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In the early 1980's when the CKG Billing Harness Driving Series was instituted and abetted by the North American Amateur Drivers Association little did the founders of each realize that amateur racing would become such an integral part of the industry and spur on many amateur clubs in harness racing. And when the realization that amateur racing could be wagered on there is hardly a racetrack in the Northeast that doesn't rely on carding races for amateur drivers to supplement their wagering cards. However, with the proliferation of clubs and organizations that cater to amateur drivers so many local clubs have sprung up in recent years that the Billings Series, the granddaddy of all amateur organizations, has found that finding drivers to travel to various racetracks in the US and Canada has taken a hit since many participants opt to compete in local clubs and forsake the traveling. However, tonight (May 11), over the one-mile oval at the Meadowlands the first race on the betting card was relegated to the recreational participants in the eastern region of the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series. In that contest eight amateur drivers lined-up behind the starting gate for a wagering event and when the judges posted the official sign Jennifer "Lady J" Lappe emerged victorious with her veteran trotter, FoxValley Steffen in a very creditable time of 1:55.1. Overlooked and sent off at odds of over 6-1, "Lady J" angled her charge to the pylons as the wings of the mobile gate folded and was content to travel along in fifth position. When the field headed to the third stanza Ms Lappe rallied her trotter and by the time they rounded the final turn they were third on the outside behind pace-setter Danish Durango (Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff) and Shady McCoy in rein to Dave "the Rave" Offenberg. When the field headed down the long homestretch the three aforementioned were across the racetrack but as they approached the finish line Fox Valley Steffen proved too tough for the others and went on to a two length triumph. Shady Mccoy finished second a long neck in front of Danish Durango. Each of the drivers of the top three finishers are also members of other amateur clubs. In fact every driver in the race belongs to a multitude of amateur organizations. It was the second consecutive victory and 35th of his illustrious career for Fox Valley Steffen who with this riumph has raised his lifetime earnings to nearly $400,000. He paid $15.40; $8.00 and $4.00. Next up in Billings action will be a midwest region contest at Sciota Downs on May 18. by John Manzi for the CKG Billings Harness Drivers Series

Yonkers, NY ---The North American Amateur Drivers Association has been busy of late and it probably will be for the next four months or so, not only offering weekly driving contests at Yonkers Raceway and Monticello Raceway but also hosting their European counterparts in International harness racing driving competitions. With the current NAADA trotting Series continuing and with a recently completed international driving competition against the Hungarian amateurs, tonight at Yonkers Raceway began the first of a two-track international driving competition, this time with the Spaniards from Palma de Mallorca. And what now seems to be the norm, the visiting amateurs competed on the betting card against NAADA in two races at the Hilltop oval and when the dust had settled the Spaniards humbled the USA squad winning both events. The first was captured by Pau Moll with a 44-1 shot Swift As A Shadow in 1:56 and returned a whopping $90.50; $31,00 and $11.40. Not to be outdone fellow Spaniard, Jaime Riera, hustled Showmeyourguns ($4.10) home first in 1:57.3. Two things of note in the two race competition tonight was that Pau Moll drove a pacer for the first time since they only race trotters in Europe. And Jaime Riera gained the drive behind Showmeyourguns because the horse that he was scheduled to drive was scratched and NAADA's vp Alan Schwartz graciously gave his mount to visiting Riera. In his contest Pau Moll left cautiously from the six-hole and was content to trail the field to the half and then consistently moved forward and in the final strides his Swift As Shadow collared Sammy The Bull N, driven by fellow countryman Francisco Ramis. NAADA's Joe Lee was third with Golden Gesture. "They told me I had the worst horse in the race but he went good for me and I was surprised when my horse was stronger than Francisco's at the finish," Moll said, then hesitated for a moment and emphatically added," I like driving the pacer." Swift As A Shadow is owned by Christopher Temming and trained by Michael Temming. Up behind the betting favorite in the second contest event Jaime Riera started from the pole position with Showmeyourguns and was content to allow NAADA's Monica Banca to cut swift early fractions :27.4 and :56.3 with Cresurrey before steadily closing a 10-length gap. By the time the field passed the third stanza Cresurrey's lead was three lengths and closed to two at the top of the stretch. In the lane Banca's trotter's strides weakened and with mild urging Riera got his charge up in time for a neck triumph. Third place went to Winning Princess in to NAADA's Jennifer Lappe. "Alan (Schwartz) gave me a good horse and he went a strong race," Riera said. "But I wasn't sure that we won it and when the judges posted my horse's number as the winner I felt real good." Showmeyourguns is owned and trained by Tom Milici. On Thursday, May 10, the final two races in the Spain vs USA Friendship Competition will be contested at Monticello Raceway. They'll be joined on the nine-race card by the ninth leg of the current NAADA Trotting Series. by John Manzi, for NAADA  

