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When the North American Amateur Drivers Association kicks off its Spring Trotting Series on March 16 harness racing participants will be eligible for a trip to France and become a part of an American Team that will challenge the top French amateurs in a Friendship Competition. "Upon the completion of our spring trotting series we will have a lottery drawing among the top five point-earners in the eight-week event to determine three drivers who will be eligible to travel to France and be among the American representatives in the Friendship Competition," noted NAADA president, Joe Faraldo. The North American Amateur Drivers Association had received a formal invitation for a rematch with the very competent French amateur drivers. The invitation was extended to Joe Faraldo during his recent visit to Paris for the Prix d' Amerique. The rematch is scheduled to center around races at famed Vincennes racetrack outside of the City of Lights as well as a racetrack in Normandy (yet to be named). According to Faraldo, there will be at least two races surrounded by some sightseeing of places popular with tourists and historians. The challenge will require six US amateur drivers and their guests. "The rematch will be an effort to avenge the terrible loss the US amateurs sustained at the hands of the French when they invaded our shores for a similar competition two years ago," Faraldo added. The selection of drivers will be limited to those who participate in NAADA's upcoming Spring Trotting Series which will commence on March 16 with weekly contests at both Monticello and Yonkers Raceways. According to Faraldo, his organization will select three other NAADA members for a six-man team needed to challenge France's best. The Friendship Competition against the French amateurs is tentatively scheduled for the 2017 Memorial Day weekend at, or about, the same time as the Elitloppet in Stockholm. John Manzi

Formed in the early 1980's on heels of the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) has long afforded both men and women the opportunity to test their skills in harness racing action. And since their inceptions the growing amateur movement has spawned various amateur clubs which, over the years, were starting venues for many successful professionals racing today, including the likes of George Brennan, Jordan Stratton, Joe Bongiorno, Greg Mertons and Jimmy Taggart, Jr., to mention a few. Although amateur racing didn't immediately become an integral part of the Standardbred scene, in recent years it has been one of the sport's bright spots. And today, not only do many race tracks depend on the amateur races to help fill their racing cards, but the movement has introduced new members who support the industry by purchasing horses and hiring professional trainers. After decades of producing events for amateur drivers beginning Thursday, March 16 and continuing weekly through May 11 the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) will launch its annual Spring Trotting Series which will offer races at both Monticello and Yonkers Raceways. The events will kick-off at the Sullivan County (NY) oval on Thursday, March 16 followed by action at Yonkers Hilltop oval on March 23. Racing at those venues will continue on consecutive Thursdays through May 4 culminating in a $15,000 Final at Yonkers on May 11 for the drivers who earned the most points in the preliminary legs. At Monticello the participating amateur drivers will race weekly for $4500 purses while at Yonkers participating members will vie for $6000 purses. However, should it fill, the Monticello Raceway final will be contested on Wednesday, May 10 and compete for a purse of $5000. The series is open to all amateur drivers as long as they become members of NAADA. Membership fee is $150 per calendar year. To inquire about the general conditions or to become a participant in the upcoming NAADA Spring Trotting Series please contact NAADA president Joe Faraldo at: 718.544.6800; Faral@thorn.net ; or contact his vice president Alan Schwartz at: 845.292.8125; ctclv@aol.com John Manzi for NAADA

The North American Amateur Drivers Association, which is on the verge of announcing dates for its Spring Trotting Series, has received a formal invitation for a rematch with the very competent French amateur harness racing drivers. The invitation was extended to Joe Faraldo, president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association, during his recent visit to Paris for the Prix d' Amerique. The rematch is scheduled to center around races at famed Vincennes racetrack outside of the City of Lights as well as a racetrack in Normandy. According to Faraldo, there will be at least two races surrounded by some sightseeing of places popular with tourists and historians. The challenge will require six amateur drivers from the US and their guests. "The rematch will be an effort to avenge the terrible loss the US amateurs sustained at the hands of the French when they invaded our shores for a similar competition two years which lasted some seven days and covered four racetracks," Faraldo said. "The selection of drivers will be limited to those who participate in NAADA's Spring Trotting Series which tentatively will commence in March with contests at both Monticello and Yonkers Raceways." The tentative schedule for the competition against the French amateurs is slated for the 2017 Memorial Day weekend at, or about, the same time as the Elitloppet in Stockholm. John Manzi for NAADA

