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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

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, October 8, 2014--Yonkers Raceway has a simple four-word, 15-letter request for everyone attending the sixth annual harness racing Fall Harvest Festival, set for this Saturday night (Oct. 11). "Have Fun. Wear Pink." All the popular Festival sights, sounds and tastes are back... music, pony rides, New York State craft beers, exciting harness racing (including the Legislators' Challenge), face painting, a pumpkin patch and so much more in a fun, family atmosphere. Now, the reason for the request. Empire City, Yonkers Raceway, its horsemen and the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) have once again joined in the fight against breast cancer. A donation of $10 shall be made (with a maximum gift of $15,000) to the Susan G. Komen Greater NYC Chapter for every Fall Harvest Festival guest who wears the color du jour. In keeping with the theme, pink horseshoes shall be given away on the apron (while supplies last), all the drivers that evening are carrying pink whips and the winning horses receive pink blankets, sponsored (alphabetically) by Team Allard, Richard Banca, Amber Buter, Rick Dane Jr., Scott DiDomenico, Mark Ford, Allan Johnson, Peter Pellegrino, Jody Riedel, Brittany Robertson, Nick Surick and Anita Vallee. Representatives from the Komen organization are also going to be on hand to answer questions, provide informational materials and accept an oversized donation check in the winner's circle at 6:30 PM. Need some extra incentive to help a worthy cause? The first 1,500 Empire Club members who visit a promotions booth that day receive a free, $2 exacta box ticket on one of that evening's live races. The Fall Harvest Festival takes place trackside from 4 PM-8 PM, with the first Legislators' Challenge races set for 5:30 PM. Post time for the live racing card is the usual 7:10 PM. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Arguably there are few drivers who enjoy racing as much as the amateurs do. They not only don't earn any money they, in fact, pay for the right to drive in their amateur series events. On Thursday (Oct. 2) there were four races strictly for amateur drivers; one at the Red Mile and three at Yonkers Raceway. The Red Mile event was billed as a Gentlemen's Drivers Club Trot but was filled, for the most part, by Billings members, and to add affront to the name of the race it was won by a woman, "Soft- Hearted Hannah" Miller. The trots at Yonkers were for members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association and when the winners there were Joe Lee, Kelly "Sky" Walker and Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff, familiar names in the Billings Series. In the event in Lexington, Ky. Ms. Miller sat back off the early fractions with Rev It Now and then made a move as the field headed for the third stanza. They gained command at the head of the stretch and Rev It Now trotted home a 1:55.4 winner, among the fastest miles ever driven by a lady driver. Dave "Linemaster "Ehrenberg followed Miller's late moves but his trotter, Keystone Sadie, couldn't keep up in the lane which allowed Peter "Sycamore Ventures" Gerry, up behind Hartwell, to finish second a length or so, behind the winner. Keystone Sadie took home the show dough. Meanwhile, later that day at Yonkers, NY, 18 amateur drivers, nearly all also members of the Billings Series, convened to test their skills behind some spirited steeds. Joe Lee copped the first NAADA trot when he romped to a six- length triumph with Well Connected Kid, in a time of 2:00.2 who kicked-in a :29.1 final panel en route to victory. Homer Jay and "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello followed Lee's lead but Homer Jay had to settle for second money. Three lengths behind them was Jimmer, driven by "Bullet Bob" Davis. Kelly "Sky" Walker won the second non-betting trot with Rush N Supreme in a 1:59 clocking but both horse and driver were happy when the wire seemed to come up in time so Rush N Supreme could hold on to a neck triumph over Current Crisis and driver by Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin. Dave "Steady As" Yarock finished third in that mile with Rompaway Alvin. The third and final NAADA trot went to Get Packin and Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff with a gate to wire victory in a time of 1`:59.1. They were chased home by Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford and Celtic Merchant who took home second money while "Smokin' Joe, I finally did it" Faraldo was third best with Nowerland Firebird. by John Manzi for the CKG Billings Amateur Series