Right on the heels of hosting the Hungarian amateurs the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) is preparing for a visit from the Spanish harness racing amateur drivers beginning next week. "The Spaniards, from Palma de Mallorca, will be with us from Monday, May 7 through Sunday, May13 and we are preparing to entertain them with races, sightseeing and good food and we'll continue the great camaraderie started many years ago," noted Alicia Schwartz, NAADA's event planner. During the week races are planned at Yonkers Raceway, Monticello Raceway and Tioga Downs as well as a visit to "Trot Town USA" ,better known nowadays as Goshen, NY, where the visitors will tour both Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum. Along the way the Spaniards will be treated to good food and wine and will spend a couple of nights enjoying "the Big Apple" (New York City) before returning home. During the competitions drivers for the visiting Spaniards will remain the same at each venue. They include club president Jaume Bassa Riera, Guillermo Busquets Liull, Francisco Liabres Ramis, Pau Roig Moll and Santi Roig Moll. However, at each event the hometowners will field a different team. Tentatively slated to drive for NAADA at Yonkers on Tuesday (May8) are Alan Schwartz, Joe Lee, Peter Kleinhans and Monica Banca. At Monticello on Thursday (May 10) the USA team will consist of Bob Davis, Tony Ciuffitelli, Paul Minore nd Alan Schwartz. The NAADA team at Tioga Downs on Saturday (May 12) is yet to be announced. "It's a lot of work putting these competitions together and we're always happy to host our foreign friends. Everyone knows that winning is not the primary reason for the international events... and that's a good thing because it seems that everybody wins against us,"Mrs. Schwartz added with a chuckle. Just a couple of weeks ago, at the end of April, amateur drivers from Hungary were here for an international competition and after the Spaniards contests are completed NAADA will entertain amateurs from Italy and France later this year. by John Manzi, for NAADA        

Despite the fact that NAADA is preparing to host a contingent of their counterparts from Spain next week the beat goes on for the harness racing members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association. Tonight at Yonkers Raceway, two short divisions in the eighth leg of the current NAADA trotting series went to post and when the judges declared them official both Alan Schwartz and Dr. John Kokinos each emerged victorious in their respective splits which went postward prior to the betting card getting underway. Schwartz had an eyeopening triumph with his own Ladys Big Stornont in a 1:57.3 clocking while Doctor John scored comfortably in 1:59.2 with Here Comes Numbers. Both were convincing winners. Schwartz started from the four-hole and settled in fourth position and was there until the field headed to the halfway point where he moved first-up. They trotted around Wygant Prince (Paul Minore) and when Ladys Big Stormont passed the three quarter pole they had a length lead which was opened to two lengths at the wire. Soul Train in rein to Joe Lee, rallied to be second with Fox Valley Steffen and Jennifer Lappe captured the show dough. "He went a monster trip tonight," a jubulent Schwartz said after the race. "He's a nice horse with a big motor and tonight's race was his best thus far this year." Doctor John is enjoying one of his best seasons in the sulky notching his third win in the current trotting series and his 5th in just nine seasonal starts. In his split Kokinos sent Here Comes Numbers to the lead from the three hole and it was catch me if you can and nobody could as Here Comes Numbers trotted home a two length winner over Tough Get Going, driven by NAADA president, Joe Faraldo. Far back in third was Bob Davis with The Royal Harry. "Again, I had a good horse and was merely little more than a passenger," said Kokinos. "I'm learning good lessons driving these classy old veterans. by John Manzi, for NAADA

