Day At The Track
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2019 was a very good year for Michael Merton, the 47-year-old Monticello native earned his first ever Leading Dash winner title at his hometown track Monticello Raceway with 267 wins, former Monticello Raceway dash winner Bruce Aldrich Jr. finished 2nd with 235 wins, followed by the young Austin Siegelman with 228 trips to the winner circle. The Monticello native was reared in the backstretch of Monticello Raceway as a youngster and is no stranger to the Catskill Mountain oval. Merton hit the road hard this summer as he also won the leading dash driver at Tioga Downs with 82 wins. Between Monticello Raceway and Tioga Downs, Merton amassed over $1,440,971 in purses and 349 wins. Merton's combined season tally of 382 ranks him 16th in the nation for wins Bob Lounsbury earning his 4th overall leading trainer title at Monticello Raceway with 93 wins, Gary Messenger was second with 80 wins. Bob Lounsbury also won the leading training award in 2013, 2014 & 2015. He also ranked nationally, in 2013 and 2015 he was the % leading trainer in North America for trainers having over 500 starts. The Bob Lounsbury Stable earned over $305,797 in 330 starts, an average of $926 per start for the 2018 season at Monticello Raceway.   Shawn Wiles  

Monticello Raceway Race Secretary, Eric Warner was successful in putting a race together for six harness racing veteran campaigners that will go behind the starting gate for the last time. The 6 starters sport an impressive overall body of work, between them they have amassed a total of 2202 lifetime starts, 369 wins and over $2,435,000 in career earnings. On Monday afternoon, this bunch of hardy campaigners did not show any signs of aging, as the gate, a trio of aged pacers left the gate hard with Esprit De Kayjay A getting the lead and taking the field past the ¼ in 28.1. Delco Tross was first over at the half in 58.2 and took the field past the ¾ in 1:28.2 and was on top by 5 lengths, at the top of the lane Delco Tross (Mike Merton) appeared to be on his way to victory, but Rick Harp and Mayflowermoonshine rallied in deep stretch to overtake Delco Tross in 1:59.4, B Blissfull (Bruce Aldrich Jr.) finished 3rd. For Mayflowermoonshine it was his 7th win of the season, giving him 52 lifetime wins, the 14-year-old son of Pilgrims Punch is owned and trained by Dennis Lacey of Aurora, NY and was bred by Elmer L Yoder. Mayflowermoonshine lifetime stats include over 426 starts, a record of 1:51.2 taken at 3 with lifetime earnings of $653,000. By Shawn Wiles

The month of December seems to be to harness racing driver Jimmy Devaux's liking, it was only 10 days ago that he won five races on the afternoon. On Thursday afternoon December 27, Devaux did it again. The wins started in Race two where he scored with RCS Ready (2:04.1-$9.70) for trainer Wesley Miller. It is rare to see Devaux go off at odds of 30/1, as he pulled off a shocker with NY Whitesox in 1:58 and paid $63.50. Jim came right back in the next race and visited the winners circle with Quality Closer in the Winner Over event, scoring an easy 6 length win in 1:54.4 for Monica Banca, Zack Lee won the 10th race for owner Gary Haas in 1:57 - $5.50. Drive Em Cowboy capped off the 5 bagger in race 11 to win in 1:57.2 and paid $13.20 for win. Devaux just missed his 6th winner of the day but fell short finishing second in the last race. The five wins added to DeVaux's yearly tally, giving him 211 wins at Monticello Raceway, placing him 4th in for leading dash winners and $796,076 in earnings, over $776,000 was wagered on the 12-race card. By Shawn Wiles

Decades ago the great PR guru John Manzi came up with the idea of conducting a race for 14-year-old equines for their last start of their harness racing career. This unique niche event has been duplicated many times over the years by many tracks. Monticello Raceway Race Secretary Eric Warner is searching for 14-year-old pacers to participate in an Invitational Pace on Monday December 31 for a purse of $5000, check the Condition sheet for more details. Anyone interested should contact the Racing Office at 845 794 4100 ext. 557 or ewarner@empireresorts.com By: Shawn Wiles