The annual NAADA Fall Trotting Series got underway at Freehold Raceway on Friday afternoon and when the dust had settled Bob Hechkoff and Get Packin trotted on to a wire to wire 2:00 victory. Starting on the outside in sixth position, Hechkoff sent the betting favorite to the front and they made every pole a winning one en route to a one length victory over Wygant Prince and driver Bob Davis third place went to Rev It Now driven by Hannah Miller. "He's an old veteran and just a pleasure to drive," noted Hechkoff who is an executive recruiter by trade.. "He can leave, he'll sit in a hole comfortably and with 60 victories in his career he has a desire to win." Hechkoff's R.B.H Ventures Stable has owned the veteran 12 year old Muscles Yankee gelding since this past February and the old guy has been nothing but good for Hechkoff earning him nearly $40,000 this season, not to mention the seven winning rides Get Packin has afforded his owner this season. However, over the veteran trotter's career he has earned more than $545,000 for those who paid the bills on him. Hechkoff and Get Packin can be found competing in many amateur events not the least being the C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series. Although Hechkoff didn't earnestly get involved in amateur racing until 2004 he has become a force to be reckoned with. He drove his first winner that year and since then he has recorded 54 victories usually driving about 35 races a year. Open to drivers who are members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association-and anyone can easily become a member-- the NAADA Trotting Series differs from others in that the organization donates to deserving charities at the end of their series of races. Next stop will be at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday, Oct. 2 where the competing amateurs will race for $6,000 purses in the two events that are expected that evening. At series end the drivers who earned the most points in the preliminaries will get a chance to race in the $14,000 Final. John Manzi

Beginning Friday, September 26 the North American Amateur Drivers Association's (NAADA) Fall Trotting Series will kick off with a $5000 event at Freehold Raceway followed by a $6000 contest at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday, October 2,. The six-leg series will culminate with a $14,000 Final at Yonkers Raceway on November 6. Besides the September 26th date two other trotting legs will also be contested at Freehold Raceway; on the Fridays of October 10 and October 24, and, if needed, the Series Consolation on November 7. Besides October 2nd, the other Yonkers Raceway dates include the Thursdays of October 16 and October 30 as well as November 6 for the Series Final. Though there are criteria for the competing trotters like the Billings Series, only the amateur drivers can be nominated to the NAADA Series and all entrants must be members of NAADA and drivers can participate  in only one division of each leg of the series. At series end, the drivers with the most points in the preliminary legs will be eligible to compete in the Final. Horses that are eligible must be 3 years old and up that had six or more starts in 2013/14, have earned a minimum of $1000, are non-winners of $6001 in their last six starts, and have not won more than $2000 per start.  Also eligible are trotters with a base claiming price of $15,000. The series is open to all 2014 paid-up members of NAADA. (Membership fee is $150 per calendar year.) Participating drivers will be assessed a $50 starting fee in the preliminaries and a $100 starting fee in the series Final and $75 in the series Consolation. Entry fee checks must be made payable to NAADA A part of the driver’s percentages and a portion of the total starting fees will be added to the  donation to a worthwhile charity at series end.  The European Pont System will be used in the series and the top eight point-earners will be eligible for the Final. For total series conditions, or for further information, please contact NAADA president Joe Faraldo at 718-544-6800. By John Manzi, for NAADA

