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'It's a pleasure when you have something between the shafts", were the first words out of harness racing driver Alan Schwartz's mouth upon his return to the paddock after driving Linda Marie to a new lifetime record winning the first leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's (NAADA) three track Fall Trotting Series in 1:58.1 at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon, September 22. After starting from the three-hole Schwartz hustled the 5-year-old Crazed mare to the lead when the starting judge said "go" and while still on the first turn allowed Bob Hechkoff to take command with Trotalot. Both drivers were aided in their quest for victory when the betting favorite, Here Comes Numbers (John Kokinos), went off stride at the start. After Schwartz grabbed leather and allowed Hechkoff to show the way they then raced one-two by the first stanza in :28.4. The order remained the same past the half in :59.2 and at the third stanza Schwartz had Linda Marie tight on Hechkoff's back. "I had a handful of horse as we shadowed Hechkoff and on the final turn she wanted to go so I moved her off the pylons," Schwartz related. "Once she saw daylight I just let her ramble and she ranged alongside Trotalot as we headed for home. "Then in the lane, when I tried to pull the ear plugs, they got stuck but it didn't matter. She (Linda Marie) was in high gear and she trotted on to an easy victory. Schwartz wasn't lying. Linda Marie trotted the last quarter in :28.3 en route to her third seasonal victory. Trotalot was second with Imacrazynewyorker getting up for the show dough, albeit 11 lengths behind the winner. Linda Marie is owned and trained by Jimmy Doherty Jr. She paid $7.20 for win. For Schwartz, it was his 572nd driving victory, the most of any active amateur driver. The international amateur driving club kicked off its three-track fall series here at the Mighty M with races to follow at Yonkers Raceway and Freehold Raceway. The NAADA Trot Series will culminate with a $15,000 final at Yonkers on November 3rd. by John Manzi for NAADA

The 2016 New York Sire Stakes Season at Monticello Raceway concluded this afternoon with harness racing 3 year old filly trotters bidding the swan song for the states healthy Sire Stake Program. It was an afternoon where the first turn was the nemesis of many of the female trotters on the card, as many of the fillies made miscues in the first turn. The first division of Sire Stakes, race 4, went for a purse of $61,300. The bettors chalk Non Stick, starting from the rail for driver Daniel Dube made a break in the middle of the first turn, Jim Morrill Jr. driving the fractious Goosebump Hanover (RC Royalty - Good Common Cents) from post position 6, eased her away from the gate and seized the opportunity, went for, and took the lead after Non Sticks miscue and wired the field to win by 2 lengths in 1:56.1, tying the track record, set by Gerri's Joy in 2007. Goosebump Hanover is trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable, J&T Silva, Crawford Farms and J. Di Scala. The win puts the filly over $130,000 in her 3 year old campaign. Race 6, was the 2nd heat of the Sire Stakes, saw Earn Your Wings, the Credit Winner ½ sister to the incomparable Mission Brief, win in 1:57.1 As the gate left, the heavy favorite Fad Finance, coming off on impressive win at Saratoga Raceway in 1:54.1, left from PP 7 and tucked in 3rd, going down the backside. Sweet Ashley T and Earn Your Wings were sitting 1 - 2, just before the ¼ pole, Jason Bartlett pulled Earn Your Wings to the outside and took the lead. Going to the half Fad Finance took the lead, passing that stanza in 58:2, the order remained unchanged until the top of the lane and Bartlett had Earn Your Wings on the move, opting to the outside, rather that the passing lane and hand drove the blue blooded filly to score in 1:57 by ¾ lengths and returned $4.80 to her backers. The Credit Winer- Southwind Serene filly is trained by female Swedish trainer Anette Lorentzon for owner SRF stable of Delray Beach Florida. Other winners on the card were, Love Crazy Love, (Crazed - Love U Overandover) who won a virtual walk over, as she was the lone horse trotting after the first turn, for trainer - driver Gates Brunet in 1:59.4, with a $25.60 win mutual. I Will Take Credit, entered the winners circle for trainer Erv Miller, trotting the mile in 1:59.1, The Credit Winer filly was driven by Charles Norris. Financial Focus, (Crazed - Pearls Last Chance) won in 1:59.2 for Phil Fluet. Over Joyed (Conway Hall - RC Biscuit) score in 2:01.4 for trainer George Ducharme. LTS Sandie (Conway Hall - Rejoycing) won in 1:58.4 for John Stark. Live Racing continues this week with its abbreviated Labor Day Weekend schedule of racing Tuesday - Thursday with post time of 12:50. Shawn Wiles