On a wet and grey Monday afternoon at Monticello Raceway, James Devaux won five of the harness racing cards ten races. The banner day didn't start until midway through the card in race 5, where Princess Katie (2:02.4 - $2.10) was his afternoons first winner. Devaux, would then proceed to win the next 3 races in a row, Faithful Friend (2:01.1 - $8.50), Norma Rei (1:59.4 - $3.30) and Rosy Outlook (1:57.4 - $10.40) Devaux just missed notching his 6 win of the day, losing by a neck in the 9th race. He won the last race of the day in with Sandy Hook Hanover (2:00.4 - $20.40) for trainer Chad Washington, Devuax, a former 2 time Dash winner at Monticello Raceway is currently ranked 4th in the Monticello Driving colony with 197 wins. By Shawn Wiles

John Manzi, the guy who carried the torch for decades, reveled in the moment when 175 well-wishers packed The Fountains at Wallkill Golf Club to honor his lifelong passion and lifetime achievement in harness racing on Sunday evening, Dec. 2. The banquet was the chapter's 60th annual event, but after 40 years of running the show, Manzi said he wanted to step aside and let his successors run with the ball. Retired after famously re-inventing harness racing promotions while managing the publicity department at Monticello Raceway for 40 years, Manzi has always said, "I had a great run. It's better to be a 'has been' than a never was!" "I didn't make a lot of money, but I sure made a lot of great friends and great memories! And we pulled off some crazy promotions too!" he said with a laugh. Manzi was the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association's Lifetime Achievement Award winner...and has been the fuel that propelled the chapter to become one of the strongest in the association. "We have had many National USHWA presidents come from our chapter, and we have given tens of thousands of dollars to both the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, as well as Goshen Historic Track," Manzi noted. "We are very proud of that." A souvenir journal with 16 color pages of iconic photos from Manzi's famed office walls were like a walk down memory lane. Hall of Famer, and cousin, Cat Manzi, along with his other cousin Eddie Lohmeyer also made the trip to surprise the guest of honor. Manzi's brothers Gary and Gerard were also on hand. On a Manzi-filled night, the inaugural recipient of the John Manzi Leadership Award was the Hambletonian Society's COO Moira Fanning. Always an eloquent speaker, and self-appointed Manzi-instigator, Fanning outlined how men like Manzi, Marv Bachrad, Tom Charters and Bill Fidati all gave a former-caretaker many of the opportunities the sport had to offer. "For me, it was more like a 'She Too' movement...illustrating what her mentors thought, 'If I could do it, she could too!" And do it she has, rising to the top echelon of a male-dominated sport, earning a seat on every executive board in the industry. Other prominent honorees included, Chuck Connor (John Gilmour Good Guy), Peter Gerry (Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award), Salt Hill Farm/Jim & Anne Feeley (Cradle of the Trotter Breeders Award), Jennifer Lappe (Amateur Driver), Debbie Little (Phil Pines), Shane Darish (Rising Star), and Arthur Robinson (Award of Appreciation). Of course the local equine practitioners from the Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association where also honored. Driver of the Year, Mike Merton was on hand to accept his award for most wins, as was Kearstin DeGraw, the Caretaker of the Year from the Gary Messenger Stable. Monticello Raceway's horse of the Year was Johnnie DeSimone's Sentimental Lady. Proceeds from the generosity of advertisers in the souvenir journal and banquet ticket sales go toward making sizeable donations to both the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame and Goshen Historic Track, two distinct and separate entities that each received $4,000 from the chapter coffers in 2018. by Chris Tully for Monticello-Goshen USHWA        