Last season amateur driver Steve Oldford reined 19 winners in 81 starts and finished with a lofty .355 UDR. He not only was named the 2013 National Amateur Driver of the Year by the United States Harness Writers Association but, for the third time, he was awarded amateur driver of the year honors by the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Oldford won 11 races last season in the C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series considered by many to be the Grand Circuit of Amateur Racing, and as a member of four other Amateur Driving Clubs he won at least one race in each of them. This year, from a limited amount of drives, he has already won four races and currently has 87 career wins. Soon the Michigan businessman will be winging his way to Finland to compete as the United States representative in the prestigious World Cup of Amateur Racing which will be contested at three different racetracks there. As a member of the North American Amateur Drivers Association-the American affiliate of FEGAT, the organization which produces the World Cup-- Oldford is eyeing the competitions. "I'm really looking forward to competing," Oldford said. "This will be the first time that I have the honor of representing the United States in the World Cup although I have driven abroad in the past in Italy and New Zealand. "I'll be accompanied by my wife Gale and we'll be leaving on June 27th to stop first in Sweden and visit some training centers there. Prior to the World Cup getting underway I will be driving in the preliminaries on July 3rd and 4th. The World Cup festivities begin on Sunday, July 6 and continue through July 9th. Twelve countries will be represented in the international World Cup. Besides the USA they include Finland, Italy, Belgium, Russia, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Hungary, Spain and New Zealand. For three consecutive days beginning on Monday, July 7th there will be races at three different racetracks on each day; on Monday at small Riihimaki, a summertrack; on Tuesday at Tampereen Ravirata, the second biggest track in Finland, and on Wednesday at Vermon Ravirata, the main track in Finland. Along the way there will be many amenities for the competitors, including sightseeing and shopping. "I'm thrilled just to be able to compete against some of the best amateur drivers in the world," Oldford added. Steve Oldford is President and owner of Oldford and Associates, providing sales and engineering services to companies supplying the automotive industry. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a bachelor's degree in business administration. He has been involved in the industry for more than 40 years as a breeder, owner, trainer and driver, although he didn't earnestly start driving until 2008. He is very active as an amateur driver, winning the CKG Billings point championship four times since 2008 and the Gold Cup final in 2010. Oldford is also president of the Great Lakes Amateur Driving Association, vice president of the CKG Billings Harness Driving Club, and a trustee and a vice president of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame and Museum. by John Manzi, for the NAADA

After copping three of the six preliminary legs of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's spring trotting series it was a really no surprise that Bob Krivelin was victorious in the $14,000 series finale at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday evening April 24. Although Krivelin had trouble getting his trotter Current Crisis away from the starting gate they still prevailed at the finish when they collared the pacesetter, Get Packin and his driver Bob Hechkoff I mid-stretch, and go on to score a length victory in a time of 1:59.3. "Before I bought him (Current Crisis) he was the Maine champion at three (years old) when Donny Richards had him, but he (Current Crisis) was always hard to get going," Kriveli reltated. "So Richards would keep him back and then time the (starting) gate at the start. But If Richards had to put Current Crisis on gate he'd have trouble getting him away on the trot. "But last night from the two-hole at Yonkers we were three lengths off at the start and I was lucky to find a place along the pylons on the first turn." Krivelin had Current Crisis in fifth position as the field headed to the half and when Tony Verruso went first up with Northmedo Wine Guy Krivelin moved his trotter up behind Verruso's. "I was getting a good second over trip behind Tony's horse until he faded and I had to go three deep. But I quickly got around him and fell in behind Hechkoff who was on the lead." Krivelin said. "I then followed him until the top of the stretch and when he headed for home my horse was stronger than his and we easily beat him to the wire." Get Packin and Hechkoff held on for second money while Kendal Giovanni and Bob Davis got up for the show dough in the non-wagering event. To say that Bob Krivelin is enthralled with amateur racing would be an understatement. True, as the owner of a major food distributorship in the Metropolitan area, he makes a comfortable living but his heart and soul revolves around the standardbred sport in general and amateur racing in particular. A winner of 157 races, including last year's Billings Final, Krivelin, a three-time National Amateur Driver of the Year, is especially proud that the amateur drivers do lots of charity work donating to various organizations throughout the year. Secretly, or maybe not so, he dreams of winning the Hambletonian as an amateur like Mal Burroughs did a few years ago. "Winning a Hambletonian may never happen but it certainly is a goal of mine," Krivelin added. " I'll keep investing in young trotters with hopes of getting one good enough to have a chance to be competitive. But even if that doesn't happen I'll still enjoy driving, and winning, of course." by John Manzi, for NAADA

