There are few amateur harness racing drivers who log as many miles as Steve Oldford. The automotive manufacturers rep from Croswell, Michigan thinks nothing of hopping a plane to race in an amateur contest no matter where it is. On Thursday, July 23 Oldford winged his way to Monticello Raceway to drive in the final leg of the 10-race NAADA Spring Series and his efforts paid dividends when he guided the Dan Gill-trained Up Front N Crazy to a romping 14-length victory in a time of 2:01. Although Up Front N Crazy was sent off at odds of over 9-1 he won like a 1-5 shot. But there were extenuating circumstances. When Matt Zuccarello's trotter Gray N Cloudy-- 5-2 on the tote board--made a break on the first turn it scattered the field and allowed Oldford's charge to open up daylight on his competitors. However, Oldford's luck continued when Joe Pannacchio's Sir Winston, who was following just two length behind Upfront N Crazy as the two passed the half in 1:00.4 had nothing in the tank. "My horse was empty at that point," Pennacchio said of his veteran trotter who came into the race with two consecutive wins in the NAADA Series. "He must have bled?" Pennacchio assumption was correct because at the third stanza Oldford's trotter had a seven length lead which was opened to 14 lengths at the finish. "I skirted the trouble in the first turn and we trotted clear and when there was no one around me as we headed for home I actually thought there might have been more problems for those in the rears," Oldford said after the race. "But thankfully there were no more trouble." With Sir Winston fading as he headed to the three quarters it allowed the trotters in the back of the pack to gain ground quickly on him. Dave Yarock rallied the strongest with CSI What's My Name and they finished in second place while Nice Dream, driven by Gerry Fielding caught Sir Winston yards before the wire to take home the show dough. Sir Winston held on for fourth money. For the record, Picture Perfect, the betting favorite in the race driven by Hannah Miller, was interfered with by Zuccarello's breaking horse on the first turn and went off-stride vanquishing any hope of victory for Miller and those who wagered on him. Up Front N Crazy, owned by Edward Hall, paid $20.60 for win. A condition to the series stated that the drivers with the most points who participated in six of the 10 legs would be eligible to draw for an all expense trip to Mallorca and join NAADA team who will race against their Spanish counterparts in a Friendship Competition in mid-September. However, that drawing, which is forthcoming, will be announced at a later date by NAADA president, Joe Faraldo. As for Oldford, he's back on the road this time to drive in the CKG Billings Spring Final which will be contested over the five-eighths mile oval The Meadows tomorrow night. John Manzi
On the beautiful summer afternoon of July 16, the ninth leg of the NAADA spring trotting series went to post at the harness racing meeting at Monticello Raceway and when the judges hung the official sign, Bob Hechkoff emerged victorious with Alternat Thursdays. They scored a two length triumph over Swift Blizzard and Paul Minore in a time of 2:00.3. Joe Lee finished third with Laser Lucy. When the wings of the mobile gate folded Minore hustled Swift Blizzard toward the lead from post five but they didn't gain command until Alan Schwartz, driving Typical Newyorker, grabbed leather and allowed Minore command just before the quarter mile timer flashed :29.3. At that point the eventual winner was third along the pylons some three lengths behind the leader. Once on top Minore kept his trotter moving forward but as the field headed to the half Hechkoff moved off the pylons to challenge as the field passed the halfway point in 1:00.3. However, Minore wasn't about to yield command and Swift Blizzard and Alternat Thursdays raced as a team by the three quarters in 1:30.1. The leaders were still side by side around the paddock turn and when they straightened for home Alternat Thursdays was the strong horse and refused to lose. Swift Blizzard faded but held second place and Laser Lucy was strong enough to rebuff Typical Newyork for the show dough. "He's a handful before the race and a handful after a race but once he's behind the gate you can drive him with two fingers", Hechkoff said of Alternat Thursdays as he was taking off his gloves in the paddock after the race." "But he's really not my kind of horse because he doesn't leave the gate quickly and I like a horse that can grab the racetrack. Still he's got class and is always on gait." Despite going into the race with no wins in 21 starts Alternat Thursdays had amassed almost $25,000 on the strength of six seconds and one third. In what turned out to be a wide open contest where six trotters went off at odds of 5-1 or less, Alternat Thursdays was the weak favorite at 1.95-1 and returned a $5.90 win mutuel. The winner is owned by Hechkoff's R.B.H Ventures and trained by Kyle Spagnola. It was the first seasonal win for Alternat Thursdays and the 10th this year for Hechkoff. John Manzi