Monticello, NY--The final leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's fourth trotting series of the season went to post at Monticello Raceway on Thursday (Nov. 15) and to the pleasant surprise of those who purchased win tickets on Tough Get Going were rewarded when Joe Faraldo sent the veteran trotter to the lead when the wings of the mobile gate folded and then made every pole a winning one en route to a 2:01.1 victory. And each lucky ticket holder received $47.00 for each two-dollar wager. "The crowd didn't have much faith in my horse's ability in here today but I felt fairly confident that he had good chance to win if things broke our way in the race," Faraldo said as he handed the reins to the caretaker upon returning to the paddock. Tough Get Going has had some trouble behind the starting gate on occasions but today wasn't one of those days. When the starter said "go" Faraldo sent his trotter to the lead and was challenged on the outside by Makin Trouble K and driver Joe Lee, Faraldo played hardball and wanted the front-end so he opened up a hole behind him and Lee took back and found room along the pylons as they passed the first stanza in a soft :29.2. With the field lined-up behind Tough Get Going the venerable trotter led them by the halfway point in 1:01.2 where Jennifer Lappe decided to move the 2 to 5 betting favorite, Winning Princess, out to challenge and they ranged up alongside the leader. "When we passed the half my horse was strong and I felt pretty confident that we had a good chance to win it,"Faraldo related. "And when Jennifer couldn't clear I felt even better." Although Tough Get Going and Winning Princess raced side-by-side as they passed the three quarters in 1:31:1 the former got first call. On the final turn Faraldo's charge had opened a length lead and despite a strong drive by Lappe her trotter hung and Tough Get Going emerged a one-length winner in a 2:01.1 clocking. Four lengths in the rears, in third place went to Makin Trouble K. Tough Get Going is owned by Joe Faraldo and Richie Banca and trained by Banca. The 5-yr-old altered son of Kadabra won for the fourth time this year and raised his seasonal bankroll to nearly $39,000. For Faraldo, a former Amateur Driver of the Year(2000), it was his 145th career win in the USA. by John Manzi, for NAADA

Monticello, NY - The publicity stunts that John Manzi has pulled off are the stuff that legends are made of. So much so that when Harness Racing writers and promoters consider ways to get people to come to the track, chances are that John Manzi has been there, done that! When the Monticello - Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers hold their 60th annual awards banquet on Sunday, December 2, 2018, John Manzi will receive the organization's highest honor: The Lifetime Achievement Award. Already a member of the Communicators Hall of Fame, Manzi retired a few years ago, but 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. Although retired after 40 years of bright lights and big laughs, Hall of Famer Manzi still covers the Amateur Driving races and continues to host his Sunday night Doo Wop radio show, in its fifth decade. This year, in addition to the year-end awards for horses and horse people from the local tracks, the Monticello-Goshen chapter will also honor Moira Fanning (John Manzi Leadership Award); Chuck Connor (John Gilmour Good Guy Award); Salt Hill Farm (Cradle of the Trotter Breeders Award); Peter Gerry (Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award); Jennifer Lappe (Amateur Driver); Debbie Little (Phil Pines Award); Shane Darish (Rising Star); and Arthur Robinson (Award of Appreciation). Tickets for the gala event can be reserved by contacting Shawn Wiles at (845) 794-4100 extension 458 or Email: swiles@empireresorts.com. To place a congratulatory ad in the souvenir journal, please contact Chris Tully at (845) 807-7538 or Email: tullytrot@yahoo.com.   by Chris Tully for the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of USHWA      