The sixth and final leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association Trotting Series was presented at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday April 17 and when the non-wagering contests were finished Bobby Krivelin and Dave Yarock emerged victorious in their respective splits; Krivelin with Current Crisis in 1:59.1 and Yarock with Nowerland Nathan in 2:00.1. Krivelin's win was his third in the trotting events and for Yarock it was his second. In his $6000 contest Krivelin settled his trotter in along the pylons in the early going and then used the overland route to wear down the leader Get Packin (Bob Hechkoff) as the field rounded the final turn. From there Current Crisis then rolled on to a four-length victory over Northemedo Wine Guy, driven by Tony Verruso. Get Packin held on for third money. Yarock's victory was somewhat similar to Krivelin's in that he raced along the pylons until the field headed for the half and with a move to the outside Nowerland Nathan and Yarock wore down the pace-setter Whatnblazes (Dave Offenberg) and gained command by the three quarters. Then, as the field headed for home only Nowerland Nathan's margin of victory was in doubt as Yarock's trotter finished three lengths ahead of Offenberg's. Krivelin was the series point champion with 47 while Yarock was second best with 36. Trailing Krivelin and Yarock in points and now eligible to the final are; David Glasser (30), Bob Hechkoff (29), Joe Faraldo (26), Tony Verruso (25); Bob Davis (23) and Paul MInore (20). However, should any of the top eight in points fail to enter the final then the remaining driver(s) with the highest point totals---Dave Offenberg (18), Monica Banca (17) and Alan Charles (10)--- are next in line to participate. The $14,000 NAADA Trotting Series Final will be contest on Thursday, April 24 again at Yonkers Raceway. by John Manzi, for NAADA

David Glasser and Paul Minore were each victorious in the respective divisions of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's (NAADA) Trotting Series at Freehold Raceway on Friday (Apri11).Glasser won with his own Grecale AS in a time of 2:00 and returned a whopping $41.60 win payoff, while Minore scored with his Wygant Prince in 1:58.1. Glasser's trotter went a solid mile after being first-up at the half and then rallying to the lead as the field passed the three quarters. Once on top Grecale AS coasted home an easy two length winner over favored Northmedo Wine Guy and Tony Verruso, giving Glasser his second victory in the series. His 28 points in the series is currently second best behind Bobby Krivelin's 35 but with only one leg remaining at Yonkers on April 17 Glasser is assured eligibility in the $14,000 series finale which will also to be raced at Yonkers Raceway, but on April 24. In his division Minore's Wygant Prince went an eye-opening trip and won in 1:58.1 after a two-hole journey behind Bob Hechkoff with Get Packin. That mile caused a little stir among some of the professionals drivers who were watching that amateur race and one was overheard saying with amazement after the 1:58.1 mile, "that's race horse time!". Minore has driven in only two series legs and with just 16 points he'll need a good showing on Thursday to move up and earn a spot in the series finale. Those drivers with the most points in the six-leg trotting will earn a berth in the $14,000 Final, that is, if they all enter. The current leaderboard is as follows: Bobby Krivelin (35), David Glasser (28), Dave Yarock (24), Bob Hechkoff(24) Bob Davis (21), Joe Faraldo (21) Tony Verruso (18), Monica Banca (17) Paul Minore (16) and Dave Offenberg (11). "I'd like to make it clear that the drivers who are among the top eight in points doesn't assure them a spot in the final unless they enter. So it's a good idea if someone is ninth or tenth in points they still should enter for the final race just in case someone in the top ten (in points) doesn't. And should that happen, the next highest in points gets first call," explained NAAADA president Joe Faraldo. by John Manzi, for NAADA