Once again be reminded that international Amateur driving challenges are grand vehicles for human relations as witnessed by the recently completed harness racing competition between the North American Amateur Drivers Association and the New Zealand Amateurs. When it was over the final score was the least important aspect. The friendships shared were paramount. NAADA member Joe Lee, who was also a participant in the Friendship Challenge, summed up the final two races, one each on Saturday, Dec. 10 and the other on Sunday, Dec. 11. Lee began his synopsis on the off day of December 9 by stating, "Peter Kleinhans got to call the fourth race at Adlington Racecourse in New Zealand. Since the thoroughbreds have a strong group of announcers from Down Under calling races in the US, Peter may be one of very few who turned the tables around and called a harness race on New Zealand soil. Lee then continued; "The hosts here in New Zealand have kept us quite busy. They had so many wonderful things planned for us each day. Sometimes upwards of 13 hours a day. It has been a great experience and truly will be hard to top should the New Zealand amateurs ever come to the states for some driving. "On Saturday we opened the card at Addington Raceway. Twelve horses went to the post; nine across and three in the second tier. Peter Kleinhans, driving Earthbound, left from the eight-hole and while crossing over to be third on the first turn the pacer uncharacteristically made a break and Peter had to take the horse to the inside and off the course. "Meanwhile, I left out of the 12 post and got away eighth with Jema Jet and then moved to be in the two-wide flow for the first lap of the mile and 5/8th race. After the first lap I pulled Jema Jet to the outside and began the three- wide line of horses and paced up toward the leaders with a lap to go. "Gerry Fielding had a tough task driving Red Under Fire from the outside post. He got away last and had a rail trip for the two lap distance and over on in the stretch to be 7th. Dave Offenberg was driving a Bettors Delight gelding, Better Backim and they got a way toward the back of the pack. "There was quite a bit of pace up front and with me and others pressing. Dave was able to launch his horse with a huge move from the back of the pack the last half of a mile and paced forward the entire lengthy Addington homestretch to finish third, just a nose off second losing the entire race by 2.5 lengths. Saturdays Race "Sunday's racing took us to Motukarara Raceway which is a mile and an eighth racetrack for grass racing. The amateur clan was in the second race on the all grass card. "The race was contested at a mile and a quarter this time. Dave Offenberg had a tough go here with an unruly and nervous horse who was making his first start in over a year. "I floated away from the five-hole leaving him and moved to be first-over with the leader down the long green backstretch. "I was driving an in-foal mare named Stylish Babe, who Peter Kleinhans drove Thursday. She was making her last career start and I took her up to the leader until the top of the stretch where she tired and we finished back in the field. "Gerry Fielding was driving (the host) Gavin Cook's, Red Maro, who I drove Thursday night and was racing on short rest. We got away toward the back of the pack and made a big move on the last turn and even took the lead into the stretch before tiring in the extremely long turf stretch. "Peter Kleinhans drove The Edge of Reason. He had the rail and got away third on the inside.. As the flow developed and got three lines deep, Peter's horse got shuffled and didn't make enough headway in the lane to gain on any of the leaders. Sundays Race "Unfortunately the Americans, who all had their first experience on the grass, finished 10th 11th 12th and 13th for a reverse superfecta. Everyone had a great experience driving on the grass. It certainly is a different type of racing. "We were partnered up with four other New Zealand drivers since we were a team of four and they had more representatives. When all was said and done, the hometown Kiwi's took the competition and won the bragging rights. But who really cared? by John Manzi, with Joe Lee, for NAADA