Monticello, NY--It doesn't seem to matter who Jennifer "the Golden Girl" Lappe races against; amateurs or professionals. She does equally well against both. Today(Nov. 8) at Monticello Raceway she had a driving double on the betting card when she won an amateur contest in race two, and then came right back with a victory against professional drivers in race three. And currently "the Golden Girl" is ringing up stats that the professionals would be proud of. Her first victory was with Multitaskr Hanover ($4.60) in 2:00.1, which, by the way, was Lappe's second consecutive triumph with the Explosive Matter gelding. In today's contest"Coach Paul" Minore hustled Wygant Prince to the front but "Yankee Joe" Lee, with On The Podium, parked him to a :28.4 first quarter before he allowed Minore to take charge. At that point Lappe was in third position along the pylons after starting from the three-hole. When he field rounded the second turn and headed down the stretch On The Podium was still the race leader in a the :58.4 clocked half. As the field trotted to the third stanza Lappe moved Multitaskr Hanover off the pylons and made a serious challenge for the lead. As they trotted by the three quarters Lappe's horse tried to pull- up but expertly she allowed him to drift so as not to go off-stride and once she settled him they got back in the race. However, Ms Lappe displayed her displeasure with her trotter's drifting and she went to work on getting him back to strongly challenge On the Podium as they rounded the final turn. In the lane Multtaskr Hanover trotted to the lead and went on to a one-length triumph over On The Podium. Fiji, with Dave "the Rave" Offenberg at the controls, came from far back to finish third. Although she didn't have much time to hang up the lines after her victory and get Giddy Up Delight ready for the very next race, she did however, explain that Multitaskr Hanover lost his left front shoe in the post parade and they returned to the paddock to have it nailed on. "I was grateful that we found the shoe and that the paddock blacksmith nailed it in place; But it took quite a while," Lappe said of the ordeal that caused a big delay at the start of the race." When we did get back on the racetrack we had no time to score down and had to go directly behind the starting gate . And I think a cold start confused Multitaskr and in the race he tried to pull-up before the final turn. But what ever it was once I got him back heading in the right direction he was full of trot." After her three-length 1:57.4 pacing victory with Giddy Up Delight ($10.80)in the following race "the Golden Girl" currently has 35 wins, 43 seconds and 53 thirds in 288 seasonal starts, good for a .266UDR. Lappe has a big stable and as a trainer of record this season she has 92 wins in 557 starts good for a .298UDR. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

Monticello, NY--Two solid divisions for members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association were presented on the pleasant fall afternoon of November 1 at Monticello Raceway and when the judges hung the official signs Jennifer Lappe and Alan Schwartz won their respective splits; Lappe with Multitaskr Hanover in 2:00.4 and Schwartz up behind Peoplesayimnogood in 1:59.1. In the first division Lappe hustled her trotter to the lead as the wings of the mobile gate folded and they had command with Ladys Big Stormont out on the limb when the field headed for the quarter pole. As they approached the first marker Lappe grabbed leather and allowed Schwartz's charge to take command as the timer flashed :28.4. Content to enjoy a covered trip Lappe followed Schwartz's lead and Ladys Big Stormont trotted by the halfway point in :59.3. Still being stalked as the field passed the three quarters Ladys Big Stoemon seemed comfortable, but when the two rounded the final turn Lappe slide out from behind her cover and Multitaskr Hanover trotted to the lead and finished one length better than Ladys Big Stormont. Third place went to Gianni and driver, Bob Davis in the 2:00.2 trotted mile. Asked why she chose to move to the outside when the field rounded the final turn instead of taking advantage of the passing lane, Lappe responded ; "my horse drifted out coming off the turn so instead of trying to angle him back toward the passing lane I gave him his head and he responded wonderfully by trotting around Alan's horse and on to an easy victory." It was the 30th driving victory this year for Ms Lappe who not only competes in amateur races but also drives against the professionals. Currently, to go along with her 30 wins, are 43 seconds and 53 thirds and a respectful ,256 UDR from 280 starts thus far this year. It was also her 87th training victory for the accomplished horsewoman. Ms Lappe owns and trains the winner who paid $8.80. Although he finished second in the first NAADA trot Alan Schwartz made amends when he rallied Peoplesayimnogood to a three-length triumph in the second division. After starting from the three-hole Schwartz eased his trotter to the pylons when the gate sprung and Joe Faraldo sent Tough Get Going toward the front but Joe Lee, with Tim Lizzie, parked him by the first quarter in :28.2. Once in command Faraldo kept the pedal to the metal and Tough Get Going opened a five-length lead as they trotted by the half in :57.2. At that point Schwartz's trotter was third, some seven lengths off the lead, but as Tough Get Going passed the three quarters he only had two lengths on the field and Schwartz rallied Peoplesayimnogood to third position. When he rounded the final turn Schwartz took aim at a leg-weary Tough Get Going and by mid-stretch Peoplesayimnogood had command and were pulling away and went on to a three-length triumph in a 1:59.1 clocking. Third place went to Celebrity Blue Chip, driven by Jennifer Lappe. "This was the first time I drove Peoplesayimnogood and I didn't know much him since he did most of his racing out of town. But he was a perfect horse to drive," Schwartz said after the race." We had a covered trip and when I pulled him it was 'ballgame'." The winner, who notched his 7th seasonal triumph, is owned by Dr. Scott Woogen and trained by Gary Messenger. He paid $15.20 for win. And for Schwartz it was his 11th seasonal triumph and 607th of his brilliant amateur career. by John Manzi, for NAADA

