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The mountains were alive this weekend, as Monticello Raceway held its annual Fireworks display, much to the delight of the large crowd.  The 10 race harness racing card featured 5 New York Sire Stake events for 2 Year Old Trotting Fillies, each split raced for $21,800, 2 - Division A Excelsior’s ($15,000) and 1 - Excelsior’s B ($6,800). The heavy holiday traffic pushed back the original post time of 5:30 to 6:00.  Also on hand for the evening was the Monticello Raceway Memorabilia Face Book group who were present for a winners circle presentation in the 6th race, brought out of storage for the event, was the original and grand NYC OTB Classic trophy. For the majority of the fillies this was their first Pari Mutuel start, and their first start under the lights.  The fillies that mind their manners fared very well during the card. The first race of the evening an Excelsior’s B event, saw Dan Daley guide the RC Royalty lass I’ve Got Spirit to a wire to wire win in 2:05:3 for owners Daley, Crawford and White. The heavy favorite, Stick of Butter made an early break and was out of contention.  In race 3, first heat of the Excelsior A, trainer George Ducharme, picked up his 1st of 2 wins on the card.  She was the best on paper and lived up to her form as driver Chris Lems steered Lindylicious to victory in 2:02:3 (LQ 29:2) The daughter of Credit Winner was content to sit the pocket after Barn Doll made a strong move to take the lead past the ¼ pole, after benefiting from the perfect trip, she won by a neck.  Race 4 showcased the impressive Pink Power, owned by Albert & Michelle Crawford, unfortunately the fractious filly made a start before the gate left and was never in contention.  The easy going, regal looking filly, Royal Encore and Trond Smedshammer made the best of Pink Powers miscue and grabbed the lead and stayed there until the top of the lane, until Charlie Norris’s filly, who was on her best behavior and minded her manners scooted home a winner in 2:01.  Race 6 almost saw a track record as Winning Princess crushed her foes.  Driver Jim Morrill made a big move with the filly past the quarter mile marker and didn’t look back, she has 12 lengths on the filed as she passed the ¾ maker in a swift 1:29:1, she tripped the tele timer in a National Season record of 2:00:3. The George Ducharme and Chris Lems combo teamed up again in race 9 with Swinging Royalty.  The confidant RC Royalty filly scored in 2:02. Vernon horseman were on their game this evening, Dan Daley won the 1st race, and he would have had a double on the card, but was set down due to a Eurorail violation in the 7th race with Mai Tai Monkey.  Gates Brunet won the 5th race, a non-winners event with Panamanian Hanover, and then capped off the evenings last event with Love Crazy Love, the Crazed filly is owned by Crawford Farms and Ted Gewertz. George Ducharme has the best night of all, so far this season he has been very successful at the Mighty M and tonight was not any different has we won 2 events and got checks for 4 out of his 6 starters. After the conclusion of the evening card, race goers were treated to Monticello Raceways annual Fireworks, fans both young and old enjoyed the 25 minute show. By Shawn Wiles