MONTICELLO,NY - Less than a week after the North American Amateur Drivers Association completed their Friendship Challenge against the visiting Hungarians it was back to two trots in the seventh leg of the NAADA spring trotting series at Monticello Raceway. And when the judges declared the races official, Paul Minore and Alan Schwartz each reined a winner in their respective splits on the nine race harness racing betting card. Minore won the sixth race with Stayin Strong in 2:01.2 while Schwartz copped the ninth and final race of the afternoon with with Ladys Big Stormont in the identical time of 2:01.2. In his division Minore notched is 100th career victory with a come-from-behind triumph to score a head victory over a stubborn Fox Valley Steffen, driven by Jennifer Lappe. Tony Verruso garnered the show dough with Flirting Duezy, who was another half length back in third. "After starting from the seven-hole and sitting in sixth position some 10 lengths off the lead, I knew with the quick early fractions of :28.2 and :58.1 that they (the leaders) would be coming back to me late in the mile," Minore said after the race. "And that's just what happened. "When we headed for the three quarters I moved my trotter to the outside and we began picking up horses. Although I was still fifth on the final turn the front-end horses began to tire and I was able to get the lead just before the wire." It was the first time Minore drove Stayin Strong, who was win-less in 12 previous starts. The 5-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding is owned by Adam Friedland and trained by Craig Mosher. He paid $15.80; $6.10 and $4.20 across the board. In the second split -race nine- Minore was up behind Wygant Prince who was 2:00.3 winner in his last start but a third place finish was all the veteran gelding could muster in an action packed event dotted with breaking horses. When the starter said "go" Schwartz hustled his charge to the lead with Monica Banca and Brandos Muscle Man on the limb challenging. As the two approached the first stanza Schwartz grabbed leather and allowed Banca to take command and then immediately retook the lead. The two trotters raced one-two past the half after Eyore Hanover (David Glasser) Tim Lizzi (Bob Davis) and Here Comes Numbers (Jennifer Lappe) all went off-stride. As the leaders headed into the final turn Tony Verruso, who was saving all the ground while traveling along the pylons with Gifted Way, decided to move for the lead on the turn but unfortunately his charge went off-stride which undoubtedly cost them the race. Although the aforementioned happened behind Schwartz who was cutting the mile, he remained undeterred and kept urging his trotter all the way to the wire. At the finish, Ladys Big Stormont was one-length winner over Brandos Muscle Man. And as stated earlier Wygant Prince took home he show dough. "After the race I was told that I had a lucky break when Gifted Way went off-stride, and maybe I did. But when it was all over my horse got the biggest share of the purse," Schwartz related. :He's (my horse) not one to ever count out. After all, he won 12 races last season and now has three wins already this year." The betting crowd was certainly in Schwartz's corner as they sent Ladys Big Stormont off as the odds-on favorite in the race. He is owned and trained by his driver and paid just $3.30 for win. On Friday, May 3 the eighth leg of the NAADA series will again be contested at Yonkers Raceway by John Manzi for NAADA

