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After the first leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association-sponsored, France vs. USA International Driving Competition, which was held at Yonkers Raceway on Tuesday (April 21),the American team had vaulted to the lead on the strength of a wire to wire harness racing triumph by America's Monica Banca. After the day was over and all involved were breaking bread together, Joe Faraldo, chided to France's Romain Poree that the US team was ahead by seven points. "We're not worried, "Poree told Faraldo. Like good wine we French get better with age." And did they ever. On Wednesday afternoon, April 22 in the second leg of the contest held at Monticello Raceway, Poree, a racing journalist and son of a professional harness trainer, put on a driving clinic winning both races in the France-U.S.A Friendship Competition and with one horse, a pacer by the name of Bay Street, returned a $205.00 win payoff. It also happened to be the first time that Poree had ever driven a pacer, or as he called him "an ambler". For the record, only trotters are raced in Europe. Amateur World Champion in 2010 and French Champion in 2009, Poree was perhaps more at home behind trotter, Wheres the Clicker, whom he guided to victory in the other contest event. But his triumph from the eight- hole with Bay Street had the railbird's eyes wide open. After falling into sixth position on the first turn Poree and Bay Street were content to follow the leaders. They were sixth at the quarter; seventh at the half and eighth and last as they passed the third stanza. But on the final turn Poree moved his charge wide and in the lane they came on like gangbusters-seemingly out of nowhere- and at the wire they had collared the betting favorite Spencer B and USA teamster Alan Schwartz, in a mile timed in 2:00.2. France's Sophie Blanchetiere, with Caviart Jett, made it a three-horse photo but they were on the short end and had to settle for third place. Bay Street paid a whopping $205.00- $53.00 and $14.00 across the board. The pacer is owned by Ruth Ingham and trained by Vernon James. In the other division Poree showed great driving ability when he kept a fractious Where's The Clicker well off the gate as the field began motion and then eased his charge up to his pole position and they got away trotting. Despite the horse's purported shenanigans, Where's The Clicker went off as the betting favorite in the race. After a :29.2 first panel, set by Candid Man, driven by fellow Frenchmen Christophe Roszak, the pace slowed as the field approached the halfway point. So Poree moved his trotter first-up and was alongside the leader in a 1:02 half. Where's The Clipper cleared Candid Man after the three quarters, Poree then braced for a hard charging Chuckie B, and driver Alan Schwartz. However, Poree's charge kicked in a 29.1 final stanza and they cruised to a three-length triumph over Schwartz's trotter in a time of 2:03.1. Candid Man held on for the show dough. The winner, owned by Mike Simons and Cary Greenberg, paid $80 for win. Mike's son Shawn Simons is the trainer of record. Living up to words expressed by Romain Poree on the first day of the competition France went from seven behind to lead their American counterparts by seven points after two days were in the books. And as the point totals were being tallied, Poree turned to Faraldo and said; ""I told you we'd get better before it's over." With Thursday relegated to a sight-seeing bus tour of NewYork City, the final leg of the Friendship Competition will be held at the Meadowlands on Friday (April 24). By John Manzi for NAADA