Hannah Miller has taken amateur harness racing by storm. The 24 year old miss scored her 19th victory in 58 seasonal starts when she guided Rise Above It to a 1:57.3 victory in their division of the Catskill Amateur Club's spring pacing series at Monticello Raceway on July 2. And that "Hurricane Hannah" is carrying a lofty .485 UDR one can easily understand the betting public's faith in her abilities. Sent off as odds-on favorite in her race Miller left softly with Rise Above It and when the field settled she moved first-up as the field headed to the half. "He's not a horse that can leave real hard and I knew Matt (Zuccerello with Minnesota Hanover) would be pushing off from the rail so I let everyone settle and then moved first over," Miller explained. Up the backside Rise Above it charged to the front and on the final turn he had five lengths on the field. From there he cruised home an easy winner over CC's Lover and Alan Schwartz. Third place went to Logan's Dragon driven by Dr. Jennifer Lowrey. "He raced real well and was looking for company at the wire," Miller added." Owned by Melvin Fink and Clifford Grundy Rise Above it paid $2.70 for win. He's trained by Nick Surick who had thanks for the owners when he said; "I just want to thank my owners Mel and Cliff for letting Hannah use their horse in series and supporting her and it paid off for them today with a win in the series finale." In the NAADA Series driver Joe Pennacchio made it two in- a -row in with Sir Winston when he guided the veteran gelding to a 2:01 victory over Superiorcourt and driver Bob Krivelin. Third place went to Alan Schwartz with Chuckie B. After a 2:00.1 victory last week while racing on the front end Pennacchio Sir Winston duplicated that effort and once again raced on the lead. "I said last week if he doesn't bleed he'd win and he didn't and we won," Pennacchio said. "He didn't bleed and this week either and he won again." When two horses broke at the start Pennacchio and Sir Winston raced unhurriedly on the lead and got away with easy fractions for the classy old veteran. After a soft half Pennacchio parked all comers and Sir Winston finished strong for a 1-1/2 length triumph. Despite a victory last week and starting from the pole position today the betting crowd didn't have much faith and sent Sir Winston off at odds of over 7-1. Owned by Joe P Racing and trained by Dan Altman he paid $16.40. By John Manzi for NAADA and the Catskill Club

It should come as no surprise that Jim Morrill Jr. continues to dominate the NYSS, much like Wally Hennessy and Jeff Gregory have done on the past. This afternoon at Monticello Raceway, Jim Morrill Jr won 5 of the 8 New York Sire Stakes Races. Blue Chip Farms Stallion, Roll With Joe had 4 sons enter the winners circle for the afternoon. In the first race, local favorite KJ Erich was well in hand for driver Jim Taggart Jr. as he won by 6 lengths in 1:59:1 for co-owner and trainer Gary Messenger. In the 2nd Division of the Excelsior's A's, is was the grey son of Roll With Joe, White Rolls scoring a wire to wire victory for Tracy Brainard, giving Morrill his first win of the afternoon Race 4 was the 1st division of Sire Stakes and this race had 3 lead changes before the half mile mark.  Roll With Fred had the lead going to the ¼ pole before the antsy Fine Diamond made his move to take the lead, Jim Morrill Jr was wrangling with Carlos Danger trying to keep him in the hole. Roll with Fred came right back to retake the lead and folllowing with live cover was Carlos Danger. Carlos Danger cleared and stayed there the rest of the way, taking them past the ¾ in 1:29:0. Fine Diamond made a weak attempt to challenge the leaders but his challenge stalled in the paddock turn. It appeared that Morrill was home free, but Brett Miller had Roll With Fred in high gear in deep stretch, to nip Carlos Danger by a head in 1:58:3 Tim Lanpher's One Summer Chance was the winner of race 5 Excelsior B in 2:01:3. In the other Excelsior B action in the 8th race. Zac and Forth broke his maiden in impressive fashion for trainer Thomas Merton and owner Gary Haas, winning in 1:59:4. The 2nd division of the NYSS, saw the heavy favorite Autotune Hanover work hard for the lead, only to go off stride coming out of the 1st turn. Skip Jive was in the 2 hole when the favorite broke and inherited the lead. He stayed there and won by 3 in 1:57:1 for trainer Paul Kelly and driver Mark McDonald. The most impressive individual performance of the day came in Race 13, last heat of the NYSS. Joe Larry N Curly shot out of the gate and carried the field thru fractions of 28:, 59:0 & 1:28:3. In the paddock turn HudsonandBernard made his move but was quickly dispatched as Morrill let his mount out a notch and quickly dispatched his competition. Joe Larry N Curly was too smart and went on to win to win by 3 lengths in 1:56:3, the fastest race of the day, last ¼ in 28.0. Joe Larry N Curly, a colt by Roll With Joe is trained by Mark Harder. In the winner's circle Jim Morrill Jnr, a man of few words, said "He is the real deal" This win gave Jim Morrill Jnr his 5th win on the afternoon. Total handle for the 13 race card was $602,921. Monticello Raceway is racing Mon - Fri this week, with a special Fireworks night card on Friday July 3, featuring more Sire Stake action when 2 Year Old Trotting Colts come to town. Shawn Wiles    

