Am, it marked the trotter's fourth win in his last five starts. The 4 year old Prayer I Am gelding, is owned by his driver. Still the buzz is all about Hannah Miller. Not since Jordan Stratton displayed his talents in the amateur ranks has anyone opened the eyes of the railbirds as does Miller. The 23 year old female phenom now has won four of her last five starts and she will be counted on the bolster the United States team in the upcoming U.S.A- French Amateur Competition which gets underway on Tuesday, April 21 at Yonkers Raceway. For that matter so will Schwartz who has driven successfully in amateur competitions in many of the European countries, as well as Canada and New Zealand. John Manzi

The C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series kicks off its 34rd season at Pompano Park on Sat., April 18 followed by a contest at Northfield Park on Thurs. April 23. Then, almost weekly, there will be races for amateur harness racing 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 Series it has spawned various local amateur driving organizations. "We are again going this year with the five separate series format. We believe it was well received by members new and old last year so we thought it a good idea to give it another whirl," said Billings Series president Tony "the Capo" Verruso . Verruso is referring to having five divisions of short series instead of having a seven-month year-long event. "The Eastern Regional and the Midwest Regional will each have two short series and there will also be a Travel Series. And each will have a series ending finale," Verruso added. "On the whole, participation was definitely up last racing season and we did also get some new quality members. Our goal this year is to continue that trend and we hope the new slot money being infused into Ohio will go a long way to rebuilding that driving base for us." Obviously, the eastern division will encompass racetracks in the east while the western division will feature races at tracks in the Midwest. There will be a travel division with events in both East and Midwest and a few racetracks in Canada will host Billings events thus making the Billings a true international amateur Series. "The beauty of this format will allow everyone to race in any division. However, the points earned in each division will be calculated in that division only," Verruso explained. "And the European Point System will again be used to tally each participant's points." Again there will be Billings Gold and Silver Cup Finals at the end of the season and they will take place at Harrah's Philadelphia on November 22. As usual, only drivers can be nominated to the Billings Series; horses have to meet the certain series criteria. A complete listing of conditions and nominating costs can be had by contacting Verruso at sulkyracer@hotmail.com or Billings Series VP, Steve Oldford at steveoldford@oldford.biz. One can also get pertinent information on the Delvin Miller Harness Driving Series on the USTA website under amateur racing. But remember, nominations by mail close on April 18. However, late nominations can always be made but at an additional cost. John Manzi for the Billings Series

Hannah Miller is on a roll. The 23- year- old daughter of top harness racing trainer Erv Miller is showing the racing world that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and she is making a name for herself in a sport dominated by men. On the wet and dreary Thursday (April 9) afternoon in New York's southern Catskill Mountains, Miller reined Rev It Now to a 2:02 triumph over a soggy racetrack in the fifth leg of the North American Amateur Driver Trotting Series which was held at Monticello Raceway. It was the second consecutive NAADA victory for the Miller-Rev It Now connection after they scored a 2:01.1 triumph at Freehold Raceway on April 5. And it was the third consecutive triumph for Ms. Miller having been victorious with Jacks To Open in an amateur contest at the Meadowlands on April 3. Undeterred against a field of all male drivers on Thursday afternoon at Monticello Miller and Rev It Now started from the five-hole and left to find a spot along the pylons on the first turn .They settled in fifth position as Bob Hechkoff and Tagmaster scooted to the lead from the five hole as the wings of the mobile gate folded. Alan Schwartz, with betting favorite Bad I Am from post two, was content to be in the cat-birds seat from the get-go and watched as Hechkoff parked-out Swift Blizzard (Bob Davis) and refused to let him go. Joseph Lee, after reining a 183.00 winner earlier on the card, held fourth place with Miss Directed. The field was still in that line-up as they passed the half at which point Miller moved Rev It Now to the outside and up moved closer to Swift Blizzard who was getting lots of fresh air on the limb. Miller got Rev it Now revved-up as the field trotted toward the third stanza and she kept her trotter in high gear as they went three-deep around Swift Blizzard before she moved down alongside Hechkoff and Tagmaster on the final turn which posed a real problem for Alan Schwartz and Bad I Am. "Early on I thought I was going to have the best of it with a 2-hole trip but when Bob Davis' trotter didn't tire and Hannah went three deep around the horses in front of her, I never saw daylight until the passing lane appeared," Schwartz said after the race. In the lane Rev It Now was still wide-open and he. carried Miller to a one and one quarter length victory. Schwartz and Bad I Am used the passing lane but the heavy going on the inside of the racetrack caused by the rainy afternoon hindered Bad I Am in the deep stretch and they had to settle for second money. Tony Verruso came from far back with Flirting Duezy to finish third. Tagmaster faded to fourth. "When I Moved Rev It Now three wide up the backside I didn't want cover at that point and I just let him ramble," Miller said. "We never cleared Tagmaster until we straightened for home but when we did my horse got brave, kept at his business and we were easy winners. "He's a nice horse and even at 9 years old he's still go it." Miller co-owns the winner with her dad Erv Miller and her boyfriend, Nick Surick. Rev It Now paid $7.00 for win. It seems that Hannah Miller is peaking at the right time because she will be needed when the North American Amateur Drivers Association hosts a contingent of talented French Amateur drivers during the week of April 21. The French contingent will be led by the talented lady driver Sophie Blanchetiere, who is the reigning amateur champion in France and winner of more than 250 races.. Being among the drivers that NAADA will be counting on in the US-France competition Miller was asked if she will be intimidated by Sophie Blanchetiere's prowess when they go head to head. Miller just smiled and said "Bring on Sophie!" Races in the U.S.- French Amateur Competition will be at Yonkers (April 21), Monticello (April 22), Freehold(April 23) and at the Meadowlands on April 24. John Manzi