On Tuesday September 6, the New York Sire Stakes will make its last stop at Monticello Raceway for the year, as harness racing 3 year old trotting fillies will close out the Sire Stakes Season. $180,000 will be split into seven heats of Sire Stakes, 2 Regular Sire Stake's, going to post for $61,300 in each dash, 3 heats of the Excelsior A Class, each dash racing for $15,000 and 2 spilts of the Excelsior B's going for $6,000. Non Stick starting from the rail, has been installed at the 9/5 morning line favorite in the 4th race, first division of Sire Stakes. The daughter of Lucky Chucky is trained and co-owned by Ake Svanstedt and Little E LLC and will be driven by Daniel Dube. She a 4 time winner in this company, with over $230,000 earnings this year. She will be followed by Goosebump Hanover (PP6), who also won a Sire Stake event at Batavia and was a winner in the Tompkins stakes at Tioga Downs in July. Wendy's Girl, who has climbed through the ranks of the Excelsior A series, will take her first shot in elite company. The daughter of Lucky Chucky has reeled of 5 wins in her last 6 starts, her last start was an impressive win at Saratoga in 1:57. The second division has a pair of blue bloods, Earn Your Wings (PP3), the (Credit Winner - Southwind Serena) is a 3 year old half-sister to fastest 2 year old trotter of all time and 2 time Dan Patch Award winner, Mission Brief. She is trained by the Anette Lorentzon, a native of Sweden. The $260,000 yearling purchase will be driven by Jason Bartlett for owners SRF Stable of Delray Beach Florida. The filly took her lifetime mark of 1:54.4 earlier in the season at Vernon Downs, she has 1 win and 3 seconds in this company. The other Blue pedigree in the race is Monarchs Sequel (PP1) (RC Royalty- Armbro Monarch) She will be driven by Mark MacDonald for owner Al J Libfeld, of Pickering Ontario. Fad Finance has been installed the 5-2 favorite by virtue of her 4 Sire Stake wins this year and has amassed over $200,000 in this year's campaign. Regular driver Jim Morrill will drive the Credit Winner lass from post 7 for trainer Trond Smedshammer. Post time for the 12 race card is 12:50. By Shawn Wiles           All emails from Empire Resorts, Inc. and its subsidiaries, and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which they are addressed. If you are not the intended recipient you are hereby notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited. This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are considered privileged and confidential and may not be used by either party in any pending or future legal proceedings. Empire Resorts, Inc., 204 State Route 17B, Monticello, NY 12701 845-807-0001  

On Monday August 29, 2 Year Old Pacing Fillies will be featured on the afternoon's harness racing card. The card has 2 heats of elite Sire Stake vying for a purse of $52,500 each, 4 heats of the Excelsior A's, with a purse of $15,000 and 3 splits of the Excelsior B, with a purse of $6,600. Ken Jacobs brings a strong duo of Planet Rock and Robin J to the fray, Planet Rock is the fastest filly of the bunch, and Robin J being the richest. Planet Rock will start from post position 4 for trainer Linda Toscano in the 1st race of the day, the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven has been flawless in pari mutuel competition thus far in her brief career. She has reeled off 5 consecutive wins in this company, with earning s of $97,665 with a speed badge of 1:52 taken at Vernon Downs for owner Kenneth Jacobs of Baldwinsville NY. Tim Tetrick will drive the filly in the 5 horse field. Roaring To Go, who has been unlucky at drawing inside post positions, will take advantage of the best post of her career, will start from post 3 for trainer Kevin Lare of Snow White fame. Team Miller brings the respectable Pleasant Roll, the son of Rock With Joe, will start from PP 5. In the second division, race 8, another 5 horse field, Ken Jacobs brings another outstanding filly, Robin J. The Roll With Joe lass has shown brilliant closing speed, she comes into the race with respectable credentials, 5 wins in 6 lifetime starts, and $131,605 in the bank. She is also trained by Linda Toscano, and will be driven by Tim Tetrick. Local horsemen Gary Messenger brings Delilah De Vie in race 5, a division of the Excelsior B. The son of Art Major has drawn post 5 in the 5 horse field. His looking for his 3rd win a row in the company. He is owned by Scott Woogen and Brenda Messenger. By Shawn Wiles

On Monday afternoon at Monticello Raceway, New York Sire Stakes featuring 3 Year Old Trotting Colts comprised much of the harness racing card. Two divisions of regular Sire Stakes were contested with a purse of $59,100, the Excelsior's A class racing for $15,000 and 1 the Excelsior B's going for $6,600. Smalltownthrowdown took advantage of the short 5 horse field to cut out a wire to wire performance in 1:56.2. The Cash Hall - Ann's Promise colt won by 8 lengths, trotting his last stanza in 28:1 for winning owners Daley, Crawford, Brenner and Lombardo. His earnings thus far this year are $157,000, this was his 3rd win in the elite Sire Stake division this season, with a slate of 12-5-2-1 and lifetime earnings of $280,000. He is trained and driven by Dan Daley, who was also celebrating his birthday today. The Royal Harry and Ake Svanstedt who were making their first start since the Hambletonian made the most of the hugh drop in class to score in 1:59.4. Winning owners Michael and William Pozefsky were on hand in the winning circle. The RC Royalty - Wilsonator returned a paltry $2.70 to his backers. This was his second Sire Stakes victory of the year. In the Excelsior A events, Boxall was a winner for Trainer Jessica Okusko and owner Little E LLC of NY in 2:02.2, Jason Bartlett drive the son of Credit Winner. The Perfect Lindy, a Credit Winner $320,000 yearling purchase scored for Swedish trainer Jonas Czernyson in 1:59.1, he is owned by SRF Stable and was driven to victory by Mark McDonald. McDonald come right back and won the next race with Just For Today in 1:59.2. The Credit Winner - Brandnewgirlfriend is trained by crack trotting horseman Paul Kelly. The Excelsior B class saw local reinsman Bruce Aldrich Jr. steer Hotoff the Skillet to victory in 2:02.1. The son of Broad Bahn is owned by Winback Farms and was trained by H. Hochstetler. Thanks for Playin, who had a slate of 11 wins in 18 starts coming into the race, added to his tally to score in 2:01 with Jim Morrill Jr. aboard. The Lucky Chucky - Olympic Cheers colt is owned by Pine Hill Stable. By Shawn Wiles