On Monday June 29, Monticello Raceways 13 race harness racing card features 8 New York Sire Stake events, the breakdown being 3 NYSS ($35,866)- 3 Division A Excelsior's ($15,000) & 2 Division B Excelsior's ($6,500) for total purses in excess of $165,000. The average number of starts per juvenile is 3, there is a lot of white paper on the programs. For the vast majority of these Sire Stake colts, 13 of the 20 starters, this will be their first lifetime start on a half mile oval. Race 1 & 2 are Excelsior A events, in race 1, local favorite KJ Erich, trained by Gary Messenger will start from post 3, for driver Jim Taggart Jr. The Roll With Joe colt has 2 impressive brides maid starts thus far under his belt in his young career. Race 2 also showcases another Roll With Joe/Gary Messenger combination, Cool Breeze De Vie, sports back to back wins at Monticello, his last start a winning effort in 2:01, and he will start from post 7. The first NYSS event is race 4, Ron Burke stable sends Fine Diamond, the Rock N Roll Heaven youngster will start from post 3, he has 2 Meadowlands Q's under his belt, finishing 3rd in each contest, last start shows a snappy 27:3 last quarter. The other contender figure to be Uncle Hal (PP5) Scott Zeron for trainer Joann Perry, buy virtue has his 2 race win streak at Tioga Downs. Race 6, 2nd division of NYSS , Canadian based, Endeavor comes to town with 2 consecutive Q's win, by a combined 42¼ lengths, he will face tough competition from Autotune Hanover (PP4) and Jeff Gregory's fast Art Major colt, Fast N Victorious (PP1). The last heat of day and of the Sire Stakes is race 13, by far the toughest race on paper, Roll With Joe is well represented here, with 2 nice colts, Joe Larry N Curly (PP4), trained by Mark Harder and driven by Jim Morrill Jr. will start from the 4 hole, he won his last start, a 2YO qualifier, in 1:55:2, LQ 28:2. Joe Holloway brings Hudsonandbernard (PP5) to the $36,556 dash, he too winning sports an identical time of 1:55:3. Brigadoon (PP2) a natural on the half miles ovals, has he has 3 wins in a row at Saratoga. The American ideal colt is trained by Cheryl McGivern, and will be driven by Saratoga regular Billy Dobson. Trainers should take note that the date for the first NYSS/Excelsior 2-Year-Old Filly Trot at Monticello has been changed, The date will be July 3, 2015, box closes Tuesday at 9:00 am. Post time will be 5:30pm. On that evening Monticello Raceway will have its decades famous fireworks after the last race. By Shawn Wiles

Prior to going out for the post parade in the NAADA Trot at Monticello Raceway harness racing driver Joe Pennacchio was queried about his chances with his veteran trotter Sir Winston who was to start from the five-hole. Without much hesitation he said: "If he doesn't bleed he'll win." Well, Sir Winston, a career winner of over $390,000, didn't bleed in the race and was victorious just like Pennacchio predicted. When the starter said go Pennacchio gunned the veteran 9 year old Revenue S gelding to the lead and they had some racing luck when Alan Schwartz's trotter Typical Newyorker, who was pressuring him for the lead, made a break directly in front of the 1-2 betting favorite Casanova Lindy (Hannah Miller) who was hot on Schwartz's tail. Unfortunately Typical Newyorker's misstep made a tough journey for Miller who had hoped for a covered trip behind Schwartz. When that inkling didn't work out Miller found herself hung out and with little chance of gaining the front-end from Pennacchio. "Her horse wasn't coming that strongly so I didn't want to grab into my horse since he might have bled if I did," Pennacchio admitted. So Casanova Lindy went the long mile never seeing the pylons and it wasn't until the deep stretch that he tired and finished just two lengths behind Sir Winston in third place. Nautilus De Vie, who was traveling along in the catbird's seat with Dave Yarock at the controls, used the passing lane to finish second. Pennacchio's Joe P Racing Stable owns the winner who's trained by Dan Altman. Sir Winston paid $26.20 while winning his second seasonal contest. For Pennacchio, a retired business CEO, it was his sixth seasonal driving victory and the 149th of his amateur career. After the race, Pennacchio and Miller headed for Yonkers Raceway where they were scheduled to drive that night in the Billings Series. John Manzi

