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

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

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

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

WILKES-BARRE PA - 23YO sulky phenom Hannah Miller continued her dream season of driving on Wednesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, winning the $12,000 Eastern Final II of the C.K.G. Billings Amateur Driving Series and earning herself a spot in the $25,000 Delvin Miller Gold Cup Championship of the Billings Series, to be held Sunday, November 22 at Harrah's Philadelphia.   Miller was driving the 6-5 favorite Jacks To Open, and as the gate sprang, ponytail flying, Miller hustled the chalk into the two-wide tier that had formed early, with the leader of the wide tier, Wygant Prince (Paul Minore), wresting the lead away from the early frontstepper Celebrity Stimulus (David Glasser) after a rough opening quarter of 27.3.   Wygant Prince, however, soon faced a challenge from the horse behind him, Keystone Thomas (Bob Hechkoff), and that one cleared to the top into the lower turn, with Miller and Jacks To Open now up to first-over position by the 57.2 half.   Despite never yet having seen the inside, Jacks To Open was still strong, and Miller guided him to the front just past the 1:27 3/4s. The team's work was not done, however, as Current Crisis, handled by three-time Amateur Driver of the Year Bob Krivelin, soon were on their shoulder to challenge as the only remaining threat.   But Miller, who had already guided Jacks To Open successfully to Victory Lane six times this year, knew her trotter had more to give, and despite a big effort from 10-1 Current Crisis, Miller needed to keep Jacks To Open to only mild stretch encouragement to secure a 2½ length victory. Earlier leader Keystone Thomas and driver Heckoff were third, another 3¼ lengths back.   If anyone were ever "bred" to be a good driver, it would be Hannah Miller - his father is 2005 Trainer of the Year Erv Miller; her brother is Marcus Miller, a top Pocono driving regular and the track's "longshot specialist," having won with five horses paying $50 or more this year; and she has selected Nick Surick as the co-owner, trainer, and partner for Jacks To Open and herself.   The November 22 Billings action at Philly will include the $25,000 Gold Cup, for the top winners on the season-long amateur driver trail, and the $15,000 Silver Cup for those next in the standings. And if you're already looking to handicap the Gold Final in advance, be advised that the Pocono victory was Hannah Miller's 32nd driving win in 2015, in but 107 starts.   With files from PHHA/Pocono Downs

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

Veterans Day is a day in which America honors all those who served in military service to our country. On Veterans Day November 11, the Catskill Amateur Driving Club and the North American Amateur Drivers Association will honor those who served our country with each club donating $1,000 each to a local food pantry. Alan Schwartz president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) a former veteran of the Vietnam War, said "During the All Amateur Day race card here at Monticello Raceway 5 years ago we donated $5,000 to a local food pantry, it was such a nice thing to do, we decided to do it again for our former service members who may have fallen on hard times" Jerry Fielding, President of the Catskill Amateur Driving Club has thrown down the gauntlet and challenges any other track or Amateur driving club to exceed their contribution. Any parties interested in making a donation, please contact the race office at 845 794 4100 X 557. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway  

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

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

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

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

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

On Tuesday September 15 at Monticello Raceway, harness racing driver Jimmy Marohn Jr. entered the winners circle for his 3000th win.  The milestone came aboard Reflection Of Blue in the fourth race, the Bettor's Delight Gelding out of the top mare Rainbow Blue is trained by Bill Devine for owner Anthony Mazzeo of Hewlett NY. He is the son of longtime Yonkers and Roosevelt driver James Marohn.  The affable Jim Marohn Jr. has been a leading driver at Monticello and Tioga for the last few years.  In the winners circle following the race, Marohn said “I thought I would have been here earlier in the card, as I had some good mounts, but it didn’t work out” By Shawn Wiles