YONKERS, NY, Friday, April 17, 2015--A "belle dame" and a racing journalist are among the five amateur drivers from France vying against a quintet of USA counterparts in the "French-American Friendship Competition," with Yonkers Raceway hosting the opening event Tuesday afternoon (April 21). First post for the matinee card is 1 PM, with the 1¼-mile, 10-horse event going as the 11th of 12 races. The four-day competition continues at Monticello Raceway Wednesday (April 22), Freehold Raceway Thursday (April 23) and the finale on Friday night (April 24) at the Meadowlands. The French contingent includes leading lady Sophie Blanchetiere, a winner of 350 amateur races, and four French amateur championships, including the last two; racing journalist Romain Poree, the amateur world champion in 2010 and French champion in 2009; Michel Poirier, the top French amateur in 2003; and Christophe Roszak, who finished in the top ten of the French championships. None of these French drivers have ever been on United States soil. The fifth driver, Hubert Jay, is the club representative and will only drive two races - at Yonkers and The Meadowlands - in the pair of contests with 10-horse fields. Jay studied in Minnesota and North Dakota. The America amateurs are: Peter Gerry, Peter Kleinhans, Robert Krivelin, Alan Schwartz and Anthony Verruso. Here's the field in order of post position: 1. Meadowview Arny (Alan Schwartz); 2. Prince Lauxmont (Christophe Roszak); 3. Blue Valley (Robert Krivelin); 4. Trottin Troy (Hubert Jay); 5. Amalfi Coast (Peter Kleinhans); 6. Hesgotlegs (Romain Poree); 7. Cagnes (Peter Gerry); 8. Mr. Invincible (Sophie Blanchetiere); 9. Nowerland Firebird (Anthony Verruso); 10. Sun of Victory (Michel Poirier). "The dates are set, and fine-tuning the details to host our amateur friends who are coming from across the sea are being finalized," North American Amateur Driving Association president Joe Faraldo said. "It is the first time that we (America) race against our French counterparts on American soil." Blanchetiere, whose father was a harness trainer, works with her partner trainer/driver Yannick-Alain Briand in France. She has driven more than 1,800 races with just over 350 wins and competed internationally in Sweden, Malta and Switzerland. Blanchetiere started driving when she was 16. "I have never been to America, so I look forward to it," Blanchetiere said. "I have had a look at the Yonkers races that they show on Equidia here in France. It's very different from everything I know. I assume I will need a few races to adjust, but it's going to be fun."  Poree is a racing journalist and son of a harness trainer who raced 1989 UET Grand Prix winner Tipouf and also took him to the International Trot at Yonkers a year later. He has extensive international experience having also driven in Sweden, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and Germany. He has accumulated nearly 140 wins in more than 800 races. "I never went to the States, but I have been dreaming of driving over there," Poree said. "I also like to follow the top drivers, like Tim Tetrick, but Brian Sears is definitely my favorite. I like his style, he's a fine driver." The veteran Poirier, who turned 60 earlier this weekd, is a farmer who also breeds trotters. He started driving horses at the track of local trainer Guy Dreux, who encouraged him to get an amateur license. Poirier won his first race at Alencon on May 29, 1977 and has more than 300 career wins in some 2,300 races with international experience in Spain and Italy. "I've never been to the States, so it is a big trip for me," said Poirier. "My wife is coming along and I am happy that we travel with other drivers because I would feel a bit lost on my own in New York." Roszak is a breeder from Normandy who became interested in harness racing during his youth from his monthly trips to the track with his father and got his amateur license in 1994. He tried his hand at training for a while before switching over to the breeding side of the business. "I have never been to the US and feel privileged to go," Roszak said. "I hope that we will make the most of it and have good fun with our fellow Americans." Club manager Hubert Jay, who won the French Amateur Cup in 2004, was around horses at a very young age with his grandfather who was a trainer. He won his first race at age 17, but soon after had to focus his attention on academic studies. "I had to give it up, but I always wanted to keep on training and driving as a hobby," explained Jay who has been to the U.S. before. "I studied in Minnesota and South Dakota, but did not go racing over there. It's an honor to drive at The Meadowlands and Yonkers, world famous racetracks." The NAADA is planning to host another amateur series involving drivers from Spain in June. BY JOHN CIRILLO, for Yonkers Raceway and the NAADA  

Hannah Miller sat a pocket and waited until the long homestretch to send Rev It Now to a 2:00.4 victory in her division of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's trotting series sixth leg presented at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday, April 16. And although Alan Schwartz used an overland journey from the half with Bad I Am he sparked similar results in their 2:00.3 triumph. For Ms. Miller it marked her third consecutive victory in the NAADA series after having been victorious at Monticello Raceway and Freehold Raceway in previous weeks. In her $6000 non-wagering split, Miller appeared to have the best trotter in the race and like she has done often this season, she gave Rev It Now a picture-prefect drive. She waited patiently in a pocket until the homestretch at which point she urged her trotter to overtake the pace-setter, Gimme The Loot, driven Joe Faraldo, and then hold off a late charge by Tony Verruso with Sam's Honeybee. At the wire Rev It Now was a solid one-length winner over Sam's Honeybee who photo-ed out Gimme The Loot for the place money. The 9-year old altered son of Revenue S is owned by Miller, her boyfriend, Nick Surick and her dad, Erv Miller. Schwartz, too, has been hot-handed of late with three wins in his last five starts. The 68 year old former Marine, is also one of the sport's top amateur drivers,currently with 580 career wins. In his division Schwartz left softly from the four-hole and as the field neared the halfway point he had Bad I Am out following the cover on the limb provided by Steve Oldford with Starsaboveallerage. Oldford's trotter cleared the pace-setter, Tagmaster (Bob Hechkoff), before the final turn and then braced for Schwartz with Bad I Am. Starsaboveallerage was determined by Bad I Am wore him down in the final strides to score a head victory. SF Ciro with Matt Zuccurello at the lines, finished third, some 4 lengths behind the top two. For Bad I Am, it marked the trotter's fourth win in his last five starts. The 4 year old Prayer I Am gelding, is owned by his driver. Still the buzz is all about Hannah Miller. Not since Jordan Stratton displayed his talents in the amateur ranks has anyone opened the eyes of the railbirds as does Miller. The 23 year old female phenom now has won four of her last five starts and she will be counted on the bolster the United States team in the upcoming U.S.A- French Amateur Competition which gets underway on Tuesday, April 21 at Yonkers Raceway. For that matter so will Schwartz who has driven successfully in amateur competitions in many of the European countries, as well as Canada and New Zealand. John Manzi