Monticello, NY - At Monticello Raceway on Monday afternoon October 29, an anomaly of sorts took place, two (P) Provisional Drivers both notched their maiden driving wins in back to back races. In race 3, 22-year-old Christopher Doherty got his first win in only his 3rd P drive, aboard Sheer Action who won by 4 lengths in 2:00.4 and paid $6.20 to win for trainer Jim Doherty Jr. In the next race, 25-year-old Philip Lacorte III driving for just the 9th time in his young career, scored his maiden win with a 5 length, wire to wire score with J Danae in 2:02.1 and paid $4.90, the 7-year-old Nuclear Legacy mare is also trained by Lacorte III. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

On Thursday November 1, Monticello Raceway will alter its post time to 12:25 and will continue to maintain its 4-day race schedule of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

Edward A. Palladino, Jr., former local area sports writer, died Thursday, October 25, 2018 at Golden Hill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Born November 19, 1933 in Poughkeepsie, he is the son of the late Edward A. and Nancy (Guido) Palladino, Sr. He was 85. A graduate of the Mt. Carmel Elementary School and Pougkeepsie High School Class of 1951, Ed played baseball and basketball and began his career as a sports writer for the Poughkeepsie Journal following graduation from Poughkeepsie High. His sports writing career was interrupted in 1952 when he served our country in the United States Marine Corps., attaining the rank of Sergeant during the Korean War; he was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and the Republic of Korea Service Medal. After his service to our country; Ed returned to the Poughkeepsie Journal for two years until 1957 when he moved to Kingston. In 1957; he began working at the Daily Freeman as a sports writer. From 1957 to 1974; Ed held several different positions at the Freeman; such as the Assistant City Editor, City Editor and Managing Editor. For the following ten years; from 1975 to 1985, Ed took his sports writing talents to the Capital District to work for the Albany Times Union, where he was awarded "Outstanding Harness Writer in the Northeast", only to return to the Daily Freeman from 1985 through 1996. During this time he championed the renovation at Dietz Stadium to convert it to an all-purpose field and won "Most Popular Area Columnist". In 1997; Ed took the position as the first Press Box Manager for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization; retiring in 2000. Ed was the First Chairman of the Dietz Stadium Commission; a Charter Member, President & Vice President of the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writer's Association. He is a life member of both the Joyce Shirick VFW Post #1386 and the American Legion Post #150 in Kingston, a Commissioner of the Kingston Housing Authority, and Past President of Brigham Seniors. A former National Director, President, First & Second Vice President of the United States Harness Writer's Association, Commander of the Dutchess County Catholic War Veterans, Vice President of the Saratoga Chapter of the United States Harness Writer's Association, Vice Chair of the City of Kingston Democratic Committee. He is also a former member of the Democratic Committee and Italian Center in Poughkeepsie, Ulster County Office for the Aging Advisory Council, Hudson Valley Football, Baseball, Basketball Officials Organizations. Ed is an inductee to both the Dutchess County Softball and the Harness Racing Hall of Fames. Surviving are two daughters Tracie Short and her husband Wayne of Hurley and Nancy Griffin and her husband Mark of Poughkeepsie. Three grandsons Zachary, Avery and Brady Short. A nephew Scott Palladino of Saratoga, cousins; Frank Guido of Kingston, Carmen Guido of Fort Pierce, Florida and a brother in law Joe Rosso of Poughkeepsie. One sister Patricia Rosso died previously. Cremation and memorial arrangements are under the guidance of the Joseph V. Leahy Funeral Home, Inc. 27 Smith Avenue Kingston. www.jvleahyfh.com. Friends will be received at the funeral home on Sunday from 1 to 6 PM. The American Legion Post #150 will hold a ritual at 5:30 PM and prayers will be held at 6:00 PM. Expressions of sympathy in lieu of flowers may be made in the form of contributions to Ulster County Veterans Emergency Fund, 5 Development Court, Kingston, NY 12401. by John Manzi, for Nation    

