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The combination of Jim Devaux and Dolores Basilone has been working very well as of late and today was no exception as both enjoyed a very good afternoon at Monticello Raceway, James DeVaux drove 5 winners on Tuesday's harness racing card and Trainer Dolores Basilone won 4 races. DeVaux capped off both ends of the early double, Sweet Kix from the rail was his first trip to the winners circle, followed by Muscle Beachboy (Dolores Basilone) in the 2nd half of the early double. In race 3, it was the Scott Biccum trained Nancys Skyscape who gave Devaux the early hat trick. After a short hiatus, the next winning drive was in race 7, Powder Keg, starting from the rail for trainer Dolores Basilone, scored in 1:57, the fastest mile of the afternoon, coming right back in the following race was the Monticello Raceway iron horse Hoboken Hanover (Dolores Basilone) to visit he winners circle by virtue of his 1:57. win, LQ in 28.3. Devaux also had 2 place and 1 show finishes on the card. Devaux is now atop the leading dash winning driver with 57 wins, Bruce Aldrich is 2nd with 49 wins. With the sun shining and the track dry, it marked the return of all time Monticello Raceway leading dash winner Billy "Zeke" Parker, he finished the day with a 2nd and a 3rd place finish out of 2 starts. By: Shawn Wiles

On Monday January 30,harness racing driver James DeVaux put on a driving clinic as he won six races on the eight race card at Monticello. The new tally of six wins for the day puts Devaux right behind Bruce Aldrich Jr for leading dash winner drivers, Aldrich leads the pack with 42 wins, and Devaux is 2nd with 35. He reeled off five in a row starting from race two thru race six. He took the 2nd half of the early Daily Double with Nautilus De Vie for trainer Dawn Devaux, in succession his other winning mounts were, Hang To The Riggin, Pen Drop, I Deal Vic and Rustys Flying. His last win on the card came in the 8th race, where he guided Hollywood Jess (PP7) to win for trainer Dolores Basilone in 2:01.2 By Shawn Wiles

On a rainy afternoon harness racing card, it was raining wins for drivers Jim DeVaux and Jim Taggart Jr. and as they each won 4 races at Monticello Raceway on Tuesday afternoon. Jim Taggart Jr. had been mired in a brief 2017 win slump, only having won 3 races thus far this year. He set the tone early and added to his tally by winning the first race with Cevina De Chakrika in 2:00 for trainer Anthony Regina, he came right back in the 3rd race to score with Future Life from the rail to returned a $8.40 win ticket. Jim DeVaux started his 4 bagger in race 4, behind PITA ($6.00) for Monticello Raceway leading trainer of the year Dolores Basilone. The DeVaux/Basilone tandem took race 5 with Fly To The Angels in 2:02.4 over a track rated sloppy. Big Payout scored from the 8 hole for Taggart Jr. in race 6, Taggarts last win of the day was in the 8th race with Adorable Ben (PP3) DeVaux was halfway there, For Kevins Sake, won in race 9 Thinkyoucandance was the 4th win of the day for James DeVaux and Dolores Basilone. 2016 Leading trainer Dolores Basilone was the trainer for all of James DeVaux 4 wins. By Shawn Wiles

Harness racing driver Jim DeVaux put on a driving clinic of his own on Tuesday afternoon at Monticello Raceway by winning five of the afternoons nine races.  DeVaux, who won 181 races in 2016, is off to a fast start in 2017. The five bagger started in the second race, when he steered Majestic Jo (PP5) to victory for trainer Michael Weiner in 2:02:1.  The 13 year old Semalu Express (PP2) was the next winner in 1:57.4 in race 4 for owner Joseph Carelli of Deerborn Heights, MI. DeVaux came right back in race 5, a conditioned trot with Nautilus De Vie, the son of Credit Winner is trained by Dawn Devaux to score in 2:03 from post 4, paying a healthy $21.20. 2016 leading trainer Dolores Basilone had DeVaux up behind For Kevins Sake in the sixth race, the gelded son of American Ideal paced in 1:56.4 and returned $2.60 to his faithful.  The winning combination of DeVaux and Basilone struck again in the afternoon’s last race, when Steve Said scored an impressive wire to wire win from post 7. By Shawn Wiles

Driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. continues to solidifying his dynasty as the leading harness racing driver at Monticello Raceway as the leading dash winner, he finished the season on a high notes by winning three races on the last card of the year. Bruce finished the year with 386 wins at Monticello with a respectable UDRS of .413, his mounts earned $1,083,627.  Bruce is ranked sixth nationally for most wins with 596. Jim Taggart Jr. finished the year in second place with 284 wins, the hard driving Taggart was the most active driver in the Monticello driver’s colony with 1458 starts. Larry Stalbaum was third with 204 wins, he was followed by Michael Merton with 188 wins and James Devaux rounding out the top 5 with 181. The 2016 Monticello Raceway Rising Star Award winner Justin Huckabone was a respectable sixth with 119 wins. On the trainer side of the slate, newcomer Dolores Basilone won her first training title at Monticello Raceway, from 562 starters, her stock found the winners circle 150 times, earning her stable $402,756.  Kim Asher from the powerful Larry Stalbaum stable was second with 118 wins, Gary Messengers 104 wins earned him thied place, former two time leading Monticello trainer Robert Lounsbury was fourth with 93 wins, and Dan Gill rounded out the fifth place by virtue of his 84 wins. Lounsbury had the highest UDRS of .435. Both Messenger and Asher ranked in the top 20 in the nation for wins, Messenger was 16th with 156 wins and Kim Asher was 20th in the nation with 154 wins. Shawn Wiles

Planned for and presented on November 10, the 241st Anniversary of the founding the United States Marine Corps, local amateur clubs had two races- a trot and a pace- at Monticello Raceway for military veterans who are also harness racing amateur drivers and at days end both the North American Amateur Drivers Association and the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club each presented a check for $1000 to the Sullivan County Veterans Food Bank director Kathy Kreiter. In the trotting event, army veteran, Irving Bluestein, took no prisoners and went down the road to score a 2:01.1 victory with Pocket Passer while Alan Schwartz, a former Marine who served in Viet Nam, rallied Worth Watching to a 1:58.1 triumph in the pacing contest. Bluestein sent Pocket Passer to the lead from the two-hole and played hardball when the betting favorite, Whata Hustler (Jimmy Marshall IV), challenged for the lead. But Bluestein remained undaunted and kept the pedal to the medal and didn't allow Marshall's trotter to get the lead in .28.4 first quarter. Still out in the fresh air Whata Hustler couldn't take command and the leaders raced one-two past the half in :58.3. When Marshall's trotter began to tire Pocket Passer opened up a two length lead at the third stanza and remained in front all the way to the wire. Don Hoover, a former member of the National Guard, got Grecale AS up for the place money while Gerry Fielding, an Army Reservist, took home the show dough with Maggie O. "I felt bad about having to park out (Don) Hoover but it was the right move at the right time," said Bluestein, who came in from Dedham, Mass. just to compete in the veterans races. Pocket Passer, owned by Mark Levy, Carl Gillespie and Betsy Phillips, and trained by Gillespie, paid $8.40 for win. Alan Schwartz, the winningest amateur driver currently competing, scored a length victory- his 575th - when he guided Worth Watching to a solid length victory as the betting favorite.in the pacing contest. Sent off at odds just over even- money Schwartz settled his pacer in the three hole on the first turn as former army reservist Allen Sisco cut speedy fractions of :27.4 and :58.2 with Smokey's Luck . As they headed to the halfway point Schwartz moved Worth Watching off the pylons and took aim took aim at Smokeys Luck but his charge didn't gain complete command until they rounded the final turn. When the field headed for home Smokey's Luck began to tire and Worth Watching took the lead and held off a hard charging Fox Valley Leo, driven by Navy veteran Jimmy Marshall IV, to score a one length triumph. Gerry Fielding finished third with Art Retreat. "When we rounded the final turn I wasn't sure that I was going to beat Allen's horse (Smokeys Luck) but by mid-stretch he tired and we went on to victory," Schwartz related. The winner, owned by Ed and James Hall and trained by Dan Gill, paid $4.10.. After the final race all the competitors in the veteran's races gathered in the winner's circle to present $1000 checks - one each from NAADA and CADC -to Kathy Kreiter, director of the Sullivan County Food Bank. by John Manzi for NAADA and CADC