The North American Amateur Drivers Association members will have to be at the top of their game when a contingent of French amateurs invade the U.S. later this week. NAADA will host their French counterparts for a week beginning on April 19 and continuing through April 27. The organization's president, Joe Faraldo, has tentatively lined-up competitions at four tracks in the mid- Atlantic region beginning with the Tuesday matinee on April 21 with races at Yonkers Raceway, followed by races on Wednesday at Monticello Raceway on April 22, Freehold Raceway on April 23 and at the Meadowlands on April 24. The races slated at Yonkers Raceway will have international appeal when they'll be simulcast to off-track outlets in France, something that began after Yonkers and the SOA constructed bridges for making American races available for wagering in Europe. "Not only will the races be on the betting card at Yonkers but the contests will be simulcast to the off-track outlets in France and they will be available for the French-and other European- harness players to wager on them," Faraldo explained. "The participating French amateurs are especially well known in their homeland." The quintet from France includes Sophie Blanchetiere, four-time French amateur champion who has been tops in 2013 and 2014; Romain Poree, amateur world champion in 2010 and French champion in 2009; Michel Poirier, who was the top French amateur in 2003; and Christophe Roszak, who finished in the top ten of the French championships. A fifth driver, Hubert Jay, is the club representative and will only drive in the two races at Yonkers and The Meadowlands when there will be a field of 10 starters. NAADA will also field a powerful team which will change from track to track. Among the top-flight American amateurs who will be driving in the competition include Alan Schwartz, Bobby Krivelin, Steve Oldford, Bob Hechkoff, Tony Verruso, Matt Zuccarello, Paul Minore, and the U.S A's own "female flash", Hannah Miller. But as president Faraldo has often said "amateur racing is just an excuse human relations". With that in mind NAADA will host the French contingent and not only treat them to races at four various American tracks but their visit will include many other amenities. Among them will be a guided bus tour of New York City, a visit to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame and Historic Track as well as luncheons and dinners at Don Peppe, Circus, Zero Otto Nove, Delancey's and more. Prior to their French counterparts return trip home they will be treated to a sail around the Statue of Liberty--by the way a gift from the people of France back in 1886-- on the World Yacht. While here, NAADA will house all the members of the French team at the Bentley Hotel in NYC which will be their home base in America. " All arrangements have been the work of event coordinator extraordinaire, Alicia Schwartz, whose tireless work is always much appreciated by guests from every country that NAADA has ever hosted," Faraldo added. John Manzi    