When is the first horse across the finish line not the race winner? When said horse is disqualified. That's exactly what happened in the eight race yesterday (June 24) at Monticello Raceway. Sultry Susan, a 2-year -old daughter of Art Major-Parlay Hanover was making her first harness racing pari-mutuel start with Jimmy Taggart, Jr. in the bike. The filly was cruising along on the front end until confronted by Bullville Go and driver Bruce Aldrich, Jr., but as they ranged alongside, Sultry Susan bolted to the outside which caused interference with Bullville Go and although Sultry Susan was first under the wire she was disqualified. Not knowing the judges final decision driver Jimmy Taggart, Jr. took Sultry Susan to the winners circle for a photograph and one was taken prior to the filly being placed out of the money for interference.However while in the winners circle Sultry Susan did her "Hi Ho Silver" act; standing on her hind legs.She then returned to all four and exited. It was shortly after that her connections found out that she was being disqualified. by John Manzi for Monticello Raceway

After winning a trotting race under saddle at Goshen Historic Track last Sunday Rev It Now, hooked to a harness racing sulky once again, won the NAADA Trot at Monticello Raceway on the misty and cool Thursday afternoon of June 18. Hannah Miller drove the veteran trotter to a come-from-behind one length victory over Typical New Yorker (Alan Schwartz) in a time of 2:00.3. Notoriously a slow starter, Rev It Now left from the seven hole and was once again was at the back of the pack when the Schwartz and Typical New Yorker led the field by the first quarter in :29.4. And in doing so, Schwartz kept Hallanet (Paul Minore) and Starsaboverallerage (Allen Sisco) on the limb. Seeing what was developing in front of her Miller moved her trotter third-over as the field rounded the paddock turn and headed to the halfway point. Sixth at the half in 1:00 and some four lengths off the lead, Miller was content to follow her cover past the third panel and then on the final turn she moved Rev It Now three-deep. Still fifth and four lengths behind Schwartz's trotter at that point, Miller began to urge Rev It Now. Under strong urging Rev It Now seemed to hit another gear and trotted by the leaders in the deep stretch to score his seventh seasonal triumph. Third place went to Hallanet who raced parked- out for the entire mile and was just 1-1/4 lengths behind the winner at the wire. "I had to get after "Rev" a bit in the stretch but he responded and finished strong," Miller said. "He's such a nice old guy and he seems sweeter after racing him a couple of times under saddle." (Prior to his 2:07.4 victory at Historic Track, Rev It Now won a RUS in 2:00.4 over the mile oval at Gaitway Farms) "That's for sure," interjected trainer Nick Surick as he helped to unhook the sulky upon Rev It Now's return to the paddock. "There's no doubt in my mind that those races under saddle helped to change his attitude." Co-owned by Miller and Surick, along with Hannah's dad Erv Miller, Rev It Now who was sent off as third choice in the betting and paid $8.20 for win. Miller missed a chance at a driving double when she finished second with Rise Above It in the Catskill Amateur's Club Pace. Sent off as a prohibitive favorite and despite a covered second-over trip, Rise Above It couldn't gain any ground on the leader and pacesetter, Tyler Great (Allen Sisco) who cruised along on the front end and then kicked in a :28.3 final quarter to win the event by three lengths in a time of 1:58.1. "I was in striking distance when we headed into the stretch but we couldn't catch him (Tylers Great), especially when he had so much pace at the end of the mile," Miller said after the race. Allen Sisco drove Tylers Great to his second victory in 20 starts this year and he bettered his previous seasonal win time by four seconds. Matt Zuccarello and Minnesota Hanover had a two-trip behind the pacesetter (Tylers Great) but was over taken in the swtretch by Rise Above It and finished third. Tylers Great owned by Brenna Gill and trained by her hubby Dan Gill, paid $11.20 for win. John Manzi

Monticello Raceway announced today they will offer prep races for NY Bred 2 Year Old Pacing Colts, NW 1 PM Lifetime, for a purse of $5,000, the draw will be on Wednesday June 17, the box closes at 9:00am for the Monday June 22nd card. The timing of this prep race bodes well for 2 year old colts looking to race in the NYSS on June 29 for 2 YO Pacing Colts. "We felt that it is an excellent opportunity to have trainers give their colts a preview of the Monticello oval, prior to racing in the Sire Stakes", says Monticello Raceway Race Secretary Eric Warner. Monticello Raceways Post Time is 12:50 for its Monday thru Thursday schedule. The .50 cent pick 5 Wager runs in race 3 -7.  