On Monday afternoon at Monticello Raceway, James Devaux had a full house, he won 5 of the 9 races on the harness racing program. James is currently in 5th place in the leading dash win category with 144 wins, Bruce Aldrich Jr. leads the pack with 314. The 5 bagger started in the first race as he took both ends of the early Daily Double, he won the 1st race with Pen Drop ($4.40) in 1:56 for trainer Delores Basilone and came right back and took the 2nd race with Temptation Queen in 1:57 for trainer Murry Bassen. Dontelltellmywife ($6.50) was his winning drive in the 3rd race for trainer Michael Miller and owner Lewis Miller of New Berlin NY. The next trip to the winners circle came in race 5, as he steered Fluky's Girl ($5.30) to victory in 1:58 for owner Gregory Gardner. He ended the afternoon winning the last race with Paydaze On The Way ($4.50) for trainer and owner Andrew Adamczyk of Middletown NY. By: Shawn Wiles

The winners circle at Monticello Raceway was overflowing with family, friends and fellow harness racing horseman on Wednesday November 2, as after the card 8th race a Memorial service was held in the winners for Brett Smith, on hand were Brett's parents Gary and Tracey Smith. Brett recently passed away from injuries sustained in a horse training accident "The strong showing is a testament of how much Brett was loved and miss by all" said Eric Warner, Monticello Raceway Race Secretary. Empire Resorts, Inc., 204 State Route 17B, Monticello, NY 12701 845-807-0001 by Shawn Wiles  

When Monticello Raceway's director of harness racing, Eric Warner, found that the track lost a driver in the North American Amateur Drivers Association's $5000 seven- horse consolation he went to work immediately to secure another driver to keep the race with decent betting interests. With only a few possible drivers who were eligible to compete (this race was for the NAADA participants who didn't earn enough points for the series finale) Warner called down to Freehold Raceway and asked John Calabrese if he's be able to come and drive in the race slated on Wednesday November 2nd at The Mighty M. And when Calabrese said he'd come it turned out to be a win-win situation for both him and the Sullivan County oval. The 7-horse field went to post in the second race and when it was declared official Calabrese won the event with Woody in a 2:00.1 clocking. Perhaps the fact that Woody had the pole position made it easier for Calabrese confirm that he'd take the trip to Monticello, still it was a gracious gesture on his part knowing that amateur drivers receive no remuneration for their efforts. Also benefiting from Calabrese's trip to drive Woody was the horse's owner, Woody Hoblitzell, who got for him one of the more talented amateur drivers competing today. As aforementioned, Woody and Calabrese started from the pole position and they got away fourth position four lengths behind Come And Tell Pap (Bob Davis) who got first call in the :29.2 first panel. With Davis' charge on the lead Calabrese followed Paul Minore who moved Wygant Prince off the pylons and they were one-two on the limb as the field headed to the halfway point. As the field trotted to the three quarters Wygant Prince gained command with Woody and Calabrese in hot pursuit. When they straightened for home Woody was the strong horse and the Glidemaster 6-year-old gelding rallied to a 1-1/4-length victory over Minore's trotter to score his third victory of the season. Come And Tell Pap hung on for the show dough. Trained by Bruce Aldrich, Sr., Woody paid $7.80 for win. And for Calabrese, he is having his best year since he began competing in amateur racing in 1991. His victory was the 12th this year in 39 starts and considering his five seconds and three third place finishes Calabrese owns a .405 UDR.this season. On Saturday night, November 5 the top eight point earners in the recently completed NAADA Series will battle in the $15,000 Final on the betting card at Yonkers Raceway. John Manzi