The final leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's Trotting Series, along with the final of the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club series, was featured at Monticello Raceway on the sunny afternoon of Thursday, August 18 and not surprisingly, "Hurricane Hannah" Miller, North America's leading amateur driver, walked away with a pair of driving victories in just two trips to post while a third harness racing contest went to Peter Kleinhans. Hannah won a NAADA Trot with Rocket Master in 1:58.1 and she copped the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club pace with Stoman in 1:57.3 which raises her win-total to 26 thus far this season. Kleinhans scored a 2:00.4 triumph with Zoli in a second NAADA Trot. In the first of two NAADA races Hannah scored a come-from-behind triumph with Rocket Master when they trotted by Alan Schwartz's Linda Marie in mid-stretch to score a two length triumph. Woody finished third for Joe Lee. "I had a steady hold of him (Rocket Master) and we left the (starting) gate softly because he is rough on the straightaways," Hannah explained. After settling in fifth position Ms. Miller moved her trotter up behind Cassa's Image (John Kokinos) who went first up. She followed her cover until the final turn where she wheeled Rocket Master three-deep and challenged the pacesetter, Linda Marie overtaking her and then trotting on to victory. "I moved him (Rocket Master) three wide on the final turn because he trots the turns well and when we straightened for home he was in full gear and I knew we were going to win it," Hannah said. Rocket Master is owned by his driver, the Surick Stable, and the Erv Miller Stable, and trained by Nick Surick. Sent off as second choice in the eight-horse field Rocket Master notched his fifth seasonal triumph and paid $6.20. Hurricane Hannah's second driving victory was in the final leg of the Catskill Amateur Club's Pace when she guided Stoman to a gate-to-wire triumph in 1:57.3. Last week the veteran pacer was claimed from the John Hallett barn by Bob Lounsbury but the horse's new address made no difference when Lounsbury again handed the lines to Ms. Miller "I fired him up when the gate left and when he made the front I had a handful of horse," Hannah said. "I tried the back him down a bit but he was raring to go." And go he did, pacing through fractions of :27.4, :58.2 and 1:28 before finishing two lengths in front of KB's Badboy, driven by Barry Addison. Shark Treasure finished third for Gerry Fielding. Owned by Bill Damburg and now trained by Bob Lounsbury, Stoman notched his fourth season victory and returned $3.40 to his backers. Talk about dominance, it was Hannah Miller's ninth driving victory in the 10-week Catskill Club's series.. In the other NAADA Trot Peter Kleinhans was content to follow the leaders with Zoli and then moved him three-wide on the final turn and went on to a 1-3/4 length triumph over the even-money favorite, Fox Valley Steffen, driven by John Kokinos. Bobby Krivelin took home the show dough with Current Crisis. "I eased him away from the gate because last week he made a break before the start," Kleinhans said after his victory. "I wanted to be conservative and I babied him and we got shuffled back but when I pulled him (at the three quarter pole) he was all business. He raced real. well" Owned by John Sullivan and trained by John Mc Dermott Zoli paid $6.60 for win. For Kleinhans is was his 51st career driving victory.-30- by John Manzi for NAADA and CADC