Monticello, NY-- To say that amateur driver "Yankee Joe" Lee is on a roll would be gross understatement. After winning the Billings Trot with Soul Train in 2:01.2 today (Thurs. Oct 25) at Monticello Raceway, Lee, the assistant locker room manager for the New York Yankees, now has three consecutive driving victories and has won four of his last five starts. Sent off as the even-money favorite in the six-horse field uncharacteristically Lee took his trotter of the gate and settled in fifth along the pylons as Brandos Muscle Man and Monica "the Norwegian Flash " Banca led the field by the first stanza in :29.4. "I took a chance taking Soul Train back at the start because in the past he never wanted to pass horses when we trailed but today he was definitely different," Lee explained. "He really surprised me when I pulled him going to the half and he easily trotted around Brandos Muscle Man and took command as we headed into the clubhouse turn." By the time Lee reached the three quarters Soul Train had five lengths on the field and at that point the only thing in doubt was the margin of victory. The lead over Brandos Muscle Man was opened to eight lengths as Lee and Soul Train headed for paydirt. Down the stretch Lee was looking for challengers but none came and they coasted home an easy 8-1/2 length winner in 2:01.2. However, in the deep stretch "Lady Jennifer" Lappe rallied Celebrity Blue Chip from fifth at the top of the lane to finish second, a length in front of Brandos Muscle Man. Soul Train is co-owned by Lee, Blindswitch Racing and the Good Friends Stable and trained by Jose Godinez. The 7-year-old altered son of Trainforthefuture scored scored his sixth seasonal victory and returned a $4.00 win mutuel.. For Lee, who was last years National Amateur Driver of the Year, it was his 11th driving victory this season and 48th of his career. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

Monticello, NY-- The front-end was the place to be in the amateur races today(Thus. Oct 18) at Monticello Raceway as Joe Lee and Alan Schwartz hustled their trotters to wire-to-wire victories in the fifth leg of the NAADA Trotting Series over the Sullivan County double oval. Lee won his betting division with Makin Trouble K in 2:02.3 while Schwartz and Ladys Big Stormont connected for a 2:01.3 triumph in the other on the sunshiny, but unusually blustery, afternoon in the southern Catskill Mountains of New York State. Lee, driving for trainer Bruce Aldrich, Sr., sent Makin Trouble K toward the lead which they gained before the first quarter timer flashed :29. But once on the lead they had to rebuff multiple challenges before they passed the halfway point. "My horse was a handful in the post parade and before the race but once the gate let us go he was fine," Lee said in the paddock after his driving victory. "Once he settled down he was gritty and raced good." At the three quarters they had put away most of the early competition, all but Sheer Action, who was driven by Chistopher Doherty, the grandson of Hall of Famer, Jimmy Doherty, who was making his first lifetime pari-mutuel start. Down the lane Makin Trouble K and Sheer Action were side by side and were joined late on the far outside by Tough Get Going (Joe Faraldo). But as the field neared the wire Faraldo's charge hung and Jennifer Lappe ducked to the passing lane and rallied for second money with Celebrity Blue Chip as Tough Get Going had to settled for the show dough. And although Sheer Action was just a length behind he winner at the wire he finished fourth. Makin Trouble K, who won for the seventh time this season, is owned by Woody Hoblitzell. He paid $18.40. And for Joe Lee, last years National Amateur Driver of the Year, it marked his ninth winning drive thus far this season. The second split went similarly to the first when Schwartz sent Ladys Big Stormont toward the lead and when Bob Krivelin and Current Crisis closed the two-hole Schwartz had little choice but to try to get the lead from Monica Banca and Master of Excuses, who had command. "I really waned to race my horse from a pocket but when there was no room long the pylons I went to the front and I was a little concerned about the 28 and 4 first quarter.," Schwartz explained. Once on top Schwartz and Banca were open lengths in front of their competition and they raced one-two by the half in :59.3 with the order remaining the same as they passed the third stanza in 1:30 flat. Third at that point was Current Crisis (Bob Krivelin) but he began to fade as the leaders rounded the final turn. Despite a two-hole trip the entire way Master Of Excuses couldn't get by Ladys Big Stormont in the lane and they finished 1-1/4-lengths behind Schwartz's trotter who won for the 10th time this season. Jennifer Lappe rallied Multitaskr Hanover to finish third after he went off-stride at the start. Schwartz owns and trains Ladys Big Stormont who paid $3.70. It was Schwartz's 11th seasonal driving victory and the 606th of his amateur career. by John Manzi, for the NAADA Series

