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Besides the great camaraderie shared with their hosts as far as enjoyment on NAADA's venture to Mallorca, Spain for an international amateur driving competition with their Spanish counterparts, the best that could be said was that it was relegated to great food and fine wines because on the racetrack they were vanquished again. The following is a first hand view by NAADA president and team leader, Joe Faraldo on the final day of the international amateur driving competition between the North American Amateur Drivers Association and the Spanish amateurs. "At Son Pardo in Palma there were two twelve horse fields. They pre-raced us with paella and roast suckling pig. When the racing began it looked like the twelve horses were all over the place behind the eight-horse gate reminiscent of Yonkers during a French racing afternoon and once again the Spaniards kicked butts. Of course, just by the numbers 8 vs 4, it was likely that would happen just because of the traffic and team racing the Europeans engage in. "In the first of two races, Alan Schwartz's horse had not raced for 3 years. "When he asked the trainer about that, the reply was "She had a good rest" and also if she cannot finish, just bring her back." "It did not instill confidence and needless to say, the horse was ready to go back after the 1/2." " (Joe) Pennacchio was best of American blood and finished 4th. "The second race was about the same 8 vs 4. Pennacchio's horse was so unruly, that he could not start in the race and it dumped Joe." "So we were down to three. Hannah got behind two breakers leaving the course only to be disqualified. "I was on top in a heartbeat and was up by 10 at the half and it seemed certain that I was going to bring it home." "Unfortunately at the end, my charge, Benigno Duran, drew a posse an they wiped that lead away as the bottom-them-out strategy failed down that long, long stretch." "I was so sure that I was third I kept insisting all the next day that I indeed finished third but somehow the judges saw (Alan) Schwartz on the far outside and I ended up fourth." "The protesting did not end as the mantra of the day continued with "I was robbed". "The final US tally had Schwartz with two thirds,Pennacchio with a fourth, and I had a fourth." "In the winner's circle presentation all the American drivers were presented with beautiful personally engraved plaques cast in Spanish silver and we stood for pictures." "As usual Hannah Miller won that photo by open lengths!" "Dinner was awesome, all home raised beef and pork products barbecued and, as usual, super abundant." "Then came more wine until we just about couldn't stand at all." "An invitation was extended to our friends for a rematch in the US next year in September and maybe we can change the results." "Tonight there was another dinner with the drivers featuring jamon,suckling pig, and just about everything else including empanadas and Majorcan bread. "If nothing else, we beat them at eating." John Manzi

Although the American harness racing amateurs hoped for different results when they traveled to Mallorca for the second edition of the Spain vs. NAADA Friendship Competition their hopes vanished when reality set-in. Led by Joe Faraldo, president of NAADA and joined by Hannah Miller, Alan Schwartz and Joe Pennacchio the American team is doing little more than enjoying the food, wine and camaraderie with their hosts. Faraldo shared the following sentiments after the first day of the competition. "Midst a rich brownish earth, calm breeze, winery tours and into the depths of the their most famous caves, surrounding us with kindness and hospitality, the Spanish then proceeded to clobber our NAADA amateurs once again. This time the races were on a track no greater than 650 meters long on a track that is only wide enough for six across with a running horse (Thoroughbred) rail. And then add a field of ten horses and set the distance at 1750 meters, about three times around with a bell-lap for the benefit of Spanish and Americans alike. "Compare that to our half-milers, which are a large 800 meters by comparison, and it was easy to see the slaughter that began. "In the first event four brave souls, led by the hot handed Hannah Miller, waged battle with the six Spanish drivers who clearly had the home track advantage and perhaps the better horses which gave them an all round edge. Going for a purse of 700 Euros the American team bested only a third place gained by Alan Schwartz. The second event found no American in the top five. "However after the race we were treated to an elaborate cocktail party where the main talk, fortunately for us, centered around the upcoming International Trot to be held at Yonkers on October10th after a twenty year hiatus." According to Faraldo, on Sunday the competition moves on to Son Pardo racetrack in Palma, the bustling town and capital of Mallorca with the Americans hoping for better results.That will be followed by a farewell dinner of Paella and roast suckling pig. "At Son Pardo racetrack a group from the French PMU subsidized a race of 50,000 euros with a plane load of French horses shipped in." Faraldo added. "The PMU has made great strides in Spain and it continues,along with Le Trot, to propagate the continent with their breed and betting distribution system to the advantage of all, now sending about 100 French trotting horses to Ireland long a stronghold of American pacing blood." John Manzi