Monticello Raceway has been in on the ground floor ever since amateur driving returned to the spotlight in the early 1980's. And every year since then amateur harness racing kept growing and now is an integral part of the harness industry. One of amateur racings greatest proponents is, and has been, Monticello Raceway and over the years the track has offered events for sportsmen and sportswomen and has spawned some very talented professional drivers. After nearly four decades of competitive amateur racing, it wasn't until Thursday, June 11 in a leg of the Catskill Amateur Club series that the fastest mile ever driven by an amateur over the Mighty M double- oval happened. It was turned in by Joseph Lee when he guided pacer Partner to an easy 11- length romp in a time of 1:55.4 over the Hannah Miller-driven Rise Above It. Two lengths farther back in third place was Minnesota Hanover driven by Matt Zuccarello. "He warmed-up great and he was on the muscle the whole mile," Lee said after his romping victory with the son of Ponder. "He really went a great race today and I have to thank (trainer) Brandon Simpson for allowing me to drive him." In the real world Joseph Lee is the assistant equipment manager for the New York Yankees-yes the Bronx Bombers. "I've been driving in amateur races here at Monticello for the past few years and it was always hard to get away from the (Yankee) Stadium because it seemed the Yankees were playing every time I got a chance to drive. But with Monticello's amateur series races on Thursdays this year it gave me a great chance to enjoy driving because Thursdays happen to be off-days for the Yankees; or they are playing out of town." For Lee it was his second driving victory this season and his seventh from a limited amount of starts in an amateur career that began in 2010. Partner is owned by Barry Franklin and trained by Brandon Simpson. He paid $7.30 for win. Another amateur race, sponsored by the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA), was also part of the Mighty M's afternoon's race card and in that pacing event Dave Yarock reined CSI What's My Name home first in a time of 2:00.2. "I had the pole (position) and when the race began I went for the lead ," Yarock related. "Joe Pennacchio (with Futuristic Bride) was parked out so I let him go as we neared the (first) quarter." After a :29.4 first stanza Futuristic Bide then led the field by the half in :59.4 with CSI What's My Name tucked in nicely in the two-hole. Up the backside, despite having made a break behind the gate, Hallanet and driver Paul Minore, had ranged alongside the leaders as the field headed by the three quarters. However, after spotting the field some eight lengths at the start and then making up all the ground needed to put him in back in the race, Minore's trotter was tired which allowed Yarock the move CSI What's My Name out to challenge when the field straightened for home. By mid-stretch CSI What's My Name had drawn even with Pennacchio's trotter and then went on to a 1-1/2 length triumph over Futuristic Bride. Hallanet faded but held on for the show money. The winner by Tagliabue, owned by Joel Golub and David Glasser, is trained by Jim Doherty, Jr. He paid $6.20 for win. For Dave Yarock, a financial planner by trade, his victory was his second of the season and 53rd in his career. John Manzi

On Sunday, July 19th, The Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association will gather at Hanofee Park in Liberty, New York, to commemorate the recent and untimely passing of one of their own, Robert "Bo" Beauregard. "BoBo" as he was fondly known to all of the horsemen at Monticello Raceway and beyond, was a longtime member of the Board of Directors serving as his Association's Treasurer and right hand to President Alan Schwartz. The full day BBQ, from 11:00 A.M. to dusk, will include both lunch and dinner. Soft drinks are included throughout the day and beer will be on hand for $1.00 each. Cost for this happening is $20.00 per adult or $10.00 for children 2 thru 12 years of age, payable at the door. All our friends in the community are invited to attend. Proceeds from this event have been earmarked for "The Beauregard Boys", John snd Steven. John Manzi for MHHA