The American vs Italy Friendship Competition kicked off at Monticello Raceway on the warm and sunny afternoon of August 17 with the amateur harness racing drivers competing in both a pace and a trot on the betting card. The pacing race went to USA's Bobby Krivelin who reined Five Star Stud to a 2:00.2 victory while Giancarlo Moretti scored a 2:01.1 triumph in the trot with Samsawinner. In the first contest race Krivelin heeded advice and sent Five Star Stud to the lead from the three-hole and led the competition to the first panel in :28.3 while the USA's Peter Kleinhans (Show Topper) and Italy's Otello Zorzetta (Art's Jimmy Ray) were hung on the limb. Five Card Stud showed the way by the half in 1:00.1 and was still strong on the lead by the three quarters in 1:30. Both Show Topper and Art's Jimmy Ray were going the long mile but still in the race. When the field headed for home Krivelin tapped his pacer a couple of times and Five Star Stub responded and sailed home a 1-1/2 length winner over Show Topper and Peter Kleinhans which gave the American team win and place competition points. Otello Zorzetta, a winner of 471 races in his home country, took home the show dough with Art's Jimmy Ray. "My horse was good today, "said Krivelin, who drove Five Star Stud for the first time. "I listened to the trainer (Antonio Grillo) who asked me to send his horse to the lead and keep the bit tight in his mouth. I kept a tight hold on him (Five Card Stud) which kept him brave and he went the best mile in his last six starts." The winner, owned and trained by Antonio Grillo, notched his second win in 29 seasonal starts and paid $16.60 for win. For Bobby Krivelin, a three time National Amateur Driver of The Year, it was his 13th driving victory this season and it marked his 197th lifetime winner. Since the front-end worked so good for Krivelin in the first USA-Italy Friendship Competition race he used that same strategy in the next event, which was a trot. Up behind 5-2 second choice, Mr. Invincible, Krivelin gunned the trotter to the lead from post three and they command on the first turn and led the competition by the first quarter in :28.2 in the process keeping Trojan Horse, driven by the USA's Dave Offenberg, parked out. The two Americans raced one-two by the half in :59.3 with Italy's Giancarlo Moretti and Samsawinner tucked in nicely in the two hole. Just before the three quarters flashed 1:30.1 Moretti had Samsawinner out to challenge the leader and in the lane Samsawinner drew off to a three-length triumph. Mr. Invincible held on for second and Dream Defence N finished third for Italy's Roberto Michelotto. Moretti, a principal in Italy's world famous Murano Glass, was sporting a huge smile when he handed the lines to the horse's caretaker upon his return to the paddock and said, through an interpreter "I had a terrific two-hole journey and when I asked him (Samsawinner) to go he won the race easily." Samsawinner, trained by Bruce Aldrich, Sr. notched his 52nd career triumph. Owned by Woody Hoblitzel the trotter paid $19.00, $8.10 and $7.40 across the board. For Moretti it was his first American triumph and his 57th driving victory, overall. At days end the American team lead the visiting Italians 43-41. Tomorrow the same Italian team will battle against an American team consisting of Hannah Miller, Joe Faraldo, Tony Verruso and Tony Ciufettelli at Yonkers Raceway. by John Manzi for NAADA

The fields are set for the upcoming Italian American Friendship Races. The three-track harness racing series kicks off on Wednesday (8-17) at Monticello Raceway with two divisions set to go to post in races two and five on the 10-race betting card. The competition then moves on to Yonkers Raceway for the second leg which will go as race two on the Thursday (8-18) betting card and the competition will conclude on Friday (8-19) at Tioga Downs with events in the second and fourth races, also on the wagering program. As previously announced the veteran Italian team of Roberto Michelotto, Giancarlo Moretti, Raffaello Ruffato, and Otello Zorzetto will be constant and the visitors will drive in the races at all three tracks. But for the American home team a different driving foursome will be in action at each venue. At Monticello, Bob Hechkoff, Bobby Krivelin, Peter Kleinhans and Dave Offenberg will carry the fortunes for the American team there. Then at Yonkers Raceway, the American team will consist of Hannah Miler, Joe Faraldo, Tony Verruso and Tony Ciufettelli. Anchoring the Americans at Tioga Downs will be Alan Schwartz, Gerry Fielding, Matt Zuccarello and Joe Lee. Guests of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) the visiting Italians arrived on Monday, August 15 and will be chauffeured throughout the week by members of NAADA. Besides the driving rivalries the Italian guests will be lodged at different hotels along the journey and treated to dinners each night, much of which was arranged by NAADA event planner, Alicia Schwartz. Along the way will be sojourns to Historic Track, the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, Blue Chip Farm, the Mark Ford Training Center, as well as excursion to Bethel Woods, the site of the original and world famous Woodstock Festival of 1969. "I truly believe that our Italian guests will enjoy what we have planned for them," said NAADA president, Joe Faraldo. "And win, lose or draw our NAADA members will also have an enjoyable time, But the our enjoyment would certainly be kicked up a notch if we happen to come out on the winning end." by John Manzi for NAADA  