Two divisions of the fourth leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association trotting series went to post at Freehold Raceway on Friday afternoon, April 5 and when the events were declared official Bobby Kriivelin and Tony Verruso each emerged victorious in their respective splits. Krivelin won with Gimme The Loot and Verruso hustled Northmedo Wine Guy home first in their event. When it comes to amateur racing the name Bobby Krivelin needs no introductions. A three-time national Amateur Driver of the Year Krivelin is always a force to be reckoned with whenever he takes time off from his food sales business to jump on a seat behind a spirited steed and race for the sport of it. And for yet another time Krivelin out-foxed his competition and scored his 155th career driving victory when he guided Gimme The Loot to a convincing 2:01.3 triumph in their division. Perhaps out-foxed is not the right term, but whatever it could be labeled, Krivelin took advantage of it and worked himself a good trip behind the leaders in the early going and then rallied to victory in the deep stretch. When Bob Hechkoff gunned Get Packin to the lead as the wings of the starting gate folded, Krivelin jumped in the three-hole on the first turn and sat patiently until the backside the second time around. Although Get Packin still had command, Hechkoff's trotter braced for the challenge from Gimme The Loot and the two raced side by side past the three quarters and around the final turn. When the straightened for paydirt Krivelin mildly urged his trotter and Gimme The Loot responded and trotted away to a 1-1/2 length victory over Get Packin. Paul Minore challenged the leaders with a three-deep move as the field passed the third stanza but his trotter Wygant Prince flattened-out in the lane and finished third. It was the second victory in the NAADA Series for Krivelin and Gimme The Loot after having won a division on March 21. Owned by Alessandro and Marcello Spano, Gimme The Loot paid $4.20 fro win Verruso is another well-known name in the amateur circles especially as president of the CKG Billings Driving Series and he too, needs no road map when he sits behind a standardbred. He copped the second NAADA division with Northmedo Wine Guy in a 2:04 clocking over the race track now rated sloppy as the rain continued to fall in Freehold. However, Verruso's triumph was different than Krivelin's in that he made Northmedo Wine Guy did his trotting on the front- end. After starting from the two-hole Verruso rushed his charge to the lead and they had to endure challenges along the way; first and long, from favored Rose Run Nash (Bob Davis) and later from Nowerland Nathan (Dave Yarock). But Northmedo Wine Guy rebuffed all comers and the veteran trotter even drew off to a two length victory over Rose Run Nash who trotted the last three- eighths on the limb. Some Kinda Spunky took home the show dough for Alan Charles. Owned by G B Racing Stables, Northmedo Wine Guy paid $5.00 to win and for Verruso, it marked his 49th amateur driving victory. by John Manzi, for the North American Amateur Drivers Association

Dave Yarock and Bob Davis each were victorious in their respective $6000 divisions in the third leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's spring trotting series at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday (March 27) night. It was the first win for each driver in the six week series. In his event, Yarock, and his own Nowerland Nathan left softly from the two home and he was content to let Georgie Newell and Swift Kid take command and Bob Heckhoff and Tremendous Hit fall into the two hole in front of him. Yarock sat cool in third position until the backside where he moved his 8-year-old gelding out to challenge and by the time they circled the final turn they had command. In the lane Nowerland Nathan trotted off to a one length victory in a time of 2:01.1 as Currant Crisis and Bobby Krivelin rallied to be second. Monica Banca and Hardrockinjessica took home the show dough while Tremendous Hit and Swift Kid faded and finished fifth and sixth respectively. In the other split Davis' trotter, Rose Run Nash, won more convincingly. After a slow start where the pole horse ,Rose Run Nash, was four lengths off the gate when the starter said "go", Davis and his charge ended-up sixth at the quarter in :29.1. "Trainer Danny Gill told me if I put him (Rose Run Nash) on the gate he might get hot on me so I decided to lay back a bit so he would be calmer," Davis explained about his trotter's slow start. As the field moved toward the halfway point Davis angled his trotter to the outside behind cover supplied by Alan Schwartz, with Bertos Angel and Joe Faraldo, with Rodeo Red. Faraldo moved three deep up the backside and gained the lead at the third stanza in 1:31.2 and although they held their position until the top of the stretch Rodeo Red ran out of gas and faded. David Glasser with Carbon Footprint were on the lead throughout and he was the one who kept the field stacked. But in the lane they trotted by Rodeo Red and earned second money while Faraldo and Rodeo Red finished third in the 2:02.3 clocked mile. "Once we got away he (Rose Run Nash) was a pleasure to drive and he finished real strong," a smiling Bob Davis said after his victory. With a victory in his first start in the event David Glasser now has command of the leaderboard while Davis who made his first start is now one-for-one in the series. For, Yarock, a financial planner from Tenafly, NJ, it was his 44th amateur driving victory while Davis, a self- employed businessman from Saratoga Springs, NY, notched his 13th. by John Manzi, for the North American Amateur Drivers Association

