For the second consecutive week, Monticello Raceway has raised purses, when this week's harness racing condition sheet come out, horseman will note an additional 10% to their purses, on top of last week's purse increase. Monticello Raceway Race Secretary Eric Warner, noted that "Historically, this has always been the time of year that we raise the purses, the purse were raised 10% in February, so in a span of 7 weeks, purses have actually been increased 30%" Shawn Wiles
The fourth leg of the North American Amateur Driver's Association's Spring Trotting Series Thursday afternoon (April 13) at Monticello Raceway had plenty of harness racing action not only throughout the mile but especially in the lane as four horses finished heads apart with just a scant nose separating first and second place. And when the judges deciphered the extremely tight finish and hung the official sign, Woody, driven by "Yankee Joe" Lee was declared the winner; a very thin nose ahead of Sam's Honeybee, driven by Tony Verruso. The finish was so tight that racing room wasn't plentiful and as the top four finishers approached the wire, Joe Lee's sulky hooked Tony Verruso's but thankfully, after the finish line the two sulkies got unhooked and the only problem lied in the judges hands to decipher what happened and were any rules broken. As it turned out the judges determined that Sam's Honeybee bore out in the deep stretch which caused the trotting mare's sulky to hook Woody's. When the race results were posted Woody was the winner and Sam's Honey relegated to second money. Third place right there, was Sim Brown and driver John Kokinos. Fortunately for Lee, Woody, hooked to was sulky, was longer than Sam's Honeybee's hook-up which allowed the former to be in front at the finish despite having his sulky's wheel behind Sam's Honeybee's. "We got away slowly and were far back at the quarter," Joe Lee said in the paddock after the judge's decision was made final. "We were still quite far behind (six Lengths) at the half but up the backside I moved three-deep and we were making up ground. "Woody was in high gear when we straightened in the stretch and if Tony's sulky hadn't hooked mine we would have been a clear winner." No sooner had Lee finished explaining about his vision of the race than did he immediately grab his valise and was headed to Yankee Stadium where he is the assistant locker room manager. (And yes, Lee is on first name basis all the Yankee ballplayers). Dismissed by the betting public and sent off at odds of over 8-1, Woody paid $18.20 for win. The veteran 7-year-old Glidemaster gelding is owned by Woody Hoblitzell and trained by Bruce Aldrich, Sr. It was the second seasonal victory for Woody and the fourth win this year for driver Joe Lee. John Manzi
39 contestants were entered in the qualifying leg of the $50,000 Bet America World Harness Handicapping Championship at Monticello Raceway on Thursday March 30th, the harness racing final will be held at the Meadowlands on April 29. Harold Winslow was declared the winner, he started off strong in the contest and was a wire to wire winner. Stanley Mentrka of East Meadow, Long Island was the 2nd place finisher and received a $125 wagering voucher and local Monticello resident James Walker was 3rd and received a $75 wagering voucher. Contestants had to select 1 horse in races 1-10 and amassed a mythical bankroll if their choice finished first or second in the designated race. Harold Winslow of Clinton NY, is no stranger to Bet America Handicapping contest, his past performances include a prior appearance in the final and a top 3 finish. Harold also received a $200 check for traveling expenses courtesy of the Monticello Harness Horseman Association. Monticello Raceway Director of Simulcasting Maureen Flynn said "the contest added a lot of excitement in the simulcasting parlor, hopefully we will implement more of these type contests in the future for our patrons". Shawn Wiles
After the first leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's (NAADA) Trotting Series was snowed out at Monticello Raceway on March 16 the harness racing series got underway at the Catskills mountain oval on March 30 and when the two divisions were completed each leg was won by a former National Amateur Driver of the Year. Alan Schwartz copped his leg with Ladys Big Stormont while Robert Krivelin won his division with Current Crisis. In his split, Schwartz went down the proverbial road and made every pole a winning won en route to a 2:00 triumph. "I hadn't planned to be on the front-end from the five-hole but when the gate sprung my horse left like a runner and we were on top before the turn," Schwartz related after his driving victory. "Although he (Ladys Big Stormont) had been racing well this was the first time I had him on the lead. And he really seemed comfortable there, so much so, that I might have to send him to the front again." After Ladys Big Stormont gained command Schwartz and his trotter coasted through fractions of :30.1; 1:00.2 and 1:30.2 before kicking in a :29.3 final panel to score an easy one length victory over Sim Brown and driver John Kokinos. Joe Lee took home the show dough with Woody. Sent off at odds of over 2-1 Ladys Big Stormont returned a $6.30 win mutuel. It was the second seasonal triumph for the 6-year-old Earl of Stormont gelding who's also owned by