Monticello, NY-- He has been competing with amateur status since he began driving but today (Wed. Oct. 10) at Monticello Raceway Tony Ciuffetelli drove like a professional when he won both divisions of the French v America Friendship competition. The former corrections officer won one race from behind and the other on the front-end. In the third race Ciuffetelli avoided the congestion in front of him and rallied Sams Fortune to a come-from-behind triumph in 2:03.4 over seven rivals and three races later he sent Brandos Music Man to the front and made every pole a winning one en route to a 2:00.4 victory. "This is my first driving double and I'm certainly thrilled" a smiling Ciuffetelli said in the paddock as he handed the reins to the horse's caretaker. Starting from the two-hole with Sams Fortune Ciuffetelli got away slowly as four others sped for the lead. They were in fifth place when the field passed the first quarter as France's Ms Sandrine Oyer was stuck on the limb with Five Star Stud. A the race progressed French driver Jerome Maillard had Tattle Tell Teen on the lead as Frenchman Jean Marc Freyssence and Four Star Lefty were second -over behind Ms Oyer's pacer which sort of made a block for anyone trying to get around. Sensing a problem the USA's Alan Schwartz wheeled Lightning Madison three-deep and they paced by the leaders and opened daylight and were followed by Ciuffetelli and Sams Fortune. At the top of the lane Lightning Madison they had a three -length lead and despite being hung-out the entire way Five Star Stud was still in contention. At that point Sams Fortune was fifth on the far outside still five lengths off the leader. But as the field progressed in the lane Lightning Madison faded to finish third and Sams Fortune rallied to a length victory over Five Star Stud. "I made it through the traffic and when we finally cleared and headed for home my horse was the strong horse and we went on to win it," Ciuffetelli explained. The winner is owned by Pete and Donna Siebert and trained by Siebert, He paid $7.80. After all the road trouble Ciuffetelli had in the first event he hustled the betting favorite Brandos Muscle Man to the lead from the six-hole and played catch me if you can,-.. and nobody could. They chugged along unchallenged for a one-length victory in a time of 2:00.4 as his French rivals finished second and third. With a two-hole trip France's Jerome Malliard was second best with Ralph R and his countryman, Jean Marc Freyssence, third with Bootswiththefur, albeit in a dead-heat with Linda Marie, driven by the USA's Jerry Fielding. "He's a classy old horse," Ciuffetelli said referring to Brandos Muscle Man, "And even though the old veteran knew just what to do I still had to keep after him in the stretch." The winner is owned by Rick Dane and Monica Banca and trained by Dane. He paid $4.80. For Ciuffetelli, who has sights on possibly being the amateur driver of the year, his seasons stats after today's races are: 10-7-6 in 50 starts with a UDR of .318. On Friday, the final race in the America v France Friendship Competition will be at the Meadowlands. by John Manzi, for NAADA          

1 to 16 of 1965
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