Hannah Miller is on a roll. The 23- year- old daughter of top harness racing trainer Erv Miller is showing the racing world that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and she is making a name for herself in a sport dominated by men. On the wet and dreary Thursday (April 9) afternoon in New York's southern Catskill Mountains, Miller reined Rev It Now to a 2:02 triumph over a soggy racetrack in the fifth leg of the North American Amateur Driver Trotting Series which was held at Monticello Raceway. It was the second consecutive NAADA victory for the Miller-Rev It Now connection after they scored a 2:01.1 triumph at Freehold Raceway on April 5. And it was the third consecutive triumph for Ms. Miller having been victorious with Jacks To Open in an amateur contest at the Meadowlands on April 3. Undeterred against a field of all male drivers on Thursday afternoon at Monticello Miller and Rev It Now started from the five-hole and left to find a spot along the pylons on the first turn .They settled in fifth position as Bob Hechkoff and Tagmaster scooted to the lead from the five hole as the wings of the mobile gate folded. Alan Schwartz, with betting favorite Bad I Am from post two, was content to be in the cat-birds seat from the get-go and watched as Hechkoff parked-out Swift Blizzard (Bob Davis) and refused to let him go. Joseph Lee, after reining a 183.00 winner earlier on the card, held fourth place with Miss Directed. The field was still in that line-up as they passed the half at which point Miller moved Rev It Now to the outside and up moved closer to Swift Blizzard who was getting lots of fresh air on the limb. Miller got Rev it Now revved-up as the field trotted toward the third stanza and she kept her trotter in high gear as they went three-deep around Swift Blizzard before she moved down alongside Hechkoff and Tagmaster on the final turn which posed a real problem for Alan Schwartz and Bad I Am. "Early on I thought I was going to have the best of it with a 2-hole trip but when Bob Davis' trotter didn't tire and Hannah went three deep around the horses in front of her, I never saw daylight until the passing lane appeared," Schwartz said after the race. In the lane Rev It Now was still wide-open and he. carried Miller to a one and one quarter length victory. Schwartz and Bad I Am used the passing lane but the heavy going on the inside of the racetrack caused by the rainy afternoon hindered Bad I Am in the deep stretch and they had to settle for second money. Tony Verruso came from far back with Flirting Duezy to finish third. Tagmaster faded to fourth. "When I Moved Rev It Now three wide up the backside I didn't want cover at that point and I just let him ramble," Miller said. "We never cleared Tagmaster until we straightened for home but when we did my horse got brave, kept at his business and we were easy winners. "He's a nice horse and even at 9 years old he's still go it." Miller co-owns the winner with her dad Erv Miller and her boyfriend, Nick Surick. Rev It Now paid $7.00 for win. It seems that Hannah Miller is peaking at the right time because she will be needed when the North American Amateur Drivers Association hosts a contingent of talented French Amateur drivers during the week of April 21. The French contingent will be led by the talented lady driver Sophie Blanchetiere, who is the reigning amateur champion in France and winner of more than 250 races.. Being among the drivers that NAADA will be counting on in the US-France competition Miller was asked if she will be intimidated by Sophie Blanchetiere's prowess when they go head to head. Miller just smiled and said "Bring on Sophie!" Races in the U.S.- French Amateur Competition will be at Yonkers (April 21), Monticello (April 22), Freehold(April 23) and at the Meadowlands on April 24. John Manzi

By now Hannah Miller is used to competing against the boys. And since she's among the few female amateur drivers in the United States she more than holds her own against her harness racing counterparts. At Freehold Raceway on Saturday afternoon in a leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's (NAADA) trotting series Ms. Miller wore down the pace-setter and then held off a late charge by the betting favorite to score a hard fought head victory with Rev It Now in a time of 2:01.. After the race got underway Ms. Miller allowed Rev It Now to coast away from the gate and watched Tagmaster ( Bob Hechkoff) and Wygant Prince (Paul Minore) circle them on the first turn. At the first panel, which was trotted in :29.1, Tagmaster had command followed closely by Wygant Prince. Miller was content to be in third position at that point, but when Hechkoff grabbed leather she was out and moving while Minore chose to stay put in the cat-bird seat. Still third at the halfway point Miller's veteran trotter kept grinding toward the lead but they were second on the limb at the three quarters. However the only lead Miller's charge had came at the wire after Rev it Up trotted by Tagmaster in mid-stretch and then held off the late rally by Wygant Prince to score a head triumph over Minore's trotter. Rev It Now, a 9 year old altered son of Revenue S is owned by her driver along with the Nick Surick and the Erv Miller Stables. Sent off as second choice in the wagering Rev It Now paid $6.40 to win. Watching all the action in that contest while himself chasing the leaders and finishing fifth with Gimme The Loot, NAADA president Joe Faraldo said he is impressed with Hannah Miller's talent. "Being Erv Miller's daughter she has good breeding," Faraldo said jokingly. "I mean,she grew up in the sport and she has solid knowledge of harness racing. And she drives a horse really well, too. However, she'll be moving up in class later this month when NAADA hosts the French Amateur Drivers in an international competition. Hannah will get to compete against another top female driver and the reigning French Amateur Champion, Sophie Blanchetiere whose won over 350 races. We're counting on Hannah to bolster our NAADA team in that competition." John Manzi for NAADA  