Schwartz and trained by Raheim Strong. For Schwartz, the National Amateur Driver of the Year in 2000, his driving victory was the 579th of his amateur career. In the other division Krivelin also sent his trotter to the lead but they didn't gain command until the first stanza which was trotted in 29.1. From there Current Crisis showed the way past the half in .59.4 and by the three quarters in 1:30.1. At that point Tony Ciuffetelli mounted a charge with Tropical Storm Bi and although they were charging in the deep stretch they fell a nose short in the 2:00.1 clocked mile. Third place went to The Fighter, driven by Alan Schwartz. "He's been a good horse for me ever since I bought him from Donnie Richards at the end of his 3 year old season where he was the Maine Sires Stakes champion," Krivelin said of the 8-year old Current Crisis. "Over the years I won two Billings Finals with him and he's earned me well over $200,000." It was the third seasonal triumph for Current Crisis who's owned by Krivelin's Hero Stables and also trained by Krivelin. Sent off at odds of over 6-1, Current Crisis paid $14.20 for win. For Krivelin, who was National Amateur Driver of the Year in 2001, 2012, and 2014, the victory was the 205th of his career. By John Manzi for NAADA
Harness racing entries for the Monticello Raceway Handicapping Contest are due prior to the first race on Thursday March 30, post time is 12:50. The winner of the qualifying leg at Monticello Raceway will become eligible to the $50,000 Bet America World Harness Handicapping Championship final at the Meadowlands on April 29. The Monticello Harness Horseman Association are sponsoring the travel expenses to the Meadowlands. Participants will have to select 1 horse in races 1 through 10, there is no entry fee to enter the contest. Cash prizes will be awarded to the second place finisher ($125) and for 3rd place $75.00. Rules for the contest can be found on www.monticelloraceway.com Shawn Wiles
On Tuesday March 28, Monticello Raceway's pick 5 carry over is $1,841, it comes on the heels of the harness racing tracks qualifying round for the $50,000 World Harness Handicapping Championship which will be held on Thursday March 30, post time 12:50. Race Secretary Eric Warner has put together an 11 race card on Thursday which features 2 divisions of NAADA events.
After the first leg of the long standing NAADA Trotting Series was snowed-out last Thursday at Monticello Raceway the 2017 edition got underway with two harness racing divisions at Yonkers on March 23 and when the dust had settled Hannah Miller and Bob Krivelin each emerged victorious in their respective $6000 splits. Off her award winning 2016 season "Hurricane Hannah" showed that she knows where the winners circle is by reining the Chris Marino-trained Winwood Scout to a gate-to-wire 2:00.1 victory in her division. That victory came on the heels of Hannah's stunning 1:52.4 triumph last week at the Meadowlands which established a new world standard for the fastest mile ever driven by an amateur driver. In tonight's contest Ms. Miller took no prisoners and set sails for the lead from the pole position. She and Linwood Scout were alone on the front-end in a :29.1 clocked first quarter and from there it was catch me of you can. And not surprisingly, nobody could as Winwood Scout rambled on to a 2-1/2 length victory in a 2:00.1 clocking over Dr. John Kokinos's Sim Brown. Bob Hechkoff took home the show dough with The Franchise. "Tonight was the second time that I drove Winwood Scout for Chris (Marino). Last year at Saratoga I finished second with him and tonight we got away with reasonable fractions and he was strong throughout the mile and we won rather handily," Hannah said via telephone after her driving victory. "He's a real nice horse to drive." The winner is owned by Howard Jacobs and for "Hurricane Hannah" it was her second driving victory of the fledgling season and her 75th in just 256 lifetime starts, The other division was also a wire to wire victory for Permanent Joy and driver Bob Krivelin. After stealing a 1:01 first half Peter Kleinhans and Toss Cartwright kept the pressure on Permanent Joy but they fell a neck short at the wire and finished second in the 2:00.2 mile. Tropical Storm Bi was two lengths behind the leaders at the wire and finished third. Permanent Joy is owned by Krivelin's Hero Stables and trained by Krivelin. For the food purveyor it marked his 204th career driving victory. By John Manzi for NAADA
Due to Winter Storm Stella, Monticello Raceway has cancelled its live racing card and all simulcasting wagering for Wednesday March 15. Live Racing will resume on Thursday March 16 with a 12:50 post. Horseman should call the race office about this week’s qualifiers. The race office at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono is closed today due to the aftermath of the nor'easter that hit the region earlier this week. The qualifying races that were rescheduled for Thursday (March 16) have been cancelled all together. Officials at Buffalo Raceway have cancelled Wednesday night's (March 15) 11-race program that was scheduled for 5 p.m. due to track conditions. Racing is expected to resume on Friday night with a 10-race card slated for 5 p.m. There's an $848 carryover in the Pick-5 which begins in the second race.
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