Never before did the international amateur harness racing driving competition mantra mean more than it did on the first day of the Friendship Competition between the visiting North American Amateur Drivers Association and the local New Zealand amateurs. According to the international amateur driver's mantra, 'it's not of the utmost importance who wins or loses; it's just that amateur racing is a great vehicle for human relations' certainly rang true after the first of three races in the competition has been completed. The NAADA team of Joe Lee, Peter Kleinhans, Gerry Fielding and Dave Offenberg were drubbed by the local amateurs in the first event of the three race competition. That being said, here is Joe Lee's first-hand account of Thursday's competition race at Addington, NZ. "Last night was our first race. There were 13 horses in the contest and I was on the 10-horse which was starting at the beginning of the second tier. I got away a little further back than I would have liked and didn't find room to shake loose until the passing lane in the mile and a quarter event and although my horse passed quite a few others we still end-up sixth. "Gerry Fielding sat on the outside the entire race which is common here and even was up toward the lead a good portion of the race after leaving from the eight- hole. But the distance took its toll and Gerry finished 10th. "Peter Kleinhans was in a favorable spot sitting with cover behind the favorite who eventually won the race but Peter's horse, Stylish Babe, didn't last behind the cover and faded and finished 11th. "Dave Offenberg got caught three-wide at the start of the race from an outside post and wasn't able to settle in for a bit and eventually tired and finished ninth. "We didn't do much good but it was a great experience and definitely a different style of racing here. Here is the race; Lee also offered the following; "This morning (New Zealand is 19 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time) we are working horses on the beach. Our next race is Saturday night and then Sunday's race is on the grass. Saturday's race, again at Addington, will be 2600 meters of about 1.6 miles with 14 going to post. Sunday is 2000 meters just over 1.25 miles at Motukarara. "Still, we're having wonderful time with some great people in a very picturesque country," Lee added. And here is the result; Plc Bk Horse Barrier Hcap Stakes Fav Time Margin Driver Trainer 1 14 Nui Toc Tien 14 fr 4,240.00 1/1 2-22.7   S P Murtha S A Dolan 2 7 Living Legend 7 fr 1,120.00 6/6 2-23.2 3.10 R A Reekie R J Dunn 3 6 Handlebar Hank 6 fr 560.00 9/9 2-23.3 3.50 D S Reardon Mrs L M Jones 4 1 Onedin's Delight 1 fr 360.00 2/3 2-23.9 6.90 A N Edge M J House 5 13 As Kiwi As 13 fr 330.00 5/5 2-24.3 8.90 R J Sissons R D Holmes 6 10 Redmaro 10 fr 210.00 7/7 2-24.8 11.70 J D Lee G A Cook 7 3 Bettor Backim 3 fr 210.00 4/2 2-24.8 12.20 P T Cook Ms S Blake 8 11 Tufflittlerooster 11 fr 210.00 8/8 2-25.3 14.90 M Hallett Mrs M Hallett 9 8 Franco Caliph 8 fr 210.00 10/10 2-25.6 16.70 D H Offenberg D A Taylor 10 9 Earthbound 9 fr 210.00 12/12 2-26.0 18.80 G R Fielding J B McDermott 11 4 Stylish Babe 4 fr 210.00 13/13 2-26.6 22.00 P Kleinhans J B McDermott 12 2 Regal Suzy 2 fr 210.00 11/11 2-27.2 25.70 B G White M J Stratford 13 12 Eja Patron 12 fr 210.00 3/4 2-31.2 48.50 M F Maynard B K Mowbray by John Manzi with Joe Lee for NAADA