Harness racing amateur races were on tap again at Monticello Raceway on Thursday (June 4) afternoon on the heels of the two the Sullivan County oval presented the previous day. Steve Oldford won the NAADA Trot with Starsaboverallerage in a 2:00.3 clocking while Matt Zuccarello copped the Catskill Amateur Club pace with Minnesota Hanover in 1:58. "I came all the way in from Michigan anticipating to drive in three races today but the other two races I was hoping to race get in didn't fill," Oldford said after his victory with Starsaboveallerage. "But winning the one I was in made the whole trip worthwhile. People who know me know I'd fly to the moon if I thought I could win a race there." Oldford had the betting favorite in the NAADA trot and he drove him like he was the best. He gunned his trotter to the lead from post four and parked Saraboo, and driver by Paul Moore in a relatively soft :30 quarter. Knowing that Saraboo was no threat after being parked out Oldford used Moore's trotter as a shield of sorts, which made it tougher for any horse from the back of the pack to challenge the pace. Hannah Miller had a live horse in Rev It Now but the road trouble they endured cost them a chance at victory. She had to wheel her trotter three- deep at the three quarters to get around the parked horse but Starsaboveallerage had drawn off to a substantial lead and by the time Rev It Now had cleared traffic Oldford's trotter was safe and he cruised home an easy 1-1/2 length winner. Miller's charge was second best while Chuckie B and Alan Schwartz completed the trifecta. Starsaboveallerage, trained by Allen Sisco, paid $3.90 for win. The other amateur event, sponsored by the Catskill Club, was vehicle for Matt Zuccarello to score his second driving victory in two days at the Mighty M. (He won a division of the Spain vs USA Friendship Competition yesterday). In today's contest Zuccarello sent Minnesota Hanover to the lead from the pole position and they had clear sailing to the half which was paced in :59.1. At that point challenges came first from CCs Lover N and Allen Sisco followed by Rise Above It with Hannah Miller. But Zuccarello had Minnesota Hanover far enough in front to rebuff and late charges. They cruised home a solid one length winner over CCs Lover with Rise Above It two lengths farther back in third place. "Last week we had to pace a :28.2 first quarter to get the lead and he (Minnesota Hanover) was tired at the end of the mile. This time when we passed the (first) quarter in :29.4 I knew my horse would have something in the tank for later," Zuccarello explained. Zuccarello also owns the winner who's trained by Dennis Laturza. Minnesota Hanover returned a $21.40 win mutuel. By John Manzi for NAADA & The Catskill Amateur Club.

On Monday June 8, the harness racing glamour division of the New York Sire Stakes, 3 Year Old Pacing Colts will be at Monticello Raceway. A total of 10 New York Sire Stake events are on tap for the days 14 race card, 4 divisions of Sire Stakes, 4 divisions of the Excelsior A, and 2 dashes of the Excelsior A series. The Sires Stakes events race for a purse of $30,450 per race, the Excelsior A's purses are $15,000 and the B division purse is $6,000. In the first race, also the 1st division NYSS, showcases Cartoon Daddy, the son of Art Major, who has already won this year in 1:51:4 in a NYSS event at Tioga Downs for trainer Ron Burke. He has 3 pari mutual starts under his belt thus far into the year, he comes back after an impressive 2 year old season, where he earned $282,523, and taking a mark of 1:50:1 at the Red Mile. Matt Kakaley will handle the driving chores for trainer Ron Burke. Bet You will start from PP 6 for trainer Jimmy Takter, the son of Bettors Delight, is out of the great mare Armbro Amoretto. Race 5, 2nd division of NYSS, highlights Lone Survivor and J Eagle Feature. Both were victorious last week at Buffalo in their respective divisions. In the 3rd division, K Ryan Bluechip (PP1) and K-Rock (PP2) are pitted against each other. K Rock easily won his last NYSS race at Buffalo in 1:54, K Ryan Bluechip took his lifetime mark last start in 1:50:3 for trainer driver Joe Pavia Jr. Final NYSS race is carded as race 13, My Spirit Soars, on paper he seems to be much the best, starting from the rail for trainer Tom Fanning, the son of Bettor Delight has been in the money in all 7 starts this year. He comes into the race fresh off a 1:50:4 win at Pocono Downs and a second place finish in Sire Stakes action at Tioga Downs. In the 10 race, the Excelsior A series highlights the much heralded White Bliss, a celebrity from birth, due to him being a rare equine Albino. The son of Art Major was a $240,000 yearling. He is trained and driven by Swedish trotting specialist Ake Svanstedt. The Excelsior A divisions are in races 3, 7, 10, & 14, each race is worth $15,000, The B divisions are in race 2 & 12, for a purse of $6,000. Monticello Raceway continues its Monday - Friday schedule with a 12:50 Post. By Shawn Wiles