To say that Monday (April 13) was a horrible day for harness racing at Monticello Raceway would be a gross understatement. With the falling rain, the near freezing temperatures, and the muddy race track, it was a tough day for all the participants. And it just so happened that was the first day of the Hungary vs. USA international driving competition with contests to follow at Yonkers Raceway on Tuesday and at Saratoga Raceway on Thursday. But despite the adverse conditions all went well with both Hungary and the USA each winning a race. With the USA team being complimented with members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) the first event saw NAADA's Paul Minore set sail from post three with 16-1 shot, Lightning Madison, and not only easily grab the front-end but in the process go wire to wire making every pole a winning one en route to a four length triumph over Sureimalynn, handled by Hungary's, Kriztian Fazekas. And the final time of 2:08.2 was indicative of the track condition.The USA's Monica Banca took home the show dough with Jaybeebullville. "I got to the lead real easily so I just kept going on and not looking for cover," Minore related in the paddock after the race was completed. "In spite of the inclement weather it was fun. Of course, winning is always fun." Sent off at odds of 16-1 Lightning Madison paid $34.00; $7.20; and $8.30 across the board. The 11-year-old Pro Bono Best mare is owned by Ruth Ingham and trained by Vernon James. In conversation after the race Minore told how he has been fortunate when racing against European amateurs abroad. " I have been lucky to win three times in Europe on different occasions," he said. "I won last September against the Hungarians in Budapeste and in previous years I won a race at Vienna, Austria and at Solvalla in Stockholm, Sweden." Minore, a retired physical education teacher and high school coach, is proud of having world champion and Olympic multi-Gold Medal winner, Carl Lewis, begin his fabulous career under his tutelage. The second USA v Hungary contest was won by Andrea Fazekas who showed real talent in keeping her pacer,Rosie Rozzo, alive in the final quarter after being collared by Diamondsforember ( Alan Schwartz-USA) on the final turn and then go on to a length triumph in 2:04 over her challenger. Monica Banca, also representing the home team, finished third again, this time with Check My Pulse. In the post race interview Ms Fazekas was assisted by her hubby and professional driver Tamas Keleman who is fluent in English. Through Tamas, Andrea related that she listened to instructions given to her prior to the race where she was told to go to the lead. Then in her broken English she said she felt the nose of a horse that was breathing on her back on the final turn but concentrated on Alan Schwartz who was challenging with Diamondsforember. However in the deep stretch Ms Fazekas and Rosie Rozzo went on to a one length triumph. Sent off as the favorite in the race the winner paid $3.90; $3.00 and $2.30. The Yankee Cruise 5-year-old mare is owned and trained by Jody Weidman. Two things of note in the final USA-Hungary competition today are that Ms Fazekas was challenged, but to avail, by her mother, Andrea Nagyvary, who finished sixth in the race with Fly To The Angels. And after the last race in the competition at Saratoga on Thursday Andrea Fazekas and her hubby will celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary with a trip to the Dominican Republic. The USA-Hungary competition moves to Yonkers Raceway tomorrow night with two races on the betting card. The Hungarian team will remain the same but driving there for the NAADA team will be Joe Faraldo, Jennifer Lappe, Alan Schwartz and Joe Lee. by John Manzi for NAADA

The North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) will host a contingent of their harness racing counterparts from Hungary in an international Friendship Competition beginning in mid-April. It will be the first of four European amateur organizations that NAADA will host this season. Others who will be hosted by the Americans include include amateur drivers from Spain, Italy and France...... "We (NAADA) raced against our Hungarian friends last year and in 2004 we hosted them in America. However, two years ago when Hungary was the site of the World Cup of Amateur Racing the USA made its best showing in the prestigious competition when Hannah Miller, after leading all the way, was out-pointed in the final race and was relegated to second place finish in the 13-country competition of world class amateurs," noted NAADA president, Joe Faraldo. The visiting Hungarians are slated to arrive in the States on Sunday, April 15 with competitions set at three different US racetracks during the upcoming week. On Monday, April 16 two races are slated at Monticello Raceway and the following day one, maybe two contests, at Yonkers Raceway. The final events of the Friendship Competition will be at Saratoga Raceway on Thursday, April 19. The Hungarians set to compete at the Mighty M this coming Monday (April 16), and throughout the entire competition, include: Andrea Fazekas, Viktoria Kelemen, Ferenc Leanyfalvi, Krisztian Takacs, Andrea Nagyvary, and Tamas Tanczer. However, the hometown Americans will have a different team at each of the three venues. Driving for the USA at Monticello will be Alan Schwartz,Tony Cuiffetelli, Paul Minore and Monica Banca. At Yonkers Raceway the US team will consist of Joe Faraldo, Alan Schwartz, Jennifer Lappe and Joe Lee. The NAADA team at Saratoga Raceway is yet to be finalized On Tuesday(April 17) the visitors will be treated to a tour of the Intrepid Aircraft Museum and a walk through Times Square along with a luncheon sponsored by NAADA member Peter Kleinhans. In the evening the Hungarian and American drivers will battle in a race, or two, at Yonkers Raceway Then on Wednesday (April 18) it'll be off to Trot-Town USA with a visit to the Mark Ford Training Center in the morning and after a fine luncheon the visitors will be afforded a tour of Goshen Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. On Thursday (April 19) the international rivals will be vanned to Saratoga for a visit of the Historic City of Saratoga Springs before a competition at Saratoga Raceway. On Friday the visitors will return home. by John Manzi for NAADA  