Later this week four members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) will compete against their counters in a harness racing Friendship Competition in New Zealand. The NAADA team consisting of Peter Kleinhans, Joe Lee, Gerry Fielding and Dave Offenberg have already arrived and are taking in the wonders of the land Down Under. But beginning on Thursday, December 8 the battles will begin. Their host, Gavin Cook, has a wonderful agenda for the visiting Americans as well as some disclaimers unfortunately caused by mother nature. "As you may be aware Christchurch experienced a series of devastating earthquakes in late 2010 & early 2011. This effectively destroyed our central city and along with it went many of our four star plus hotels. Our city is slowly rebuilding but the caliber and quantity of suitable accommodation places is yet to catch up with demand", Cook explained to his visitors. "Compounding this problem is the recent earthquakes and the fact that we are experiencing a tourist boom as well, so finding suitable accommodations have been challenging. We arranged for the entire tour group to be accommodated at two separate but adjacent motel complexes in the Riccarton area which is in the heart of a busy retail and restaurant area. Because the motels do not have any suitable breakfast facilities we will take you to a variety of cafes for breakfast/brunch, fortunately Christchurch has a very vibrant cafe culture." But from early reports Cook's disclaimers are just a matter of fact and not of much concern to the American team whose members are already enjoying themselves. "This is a beautiful country and their people are wonderful," noted the USA's Gerry Fielding. "And perhaps the best part is that there is no language barrier." The following is the itinerary that Cook and his New Zealand amateurs have set for the visiting Americans. Wednesday 7th - Welcome Dinner (Lone Star Restaurant) Thursday 8th - Brunch at Drexels - Port Hills Gondola Ride - Visit Lyttelton - Race at Addington - Dine at Spectators Friday 9th - Work horses at the beach - Brunch at Pukeko Junction - Jet Boating on Waiau River - Relaxing at Hanmer Springs* - Dine at Harewood Tavern in Christchurch Saturday 10th - Visit Deans Bush Market - Walking tour of City - Race at Addington - Dine at Raceway Sunday 11th - Brunch at The Store - Race at Motukarara - Farewell dinner at Memory's *Hanmer Springs is a small mountain village that is famous for its thermal hot pools. As well as the pools the village also offers plenty of mountain biking or walking tracks or you may just decide to sit back and relax in the tranquil nature of the place. But according to the international amateur driver's mantra, 'it's not of the utmost importance who wins or loses; its just that amateur racing is a great vehicle for human relations'. By john manzi for NAADA

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

Joe Faraldo, president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association, confirmed today that Gerry Fielding will be the fourth and final member of the NAADA team that will wing their way to New Zealand to compete against their Down Under harness racing counterparts in a series of Friendship Races slated for early December. Fielding will join Peter Kleinhans, Dave Offenberg, and Joe Lee, all of whom have been previously announced to represent the USA in the forthcoming competition. Fielding, a graduate of Rider College and longtime Monticello (NY) native, has been involved in harness racing for many decades and obtained his initial New York license in 1960. "I got started in the business jogging horses and breaking yearlings helping the John Manzi Stables at Monticello Raceway," Fielding acknowledged. "I've also been involved in harness racing through the Ron Ingrassia and Gary Messenger Stables." By 1981, Fielding began delving into harness racing more avidly. He obtained an amateur license that season and over the years, usually with less than 20 drives annually, he thus far has driven 64 winners. Fielding's involvement in the sport has increased over the years not only as an amateur driver but as founder and president of the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club (CADC). "For 20 years I was the vice president of the Billings Series and have long been a member Board of Directors at Goshen Historic Track," he said. "As a member of the Board of Directors of Goshen Historic Track I chair the racing committee serving as a licensed Presiding Judge and matinee race secretary." An amateur driver with 64 wins to his credit Fielding is proud of having driven the winners of two Billings consolations as well as four CADC Pacing finals. He also won the Goshen International Trot and a North American Amateur Drivers Associations Final at Yonkers. "At Monticello (Raceway) a few years ago I won the Bob Grant Trot and I hold a track record there," he added. "I am a former "Amateur Driver of the Year" at Monticello Raceway --named by the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA-- and I have had the privilege of racing in Canada, Finland, Estonia, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Spain as well as 11 different states in the US. Over the years Fielding has owned several harness horses. "My partner on many horses, Dr. Scott Leaf, keeps me active as an owner of many Standardbreds," he said. Fielding is involved in multiple sports, much to the envy of his septuagenarian friends. He is a world class skier and has also been in the ski business most of his life, too. And he is still active today. "I have been on the New York Tramway Council for over 30 years; appointed by multiple New York governors. We (the Tramway Council) are an arm of the NY Dept. of Labor Division of Safety & Health promulgating all legislation In NY. The Monticello, NY resident has been married for 48 years to Kathy and together they've raised three children and are the proud grandparents of seven. By John Manzi for NAADA    