Some might have figured that since the visiting Spaniards never drove pacers that the USA team would have an advantage in the second leg of the Spain vs USA Friendship Competition on the Wednesday (June 3) card at the harness racing meeting at Monticello Raceway. But that never materialized because in the first of the two races on the card Spain's Bernado Cirer not only was victorious but his countrymen finished second, third and fourth.. However, Matt Zuccarello got the USA team off the floor when he reined the winner in the second event. In the first event on the card,race 3, Cirer gunned Caviart Jet for the lead and they gained command before the quarter pole and Cirer didn't seem to care that the horse he was parking out, Camcracker Dynasty, was driven by teammate Jaume Riera. After the :29 first quarter the Spaniards raced head to head to the half in :59.3 and they were still heads apart as they passed the three quarters in 1:30. However when they headed for paydirt Christopher Bliss, driven by Spain's Agustin Pou, overtook Camcracker Dynasty to garner second place but he couldn't catch Caviart Jet who went on to a two length victory. Christopher Bliss faded to third in the 2:00 clocked mile. And to add insult to injury for the Americans Miquel Capo finished fourth with Fifth Wave giving the visiting Spaniards the top four placings. However, there was one caveat that might have changed the race outcome. When the field headed for home Hot Pistol and Alan Schwartz, who had been stalking Caviart Jet throughout the mile, took advantage of the passing lane and they were poised to go on by the leader until Schwartz's charge went off-stride and they lost all chances. After the race, Cirer, a carpenter by trade in Mallorca, felt super. "I'm very happy" he said in broken English. "I was second at Yonkers yesterday and I win today at Monticello. I love America." The winner, Caviart Jet, is owned and trained by Steve Moore. He paid $8.40 for win." However, the NAADA team did get revenge in the second division, race five, when Matt Zuccarello won with Remus Blue Chip in a time of 1:59.1. In a race in which there were two tiers of pacers for most of the mile Zuccarello and Remus Blue Chip were hung on the outside in second-over position. "I was stuck on the limb from the start but I wasn't alone. There were others parked, too," Zuccarello said. "I had little choice other than to stay behind cover and I sat calmly and waited. "The field was tightly packed as we headed to the three- quarters so I slipped three- deep and my horse gained the lead and from there he was strong all the way to the finish line." Tylers Great who cut the all the fractions on the front-end, finished second for Spanish amateur Miquel Capo. Hannah Miller came from far back with Delco Tross for third money. The USA's Gerry Fielding was fourth with 35-1 shot Wink And Nod. The winner, Remus Hanover, is owned and trained by Herbert Lux III. He paid $5.10 to win. After the points for the first two legs were totaled Team America is all but finished trailing the Spaniards 78 to 48. "We need a miracle at Tioga (Downs) on Friday," said NAADA president Joe Faraldo. John Manzi