Doctor John the Medicine Man strikes again.... And as in his first driving victory in the NAADA Trotting Series two weeks ago the veterinarian - harness racing horseman and his trusty charge, Here Comes Numbers, were back in the winners circle at Yonkers Raceway after copping the fourth leg of the series for amateur drivers. Two weeks ago Kokinos set sails with his veteran trotter at the Hilltop oval and made every pole a winning one en route to a 1:59.3 triumph. Using similar tactics again tonight the good doctor sent Here Comes Numbers again to the lead and allowed the veteran trotter to do his thing and the 10 year old altered son of Here Comes Herbie proved once again too much for his competition winning by a solid length in a time of 1:59.1 over Traverse Seelster, driven by Tony Ciuffetelli. The victory tonight was two-fifths of a second faster than the horse's triumph on March 22nd ,also at Yonkers Raceway. Last weeks winner in this NAADA Series, Wygant Prince, was driven to a third place finish by Paul Minore, a retired high school track coach whose most prominent student was the Olympic champion, Carl Lewis. But once again tonight belonged to Doctor John who notched his 28th career driving victory. "It's not that hard when you have the best horse in the field," Kokinos said. "You just go down the road, which I did for the second consecutive time with 'Numbers'". The winning horse is co-owned by Patrick Laiso and Jennifer Lappe and trained by Ms Lappe. The non-wagering event went for a purse of $6000 and was presented prior to the betting card getting underway. Next Thursday the NAADA Series returns for another leg at Monticello Raceway. by John Manzi for NAADA    

Over the years the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) has donated to worthy charities and this year will be no exception. "NAADA members have had the pleasure of being able to donate in excess of $100,000 to worthy charities over the many years of our existence and even as the amateur racing season gets underway this season we've already made donations of $500 to both the Make A Wish Foundation and to New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program," noted NAADA president Joe Faraldo who additionally donated to each charity. Those donations were made in late March during participation in the amateur driving series sponsored by the Florida Amateur Club at Pompano Park. According to Faraldo over $13,500 was raised during the Florida Amateur Club's racing series. "Hats off to Dein Spriggs, President of the Florida Amateur Club and its membership for organizing such a worthwhile event. An event that saw David MIller and Tim Tetrick donate their time and talent as leaders of the teams for their respective charities to wow the crowd with their unquestionable talents. The long time efforts by the Florida Club have become the benchmark for other parts of the industry to emulate, both amateur and pro.," Faraldo added. Each year NAADA makes its own substantial donations to charities like Juvenile Diabetes and the Susan B Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, just to mention a few. Monies raised for the donations come from membership and starting fees paid by the clubs participating drivers. Those monies also continue to be used to foster international competitions including organizing World Cup competitions on US soil. Over the seasons NAADA hosts, and is hosted by, various European amateur organizations. Already this year NAADA is preparing to host their counterparts from Hungary in mid-April, Spain in early May, Italy in mid-August and France in mid- October. "It's a ton of work", said Faraldo, "but worth all the effort benefitting the charities , while also supplying a predicate for nurturing good will amongst nations involved in harness racing worldwide".   John Manzi

On an extremely foggy afternoon with intermittent rain falling in New York's southern Catskill Mountains harness racing driver Paul Minore sat a two-hole trip then rallied his old warhorse, Wygant Prince, to a neck victory in the third leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) trot at Monticello Raceway on Thursday March 29. After starting from the pole position Minore parked Jennifer Lappe's Here Come Numbers around the first turn then allowed the 10-year-old gelding to take command as the field trotted by the first panel in :29. "I didn't want Here Comes Numbers to take command with ease so I parked him a ways and then let Jennifer have the lead," Minore related in the paddock after the race was over. "I figured I'd get a good two-hole trip behind her because her trotter was the betting favorite and had raced well in his recent starts." Once on top Lappe showed the way by the half in :59.2 with Wygant Prince tucked in tightly behind her trotter. As the seven-horse passed the third stanza in 1:30.1 Here Comes Numbers opened up daylight and he was 2-1/2 lengths in front as they headed for paydirt. "She (Ms Lappe) got away a bit on the final turn but once we straightened for home my horse began to grind away at the leader and in the final strides we got up for a neck victory in 2:00.3. Third place went to Connie Keeper , driven by Tony Verruso. The race winner, an 11 year-old altered son of SJ's Photo, notched his third seasonal victory and the 34th of his illustrious career and leaves him just $93 short of $400,000 in lifetime earnings. He is owned by Minore and trained by Taylor Gower. As for Minore it was his 94th career driving victory in the USA and when one counts Minore's three triumphs in races contested in Europe he now needs just three more for 100 lifetime victories. The NAADA trotting series continues next Thursday at Yonkers Raceway. by John Manzi, for NAADA