Amateur harness racing seems to be getting more prominent with each passing season. Not only do an overwhelming amount of members own horses and employ professional trainers but, as a group, they support various charitable and worthwhile organizations. Each and every season the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) donates to worthwhile charities. And this year was no exception. The amateur driver's organization recently donated $5,000 to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). According to Joe Faraldo, president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association, members of his organization over the years have donated over $85,000 to needy causes. "The money," he says, "is raised from membership dues, starting fees and drivers' percentages and is used for many worthwhile projects including donating to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Special Strides in NJ and the Sullivan County Veterans Food Bank, to name just a few." Also deserving credit for contributing to these worthwhile efforts is Yonkers Raceway's GM Bob Galterio, who serves as an official of the Westchester branch of the JDRF, along with Yonkers simulcasting director, Rosa Ferriera, and mutuel manager, Ursala McEntyre. Both ladies work to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, either by walking, running, or just plain old asking for donations for much needed research," Faraldo and NAADA vice president Alan Schwartz are the focal points for directing these funds and later this week NAADA, along with the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club, will donate $2000 to the Sullivan County Veterans Food Bank after a race at Monticello Raceway comprised of US veterans who are also amateur reinsmen. by John Manzi or NAADA

When country songster Jerry Reed warbled 'When You're Hot, You're Hot' he could have been talking about Tony Ciufettelli because no one in amateur harness racing currently is hotter than Ciuffetelli. The former corrections officer reined his own Aventure to a come-from- behind triumph in a time of 1:58.3 to garner the winners share of the $15,000 final of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's Fall Trotting Series at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday night, November 5. (NAADA). For the hot-handed Ciufettelli it was his sixth driving victory in his last eight starts and 11th overall this year. And for the first time this season a NAADA series trot was placed on the wagering card which brings the Westchester Country oval even with all the other racetracks that use amateur races as part of their betting programs. When tonight's NAADA Final was ready to start Aventure seemed to have other ideas. Sent off as the betting favorite his backers got a scare when Aventure went off stride behind the mobile starting gate but Ciuffetelli stayed calm and got his trotter back on gait just before the starter said "go". At the first stanza Aventure was fifth position some seven lengths off Lady's Big Stormont (Alan Schwartz) who was clear on the engine. But as he headed to the half Schwartz drew company. Ciuffetelli was the first to move off the pylons and the two others who followed that move became non-factors. As the field trotted to the three quarters Aventure ranged alongside The Franchise (Bob Hechkoff) who was traveling along in the two-hole behind Lady's Big Stormont. As they rounded the final turn Aventure and The Franchise traded positions and as they headed for paydirt Ciuffetelli took aim at Schwartz's trotter. In the lane Aventure gained on Lady's Big Stormont with every stride and as they neared the finish it was clear that Ciuffetelli and Aventure would be the winner despite the late rally by The Franchise. At the wire Aventure was a length winner over the hard charging The Franchise with Lady's Big Stormont a head farther back in third place. Besides owning Aventure, Ciufettelli also trains the 5-year-old Muscle Mass gelding who scored his sixth triumph this year and raised his seasonal bankroll to over $41,400. He paid $4.10 for win. by John Manzi for NAADA