Ever been to Paris? Ya' know, Paris- like in France. I always wanted to visit the city of lights, and just recently I had an opportunity to do so. And whatever you've heard about Paris probably doesn't do it justice. With magnificent attractions like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Musee du Louvre, Notre Dame , the new giant Ferris Wheel sticking out high above the river Seine, and all the other glorious attributes the city has to offer, I was mystified, and you'd be, too. I was lucky to go with a contingent of horse people who were invited guests of France's Harness Racing Association(Le Trot) and its Chairman of Cheval Francois, the very gracious Dominque de Bellaigue. The dozen, or so, who made the trip were from the U.S Trotting Association, the Standardbred Owners Association of NY, Yonkers Raceway, and the New York State Breeders Association, along with other dignitaries. The major purpose of that French trip was to work with Le Trot to set up simulcasting from the US to France and eventually co-mingling of wagering pools so the French would be able to bet directly into American pools. And with Yonkers president, Tim Rooney and SOANY president, Joe Faraldo among us, they also are working to reinstate the International Trot, won twice by both Roquepine and Une de Mai, which the French were quick to remind us of. The International Trot was very popular decades ago and it may return to Yonkers Raceway before you know it . And it appears that both objectives will come to fruition. Perhaps the best part of that journey was that we went as V.I.P.'s, and as guests of Le Trot we were chauffeured all around, wined and dined, but for airfare and money spent out of pocket. On the evening of our arrival our contingent were guests at a gala Le Trot Banquet and the next two days were spent at the races at Vincennes-their magnificent racetrack-where France's premier trotting event, the Prix d' Amerique-- a 1.2 Million Euro spectacle-- is raced. And both days we were treated to outstanding luncheons at the track and the Moet Champagne flowed like water. Prior to the races on Prix d' Amerique Day the afternoon began with a grand spectacle on the racetrack of different breeds of horses, men on big-high stilts and a Corvette automobile parade with the Prix D' Amerique drivers waving to the huge crowd. That race is the French way of paying homage to the Americans who helped free France during World War I. Even though I'm not a betting man, on the day of the big race I wanted a souvenir so I wagered five Euros on a pick that I made from the 18 starters figuring I'd have a ticket to remember my trip by. But, lo and behold, the horse I picked, Maharajah, won the race and I won nearly fifty U.S. bucks, which was a heck of a lot better than a souvenir losing ticket. We spent three nights in Paris and on the fourth day we were taken by bus to Gros Bois, the unbelievably magnificent training center on the outskirts of Paris, where over 2500 horses are stabled and trained on five or six different size tracks. I even got to meet and take a photo with Maharajah, who was stabled there. After a wonderful luncheon at Gros Bois -with Moet flowing again- we had a three hour trip north to Normandy and for the next two days we visited many training facilities in that part of France. On our last night in Normandy we stayed in Caen, a city rebuilt after it was devastated in World War II, and our group dined at a fine restaurant with the officials of Le Trot who joined us to solidify a co-mingling betting agreement. (And guess what? The Moet flowed there, too. ) On our way back to the airport on our final day of the trip we went by the race track in Caen as our hosts explained that there are over 234 different hippodromes in France, which surprised everyone in the group. It took more than three hours for us to get to the airport in Paris for our return to the USA. While traveling through the city I was amazed at the amount of graffiti that seemed to be everywhere, similar to what you might see in our subways in New York City. We made it to the plane on time and then we prepared for the nine-hour trip back home to JFK. Although I had been to Europe in the late 1980's on two different occasions as publicist for the North American Amateur Drivers Association visiting various cities in Holland, Belgium, as well as Berlin, then in West Germany and before the Wall was taken down. As wonderful as those cities were--- there is only one Paris! John Manzi is the Director of Racing Publicity at Monticello Raceway  

