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Monticello Raceway’s famous “Race for the Matzos” will be held on Monday April 13th.  This event is open to drivers of Jewish heritage. Hopefully Racing for the Matzos’ this year will be 3 time Passover Pace winners Alan Schwartz and Mike Kimelman. The winner of last year race was Bob Krivelin, who drove Isnt She Lovely to victory. Alan Schwartz commented that I am looking to win my 4th Passover Pace this year The Passover pace is open to any licensed driver of Jewish heritage who holds a full (A) or a Provisional (P) from the United States Trotting Association (USTA) or the Canadian Trotting Association (CTA) further information please contact the Race Secretary Eric Warner at the racing office at (845) 794 – 4100 ext. 557 or contact Shawn Wiles at (845) 794 – 4100 ext. 458. Shawn Wiles

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

Due to thawing track conditions, Monticello Raceway has cancelled live racing for Thursday, March 12, 2015. Qualifiers have also been cancelled for the week. Live Racing resumes Monday, March 16, 2015 Empire Resorts, Inc. and Monticello Casino & Raceway, Inc., 204 State Route 17B, Monticello, NY 12701 845-794-4100

Without a doubt, when harness aficionados think of the hardest working, most dedicated and creative publicity hound in the business, without a doubt they think of John Manzi.    Known for his affable demeanor, wacky promotions, and as Master of Ceremonies of some of the Catskill region’s most memorable awards banquets, JM in the PM has never disappointed.   This list of individuals that Manzi and his Monticello-Goshen Chapter of USHWA have honored over the last several decades reads like a “who’s who” of harness racing.   Whether he was racing camels versus elephants, or crowning the King of the Matzos, Monticello Raceway’s man of the hour has always been John Manzi.   But alas, all good things must come to an end.  And after 40 years of bright lights and big laughs, Hall of Famer Manzi is going to take a well-deserved curtain call.   Friends of John Manzi would like to invite you to a fun-filled retirement party for the beloved harness racing writer and publicist on Sunday, May 31, 2015 at the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY.   Tickets are just $75 each and will include a catered buffet, refreshments  and a very special keepsake to commemorate the event.    Plan on joining your friends at 4pm that afternoon in the William Haughton Hall for a great time with lots of belly laughs, a slide show of memorable Manzi moments, and much, much more.   This is sure to be one of the most fun-filled, talked-about events of the summer...interested parties are urged to get your tickets early to avoid missing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.   Sponsorships are available in a variety of denominations, and will go a long way to ensuring that this is a very special affair.   To purchase tickets or provide a sponsorship, please call Janet Terhune at 740-815-4343 or Email: janet.terhune@gmail.com.   by Chris Tully for the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame

Without a doubt, when harness aficionados think of the hardest working, most dedicated and creative publicity hound in the business, without a doubt they think of John Manzi. Known for his affable demeanor, wacky promotions, and as Master of Ceremonies of some of the Catskill region's most memorable awards banquets, JM in the PM has never disappointed. This list of individuals that Manzi and his Monticello-Goshen Chapter of USHWA have honored over the last several decades reads like a "who's who" of harness racing. Whether he was racing camels versus elephants, or crowning the King of the Matzos, Monticello Raceway's man of the hour has always been John Manzi. But alas, all good things must come to an end. And after 40 years of bright lights and big laughs, Hall of Famer Manzi is going to take a well-deserved curtain call. Friends of John Manzi would like to invite you to a fun-filled retirement party for the beloved harness racing writer and publicist on Sunday, May 31, 2015 at the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY. Tickets are just $75 each and will include a catered buffet, refreshments and a very special keepsake to commemorate the event. Plan on joining your friends at 4pm that afternoon in the William Haughton Hall for a great time with lots of belly laughs, a slide show of memorable Manzi moments, and much, much more. This is sure to be one of the most fun-filled, talked-about events of the summer...interested parties are urged to get your tickets early to avoid missing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Sponsorships are available in a variety of denominations, and will go a long way to ensuring that this is a very special affair. To purchase tickets or provide a sponsorship, please call Janet Terhune at 740-815-4343 or Email: janet.terhune@gmail.com. by Chris Tully for the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame            

Due to continuing thawing track conditions, Monticello has cancelled live racing for Wednesday, March 11. Management will assess the situation again tomorrow regarding Thursday's card.