When Monticello Raceway's director of harness racing, Eric Warner, found that the track lost a driver in the North American Amateur Drivers Association's $5000 seven- horse consolation he went to work immediately to secure another driver to keep the race with decent betting interests. With only a few possible drivers who were eligible to compete (this race was for the NAADA participants who didn't earn enough points for the series finale) Warner called down to Freehold Raceway and asked John Calabrese if he's be able to come and drive in the race slated on Wednesday November 2nd at The Mighty M. And when Calabrese said he'd come it turned out to be a win-win situation for both him and the Sullivan County oval. The 7-horse field went to post in the second race and when it was declared official Calabrese won the event with Woody in a 2:00.1 clocking. Perhaps the fact that Woody had the pole position made it easier for Calabrese confirm that he'd take the trip to Monticello, still it was a gracious gesture on his part knowing that amateur drivers receive no remuneration for their efforts. Also benefiting from Calabrese's trip to drive Woody was the horse's owner, Woody Hoblitzell, who got for him one of the more talented amateur drivers competing today. As aforementioned, Woody and Calabrese started from the pole position and they got away fourth position four lengths behind Come And Tell Pap (Bob Davis) who got first call in the :29.2 first panel. With Davis' charge on the lead Calabrese followed Paul Minore who moved Wygant Prince off the pylons and they were one-two on the limb as the field headed to the halfway point. As the field trotted to the three quarters Wygant Prince gained command with Woody and Calabrese in hot pursuit. When they straightened for home Woody was the strong horse and the Glidemaster 6-year-old gelding rallied to a 1-1/4-length victory over Minore's trotter to score his third victory of the season. Come And Tell Pap hung on for the show dough. Trained by Bruce Aldrich, Sr., Woody paid $7.80 for win. And for Calabrese, he is having his best year since he began competing in amateur racing in 1991. His victory was the 12th this year in 39 starts and considering his five seconds and three third place finishes Calabrese owns a .405 UDR.this season. On Saturday night, November 5 the top eight point earners in the recently completed NAADA Series will battle in the $15,000 Final on the betting card at Yonkers Raceway. John Manzi

The cold and rainy afternoon of October 27 in the Catskill Mountains certainly wasn't a day that amateur harness racing drivers could embrace still three races dedicated to the amateurs went to post on the betting card at Monticello Raceway; one in the CKG Billings Series and two in the North American Amateur Drivers series, with many participants competing in both. "Hurricane Hannah" Miller added another victory --her 30th this year--to her seasonal totals when she won the Billings trot with Jack's To Open. In NAADA action both Tony Ciufettelli and Alan Schwartz copped their respective divisions; Ciufettelli with Tagmaster and Schwartz behind Ladys Big Stormont. Upon her return to the paddock a cold and shivering Ms. Miller managed a smile while hanging up the lines on Jacks To Open who was an easy 2:00.4 victor in the Billings Trot. "I'm freezing," she said, "but I'm happy that my horse was real strong today. He went a tough mile and still drew off to an easy victory." When the gate sprung four horses went for the lead which was commandeered by Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff with Justtherighttouch. When Miller ranged alongside Hechkoff with Jacks To Open the two horses raced head to head to the half and up the backside at which point Miller's trotter took command with only the second and third place finishers in doubt. As Jacks To Open rounded the final turn he had five lengths on the field which was opened to eight at the wire. A shuffled-back Mack's Gold Band, with "Buffalo Bob" Davis at the controls, found daylight late and rallied to finish second, a length ahead of "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo's Permanent Joy. Nick Surick trains Jacks To Open ($6.80) who's owned by the Nick Surick Stable and Hannah Miller. Alan Schwartz got the amateur soiree started with a gate to wire triumph with Ladys Big Stormont in the first of two NAADA trots. Schwartz sent the 5-year-old Earl Of Stormont gelding to the lead, one that they never relinquished although Hannah Miller and Rocket Master supplied stiff pressure as the field headed for the three quarters. Schwartz's charge rebuffed Ms. Miller's trotter and went on to score a length victory in 2:01.1 over the soggy race track. "My horse is was testy behind the (starting) gate but once the race was underway he was perfect," Schwartz said referring to Ladys Big Stormont's winning trip. With a two-hole journey throughout Bob Hechkoff's, The Franchise, garnered second money and after his early rally Rocket Master just hung and finished third. Owned by his driver and trained by Raheim Strong Ladys Big Stormont returned a $7.30 win mutuel to his backers. The second NAADA Trot saw hot-handed Tony Ciufettelli sit back off the early speed with his own Tagmaster and then charge home an easy winner in a time of 2:04. "After some fast early fractions over the soaked racetrack the leaders seemed to come back to me," Ciufettelli said about the tiring horses on the front end. "I was back, off the early pace and when I moved him (Tagmaster) up the backside he took off like gangbusters and was the strong horse in the stretch. I guess the soft track was good on his (my horse's) feet." Trotalot finished second for Bob Hechkoff while 50-1 shot Saraboo garnered the show dough for Pete Seibert. Ciufettelli also owns and trains Tagmaster who paid $41.20 for win. He (Ciufettelli) is currently the hottest driver in amateur racing. With his victory today the retired correction officer now has four consecutive driving victories and five wins in his last six starts. By John Manzi for the Billings & NAADA Series