Of course it's early but it appears that harness racing drivers Alan Schwartz and Bob Hechkoff have the top two horses in the eight-leg trotting series sponsored by the North American Amateur Drivers Association. In the third NAADA leg at Yonkers Raceway last night (March 26) which Schwartz won with Bad I Am in a 2:00.4 clocking while Hechkoff followed suite winning with Tagmaster in 2:01.2. And it marked the second victory for both trotters in the series. It was the second consecutive triumph for Bad I Am after having copped the NAADA- leg at Monticello Raceway a week earlier. Schwartz, who says if he takes his horse back as the gate springs, Bad I Am loses interest. "So after starting from the six-hole I let ramble with hopes of finding a hole but we made the front-end in a relatively soft :29.4, which was a bargain," Schwartz explained. "Once we had the lead I just let him (Bad I Am) cruise and we never had a serious challenge the rest of mile and at the wire we were an easy two- length winner." Former New York Yankee batboy and avid amateur driver, Joe Lee, had a good two-hole journey with Miss Directed but they couldn't make up any ground in the lane and had to settle for second place. In the $6000 contest. Tony Verruso took home the show dough with Flirting Duezy. Bad I Am, purchased last fall by Schwartz, is trained by Raheim Strong. In the other non-wagering division Hechkoff gunned his veteran trotter, Tagmaster, to the lead and once on top they commanded respect and they made every pole a winning one en route to their second victory in the series. Because of interference in the homestretch second place finisher, Grecale AS, was placed fifth which allowed Paul Minore's Swift Blizzard to take home second money. Third place went to Candid Man, driven by Tony Verruso. Tagmaster is owned by Hechkoff's R.B.H Ventures Inc. and trained by Kyle Spagnola. The next leg in the NAADA series is slated for Saturday afternoon, April 4th at Freehold Raceway. John Manzi

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

The first leg of the three track trotting series sponsored by the North American Amateur Drivers Association was contested at Freehold Raceway on Saturday afternoon, March 14 and when the judges hung the official signs Jimmy Marshall IV and Bob Hechkoff were each victorious in their respective divisions; Marshall IV with Blazin Delores in 2:01: 4 and Hechkoff with Pounce Hanover in 2:03. Blazin Delores had drawn the pole position and young Marshall gunned her to the lead and they got away with a soft first stanza when betting favorite Rev It Now (Hannah Miller) made a break after the start. As Blazin Delores trotted to the halfway point David Glasser with CSI What's My Name moved out to pick up the pace but they never cleared the leader. Marshall's mare still was in command and kept Glasser's charge at bay and when the straightened for home Blazin Delores was still strong and finished an easy two-length winner over CSI What's My Name. Keystone Sadie finished third for Peter Gerry. The winner is owned and trained by Laurie Molnar. She paid $6.20 for win. A second NAADA Trotting division was won in similar fashion when Bob Hechkoff took no prisoners and went down the road with Pounce Hanover from the pole position and rebuffed an early challenge from Bad I Am which forced driver Alan Schwartz to take a seat. Once Schwartz took the two-hole, Hechkoff's trotter was left alone in command and had clear sailing until the three quarters where challenges amounted. Schwatz moved alongside Hechkoff's charge and from far back came a hard-charging Windell Winkie and driver Tony Verruso rallying three- deep on the final turn. They were nearly side by side as they rambled through the lane and a photo was needed to determine the order of finish.The camera caught Pounce Hanover a head better than Bad I Am and Windell Winkie was another head back in third place, all three trotters timed in 2:03. Pounce Hanover is owned by Hechkoff's R.B.H Ventures, Inc and trained by Virgil Morgan. He rewarded his backers with a $4.40 win mutuel. The next leg will be contested at Monticello Raceway on Thursday, March 19. In the upcoming months the NAADA members will represent the USA in international amateur driving competitions against the French in April and the Spaniards in June. John Manzi for Naada

To add to the new found harness racing camaraderie with France, Joe Faraldo, as president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association, has extended an invitation to a quartet of French amateur drivers to be their guests and compete against representatives of NAADA at various east coast racetracks in late April.   And Faraldo has already received a confirmation from Hubert Jay of UNAT (French Amateur Association) saying "we are very pleased to cross the Atlantic with a delegation of four amateurs and their guests and enjoy your hospitality."   Races for the competiton are tentatively scheduled to be held at Yonkers Raceway, Freehold Raceway, Monticello Raceway and Vernon Downs.   "We are pleased to be able to host our French friends and look forward to the competitions and the friendships that amateur racing fosters," Faraldo said.   According to Messr Jay, among the French contingent are Sophie Blanchetiere, the 2013 and 2014 French Champion, and Romain Poree, winner of the World Championship in 2010, both of whom are well known to the French horseplayers. John Manzi  