The cold and rainy afternoon of October 27 in the Catskill Mountains certainly wasn't a day that amateur harness racing drivers could embrace still three races dedicated to the amateurs went to post on the betting card at Monticello Raceway; one in the CKG Billings Series and two in the North American Amateur Drivers series, with many participants competing in both. "Hurricane Hannah" Miller added another victory --her 30th this year--to her seasonal totals when she won the Billings trot with Jack's To Open. In NAADA action both Tony Ciufettelli and Alan Schwartz copped their respective divisions; Ciufettelli with Tagmaster and Schwartz behind Ladys Big Stormont. Upon her return to the paddock a cold and shivering Ms. Miller managed a smile while hanging up the lines on Jacks To Open who was an easy 2:00.4 victor in the Billings Trot. "I'm freezing," she said, "but I'm happy that my horse was real strong today. He went a tough mile and still drew off to an easy victory." When the gate sprung four horses went for the lead which was commandeered by Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff with Justtherighttouch. When Miller ranged alongside Hechkoff with Jacks To Open the two horses raced head to head to the half and up the backside at which point Miller's trotter took command with only the second and third place finishers in doubt. As Jacks To Open rounded the final turn he had five lengths on the field which was opened to eight at the wire. A shuffled-back Mack's Gold Band, with "Buffalo Bob" Davis at the controls, found daylight late and rallied to finish second, a length ahead of "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo's Permanent Joy. Nick Surick trains Jacks To Open ($6.80) who's owned by the Nick Surick Stable and Hannah Miller. Alan Schwartz got the amateur soiree started with a gate to wire triumph with Ladys Big Stormont in the first of two NAADA trots. Schwartz sent the 5-year-old Earl Of Stormont gelding to the lead, one that they never relinquished although Hannah Miller and Rocket Master supplied stiff pressure as the field headed for the three quarters. Schwartz's charge rebuffed Ms. Miller's trotter and went on to score a length victory in 2:01.1 over the soggy race track. "My horse is was testy behind the (starting) gate but once the race was underway he was perfect," Schwartz said referring to Ladys Big Stormont's winning trip. With a two-hole journey throughout Bob Hechkoff's, The Franchise, garnered second money and after his early rally Rocket Master just hung and finished third. Owned by his driver and trained by Raheim Strong Ladys Big Stormont returned a $7.30 win mutuel to his backers. The second NAADA Trot saw hot-handed Tony Ciufettelli sit back off the early speed with his own Tagmaster and then charge home an easy winner in a time of 2:04. "After some fast early fractions over the soaked racetrack the leaders seemed to come back to me," Ciufettelli said about the tiring horses on the front end. "I was back, off the early pace and when I moved him (Tagmaster) up the backside he took off like gangbusters and was the strong horse in the stretch. I guess the soft track was good on his (my horse's) feet." Trotalot finished second for Bob Hechkoff while 50-1 shot Saraboo garnered the show dough for Pete Seibert. Ciufettelli also owns and trains Tagmaster who paid $41.20 for win. He (Ciufettelli) is currently the hottest driver in amateur racing. With his victory today the retired correction officer now has four consecutive driving victories and five wins in his last six starts. By John Manzi for the Billings & NAADA Series

On Monday afternoon at Monticello Raceway, Jim Taggart Jr. won his 4000th career win, the win came in the 7th race on the harness racing card, aboard Classic Can Dream. The If I Can Dream mare won in 1:58:3 for Trainer Gary Messenger and Owner Kenneth Weckstein. The Monticello born and raised Taggart started his career in the backstretch of Monticello and started driving here in 1988, his career earnings are in excess of $19,000,000. On hand in the winner's circle he was surrounded by family members and fellow horseman and well-wishers. By Shawn Wiles

On Monday, Oct. 24, Monticello Casino and Raceway will open its new simulcasting room, with an official ribbon cutting ceremony taking place on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 11 a.m. The harness racing event is open to the public. The new simulcasting room has over 35 television screens on which patrons can watch live harness and thoroughbred racing, and simulcasting from across the country, seven days a week. Patrons will be able to place their bets with live tellers or from SAMs (automated teller machines). The room also offers a private high limit area with individual betting carrels equipped with flat screen monitors and their own teller and SAM machines. Other new racing enhancements will include an enclosed and heated bleacher section on the racing apron, which can be accessed via an enclosed and heated walkway from the new simulcasting room. The newly created simulcasting area represents a major investment on the part of Empire Resorts, the parent company of Monticello Casino and Raceway in the racing operation. Monticello Raceway General Manager Anthony Bruno said, "The new location will offer our loyal racing patrons the same amenities that our slot players have come to enjoy, such as easy access to the food court, beverage service and our weekend entertainment." Empire Resorts, Inc., 204 State Route 17B, Monticello, NY 12701 845-807-0001  