The Doctor in... at least he was on Thursday at Yonkers Raceway. On that cool crisp March 22nd evening Dr Kokinos took no prisoners when he sent Here Comes Numbers down the road and made every pole a winning one en route to a solid three- length harness racing victory in the second leg of the NAADA Trotting Series at Yonkers Raceway which was presented before the betting card got underway. Second place went to Tough Get Going driven by Joe Faraldo. Dave Yarock took home the show dough with Hidden Identity who finished some 10 lengths off the winner.. Kokinos and Here Come Numbers took charge when the gate sprung and they had command as they passed by the first stanza in a swift :28.4. Once on top Kokinos kept the pedal to the metal as Here Comes Numbers proved to be too much for his competition and they cruised to an easy 1:59.3 victory. According to Faraldo, who is the president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA), he asked Kokinos why he went such a stiff first quarter to which Faraldo said Kokino replied "once I got him in high gear there was no way I'd be able to take him back. And besides, he was comfortable and full of trot". In the NAADA series last week at Monticello Raceway Tony Ciuffetelli's Better To Be Lucky was victorious and Monica Banca's Master Of Excuses was close second but tonight at the Hilltop oval both trotters made breaks during the mile and finished fifth and sixth respectively. Here Comes Numbers, a 10-year-old altered son of Here Comes Herbie, notched his second seasonal triumph and his 30th of his racing career where he massed purses in excess of $352,000. He is currently owned by Patrick Laiso and Jennifer Lappe nd trained by Lappe. The 10-race NAADA series continues next Thursday at Monticello Raceway. by John Manzi for NAADA

Sporting brand new driving colors harness racing driver Tony Ciuffetelli bidded his time and then rallied Better To Be Lucky to a come-from-behind victory in the NAADA Trotting Series season's opener at Monticello Raceway on the ides of March. They traveled along in third position until the three quarters as Monica Banca and Master of Excuses cut all the fractions before yielding in the deep stretch. Third place in the 2:00 trotting mile went to Ladys Big Stormont, driven by Alan Schwartz. "He raced good today," Ciuffetelli said as he hung up the lines after his driving victory. "It (the race) didn't go as I had planned. I had visions of taking the lead but when I saw that Monica (Banca) wanted the front-end I eased my trotter down along the pylons into third position. "I ended-up having a good trip and waited as long as I could to make a move for the lead which I did as we neared the three quarters. After ranging alongside Monica's horse (Master of Excuses) we raced head to head around the final turn and by mid-stretch I knew we'd be the winner." Better To be Lucky pulled away in the final strides for the trotter's second consecutive victory, having won a claiming trot at Saratoga Raceway on March 4th with Phil Fluet at the reins. Sent off as second choice, at odds of better than 2-1, the winner paid $6.60. Ciuffettelli owns and trains the 6-year-old Lucky Chucky gelding who notched his second seasonal triumph. For Ciuffetelli, a retired corrections officer, it marked his third seasonal driving victory in just seven trips to post and his 53rd career triumph. Today's NAADA Trot was the first in a two-track trotting series--with Yonkers Raceway--which will end in a $15,000 Final at the Hilltop oval on Friday, May 17. Next up will be a leg at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday March 22. by John Manzi, for NAADA