(Monticello, NY). Having reached a 50 year milestone working in the harness racing industry (with 34 years serving as Monticello Raceway’s publicity director), today John Manzi announced his retirement effective December 19th, 2014. Commenting on his retirement, Manzi stated, “Every race has to come to an end. And after five decades of answering the call to the post, the time is right for me to relax a little and enjoy my golf clubs and my grandchildren. "After seeing so much being at the helm of the Monticello Raceway public relations office for many years," Manzi said, "one thing remains supremely important to me. It’s all of the good people I have met and the friends I have made.”  While he is officially retiring, Monticello Raceway management and John Manzi have agreed that he will continue to write articles for the track and from time-to-time he will offer assistance to racing operations office. Laurette Pitts, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Empire Resorts, Inc., owner of Monticello Raceway, stated, “John Manzi is simply an industry legend. Through good times and bad, John played a pivotal role in promoting the harness racing sport. Utilizing his unique brand of creativity, he generated an incalculable amount of good will and positive exposure for Monticello Raceway.  While his booming laugh and friendly smile will be greatly missed, we understand his desire to enter this new phase of his life.” Manzi began his harness racing career in 1958, three years before he would graduate from Monticello High School, when he began working as a trainer at the stables his family owned locally. He consequently began his racing career where he won seven out of eight of his first races at local county fairs.  In 1974, after living and racing all over the East Coast, he got a chance to come back home when he became the assistant to Monticello Raceway Racing Secretary. Two years later, after a brief stint as Racing Secretary, Manzi was assigned to Monticello Raceway’s office of publicity and public relations. In 1980 he was promoted to the position of publicity director. From racing elephants, to camels, to elephants against camels, to having a former New York Giants football player race against a horse, Manzi built an impressive legacy of garnering attention for Monticello Raceway. Monticello Casino and Raceway Assistant General Manager Shawn Wiles commented, “Everyone in our industry knows about John’s uncanny ability to generate positive publicity. What few people know is that apart from managing the big publicity events for our track, John is a universal ambassador for the entire harness racing sport.” A tireless fundraiser, Manzi has helped numerous industry organizations offset day-to -day expenses through his benevolent efforts. He has been the impetus for money raised and donated to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, the Goshen Historic Track, the Saratoga Harness Hall of Fame, the Standardbred Retirement Fund and the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. As a driving force in the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (“USHWA”), he runs its annual banquet that honors their local horsemen and then uses the proceeds to fund numerous other worthwhile causes throughout the year. Besides his promotional work of the sport at Monticello Raceway, he has done publicity for the New York Sire Stakes and other New York State races and worked for Bruce Hamilton when he was the executive director of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State. He is also the publicist for the Billings Amateur Driving Series and the North American Amateur Drivers Association. He is a former national president of both USHWA and the Harness Publicist Association.   Manzi's exceptional efforts have not gone unnoticed through the years. He is a member of the Communicator's Hall of Fame in Goshen and has received the Proximity Award from USHWA, the Pinnacle Award from the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, the Appreciation Award from Harness Horsemen International, the Laurel Award from New York City USHWA and was named USHWA's Person of the Year in 1992. “I can’t thank Monticello Raceway management enough for all the wonderful years I’ve spent here.” Manzi added. “I grew-up in the area, graduated from Monticello High School in 1961, and always had a special feeling in my heart for Monticello Raceway; like ‘it was my own race track’. Some say I’ve been good for the raceway, but I say the raceway has been good for me. I couldn’t have been more dedicated if I had owned the raceway myself.” The entire Monticello Casino and Raceway management team and employees thank John for his years of dedicated service and wish John a long and healthy retirement.  by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