Two divisions of the ninth and next to last leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's (NAADA) summer trotting series were contested at Monticello Raceway on the hot and steamy afternoon of Thursday, August 11 with Dr. John Kokinos and Alan Schwartz each victorious in their respective harness racing divisions. Kokinos won his split with Cassa's Image in a 1:57 clocking while Alan Schwartz copped the other with Imacrazynewyorker in 1:59. In the Catskill Amateur Driver Club's pacing series, which has been running concurrently with the NAADA trots, Hannah Miller emerged victorious reining Stoman home first in a 1:57.1 clocking. Both Stoman and Imacrazynewyorker are trained by John Hallett. In his split Schwartz took no prisoners and went down the road from the pole position with Imacrazynewyorker and they made every pole a winning one en route to a one length victory over Paul Minore and Wygant Prince. Lou Lou's Princess finished third for Hannah Miller. The winner is owned by Hallett and Oglesby and trained by John Hallett. He paid $4.40 for win. Kokinos romped in his division with Cassa's Image when confusion behind them on the first turn allowed them to gain an insurmountable lead and they cruised to an easy five length victory in a 1:57 clocking. Upfront N Crazy was second best for Tony Verruso while Paul Minore and Zoli took home the show dough. The winner, owned by the Hero Stable, returned a $14.60 win mutuel. In the lone Catskill Club Pace, the sports current leading amateur driver, Hannah Miller, didn't get nervous after being parked, relaxed her charge and then eased her pacer, Stoman, to the front nearing the halfway point and from there it was Katey bar the door as Stoman cruised to a three length triumph. Fly To The Angels, a 37-1 shot, finished second for Allen Cisco and KB's Bad Boy finished third for Barry Addison. John Hallett trains the winner for owner Jason Mac Dougall. Stoman paid $4.40. On Wednesday (Aug. 10) at the Wayne County (Pa.) Fair 'Hurricane Hannah' drove Pierce to a stunning 24-length pacing victory in a time of 1:58.4. The talented miss now has 24 wins, 14 seconds and six thirds in 92 seasonal starts good for a .407 UDR. Next Thursday,upon the completion of the NAADA Series at the Mighty M,the top three drivers with the most points in the series will be in a drawing with the winner earning an all-expense paid trip to New Zealand to compete against their amateur counterparts there. Leaders include: Hannah Miller (52); Alan Schwartz (48);Tony Ciufettelli (46); Peter Kleinhans (40) Tony Verruso (36). John Manzi

Ronald Ingrassia, a loving husband, father, grandfather, and harness racing trainer/driver at the Monticello Raceway, passed away on Thursday, August 4th, 2016 at his home in Hurleyville surrounded by his family. He was 75.     The son of the late Charles Ingrassia and Elizabeth Cerullo Ingrassia, he was born November 7, 1940 in Corona, NY.   Ronnie was first a family man - he loved being with his children and grandchildren. He was also a lifelong horseman. Harness racing was in his blood from an early age. He raced professionally as driver for 30 years from 1962 until 1992, and continued on as a trainer until his death. With over 900 wins as a driver, his best year was 1982 where he had 862 starts and 160 wins.   Ronnie leaves behind his wife Carol, his daughter Barbie, his sons Ricky & Randy, 8 grandchildren - Hailey (14), Richie (14), Hannah (13), Kaytlyn (10), Lilly (9), Ashley (9), Anthony (7) and Joey (2), his son/daughters in law Jake, Jennifer, and Kathleen, his brother Frank & Jacquie Ingrassia, his brother Robert & Carol Ingrassia, his sister Lenora & Jay Sperling, and his sister Betty Lou Ingrassia Carroll & Danny, and his many nieces and nephews to numerous to mention.   A graveside service was held Sunday August 7, 2016 at the Hurleyville Cemetery.   Obituary of Ronald Ingrassia   Fred Hudson

On a perfect Catskill Mountain afternoon, the weather and track were ideal, the infield flag was still, perfect conditions for new harness racing track record. The track record did come at Monticello Raceway, but not from whom all thought it would come from, Barry Hanover surprised everyone and set a new track records for two-year-old Pacing colts and geldings. Barry Hanover and Monticello Raceway leading driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. were content to sit the pocket behind the betting favorite pacesetter Windsong Napoleon driven by Jim Marohn Jr. The Art Major colt cut swift fractions of 27.4, 56.2, 1:25.2 until the passing lane opened up and Barry Hanover got thru to win by a scant head in a track record of 1:54.4, breaking the former record of 1:55:2 set by Freedomformysoul. The Rock N Roll Heaven - Beachbunny Hanover colt is trained by Judith Blaun and is owned by John O Sixt of Chaffee NY, ignored by the betting public, he returned $34.80 to his confidant supporters. Miso Fast, the colt that all thought would break the track record, went off at 1-9, scored from post 4, in the 2nd division of New York Sire Stakes action. The Ron Burke trained youngster let things settle out going down the backside, pulled from the 3 hole and took the lead just past the ¼ in 28.2, from that point on Matt Kakaley controlled the tempo and put together a pair of consecutive 30 second panels and then sprinted home in 27.4 to win over Pointomygransdon. Matt Kakaley drove the son of Roll With Joe for winning owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, Our Horse Cents Stables and J&T Silva Stable. The last heat of regular Sire Stake came in race 8, Funknwaffles was looking to keep his undefeated streak intact, the American Ideal - Hatsoff Hanover offspring started from post position 4. The fast colt was rough gaited and went wide in the middle of the first turn, once out of the turn the colt regained his composure and gait as he whisked by the opening stanza in 27.4 and took the filed thru fractions of 57.3, 1:27.3. He was briefly challenged at the top of the stretch but rebuffed all contenders with little urging from Jim Morrill Jr. He is owned by Crawford Farms Racing from Syracuse NY and is trained by John Butenschoen. His lifetime earnings are in excess of $40,000 in his young career. Former Billy Haughton grooms Mike Simmons and Roland Mallar teamed up for a win in an Excelsior A event with Zampara (American Ideal - Valabest) for winning owners Anatolia Farm LLC of New Holland PA. Serious Major extended his win streak to 4 in a row, with Jim Morrill aboard in the 6th race in 1:57.4. Project Rock won in 1:56.4 for Bruce Aldrich and owners Ian Behar and Kristie Leigh Farm. In Excelsior B action Monticello Raceway trainer Gary Messenger had a great birthday present as his KJ Owen was a winner in 1:58.1. Sir Pugsley and Jim Morrill scored in 1:58.1 for trainer Donna Marshall Cultural Paradise and Jason Bartlett scored in 1:58.1. The American ideal colt is trained by Scott DiDomencio and is owned by Triple D Stables. Monticello regulars were successful on the card as Bruce Aldrich teamed home a pair of winners and Jim Taggart Jr. had 1 winner on the card. By Shawn Wiles  