Yonkers, NY--When harness racing amatuer Alan Schwartz claimed Ladys Big Stormont for $12,500 in early July of last season he knew he was purchasing a quality trotter and after owning the Earl of Stormont gelding for over a year and a half the trotter has returned his purchase price 'four fold'. Tonight (December 1) at Yonkers Raceway, in the $15,000 NAADA Trotting Series Final, Schwartz and his trusty steed kept all comers at bay and went on to score a neck triumph over Wygant Prince and driver Paul Minore in 2:00. Another neck behind the leaders in third place was Peter Kleinhans and Toss Cartwright After starting from the five-hole Schwartz sent Ladys Big Stormont toward the front as the wings of the mobile gate folded but Dave Yarock had the same idea with Mr Ridgetaker and they gained command midway around the first turn. Schwartz and Ladys Big Stormont then settled in along the pylons in third position directly behind Pail Minore's Wygant Prince and the three trotters raced in file order past the first stanza in :28.4 Yarock then led the field by the halfway point in :59.4 and although Schwartz was anxious he waited until they straightened up the backside to move Ladys Big Stormont. "When I pulled him he shot up alongside Yarock's trotter and we raced head to head to the three quarters and around the final turn and we finally cleared to the lead as we headed down the homestretch," Schwartz related. But trouble was coming when Minore moved Wygant Prince to the passing lane and Peter Kleinhans rallied Toss Cartwright on the outside and the three trotters charged side by side for paydirt "My horse was real gritty and he turned back the challengers and we held on for a neck victory over Paul's trotter. Peter's horse finished third ," Schwartz said. To say that Ladys Big Stormont is currently at the top of his game would be an understatement. In his last eight races the venerable trotter has five wins and three seconds and for the season Ladys Big Stormont reached the winners circle 11 times. Add that to 10 seconds and four thirds and the 6-year-old Earl of Stormont gelding raised his seasonal earnings to over $55,000. by John Manzi for NAADA

MONTICELLO, NY - The last two amateur races of the season at Monticello Raceway were contested on Wednesday, November 29 and when the harness racing judges hung the official signs Tony Ciuffetelli emerged victorious in the $6000 NAADA Consolation while Jennifer Lappe copped the $6500 Catskill Club Final. Ciuffetelli reined trotter Better To Be Lucky home first in a 2:01.2 clocking whereas Lapped scored a 1:59.2 triumph with pacer Lightning Strike. There was only a five horse field for the NAADA consolation and taking advantage of the short field Tony Ciuffetelli sent his charge to the lead. Once there they made every pole a winning one en route to a head victory over Connie Keeper and driver Bob Krivelin . "Since my horse is good on the lead, and with the pole position and the short field, I thought the front end was the place to be," Ciuffetelli said after the race. They charged to the front and Better To Be Lucky trotted off to an early lead. But they couldn't shake Connie Keeper who followed along doggedly in the two hole as the others faded lengths behind. When the leaders headed for home Krivelin moved Connie Keeper out to challenge and they raced neck and neck to the finish and at the wire Better To Be Lucky prevailed by a head. Third place went to Grand Vision in rein to Bob Ciavardini. "He had breaking issues earlier this year but he's OK now.", Ciuffetteli said referring to Better To Be Lucky. "I was getting after him pretty good as we neared the wire but he stayed at his work and hung tough today" Ciuffetlli also owns and trains the winner who returned an $8.20 mutuel. The Catskill Amateur Club's finale was a tribute to the ladies as three were finalists and the gals finished one -three an action packed driving finish. When the wings of the mobile starting gate folded Monica Banca sent Fox Valley Leo to the lead followed on the outside by Lightning Strike and driver Jennifer Lappe. But as they approached the first stanza in a swift :27.2 Lappe found room on the inside and tucked in nicely behind the leader. Before the field passed the halfway point in .57.2 Gerry Fielding was out and going with Troon, the betting favorite. They rallied alongside Fox Valley Leo as the three quarter timer flashed 1:27.4. When they straightened for paydirt Fox Valley Leo and Troon battled side by side and then in mid-stretch they were joined in the passing lane by Lucky Strike and the three raced to the finish. At the wire Lappe's pacer, Lucky Strike, prevailed by a length. Troon was second and Fox Valley Leo third. "We got lucky finding room along the pylons or we'd have been hung out," a joyous Lappe related in the paddock as she hung up the lines. "Lightning Strike is a pleasure to drive and I guess we just clicked." It marked Lucky Strike's fourth victory in his last five starts for Lappe. Owned and trained by Bill Mintz he paid $4.00 for win. On Friday the $15,000 NAADA Final will be contested at Yonkers Raceway as a non-wagering affair prior to the first race on the betting card. by John Manzi for NAADA and the CADC