This year USHWA's National Amateur Driver of the Year Award goes to Bob "Rapid Rail" Krivelin and it could be said that Krivelin won the honor in a split decision. His name rose to the top over other prolific drivers and for the New York City wholesale food purveyor it marks the third time that he has received this prestigious award. When Krivelin was notified he was on vacation in Florida relaxing, swimming and playing golf. But when he answered his cell phone and found out the news, to say he was jubilant would have been an understatement. "I'm really happy and proud to be named the top amateur driver again this year, especially when the amateur driving colony is the best it's ever been. To be chosen over the talented others really makes me feel great," Krivelin said via cell phone. "I work hard at staying in shape and I feel that this was my best year yet, and I feel I'm driving better than I ever have. I drove with more confidence this year ,too." From 74 seasonal starts Krivelin has 15 wins, 10 seconds and 13 thirds for a very respectable .336 UDR. His seasonal victory total is second only to the 22 winners he reined during 2001 when he was named Amateur Driver of the Year for the first time. Two years ago Krivelin copped his second amateur driving title and although he rarely drives more than 75 times a year he thus has far reined 167 winners since he began his amateur career in 1996. Some of his triumphs this season include winning the $12,000 Billings Eastern Region Final with Permanent Joy in a time of 1:57 at Pocono Downs on November 12 and Krivelin won the $14,000 Final of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's spring trotting series with Current Crisis in a 1:59.3 clocking at Yonkers Raceway back in May. "I love amateur racing," he says. "In what other sport can a participant get a chance to compete side by side with their hero's? That's a big draw for the amateur movement in harness racing." And while he was on the subject Krivelin expounds how harness racing wouldn't be the same if it weren't for the amateurs. "Just look at how many invest in race horses and employ professional trainers and drivers.Take Doc (Scott) Woogen for instance; he must have 40 horses with various trainers and drivers many of which he drives himself when time allows. And me, I have 13 horses, three which I train and drive myself, and the rest with professional trainers and drivers. And like many other amateur guys I purchased a farm to house my stock." From a young age Krivelin, who hails from the Bronx, was bitten by the harness racing bug. "When I was a youngster I used to sneak into Yonkers Raceway with some friends after the seventh race when they opened the gates," Krivelin said unashamedly. "Those days, foolishly, youngsters weren't allowed in the grandstand. "It was from the excitement and fun of the races at Yonkers that I got hooked on harness racing. The crowds were tremendous, the racing top notch, so what wasn't there to like?" After becoming a successful businessman and then spending much of his leisure time around the Meadowlands he purchased a few horses and in 1996 "Kriv", as many of his friends call him, drove his first race. He finished fifth with Straight Talk at the Meadowlands in 1996 and it was behind that same trotter that year that he won his first race (2:04.2) at Rosecroft Raceway. Winning your first race is often like that first girlfriend who most men usually remember with reverence. But not Kriv. Although in 2003 he drove his own Rapid Rail to a Hambletonian Oaks elimination victory-thus his nickname-- and then finished second in the Final, still he claims his greatest thrill thus far was winning his first race against professional drivers at the Meadowlands in 2001. "I won with a trotter by the name of Heathen Hall who was by Incredible Abe and my dad's (first) name was Abe, "Krivelin said as he recalled the joy of that victory," Although I had won some amateur races at the Meadowlands before it was my first win against field of professionals and it came from the 10-hole. I not only beat the pros but the top drivers that night." But Krivelin is an amateur driver in the true sense of the word. Although he currently owns 13 horses and employs multiple trainers, his main profession is a wholesale food purveyor-or as he claims 'a distributor'-- and he and his partner supply 500 restaurants in New York City, including some of the very best. Much of the money he has earned from his vocation Krivelin has put into the racing game, and says, maybe with tongue in cheek --and maybe not---"It's great when you get hooked on harness racing.... but when you do it's all that you think of and it takes up your whole life." by John Manzi, for USHWA  

Earlier this week the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) and Tim Rooney made a check presentation to the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation of greater New York. The amateur drivers organization raised $7500 from their spring and fall trotting series and that amount was matched by Yonkers Raceway president Tim Rooney, and a total $15,000 was donated to that organization that is determined to find a cure for breast cancer. "The North American Amateur Drivers Association was proud to donate to this cause and the impetus for which came from our female amateur driver extraordinaire Monica Banca. And it was extremely gracious of Tim Rooney to match our funds which drove the contribution up to $15,000," said NAADA president Joe Faraldo. The NAADA revenues were mainly comprised of the amateur driver's nominating, starting and entry fees, along with additional funds from the organization's treasury. "And of course we'd be remiss not to thank the amateur drivers who not only participated in those races but were good enough to donate their percentages for the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure Foundation," Faraldo added. The oversize check presentation was made in the Yonkers Raceway winners circle on Tuesday (Nov. 12) by John Manzi, for NAASA

Eight drivers with the most points in the preliminary legs of the North American Amateur Drivers Association’s fall trotting series lined up behind the mobile starting gate at Yonkers Raceway last week on November  6 and they competed for the $14,000 purse that was offered in the series finale.  Although there was plenty of action in the early going Bob Krivelin, and his trotter Current Crisis, followed cover after the half and then swung three- deep on the final turn and cruised onto an easy six-length triumph in a time of 2:00.1. When the gate sprung Bob Hechkoff gunned Get Packin to the lead  and they played hardball with Paul Minore who was up behind  Wygant Prince. After a :28.2 first stanza both trotters raced head-to-head by the half in :58.3 and at that point trailing horses moved to the second tier and Get Packin continued to led as Wygant Prince began to fade  and Wygant Prince’s tiring  forced the second tier trailers to got three wide. That group was led by Hannah  Miller and Rev It Now followed by Current Crisis and Jimmer, with Bob Davis at the lines. When the outer flow came off the final turn Current Crisis began to open up an insurmountable lead which the 8-year old Currant Cast gelding held until the photo finish camera snapped. Second under the wire was Rev It Now and Jimmer took home the show dough. The race was a non-wagering affair and presented prior to the first race on the betting card Krivelin, one of the top amateur drivers in the country, has twice represented the United States in the World Cup of Amateur Racing. His win at Yonkers was his 14th this season and 166th of his amateur driving career. Each year via their trotting series NAADA president, Joe Faraldo makes sure that money is raised for a worthy charity. This season an amount of $7500 was raised and it was matched by Tim Rooney which made a total of $15,000 for the Susan G Komen Race For The Cure of Breast Cancer.  by John Manzi, for NAADA