June 2, 2015 - The John Manzi retirement dinner on Sunday, May 31 at the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY was a sell-out event in honor of the hardest working publicist the Standardbred sport has ever known.   Attended by over 125 well-wishers, friends, colleagues, family members and fans, some of the sports brightest stars came out to honor a guy who has been propping up the key players in the harness horse industry for over 40 years.   Not only did the Hall of Fame publicist provide racing coverage for Monticello Raceway for 4 decades, but John Manzi also churned out press releases for Goshen Historic Track, Delvin Miller Harness Drivers, North American Amateur Drivers, and the local chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association. The stories about racing that he has penned have been published in just about every industry and local news outlet imaginable.   Horse owners, breeders, drivers and trainers, and industry insiders young and old, near and far packed the William R. Haughton Hall to capacity to eat, drink, tell John Manzi stories (of which there are countless) and listen to nearly a dozen speakers--all who had a chance to re-live some of their most cherished, and in some cases, most hilarious, moments with the man they call JM in the PM.   Champion harness driver George Brennan, Orange County Sheriff Carl DuBois, Hambletonian Society publicist Moira Fanning, Museum past president Ebby Gerry, Museum past treasurer Peter Gerry, Roosevelt Raceway publicity man Barry Lefkowitz, Trainer/Driver Eddie Lohmeyer, horse owner Larry Roman, and lifelong friend Steve Sharoff all took turns sharing stories about the man everyone loves to laugh with. NY Daily News Racing Writer Dave Little performed the duties of Master of Ceremonies and kept the event running smoothly, despite all the playful barbs from the guest speaker list.   By the end of the night, Mr. Manzi took the post in which he is probably most comfortable--in front of the microphone. While working the room, he collected several bags of the various gag gifts, his own bobblehead, and commendations that he had been presented over the course of the evening. To a lengthy standing ovation, the man with the big hair and big smile graciously thanked everyone in the room and expressed his gratitude to an industry that, "made me want to get out of bed every morning for over forty years!"   by Chris Tully for the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame    

Although she has been the scourge of the amateur harness racing driving ranks this season, today (May 28) Hannah Miller scored her first driving double and it came in back-to-back races on the betting card at Monticello Raceway. Miller won a Catskill Amateur Drivers Series pace with Rise Above It in a 1:57 clocking and came right back in the next race and drove trotter Casanova Lindy to 2:00 triumph in a leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Associations spring trotting series. Her victory with Rise Above It (Village Jolt) came from a three -hole journey to the backside and then moving to the lead nearing the third quarter before drawing off to an oh-so-easy 10- length triumph. And interestingly, the exacta in that contest belonged to the ladies when Dr. Jennifer Lowrey finished second with Logan's Dragon. Third place went to Minnesota Hanover driven by Matt Zuccarello. "I planned on leaving strong but Jennifer's horse left the gate the fastest so I ducked in a hole," Miller said and added "it was a good thing since she led us by the (first) quarter in :28.4. "After a :58 (.1) half I had the strong horse and when I gave him his head he did the rest." Owned by Melvin Fink and Clifford Grundy and trained by Nick Surick, Rise Above It paid just $2.10 for win. And this race marked another first for the 23 year old Miller when her horse was eliminated from the show wagering pool. Miller also had the favorite in the next race, a NAADA Trot, when the betting public sent Casanova Lindy (SJ's Photo)  off as a 4-10 favorite. After starting from the six-hole Miller aimed her charge toward the front end and took command prior to reaching the first stanza. From there Casanova Lindy trotted by the half in 1:00 and then rambled through even 30-second quarters to a three- length 2:00 triumph over Chuckie B and driver Alan Schwartz even though Schwartz had his trotter tight on Miller's back until Casanova Lindy drew off in mid-stretch. Third place went to Samsawinner driven by New York Yankee assistant equipment manager, Joe Lee. "I feel so great," Miller said after her second victory on the card. "I've been pretty lucky when it comes to winning races this year but having my first driving double is special." Casanova Lindy, owned by Ms. Miller, the Nick Surick Stable and the Erv Miller Stable, and trained by Surick The winner paid $2.40. And speaking of firsts, today will mark the initial time that amateur drivers will do double duty, driving in the afternoon at one track and at another in the night time. Monticello Raceway starters Hannah Miller, Joe Lee, James Marshall IV, and Dave Yarock will take seats behind trotters in Billings action at Yonkers Raceway tonight. By John Manzi for NAADA & Catskill Amateur Club

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

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