On Monday afternoon August 8 at Monticello Raceway, two year old pacing colts will be the center of attention, this is the 5th of 8 legs of the New York Sire Stake circuit. On tap on the harness racing card is 3 splits of the regular Sire Stakes and 3 each of the Excelsior A and B classes. The Sire Stake vie for $35,866 per division, the Excelsior A's race for $15,000 and the Excelsior B's go for $6,700. The highly touted Miso Fast brings with him his ultra-impressive resume, the Roll With Joe colt is unbeaten thus far in his juvenile career. He has reeled off 3 consecutive wins in NYSS competition, all in impressive fashion. The $125,000 Kentuckiana Farms yearling purchase is trained by Ron Burke and will be driven by Matt Kakaley, he will start from post 4 in the 6 horse field, and he is 4-5 morning line. Based on his last 3 outings, the Track Record for 2 Year Old Pacing Colts may be in jeopardy. The current record of 1:55:2 is held by Freedomformysoul set in 2014. Rock It Scott (PP4) and Music is Art (PP6) are the main contenders in the 1st division of Sire Stakes dash. In his 3rd lifetime start, Rock It Scott was a winner at Saratoga Raceway in 1:54:3. He earned his lifetime mark in his last start at Tioga Downs in 1:54.1 and has earned $40,000. Music Is Art (Art Major) also earned his speed badge of 1:54:3 at Saratoga Raceway. The son of Art Major is trained by Steve Elliott for owners Peter Blood and Rick Berks of Florida, Jason Bartlett will drive the colt from post position 6, and is 3-1 morning line. Funknwaffles looks to extend his winning streak to 3 in a row, his last start was at Tioga Downs while competing in the Excelsior A class, the American Ideal - Hatsoff Hanover colt was very impressive by virtue of his 1:52.4 win last week at Tioga Downs. He steps up in class this week for owners Crawford Farms Racing from Syracuse NY. He will start from post 4, in the 8th race, with James Morrill Jr. driving. The bay colt is trained by John Butenschoen. Post Time for the 13 race card is 12:50. By Shawn Wiles

When "Hurricane Hannah" Miller returned to the Monticello Raceway paddock after her driving victory with Histoire Enternelle on Thursday (August 4) she handed the lines to harness racing trainer Nick Surick and said "It was a good day", and by all accounts it certainly was for the nation's leading amateur driver. The 1:55 triumph with Histoire Eternelle was the talented miss's second driving victory of the day and 22nd of the season after previously scoring behind trotter Rocket Master in 1:57.4 in an earlier race on the card. In all, there were four events for amateur drivers on Monticello's 11-race Thursday afternoon program; three trots in the NAADA Series and one pace in a Catskill Amateur Club event. The NAADA trots were the eighth leg of the 10-leg series that will afford the three top point-earners in the events a chance to draw for an all-expense paid trip to New Zealand later this year to race against the local amateurs in events slated down under. The afternoon's amateur events got underway when Ms. Miller reined Rocket Master to a two length triumph in the second race. After being careful as the wings of the mobile gate folded, Miller took her trotter to the pylons and was fifth at the first stanza, some eight lengths behind the leader as the timer flashed :28.3. With a move to the outside at the three- eighths pole Rocket Master improved to fifth position at the half and by the time he reached the three quarters he was on top. From there Rocket Master coasted to a two-length triumph over Peter Kleinhans' Windsun Galliano. Current Crisis was third best for Bobby Krivelin. "I was careful with him as the gate pulled away because he's rough-gated on the straightaways," Miller said. "He put in a couple of extra steps along the way time but he was still strong finishing." Co-owned by Hannah, her dad Erv Miller and trainer Nick Surick, Rocket Master paid $2.90 for win. Hannah's ride behind Histoire Eternelle was the fastest on the afternoon card. "He was a little head-strong warming up and scoring down but once he got behind the (mobile starting) gate he relaxed. But when the gate sprung he was off to the front," Miller said referring to Histoire Enternelle. They were never in trouble and were an oh-so-easy four-length winner over KB's Bad Boy and driver Barry Addison. Azoreansailor (Ken Heins) finished third. Owned by the J L Stable and trained by Nick Surick, Histoire Eternelle returned a $2.50 win mutuel. Another NAADA trot saw Tony Ciufettelli and Aventure steal soft fractions during the first half mile and then speed away to a two-length triumph in a 2:00 clocking. Joe Faraldo and For You Almostfree chased the winner home while Bob Kenney and Rev Up The Spice were third best. "I rushed him (Aventure) out of there and when no one came at us I lulled him," Ciufettelli explained. "When we passed the half (in 1:02.3) I stepped on the gas and he paced a final half in :57.2." Owned, trained, and driven by Ciufettelli Aventure paid $4.60 for win. A third NAADA trot went to Sam's Honeybee and driver Tony Verruso with a gate to wire performance in a time of 2:00.4. Cassa's Image finished second for Dr. John Kokinos and Steve Oldford took home the show dough with Starsboveallerage. "We had the pole position and we got a big break when the favorite (Zoli, driven by Peter Kleinhans) broke at the start," Verruso said. "My mare is good on the lead and when we were left alone in a 1:02.2 half I knew we'd be tough to beat from there." Owned by her driver and trained by Carl Gillespie Sam's Honeybee won for the sixth time this season. Discounted by the betting public and sent off at odds of nearly 12-1 she returned a $25.60 mutuel. Now with eight legs in the books Hannah Miller leads with 48 points followed closely by Tony Ciufettelli's 46. Peter Kleinhans is currently third with 40 points. Rounding out the top five are Alan Schwartz (37) and Tony Verruso (29). Upon completion of the series 10 legs the top three in points will draw for a trip to New Zealand. by John Manzi for NAADA and the Catskill Amateur Club  