On Tuesday afternoon, Monticello Raceway honored the memory of long time Monticello Raceway patron and harness racing horseman Jim Taggart Sr. 20 proud family members and close friends were on hand in the winner's circle in remembrance of their father after the 8th race. Bruce Aldrich won the race with Clooney Drummond in 1:55.4 for trainer Jose Godinez. Shawn Wiles

On Veteran's Day, Friday, November 11th , America will commemorate the valiant services of former members of our armed forces with speeches, parades and various other celebrations. But on the previous day, Thursday, Nov. 10th, the local harness racing Amateur Drivers Clubs are planning an amateur driving challenge at Monticello Raceway as an impetus to raise money for the local veteran's food banks. "We chose November 10th for two reasons. First, Monticello is dark on Fridays and second because it will mark the 241st Anniversary of the United States Marine Corps," noted former U.S Marine Alan Schwartz, who is the vice president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) as well as the president of the local horsemen's organization. "We have planned our own special tribute for those who served our country with honor by staging an Amateur Driving Challenge for veterans of the armed services who are currently amateur harness drivers and we're re being joined in this endeavor by the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club (CADC) and its president, Gerry Fielding. "At the end of Monticello's November 10th racing program each amateur club will donate $1000 to the Veterans Food Pantry of Sullivan County," Schwartz added. Although the amateur clubs have great ambitions their project couldn't come to fruition without the help of Monticello Raceway's longtime director of racing, Eric Warner, who over the years, has been helpful in promoting his racetrack. The Veterans Amateur Driving Challenge is only open to former servicemen who are amateur drivers licensed by the U.S. and/or the Canadian Trotting Associations. "This may not be an easy race to fill but we surely feel this is a worthwhile endeavor," Schwartz said. "Once the word is out we are hoping to get a good response from the proud veterans who helped preserve the American way of life." Anyone wanting more information, or to enter the event, must contact Warner at Monticello Raceway by calling 845-794-4100 ext. 557 or contact Schwartz in the Horsemen's organization's office at 845-791-7747. John Manzi  

"He loves the Monticello Raceway track," gushed Tony Ciuffetelli while he was hanging up the lines upon his return to the Mighty M paddock after his stunning 1:58 harness racing victory with Aventure in the third leg of NAADA's Fall Trotting Series. "He had won here in 2:00 in early August but after a month or so of not hitting the board he's been getting sharp lately and he certainly raced real well today." Actually, it was Aventure's second consecutive victory after having won a Billings Trot at Vernon Downs on October 2nd, and it was the trotters fifth win this year for Ciuffetelli who had purchased him earlier this season. After starting from the five-hole Ciuffetelli made the winning move by getting in the two-hole ahead of The B Street Fan (Bob Davis) who was also on the limb as the field approached the first quarter in :28.4. "It was real important that I find a hole and was lucky enough to fall in behind Alan Schwartz, who was on the engine with Imacrazynewyorker. He carried me until we headed for the three quarters where I moved Aventure off the pylons and we trotted to the front," Ciuffetelli explained. With Aventure in high gear after taking command the 5-year-old Muscle Mass gelding poured it on and rambled home a seven-length winner while trotting the final two furlongs in :28.2. After Aventure separated himself from the rest of the field the battle for second place ensued. I'm Fabulous, second choice in the wagering, was in fifth position with a wall of horses in her path as the remainder of the field rounded the final turn but the John Turok-driven mare charged home to garner second money, a full length head of Dave Yarock's Mr. Ridgetaker. The fans must have enjoyed the amateur contest since it was the best bet race on the afternoon card. Aventure, sent off as the betting favorite, returned a $4.70 win mutuel. With his victory the veteran trotter raised his seasonal bankroll to over $30,500 for Ciuffetelli, who is also the horse's trainer. For Ciuffetelli, a retired correction officer, it marked his seventh seasonal driving victory and 34th of his amateur career. by John Manzi for NAADA

'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

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