Six weeks ago USTA Director Joe Faraldo was leading a contingent to Vincennes Racetrack in Paris, France with the specific intention of sealing an international simulcast agreement between the U.S. Trotting Association and the French Trotting Organization (Le Trot). He was joined on that endeavor by Yonkers Raceway president, Tim Rooney, Alex Dadoyan, the executive director of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York , Mike Kimelman, president of Blue Chip Farms as well as a interested group of SOA of NY members and associates. Last night (March6) at Yonkers Raceway Faraldo won the second division of a trotting series sponsored by the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA). He shared the limelight with David Glasser, a business professional who recently re-joined the amateur driving movement. For both gentlemen drivers their victories were their first of the 2014 season. Faraldo's win came behind his own Rodeo Red in a time of 2:02.4 while Glasser won with JS Miss Linda, a trotting mare that he owns in a 2:03.1 clocking,. In his contest, Faraldo sat back off the early pace and then rallied in the deep stretch to a length victory after trailing the Carbon Footprint (Dave Yarock ) by three lengths as the field headed for home. Yarock's trotter held on for the place money and Tony Verruso took home the show dough with Sam's Honeybee. "When my horse is right he's a nice trotter and he was right tonight," Faraldo said after his victory and then added with tongue in cheek, "Even a blind squirrel gets an acorn every now and then." For Faraldo the victory was the 138th of his amateur driving career. En route to his victory Glasser used a two hole journey with JS Miss linda to overtake the pace-setter Get Packin (Bob Hechkoff) as the field rounded the final turn and then they went on to score a two length triumph in 2:03.1. Get Packin was second best and Hardrockinjessica finished third for Monica Banca. Glasser,47, has been in and around in harness racing his entire life since his parents Arthur and Evelyn Glasser owned and raced standardbreds for decades. It was his 20th career driving victory. Glasser began his amateur career in 1980 and except for a few seasons he never drove more than six races a year. Since 1991 he has driven just 28 times and his last victory came during the 1991campaign. and it was said that he truly celebrated his latest triumph. "I did some celebrating last night since this win was a longtime coming," Glasser said. By John Manzi for the North American Amateur Driving Association  

Steve Oldford of Croswell, MI, has been named the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA)  2013 harness racing Amateur Driver of the Year and it is hard to come up with a more stellar list of accomplishments than those Steve has achieved this year. He is this year's Billings overall point champion as well as the points champ in the Billings mid-west region and a winner of one of the Billings Series Finals. Besides his prowess this year in the Billings Series--the granddaddy of all amateur clubs-Oldford is a member of many other amateur driving clubs and he has won at least one race in the Great Lakes Club (GLADA), the Florida Club, the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA), and the Catskill Club(CADC). He also was a division winner of the Hambletonian Amateur Trots and he organized the amateur driving portion of the USTA Driving School which was held in and around Goshen, NY this past summer. Few, if any, are more enthusiastic about amateur racing than Oldford and when told he was named USHWA's Amateur Driver of the Year he said happily; "It's (amateur racing) a lot of fun and I'll go anywhere to drive a harness horse. "I've had my best year in the Billings this season winning 11 races in the series and I now have 19 wins this year. I'd love to get to 20 and I have a chance next week when I drive against professionals in at Sports Creek (Raceway) in Michigan." Some might say that Oldford began his amateur driving late in life although he quips; "You're never too old to get involved in such a satisfying endeavor"; hence his Billings nickname of Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford. This year from 83 starts Oldford has 19 wins, 14 seconds and eight thirds for a hefty .355UDR to go along with purse earnings in excess of $64,500. It wasn't until 2006 that he earnestly began serious participation in amateur racing. However, since then Oldford has recorded 83 driving victories and is a force to be reckoned with every time he's on the racetrack. And as a great supporter of amateur racing there have been many times that he has supplied an extra horse that was needed to fill an amateur event. Over the years Steve has been a three time winner of the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame Amateur Driver of the Year Award; Michigan Amateur Driver of the Year; US representative to International amateur driving challenges in Europe and New Zealand; founder and president of GLADA; Vice president of the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series and recently was named a trustee at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. He is also active in USTA affairs and is the District Rep in Michigan. Patricia Miller, Board Secretary and publicist for the Great Lakes Amateur Driving Association and fellow Michigander, sums up the essence Steve Oldford. "Steve is a fine person to begin with; a very fair and honest horseman, a fine driver, and fierce competitor of the utmost integrity and for me, this is a vital quality, not just important, but vital." by John Manzi for the United States Harness Writers Association  