The seventh of ten legs in the North American Amateur Drivers Association's (NAADA) trotting series was presented on Thursday, July 28 at Monticello Raceway on a hot an steamy afternoon and when the events were finalized Bob Kenney and Bob Krivelin each emerged victorious in their respective harness racing splits. Kenney won with Come And Tell Pap in 2:00.3 while Krivelin eeked- out a victory with Permanent Joy in a 1:58.3 clocking. Kenney, a retired computer salesman from Belchertown, Massachusetts, took no prisoners and went wire to wire with Come And Tell Pap and scored an easy two- length triumph over Current Crisis and driver Bob Krivelin. It marked the third time that these pair pf Bob's finished one-two in the NAADA trots this season. When the gate sprung Kenney sent his charge to the lead from the pole position and they trotted through quarters of :29 and :59 rebuffing any and all challenges along the way. Still with a one-length lead as they passed the third stanza Come and Tell Me Pap scooted off to a three length lead as they headed for home and at the wire Kenny's trotter was two-lengths better than Krivelin's, Current Crisis. Zorgwijk Impact rallied from far back to garner the show dough for Joe Pennacchio. "He's a good horse," Kenney said referring to Come And Tell Pap after his driving victory. "He won over $40,000 last year but he's been sick this year. We nurtured him and now he's coming back strong. He was great today and it was almost like a training trip for him." Owned by Kenney's wife Linda and the Di Stefano and Son Stable and trained by John Di Stefano Come And Tell Pap won his first race this season and returned an $11.40 win mutuel. However, Krivelin made amends in the second NAADA trot when his Permanent Joy held on for a nose triumph over a persistent Aventure, who was driven by Tony Ciuffetelli. But after the judges reviewed the race they found a racing infraction by Ciufettelli and his horse was placed out of the money. Krivelin sent Permanent Joy to the front from the two-hole and they took charge in a :29 first quarter. From there Krivelin kept the pedal to the metal and his trotter showed the way through a :57.4 half. After they passed the third stanza in 1:27.3, Aventure, who was menacing Permanent Joy throughout the mile, staged a late charged but came up a nose short. And it was all for naught as Ciuffettelli's trotter was dis-qualified. Woody, driven by Joe Lee, was moved up to second place and I'm Fabulous was granted the show dough for driver Tony Verruso. "My horse races best when he's on top and although we went to some fast early fractions he was still strong enough to hold on for the win," Krivelin explained and then added that this was the only time that Permanent Joy has had a harness on him since his last race on July 22nd. "He lives out in a paddock at my farm and for exercise we tow him behind another horse when we jog," Krivelin added. "He (Permanent Joy) seems to really like this routine." Owned by Krivelin's Hero Stable and trained by Krivelin, Permanent Joy paid $11.60 for win. By John Manzi for NAADA