In early December four members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) will travel New Zealand to represent America in a series of races in a Friendship Competition against their harness racing counterparts from Down Under. Leading the USA team will be Peter Kleinhans who earned that honor after winning a lottery drawing upon the completion the NAADA Summer Trotting Series. Recently the international amateur drivers organization had released that Dave Offenberg will join Kleinhans on the overseas journey to represent the USA in the competition. Now NAADA has named Joe Lee to join the aforementioned and in upcoming weeks they'll name the fourth and final member of the USA team. Joe Lee is the assistant to the head equipment manager of the New York Yankees and has been for 22 years. He is also a member of many amateur driving organizations and this year he has been able to compete in amateur races more than in past seasons. Thus far this year "Yankee Joe" has eight wins, 10 seconds and eight thirds in 64 starts and all with what would be considered in the industry as "catch drives". Asked how a youngster from New York City got so involved in harness racing, Joe was pleased to expound. "My parents owned some Standardbreds when I was a kid and I grew up going to Freehold, Roosevelt, Yonkers and the Meadowlands. I show-jumped horses for just about 20 years so I definitely was always around horses. "Going to the racetracks as much as I did, I wanted to see what it was like to sit behind one rather than in a saddle, so my good friend Sandy Goldfarb put me in touch with Buzzy Sholty who trained many of Sandy's horses over the years. "I began going to White Birch Farm (in New Jersey) every Saturday morning and any other chance I had. I would leave my house at 4:45 in the morning to get there on time and start jogging and training the barn with Buzzy. Buzzy, knowing I had been around horses began trusting me right away with some of his horses and I never looked back. "In 1995, while in high school, I was offered a position with the New York Yankees as their batboy which I enjoyed for three seasons. After that I got the opportunity to become an assistant to the head equipment manager, and have done so ever since. This year completed my 22nd season there. "Since 2001, I have worked in the Financial Services industry. I was a financial advisor with UBS from 2001-2004. In 2004 my team and I started our own registered investment advisory firm in Westchester (NY). I have assisted families with the managing of their assets and helped with their estate planning since 2001. "It has been a great thrill over the past few years to own some horses with family and friends. An even bigger thrill is the excitement of going behind the gate and racing. It never gets old. I have been so fortunate to have so many trainers give me the opportunity to drive their horses and am thankful for the relationships I have developed in the sport. Being invited to represent the NAADA in New Zealand is a thrill and an honor. "Many people drive in the NAADA races and to be asked to go is definitely something that I couldn't even think of turning down. It is always a thrill to go to a new racetrack and drive but this time it's combined with sharing the experience with other people from the opposite end of the planet that share the same passion of the sport as I do. I look forward to the experience and thank everyone involved that puts these trips and competitions together. "I think it's always important for the amateurs, as well as everyone involved in racing, to do what they can to spread their enjoyment for racing so the sport can continue on." by John Manzi for NAADA