Two well contested divions of trotters in the North American Amateur Drivers Association went to post at Yonkers Raceway prior to the betting card getting underway Thursday and when the dust had settled Dave Glasser and Shane Darish each were victorious in their respective divisions. Glasser won with Sir Siro in a time of 2:00.4 while Darish was triumphant with Alaric in 2:02.4. In their event Glasser had Sir Siro in a pocket behind the pace-setter, Tagmaster driven by Bob Hechkoff and he was content to follow the leader. Paul Minore was the first to attack when he moved Wygant Prince out to challenge the leader near the half-way point and they made a run all the way to the top of the stretch. Meanwhile Glasser was sitting chilly and in the lane he fed Sir Siro racetrack and the veteran trotter zipped by Tagmaster and then held off a late charge from Rev It Now and Hannah Miller to score a length victory in 2:00.4. Tagmaster held on for third money. Wygant Prince faded and finished fourth. Sir Siro is trained by Danny Gill for the Blue Forest Stable. In the other trot, Frank Darish's grandson, Shane Darish, sent Alaric to the lead from the two- hole but when Chuckie B and Alan Schwartz came calling he allowed them to take command as the two approached the firststanza. However, no sooner had Schwartz moved his trotter down along the pylons than Darish was out and retook the lead. From there Alaric went on to a two length triumph over Rompaway Alvin and driver Dave Yarock. Jimmer and Bob Davis took home the show dough in that one. Alaric is owned and trained by Johnny Kolkowski. The Yonkers trots were the final leg of this year NAADA Fall Series. The top eight drivers with the most points in the series will battle on Thursday, November 6 for a $14,000 purse. Should the next eight in points enter there will be a $5000 consolation at Freehold Raceway on November 7. Those who earned a berth in the finale and their points in the series are as follows: Bob Hechkoff (37), Hannah Miller (36), Kelly Walker (25), Bob Davis (21), Dave Yarock (21), Shane Darish (20), Bobby Krivelin (16) and Paul Minore (15). Dave Glasser with 14 points, and Matt Zuccarello with 12 points, are the also eligibles.  by John Manzi, for the North American Amateur Drivers

When Joe Faraldo, president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association, asked his members if they would be willing to race at a distance of one and quarter miles on Thursday (Oct. 16) in the NAADA Fall Trotting Series leg at Yonkers Raceway he got a positive response from everyone. "I told them that I was asked by management to race at one and one-quarter miles because with the upcoming global simulcasts to France they wanted to test the tele-timers and charted lines and the overall integrity of the tele-timer systems," Faraldo related. "And by all measures everything seemed to be spot-on." The first of the two non-wagering NAADA trots on Thursday saw Hannah Miller get a two-hole trip from the get-go with Rev It Now and then when the field turned for home, rally the veteran trotter to a two-length victory over Alaric and driver Shane Darish in a time of 2:32.4 for the 1-1/4 mile contest. Third place went to Rompaway Alvin with Dave Yarock at the controls. For the pretty 22-year old lass it was her fifth winning drive in nine seasonal starts. Rev It Now is owned by Nick Surick, Hannah Miller and the Erv Miller Stable, and trained by Nick Surick. In the second NAADA trot Kelly Walker used the same game plan as Hannah Miller when he had Rush N Supreme in the two-hole behind Tagmaster (Bob Hechkoff) until mid-stretch and then trot by the pace-setter to score a 2-1/4 length victory in a time of 2:31.4. Wygant Prince and Bob Davis also passed Tagmaster in the lane to garner second money. Hechkoff's trotter did, however, take home the show dough. Rush N Supreme, a 10 year old altered son of SJ's Caviar, trained by Bob Baggitt, Jr. is owned by his driver. "Many of the drivers told me after the race that they enjoyed racing over the longer distance," said Faraldo, who himself was a participant in the second NAADA trot.(He finished fourth with Permanent Joy) Faraldo, a lawyer by trade is also in president of the SOA of NY, and he and his organization have been working hand and hand with Tim Rooney and Yonkers management in making the Global simulcasts to France come to fruition. The global simulcasts will begin on Nov. 9 and continue Sundays through Dec. 14. However, to accommodate the anticipated European bettors, Yonkers Sunday post times will be at 11AM. by John Manzi, for the North American Amateur Drivers Association

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