By now Hannah Miller is used to competing against the boys. And since she's among the few female amateur drivers in the United States she more than holds her own against her harness racing counterparts. At Freehold Raceway on Saturday afternoon in a leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's (NAADA) trotting series Ms. Miller wore down the pace-setter and then held off a late charge by the betting favorite to score a hard fought head victory with Rev It Now in a time of 2:01.. After the race got underway Ms. Miller allowed Rev It Now to coast away from the gate and watched Tagmaster ( Bob Hechkoff) and Wygant Prince (Paul Minore) circle them on the first turn. At the first panel, which was trotted in :29.1, Tagmaster had command followed closely by Wygant Prince. Miller was content to be in third position at that point, but when Hechkoff grabbed leather she was out and moving while Minore chose to stay put in the cat-bird seat. Still third at the halfway point Miller's veteran trotter kept grinding toward the lead but they were second on the limb at the three quarters. However the only lead Miller's charge had came at the wire after Rev it Up trotted by Tagmaster in mid-stretch and then held off the late rally by Wygant Prince to score a head triumph over Minore's trotter. Rev It Now, a 9 year old altered son of Revenue S is owned by her driver along with the Nick Surick and the Erv Miller Stables. Sent off as second choice in the wagering Rev It Now paid $6.40 to win. Watching all the action in that contest while himself chasing the leaders and finishing fifth with Gimme The Loot, NAADA president Joe Faraldo said he is impressed with Hannah Miller's talent. "Being Erv Miller's daughter she has good breeding," Faraldo said jokingly. "I mean,she grew up in the sport and she has solid knowledge of harness racing. And she drives a horse really well, too. However, she'll be moving up in class later this month when NAADA hosts the French Amateur Drivers in an international competition. Hannah will get to compete against another top female driver and the reigning French Amateur Champion, Sophie Blanchetiere whose won over 350 races. We're counting on Hannah to bolster our NAADA team in that competition." John Manzi for NAADA  

Of course it's early but it appears that harness racing drivers Alan Schwartz and Bob Hechkoff have the top two horses in the eight-leg trotting series sponsored by the North American Amateur Drivers Association. In the third NAADA leg at Yonkers Raceway last night (March 26) which Schwartz won with Bad I Am in a 2:00.4 clocking while Hechkoff followed suite winning with Tagmaster in 2:01.2. And it marked the second victory for both trotters in the series. It was the second consecutive triumph for Bad I Am after having copped the NAADA- leg at Monticello Raceway a week earlier. Schwartz, who says if he takes his horse back as the gate springs, Bad I Am loses interest. "So after starting from the six-hole I let ramble with hopes of finding a hole but we made the front-end in a relatively soft :29.4, which was a bargain," Schwartz explained. "Once we had the lead I just let him (Bad I Am) cruise and we never had a serious challenge the rest of mile and at the wire we were an easy two- length winner." Former New York Yankee batboy and avid amateur driver, Joe Lee, had a good two-hole journey with Miss Directed but they couldn't make up any ground in the lane and had to settle for second place. In the $6000 contest. Tony Verruso took home the show dough with Flirting Duezy. Bad I Am, purchased last fall by Schwartz, is trained by Raheim Strong. In the other non-wagering division Hechkoff gunned his veteran trotter, Tagmaster, to the lead and once on top they commanded respect and they made every pole a winning one en route to their second victory in the series. Because of interference in the homestretch second place finisher, Grecale AS, was placed fifth which allowed Paul Minore's Swift Blizzard to take home second money. Third place went to Candid Man, driven by Tony Verruso. Tagmaster is owned by Hechkoff's R.B.H Ventures Inc. and trained by Kyle Spagnola. The next leg in the NAADA series is slated for Saturday afternoon, April 4th at Freehold Raceway. John Manzi

Maybe it was home court advantage but regardless of any outside factors, when the second leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Trotting Series was declared official, Monticello Raceway- regular Alan Schwartz scored a decisive five-length harness racing victory with his own Bad I Am in a time of 2:03. Taking advantage of the early breakers in the mile Schwartz fired his trotter toward the lead and finally gained command after the first stanza was trotted in :29.4. Once on top Bad I Am was never in trouble and the farther he went the more daylight he opened between himself and the rest of the field and at the wire Schwartz's trotter was an easy five-length winner over Flirting Deuzy, driven by Tony Verruso. Perter Gerry finished third with 41-1 shot Candid Man. "We got away with an easy one after Tagmaster (Bob Hechkoff) and a few others went off-stride at the start of the race," Schwartz said. "Although we had to work hard to get the lead but when we cleared Tony (Verruso driving Flirting Deuzy) we never had a serious challenge to rest of the mile." Now with a win and a second place finish in the first two legs, Schwartz is the current point leader in the three track series which will continue at Yonkers Raceway on March 26. John Manzi

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