On Tuesday February 17, Monticello Raceway will be seen in a totally new light, it will be the initial day in which Monticello Raceway’s outgoing simulcasting signal will be transmitted in High Definition.  This project has been a long time in the making according to Simulcasting Director Maureen Flynn, when asked about the video signal upgrade Flynn replied “The new High Definition cameras and equipment will greatly enhance our signal” we are excited to see how fans respond to our state of the art production.”    Due to Presidents Day on Monday February 16, Monticello Raceway is dark for live racing only, both day and evening simulcasting is still available.  Post Time for Tuesday’s card is 12:25 pm. Shawn F. Wiles

Due to thawing conditions on the racing oval, Monticello Raceway has canceled live racing and qualifiers for Thursday Feb 12. Both day and evening simulcasting are still available. Both Live Racing and Qualifiers will resume Tuesday at 12:25 pm. By Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

Story Book has yet to write his last chapter, but his most recent one is a harness racing success story. Yesterday he notched his 8th consecutive win, the win skein started on November 17 at Monticello Raceway. The beginning of story starts with Cinderella, the dam of Story Book, Cinderella, who was a gritty mare in her own right taking a lifetime mark at 6 of 1:52:2, retiring with earning in excess of $250,000, her second dam was the top notch Most Happy Fella filly of yesteryear Toy Poodle. “She was a Blue Blood in Michigan” said Stalbaum in the paddock after the race. Larry owned and trained Cinderella, throughout her career he was so impressed with her that he figured he would give her a shot and breed her to a NY eligible American Ideal. “Story Book raced his first lifetime start at Monticello as a 2 year old, we were offered good money for him and we sold him at the end of his 2 year old year” said Larry Stalbaum after the muddy win.  “I saw where he was racing in Buffalo and was not racing to well, so I figured I would take a chance with him” said Larry. Stalbaum’s afternoon got a little better, when he also won the following race with Where’s Waldo in the non-winners class. Monticello Raceways post time for the Monday thru Thursday schedule remains at 12:25pm for the month of February.  Monticello Raceway’s new Pick 5 wager are races 3 – 7. By Shawn F. Wiles

On a sunny, yet frigid day, as the temperature got warmer, Bruce Aldrich Jr. got hotter as he reined 4 winners this afternoon at Monticello Raceway. On the 10 race harness racing card, Bruce’s winning afternoon started in the 5th race as he scored a wire to wire win from the rail with the roan Sinful Vito in 2:02:3, who found the drop in class much more to his liking. In the 6th race, he took the overland route from the 8 hole with American Tower to win in 2:02:3 for trainer Paul Weinrich, overlooked by the betting public, going off at 24-1, the 4 year old American Ideal gelding returned $50.00 for win.  Also in this race, Jim Marohn Jr, driving Silverhill Delights went down at the wire when he hooked wheels with Kyle Dibenedetto driving HD’s Dream Boy, Jim Marohn Jr. did not suffer any injuries, HD’S Dream Boy suffered a minor gash on his knee.  Kyle and his mount were unscathed. In the 8th race, he scored with the Hot Summer Knight, who raced like the caulk that he was, to score another easy wire to wire victory, winning by 8 lengths with for his second consecutive win of the young year in 2:04:2 for Owners Todd and Lynette Butler of Middletown NY, returning $2.30 for win. Bruce’s last win of the afternoon came in race 9 as he drove All Native for the first time for trainer Tim Miller Jr., who hails from Guilford, NY. All Native who is always competitive from an inside post, played catch me if you can as he led from start to finish. Monticello Raceway’s new Pick 5 wager is rapidly gaining momentum and popularity already in its first week of being offered. Monticello Raceway is also racing on Friday card this week, with a 12:25 Post Time. By Shawn F. Wiles

On Monday February 2, Monticello Casino and Raceway will be adding a new Pick 5 Wager to its harness racing wagering menu. The pick 5 will run through races 3 – 7, the new wager will offer a consolation and a carry over, with a minimum bet of .50. Monticello Raceway’s Simulcasting Director Maureen Flynn added “That considering the average size of our Pick 3 pools, we anticipate the new Pick 5 wager will take off and build jackpot pools for our fans enjoyment” Post Time for Monday’s card is 12:25 pm