Efforts by the North American Amateur Drivers Association and the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club to present a race(s) for veterans who are also amateur harness racing drivers are coming to fruition according to NAADA vice president, Alan Schwartz. "We have received confirmation from quite a few vets who are looking forward to competing in the event(s) here at Monticello Raceway which will help us raise money for the local veteran's food bank," Schwartz said. "Just recently (CADC president) Gerry Fielding and I have heard from Peter Gerry, George Bonomo, Joe Pennacchio, Bernie Boland and Jimmy Marshall 3rd, as well as local horsemen, Allen Sisco, Pete Siebert and Paul Moore so we're well on our way of getting a field together. And should we get enough vets we'll have two races." The event was planned for national Veterans Day, November 11th but since the Mighty M is dark on Fridays the race(s) will be slated for Thursday, Nov. 10. "But that's OK since November 10th will be the 241st Anniversary of the United States Marine Corps," noted 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. "It's true we have a good start at filling at least one division but with a few more entries we could possibly have two races," Schwartz added. At the end of the November 10th 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. The Veterans Amateur Driving Challenge is only open to former servicemen who are amateur harness drivers licensed by the U.S. and/or the Canadian Trotting Associations. To enter the event, or for further information, please contact Monticello Raceway's director of racing, Eric Warner by calling 845-794-4100 ext. 557; or contact Alan Schwartz in the Horsemen's organization's office at 845-791-7747. John Manzi

Alan Schwartz has more driving victories than any other amateur driver competing today and at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday evening he added another win to his harness racing career total when he guided Lady's Big Stormont to a 1:59 triumph in the $6000 NAADA Trot. In that contest when the field approached the starting point Hannah Miller's horse, Father Amiga, went off stride and after seeing that mishap Schwartz gunned his charge to the lead from the pole position in the non-wagering trot which was presented prior to the first race on the betting card. Lady's Big Stormont led the field by the first quarter in :28.3 and after a 1:00 half the 5-year-old altered son of Earl of Stormont put two 29 and change quarters together to score two length victory over Bob Hechkoff's, Justtherighttouch. Joe Faraldo and Signal Hill OK finished third some three lengths behind the winner. "I guess everything went my way tonight. I had a good horse; I had the pole; and I got to the front easily," Schwartz said. "Then they lined up behind me and my trotter was never really challenged as we coasted along on the engine. In the stretch he (Lady's Big Stormont) was strong and we won it quite handily." The win was the seventh of the season for Lady's Big Stormont, whom Schwartz claimed earlier this year. He is trained by Raheim Strong. And for Schwartz, it was his the ninth win of the season and his 573rd of his amateur career. By John Manzi for NAADA

On Veteran's Day, Friday, November 11th , America will commemorate the valiant services of former members of our armed forces with speeches, parades and various other celebrations. But on the previous day, Thursday, Nov. 10th, the local harness racing Amateur Drivers Clubs are planning an amateur driving challenge at Monticello Raceway as an impetus to raise money for the local veteran's food banks. "We chose November 10th for two reasons. First, Monticello is dark on Fridays and second because it will mark the 241st Anniversary of the United States Marine Corps," noted former U.S Marine Alan Schwartz, who is the vice president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) as well as the president of the local horsemen's organization. "We have planned our own special tribute for those who served our country with honor by staging an Amateur Driving Challenge for veterans of the armed services who are currently amateur harness drivers and we're re being joined in this endeavor by the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club (CADC) and its president, Gerry Fielding. "At the end of Monticello's November 10th racing program each amateur club will donate $1000 to the Veterans Food Pantry of Sullivan County," Schwartz added. Although the amateur clubs have great ambitions their project couldn't come to fruition without the help of Monticello Raceway's longtime director of racing, Eric Warner, who over the years, has been helpful in promoting his racetrack. The Veterans Amateur Driving Challenge is only open to former servicemen who are amateur drivers licensed by the U.S. and/or the Canadian Trotting Associations. "This may not be an easy race to fill but we surely feel this is a worthwhile endeavor," Schwartz said. "Once the word is out we are hoping to get a good response from the proud veterans who helped preserve the American way of life." Anyone wanting more information, or to enter the event, must contact Warner at Monticello Raceway by calling 845-794-4100 ext. 557 or contact Schwartz in the Horsemen's organization's office at 845-791-7747. John Manzi  

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