Amateur harness racing is certainly escalating. On Friday, July 14, the amateurs emulated the pros when a group raced during the afternoon at Monticello Raceway and then traveled to Saratoga Raceway for two Eastern Region Billings trots in the evening. One of the trekkers ,Tony "the Capo" Verruso, the president of the Billings Series , won his contest at Saratoga when he guided Gaelic And Garlic to a 1:58.1 triumph after he finished third in a NAADA Trot at Monticello earlier in the day. The other split went to "Bay State Bob" Kenney when he rallied Rev Up The Spice to a 1:59.2 triumph. In his division Verruso was sent off at odds of 9-2 and found the two-hole with Gaelic And Garlic as he neared the first quarter which was stepped in :28.3. Following the cover provided by Winwood Stout and James "Jimmy Boy" Marshall IV, Verruso sat chilly when "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli pulled Aventure first-up as the field headed to the halfway point. Verruso bided his time and in the lane he rallied his trotter to a one length victory over Marshall's charge. Aventure hung on for the show dough. "After I fell in behind Marshall I had a picture perfect trip from there," Verruso related. "He (Gaelic And Garlic) responded well in the stretch when he saw daylight. He's is a real nice horse and a pleasure to drive." Owned by Bernie White and the Kristie Leigh Farm and trained by Melissa Beckwith, Gaelic and Garlic, a career winner of more than $373,000, paid $11.20 for win. It was the Capo's fourth seasonal driving victory and 64th since he began amateur racing in 1999. In the other split Kenney gave his trotter a similar journey falling into the two- hole and then stalking the leader, Trotalot and Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff, until the deep stretch and then rallying to victory. Lisa Jane finished third for Simeon "Hot Rod" Hunsdon. It was Kenney's second consecutive victory with Rev Up The Spice having won a Billings trot at the Afton,(NY) Fair last Friday. The winner is owned by Di Stefano & Son Stable and trained by John Di Stefano. Sent off at odds of over 14-1 Rev it Up Spice returned a $30.40 win mutuel. For Kenney it was his fifth driving victory in just 12 seasonal starts this year. by John Manzi for the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series

MONTICELLO, NY - For the past five weeks at Monticello Raceway Thursdays have featured races driven by amateur drivers. And July 14th was no exception. Two trots in the NAADA Series were carded as well as a pace in the Catskill Club's Amateur Series. When it was all over Alan Schwartz and Peter Kleinhans were each victorious in their respective NAADA splits while "Hurricane Hannah" Miller copped the Catskill Club's pace. Schwartz led the NAADA brigade winning his division with Lady's Big Stormont in an eye-opening 1:57.2 over Bob Hechkoff's The Franchise. When the wings of the mobile gate folded Schwartz gunned his recent purchase to the lead and took no prisoners. Lady's Big Stormont, whom Schwartz claimed last week for $12,500, zipped by the first stanza in a stiff :28. Still comfortably in hand they were two lengths in front as they trotted by the half in :57.3. Although Bob Hechkoff and The Franchise enjoyed a two-hole journey they were outclassed when the field turned for home as Schwartz's charge drew off to a two length victory. Third place went to Woody, driven by Joe Lee. "I just claimed him here last week and he sure has a lot of trot, but he's a handful. He grabs on when jogging and is tough behind the gate and when scoring down he's on the muscle but he's got a big engine," Schwartz said referring to Lady's Big Stormont. "So I'll have to put up with his ways." Trained by Raheim Strong, Lady's Big Stormont scored his sixth seasonal triumph and paid $4.30 for win. The next NAADA trot on the Thursday card saw Peter Kleinhans send Toss Cartwright to the lead in after the half and then jog away to 9-length triumph over Typical New Yorker and driver Alan Schwartz. Kleinhans and Toss Cartwright didn't see the pylons until they wrested the lead from Tony Verruso and Up Front N Crazy as the two trotters passed the halfway point. Then surprisingly, even to Kleinhans, his trotter began to open daylight on the field and they cruised home an oh-so-easy winner over Typical Newyorker. Up Front N Crazy took home the show dough for Tony Verruso. "When we passed the half in :57.4 I thought he'd (Toss Cartwright) be tired but I was I pleasantly surprised to see us run away with the race," Kleinhans said. "This is my girlfriend's horse and I wish she could have been here today to see him win today." Owned by Collene Cash and trained by John McDermott, Toss Cartwright paid $4.80 for win. Amateur racing's current leading driver, "Hurricane Hannah" Miller, scored her 18th seasonal victory when she guided Stoman to a wire to wire triumph in a 1:56.1 clocked mile in the Catskill Club's pace. But victory didn't come easy. When the starter said go Miller sent Stoman to the front from the pole position but she had pressing company from Late Night Flight and driver Monica Banca. Their horses raced head to head past the quarter pole in a swift :27.2, that was until Miller opened a hole behind her for Banca's pacer to fall into, which Monica did. But by then Ms. Miller had little hope of giving Stoman a breather and they traveled by the half in :56.2. "I was quite concerned with the fast early fractions but I didn't want to get in behind Monica's horse," Miller said after the race. " The :56-half had me concerned even though I had a snug hold on him (Stoman) right from the start. Still they were fast fractions." As the field headed for the third stanza Stoman had opened up a three-length lead on the field. Barry Addison and KB's Bad Boy--last week's winner in this event--began a charge at the leader but it was too little, too late and they had to settle for second money. Shark Treasure rallied from far back to finish third for Gerry Fielding. Stoman, a 10-year-old Market Report gelding is owned by Jason MacDougall and trained by John Hallett, He paid $4.20 for win. After the amateur races at the Mighty M were contested, Miller and a contingent of others hit the road to Saratoga Raceway--2-1/2 hour ride-- for two Billings trots carded late on the Saratoga Harness race card. by John Manzi for the NAADA and Catskill Amateur Club  

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