While the year may have changed, the final results of Monticello Raceway's 2014 harness racing leading trainer - driver winners have not. Robert Lounsbury once again capped top honors for leading Dash winning trainer with 158 wins, holding off Gary Messenger and Dan Gill, who were both tied with 143 wins each. Lounsbury's UDRS of .461 ranked him 2nd in the nation for trainers with over 500 starts. Bruce Aldrich Jr. takes home top honors for leading dash winner with 371 wins. Bruce is ranked 5th nationally in the county with winners with 615 wins and $2.6 million in purses. Bruce has also reined 234 winner at Saratoga Raceway where he finished the year in 2nd place for most wins. It was only fitting that Bruce won the final race of 2014 and started 2015 where he left off by winning the first two races. Shawn Wiles

Due to impending heavy rains forecasted on Wednesday December 24, qualifiers will be postponed at Monticello Raceway until the following week by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

When Eddie Lohmeyer was a youngster he always knew he wanted a career in harness racing. At the age 12 he worked with his uncle, Al Manzi-Catello's father-- who at that time trained horses at the fabled Good Time Park in Goshen NY and every chance he had, Lohmeyer would go to a training or racing facility to work with the horses. And it was understandable since he was a member of a large harness racing family which not only included his dad and brother, but three uncles and five cousins, including yours truly. Upon graduating Monticello High School in 1961 Lohmeyer never even gave a thought about college opting instead to train and drive harness horses,. Right from the reel Eddie showed that he had talent and as a youngster he developed into an outstanding driver and showed he could handle a race horse with the best of the seasoned veterans. Though barely out of his teens Lohmeyer was off to an burgeoning career as a harness driver but all was interrupted when in the mid-1960's Uncle Sam said: "Here I Am". And given the choice after being drafted, Lohmeyer opted to join the proud Marines and served in Vietnam. Upon retuning to the States after his tour of duty, Lohmeyer picked up where he left off. He won driving titles at Green Mountain Park, Freehold Raceway, Atlantic City Raceway, Liberty Bell Park and Monticello Raceway and his stable grew larger and more powerful. But Lohmeyer was smarter than most in that he also possessed a great business acumen. And his talent for training, driving and buying and selling race horses, has paid major dividends. His first great horse was his dad's homebred colt, Eddy Jeff, named for him and his brother Jeffrey. Eddy Jeff was the leading money winning two year old pacer in the nation in 1971 when the colt earned in excess of $110,000. Hooking up with such patrons as Stonegate Farms, Bob Tucker; John Stoddard; Peter Heffering; John Van Kirk; and even former Secretary of the Treasury, Bill Simon, Lohmeyer, a kid from the country developed into a class act, a persona that has followed him throughout his career.. By 1980 Lohmeyer had driven over 2000 winners mostly in an era where the opportunity to race horses was limited to just eight or nine months a year. Over the years he has developed some of the biggest names in racing. Horses like Pacific Rocket; Pacific Fella, Landslide, Nuclear Siren, Mickie Rodney Skipper Dexter, Dunroven, Pacific Dynasty, Joanna's Time and others too numerous to mention have vaulted Lohmeyer to the top of the game and he is one of the most respected horsemen competing today. Now, in his sixth decade in the standardbred industry, in recent years Eddie turns the lines over to some of the sports top catch-drivers, which also included his cousin, Cat Manzi, that is, before the Catman retired from driving. Lohmeyer will admit that one of his all time favorite horses was Eddy Jeff, obviously because the colt was a family pet and the first star of his illustrious career. But when asked flat out, he will tell you that from the countless horses he has developed or has been involved with in the nearly 55 years he's been in the game, Pacific Fella is his all-time favorite even choosing him over his $2.33 million earner, Pacific Rocket. "Pacific Fella was gritty and a great race horse. In fact he set the Hoosier Park track record of 1:48:2 in 1998 and it wasn't until 2010 that the record was lowered," he boasts. "Still his (Pacific Fella) race time is the third fastest ever there. Lohmeyer's career could fill a book or even be good fodder for a movie, and to single out a few of his wonderful experiences is no easy task. But of all the champions he has come across in his lifetime none is finer than his lovely and accomplished wife, Dr. Patty Hogan, the extraordinary veterinarian of Smarty Jones and Afleet Alex fame. In an industry where owners often change trainers to this day, after nearly 45 years, Lohmeyer still trains horses for Bob Tucker's Stonegate Farm. In fact last year Tucker's 2 year old pacing filly sensation, Ideal Nuggets, trained by Lohmeyer, took a record of 1:50.2 ,earned nearly $190,000, and figures to be among the best sophomore pacing fillies during the 2015 campaign. "I guess I've been blessed in all aspects of my life," he admits . "I've had some great horses over the years and no way am I ready to hang up my colors. Who knows, that Hambletonian or Little Brown Jug winner may come from my barn one of these days." by John Manzi, his last story as Pr Director for Monticello Raceway  