Hunch players who wagered on Gimme The Loot capitalized when Bobby Krivelin drove the 10 year old Credit Winner gelding to 2:01 victory in the NAADA Trot at the harness racing meeting at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon, July 9. And those with winning tickets on Gimme The Loot were saying just that when they went to the mutuel windows for the $35.60 payoff. Overlooked from post position six and sent off at odds of over 16-1, Krivelin drove Gimme The Loot like he was the odds-on favorite in the race when he sent the veteran trotter to the lead and parked all comers. Among those on the limb was the 3-5 favorite Bluebird Kidsqueen driven by Dave Offenberg. Also getting fresh air on the outside behind Offenberg was second choice, Casanova Lindy and driver Hannah Miller. It was clear that Krivelin wanted to be on the lead and his trotter responded well rebuffing all challenges. Casanova Lindy started from the seven-hole, never saw the pylons and although he had to go the long mile he still was strong enough to make up three lengths in the stretch to finish just one length behind the winner. Third place went to Typical Newyorker in rein to Alan Schwartz. "The public made Offenberg's horse the hot favorite but I knew the one to beat was Hannah Miller because I chased her and Casanova Lindy home and finished second to her last Sunday at Goshen," Krivelin said in the winners circle after his victory. "I was inside of her (Hannah) today and I wanted to be on the lead. As it worked out she had road trouble and couldn't get a clear shot at me early on." "But her horse went a big trip on the outside the entire mile." Owned by the Hero Stables of Goshen, NY and trained by Krivelin, Gimme The Loot notched his third seasonal triumph. For Krivelin who was USHWA's Amateur Driver of The Year last season, it was his seventh seasonal driving victory and 174th of his amateur career. Later that afternoon at the Afton (NY) Fair (some 75 miles from Monticello) there was a Billings Trot carded and immediately after her second place finish at Monticello Raceway in the NAADA Trot "Hurricane Hannah" drove for one and half hours to Afton, NY to participate in Billings contest there. In the short five- horse field at Afton Hannah had the four-hole with Pembroke Snapshot, a trotter with whom she won with at Monticello Raceway earlier this year. Over the Afton Agricultural Fair's double-oval Miller and Pembroke Snapshot defeated Drill Sergeant Sam and Tony "the Capo" Verruso in a time of 2:08. Third place went to Mighty Moe and driver "Bullet Bob" Davis. The winner is owned by the Nick Surick Stable and the JL Benson Stable and trained by Surick. It was the fourth seasonal triumph for Pembroke Snapshot and the 21st driving victory this season for Ms. Miller. And let it not be said that "Hurricane Hannah" doesn't dance every dance. Besides competing in the Billings Series she also participates in the NAADA Trotting Series, the Catskill Club's pacing events, and the GSY Series at the Meadowlands. After her second place finish at the Mighty M on Thursday and her victory at Afton later in the day, the 23 year old now has a phenomenal .500 UDR on the strength of 21 wins, 12 seconds and 10 thirds in 2015 John Manzi
Sometimes when harness racing drivers are marching towards driving milestones, they tend to stall out and languish. Not in the case of James Devaux, if anything, as he was getting closer to the milestone, he got hotter. On Wednesday afternoon July 8, Jimmy won his 3999 in race 5 with Prince of Pleasure, for trainer Gary Decker. In the 7th race, the answer to the future trivia question of who was Jimmy driving for his 4000th win was answered, is was Bangbangkisskiss, barely. After cutting the entire mile, it looked like Jimmy and Bangbangkisskiss were home free, that was until the passing lane opened up and Kyle Dibenedetto shot through with the pocket sitting Sensationalist going stride for stride with Bangbangkisskiss, both of them tripping the timer in 1:58:1 for an epic dead heat for win. A jubilant Devaux said “At the top of the lane, I popped the ear plugs and I thought I was home free, but when I saw Kyle coming up the inside I really had to get after my horse, it’s pretty cool to have a dead heat for my 4000th win!” Following the win, Jim was greeted in the winners circle by fellow horseman and well-wishers. Shawn Wiles
On Friday July 2, Monticello Raceway held its annual harness racing night of fireworks, in conjunction with the New York Sire Stakes for 2 Year old Trotting Fillies. Leading the evenings post parades was Doug Gosney, with Dontdragmeshoppin, owned by Barbara Merton. Also on hand in the winners circle was Richard Glisson, Director of Marketing at Monticello Casino and Raceway to make a winner circle presentation. Shawn Wiles
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.