Dave Offenberg and his harness racing trotter Whatnblazes enjoyed a two-hole journey until the top of the stretch and then rallied to a head victory in a time of 2:00.4 to win the $14,000 Final of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's Fall Trotting Series at Yonkers Raceway on December 19. Had it been a wagering event Impressive Earl, a winner of four preliminary legs would have undoubtedly been the hot favorite, but this time driver Dr. John Kokinos had trouble with the veteran trotter behind the gate and when Impressive Earl went off stride as the gate was leaving it changed the whole completion of the race. Wygant Prince and driver Pau Minore fired for the lead and although they had some road trouble on the first turn by the time they reached the quarter pole the had command. Minore wouldn't yield the lead so Bob Davis, with Bullseye Valley on the limb got fresh air the entire mile. However, sitting smugly behind the leader with Whatnblazes Dave Offenberg was probably licking his chops while enjoying a picture trip. Wygant Prince remained in front and the fresh air didn't slow the stubborn Bullseye Valley who kept any live trotters in the rear from moving up. When the field rounded the final turn Wygant Prince and Bullseye Valley were still one-two but Offenberg sneaked out and Whatnblazes was the strong horse and he got up to collar Wygant Prince for a head victory. By mid-stretch Bullseye Valley finally got tired and faded to finish fourth as Dave Yarock and Nowlerland Nathan came from the far back to pick up the show dough. "The race broke perfect for me. All I had to do was stay calm and wait for an opening," Offenberg said. "It finally came and nearly too late, but when I got out my horse dug in and although it was close I knew we beat Paul (Minore with Wygant Prince)to the finish line." Offenberg,a businessman from Monroe Township, NJ, began amateur driving in 1998 and now has 43 career victories with six this year alone. Earlier in the series, on November 21, Offenberg and Whatnblazes won a preliminary leg also at Yonkers. The NAADA Three Track trotting Series began on October 17 with Monticello Raceway, Freehold Raceway and Yonkers Raceway participating. The drivers who earned the most points in the seven preliminary legs earned a berth in the $14,000 final. "We are very appreciative of the support we receive from the management of Monticello, Yonkers and Freehold Raceways and we had another good series of competitive races," noted NAADA president Joe Faraldo. "In the very near future NAADA will again be making our annual donation to a very deserving and worthwhile charity." by John Manzi for the North American Amateur Drivers Association  

With the completion of the final two preliminary legs of this year's North American Amateur Drivers Association's Charity Trotting Series held at Yonkers Raceway on December 12th, the field of drivers is now set for the $12,000 finale to be raced at Yonkers Raceway on December 19. Last night (Dec. 12) previous leg winners, Paul Minore and Dr. John Kokinos, each emerged victorious, Kokinos for the fourth time and Minore for the second. Kokinos, with Jennifer Lappe's Impressive Earl, trotted to the front in their $6,000 split and rebuffed all challenges en route to a 1:59.4 victory over Ipo Blue Chip and driver Steve Oldford. Third place went to Bob Davis up behind Ilari. For Doctor John, a veterinarian by trade, his victory added another 11 points to his totals and he finishes with 59 points and the points championship in the seven- leg, three-track trotting series which began on October 17 at Monticello Raceway. Freehold Raceway was also a participant in the series. In his $6,000 split Paul Minore, a retired high school coach who's most famous pupil was Carl Lewis, took no prisoners and went down the road to score a 1:59.3 victory with his own Wygant Prince. Monica Banca with Leave Your Mark finished a length behind the winner in second place while Bob Hechkoff got Tremendous Hit home for third money. As a results of those races the top eight in series points earned a berth in the $12,000 Final. Behind Kokinos and eligible to start if they choose to enter are; Paul Minore (40 points), Monica Banca (34), Bob Davis (24), Dave Offenberg (23), Bob Krivelin , Bob Hechkoff, and Dave Yarock, each with 21 points. If any of the aforementioned don't enter it opens up for those next in line in points totals which includes; Tony Verruso (18), Gerry Fielding (17), Steve Oldford, ( 13), Kelly Walker 12 and Alan Schwartz (11). When the series finale is completed, Joe Faraldo, the president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association, will again make a substantial donation from the organization to a worthwhile charity soon to be announced. By John Manzi  

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