Yesterday’s announcement about the three winning bids for casino resorts in upper New York State has had positive and negative impacts on harness racing in the Empire State. The New York State Gaming Facility Location Board announced Wednesday the selection of the one winning bid for a casino in each of three defined regions of the State:  Catskills/Hudson Valley (Region One, Zone Two), Capital (Region Two, Zone Two) and Eastern Southern Tier/Finger Lakes (Region Five, Zone Two). In the Catskills/Hudson Valley Region, The Montreign Resort Casino in Thompson, N.Y. whose developer Empire Resorts operates through a subsidiary, the nearby Monticello Casino & Raceway, was selected over eight other applicants. What this means is that Monticello Raceway will hopefully be able to survive. The new resort will be built just a couple of miles away from the track and because the parent company is already running the racing, it should remain a viable attraction to compliment the resort. No word yet on whether the casino already at Monticello Raceway will remain open once the new resorts gets finished, which is now years away. In the Eastern Southern Tier/Finger Lakes Region, the Lago Resort & Casino in Tyre, N.Y. was selected over the other two applicants in the region, Tioga Downs Casino, Racing & Entertainment in Nichols, N.Y. and Traditions Resort & Casino in Union, N.Y. This move will have major devastating effects at Vernon Downs according to owner Jeff Gural, who stated after the meeting, "they probably put Vernon Down out of business." Gural's casino bid for Tioga Downs in the Eastern Southern Tier and Finger Lakes Region was not chosen and he suggested to the Capital New York that the future of Vernon Downs could be in trouble with a casino license being considered about 80 miles away at Lago Resort and Casino. “It will hurt me at Vernon. But, I don't give a sh*t about me, I’m wealthy,” Gural was quoted as saying in the Capital New York article. “But it certainly screwed the people who live in the Southern Tier. There are five casinos where Lago is and now there are no casinos in the Southern Tier. That's—that’s shocking! “I think the Southern Tier just got wiped out economically," he continued. "Poor people, they’re going to have no jobs. Take a ride around the Southern Tier and see what it looks like. It’s about as depressed an area as there is and when you had a chance to help these people, with the fracking and the casino, they give them a doubleheader. It’s just sickening. I feel bad for the people. Don’t worry about Jeff Gural, I’m fine.” To read Gural's comments in the Capital New York, click here. Along with The Montreign Resort Casino and Lago Resort & Casino, the Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady, NY from the Capital Region was the third entity that will be entitled to apply to the New York State Gaming Commission for a gaming facility license. To read the complete report, click here. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Columbus, OH --- The New York State Gaming Facility Location Board announced Wednesday the selection of the one winning bid for a casino in each of three defined regions of the State:  Catskills/Hudson Valley (Region One, Zone Two), Capital (Region Two, Zone Two) and Eastern Southern Tier/Finger Lakes (Region Five, Zone Two). In the Catskills/Hudson Valley Region, The Montreign Resort Casino in Thompson, N.Y. whose developer Empire Resorts operates through a subsidiary, the nearby Monticello Casino & Raceway, was selected over eight other applicants. In the Eastern Southern Tier/Finger Lakes Region, the Lago Resort & Casino in Tyre, N.Y. was selected over the other two applicants in the region, Tioga Downs Casino, Racing & Entertainment in Nichols, N.Y. and Traditions Resort & Casino in Union, N.Y. Along with The Montreign Resort Casino and Lago Resort & Casino, the Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady, N.Y.  from the Capital Region was the third entity that will be entitled to apply to the New York State Gaming Commission for a gaming facility license. To read the complete report, click here. From the USTA Media Department

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