Efforts by the North American Amateur Drivers Association and the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club are under way to organize a race for military veterans who are also amateur harness drivers are coming to fruition according to NAADA vice president, Alan Schwartz. The event will be held on Thursday November 9, noted Alan Schwartz a former U.S Marine who besides being the vice president of NAADA is also the president of the Monticello Raceway's Harness Horsemen's Association. At the end of the November 9th racing card at the Mighty M both NAADA and CADC will each donate $1000 to the Veteran's Food Pantry of Sullivan County, NY. Both amateur organizations are urging those who plan on attending the afternoon's race card to please bring along a non-perishable food item which will then be delivered to the veteran's food pantry. Beginning Wednesday November 1, Monticello Raceway will revert to its winter post time of 12:25pm. By Shawn Wiles

Monticello, NY - Ever since the resurgence of amateur harness racing in the early 1980's Monticello Raceway has been in the forefront of that movement. On the Thursday afternoon card of October 26th three events--two NAADA trots and one trot for Billings drivers were carded and when the races were declared official , Alan Schwartz, Jennifer Lappe and Bobby Krivelin each were victorious in their respective splits. Schwartz won the first NAADA Trot with Linda Marie in 2:00 while Lappe copped the second division with Fox Valley Steffen in a 2:00.3 clocking. Krivelin's triumph came in a Billings Trot when he guided Permanent Joy home first in 1.59. In his NAADA split Schwartz, driving Linda Marie for the first time, sent the 6-year-old Crazed mare to the lead when the wings of the mobile gate folded although it wasn't his pre-race plan. "I thought I'd follow Peter's (Kleinhans) horse (Toss Cartwright-the betting favorite from the rail) and sit in behind him but my mare got away quickly so I sent her to the lead and it was a good thing I did because Toss Cartwright made a break on the first turn," Schwartz related. Schwartz and his trotting mare stepped by the first quarter in a swift :28.4 and with the next stanzas well rated no others took a shot at the leader and she cruised though fractions of :31.1 and :30.3 before kicking in a :29.3 final quarter en route to a 1-1/2-length triumph over Tony Verruso's Flirting Duesy and Bobby Krivelin's Connie Keeper. Owned and trained by Jim Doherty, Jr Linda Marie paid $6.50 for win. The second NAADA split was a six-horse field with two women among the drivers-, and one, Jennifer Lappe, showed she knows her way around the racetrack when she kept her charge, Fox Valley Steffen close to the pace and then maneuvered him on the final turn so she had a clear passage to the wire. "I was content to follow the leaders as Paul (Minore) set steady fractions with Wygant Prince and on the final turn I looked for the short path to the wire and used the passing lane to my advantage. In the deep stretch we trotted by Ladys Big Stormont (Alan Schwartz ) and Wygant Prince (Paul Minore) and we were home free." Ms Lappe owns and trains Fox Valley Steffen who as the longest shot on the board paid $23.20. The final amateur race was leg of America's premier traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Series. In that contest seven trotters lined-up behind the starting gate and when the wings folded Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin and Permanent Joy took charge. After starting from the five hole Krivelin sent his veteran 9-year-old trotter to the front and literally toyed with the opposition and played catch me if you can. But no one could as he and his Trot For Joy gelding cruised through fractions of :29;:58.3 and 1:28.3 before finishing a solid two lengths in front of Tim Lizzie and driver "Yankee Joe" Lee for a two-length victory in 1:59 "He's super on the lead," Krivelin said upon his return to the paddock as he handed the lines to the horse's groom. "He's (Permanent Joy) is a nice old horse and a real pleasure to drive." Owned by the Hero Stables and trained by Krivelin, Permanent Joy won for the fifth time this season and 35th time in his career. He returned a $7.00 mutuel. by John Manzi for NAADA & The Billings Series  

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