On Wednesday afternoon September 2, Monticello Raceway hosted the last leg of the New York Sire Stakes program, the NY County Fair Finals. Each of the 8 divisions raced for a purse of $10,000. Also on the card, was the RUS - New York Fair Series Championship, this was a non-wagering event that was conducted between the 6th and 7th race. It was an afternoon of double and triples, Jimmy Devaux and James Taggart Jr. each had 3 driving wins. Bruce Aldrich and Truman Gale had 2 wins a piece, and the combination of trainer David Dewhurst and owner Phillip Hale accounted for another 2 win pictures. The RUS event was one of the most competitive races of the afternoon. 5 horses went to post for the $2,500 non-wagering race. Iron Will made a break in the middle of the paddock turn before the start and was out of contention early. My Friend Charlie and rider Andrea Pratt starting from post position 3 went right to the lead and took the field past the first stanza in 31:3 and had 6 lengths on the field, the length margin remained the same at the half in 1:03:4. By this time, Iron Will who broke at the start made up about 20 length's and was ranging into contention at the ¾ pole parked first over, passing that station in 1:36:1. At the top of the stretch Iron Will did gain a slight advantage over My Friend Charlie, but the suburb recovery faltered as he made a break in the middle of the stretch. My Friend Charlie won in 2:09:2, almost rewriting the record books for the 1 mile event. When reached later, winning rider Andrea Pratt who was still riding the wave of excitement after winning her first RUS event. "The track was fast and in very good condition" remarked Pratt. "I thought it was a fairly open race and it worked out well for me as I had a good trip" said Andrea. She is also the trainer of My Friend Charlie, "He is a big strong horse' comment Andrea. During the afternoon of racing a BBQ was held adjacent to the paddock, hosted by Monticello Raceway, The Agricultural and NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund and the Monticello Harness Horseman Association. County Fair Finals Recap 2 YOTF Linda's Choice, (PP 5) part of the David Dewhurst entry started the day off with a win in 2:05:3 for driver Jim Devaux, it was the first trip of the day to the winners circle for owner Phillip Hale. The daughter of Conway Hall - Howards Sister scored for her 6th seasonal win. 2 YOPF Niche Blue Chip, a daughter of Art Major - PW Spare scored a wire to wire win for driver Gregory Merton and trainer Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr. Niche Blue Chip skipped away from the field to win by 5 lengths and taking a new lifetime mark of 2:00 in the process. 3 YOTF Hollywood Jess put owner Phillip Hale in the winners circle for the 2nd time this afternoon. The Conway Hall - Howards Sister lass made it look easy as she extended her lead by every step, to win by 12 in 2:00:3 for driver Truman Gale. 3 YOPF Maya Scape benefitted from the rough overland route that the heavy favorite Kruella was forced to take, was able to prevail in 1:57:3 for trainer - driver Henry Westbrook III. 3 YOPC The glamour division was just that as Adonis Bay scored an impressive win in the fastest mile of the afternoon and a new lifetime mark of 1:55:4. Trained by Harold Smith, and driven by Jim Devaux. 2 YOTC Trooper Jim, a homebred son of Conway Hall - Alpine Girl, owned by Barry, Heather & Evan White & trained by Barry White. Driver Bruce Aldrich showed the way every step of the mile to win in 2:04:2. The co-favorite returned $5.60 to his backers. 2 YOPC It was a good strategy move for Truman Gale to leave fast from the 6 hole with the 6/5 favorite Americanation, as the field was in disarray after 3 horses got tangled up in the first turn. The American Ideal - Cool World colt easily dispatched his opponents, drawing clear by 8 length at the wire in 2:00 for trainer Jeff Johnson Jr. and owner Pine Hill Stables. 3 YOTC The even money favorite JATO (PP2), was content to bid his time and sit in the pocket behind Royalty Rates until just before the ¾ pole, driver Doug Ackley tipped the son of Big Apple Deli to the outside and it was smooth sailing as he won handily by 6 lengths in 2:00:4, LQ 29:4 for owners Margaret and Amy Butler. By Shawn Wiles

On Wednesday September 2, Monticello Raceway will be hosting a 13 race harness racing card featuring the, New York County Fair Finals for all 8 divisions, and the Racing Under Saddle (RUS) New York Fair Series Championship. Each class of age, sex and gait of the County Fair Finals will race for a purse of $10,000. The RUS event will be a Non Wagering event between the 6th & 7th race. The race is sponsored by RUS NY, its charter is to promote the sport and versatility of Standardbreds. The series began this summer in Sandy Creek at the Oswego County Fair on July 1. The season consisted of 9 legs and the final. In order to participate in any RUS NY event, riders will need to participate in a minimum of 2 qualifying miles under saddle behind the starting gate, with at least 1 other horse behind the gate. The field of 5 starters will be riding for a purse of $2,500. Monticello warrior Strongbow, will start from the rail for rider Codie Smith. Winners Star K sports a 3 race win streak in RUS events for regular rider Michelle Miller. The 14 year old American Winner gelding is owned by Lewis Miller of New Berlin NY. Event organizer Michelle Miller commented "We are extremely pleased to see the growth that we have achieved in the last 2 years, we are hopeful to see continued growth and exposure next year as well. Post Time for the days card is 12:50. By Shawn Wiles  

This year's Racing Under Saddle New York Fair Series championship will be held on September 2 at Monticello Raceway along with the New York Sire Stake's County Fair Finals. This marks the second year of the series, which included nine races at seven fairs across the state. Horses and riders have been competing the last two months with the hopes of making it into the final race and capturing the championship title. Horses earned points during the series to determine final entries. Soon, the anticipation of what horses and riders will be competing in the final will be over. The draw will take place this Friday. All participants will earn $650 for earning their way into the championship race. Monticello Raceway is contributing $2,500 toward the final and the rest of the funds is coming from the series' flagship sponsor the New York Sire Stakes. The NYSS generously donated $5,000 as initial purse money. The winner will also receive a championship cooler donated by Peterson's Harness Shop in Vernon, N.Y. and a lead line donated by Divine Equine Custom Equipment. A High Point Rider Award will once again be presented at the final to the rider who has earned the most points, regardless of horse(s) ridden throughout the series. To be eligible for the award riders must participate in at least three races. Horses are required to compete and finish in at least two races throughout the series to be allowed entry into the championship race. Nine horses participated in the series with seven qualifying for the final. Points earned are accrued by horse, regardless of rider in each race. Up to five qualifiers will be eligible for the final race. In the event of a scratch, the horse with the next highest points will be entered into the final. In the event of a tie, charted race lines will be reviewed and the RUS NY Management Committee will select the horse to be entered based on past performance history. Michelle Miller, RUS NY President  

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