With four of their members in Mallorca, Spain competing against Spanish amateurs in an international harness racing Friendship Competition two divisions of the North American Amateur Drivers Association fall trotting series went to post Thursday (Sept.24) at Yonkers Raceway and when the judges hung the official signs Bob Hechkoff and Bob Davis each emerged victorious in their respective divisions. Hechkoff, no stranger to the winners circle this year, got his picture taken again when he guided his own Alternat Thursdays to a hard fought 1:59.1 victory in the first of two non-wagering events while Bob Davis, currently with a hot-hand, scored a come-from- behind triumph with Hallanet in a time of 2:01.4. Hechkoff, who enjoys gunning his stock to the lead, did so again when he hustled Alternat Thursdays to the front from the seven-hole to gain command in a :28.4 first quarter. Once on top Hechkoff braced for a challenge from Paul Minore who moved first-up with Wygant Prince as the field headed to the halfway point. From there the two trotters raced head- to- head past the third stanza and into the final turn. As the field headed for home Alternat Thursdays, still in command, had to reach down for more when Matt Zuccarello and Falcon Bluestone came calling. Still three lengths off the leader, Zuccarello's trotter mounted a fierce charge to the wire only to be rebuffed and fall short by a head to Hechkoff's Alternat Thursdays. Wygant Prince, after being on the limb for more than half the mile, hung on for third money. It was the third seasonal victory for the 10 year old altered son of Andover Hall whose career earnings are approaching $400,000. The winner is owned by R.B. H. Enterprises and for Hechkoff it marked his 16th seasonal driving victory. In the other split Hallanet went an overland trip from the three-eighths to the wire and overtook the pace-setter, Blazin Delores, in the final 100 yards to score a solid one-length victory. After hooking up in a head-to-head dual with Majestic Jo (Dave Yarock), Blazin Delores was strong nearly all the way to the wire but in the final strides she succumbed to the late charge of Hallant. Brad Rathbone finished third with Super Chuck. Hallanet, a 4 year old Cash Hall mare owned by Paul Minore, scored her third seasonal triumph. It was the second consecutive driving victory and third of the season for Bob Davis. Meanwhile in Malllorca, NAADA mates; Joe Faraldo, Hannah Miller, Joe Pennacchio and Alan Schwartz will battle Saturday and Sunday with the same Spanish amateurs who soundly defeated them on American soil earlier this year. John Manzi for Naada

Monticello, NY --- The North American Amateur Drivers Association team is already in Spain and has been spending good tidings in Barcelona. On Thursday (Sept 24) they will head to the Spanish island of Mallorca and try to avenge the defeat the Spanish amateurs laid on the NAADA members in their first meeting earlier this year in the USA. This past spring the Spaniards were guests of NAADA in a Friendship Competition and they thoroughly vanquished their American counterparts in a series of races on American soil. The NAADA team of Joe Faraldo, Alan Schwartz, Hannah Miller, and Joe Pennacchio will need to be at the top of their game in the upcoming races on Mallorca. “Sure, we’re the underdogs in this international competition but for years, win or lose, I’ve been saying that amateur racing is a good excuse for human relations,” said Joe Faraldo, president of NAADA. “We’re happy to be here in Spain and look forward to having a great time with our newfound friends.” According to Alicia Schwartz, an officer of NAADA, the following is an itinerary for the Americans in the driving competition on Mallorca. Thursday, Sept 24  Pick up at the airport and taken to our accommodations. Afterwards, we will have a welcome dinner in the coastal town of Cala Millor (just 15 minutes to the vacation house).  Friday, Sept. 25 Wine tour experience in the city of Santa Maria (50 km away) visiting the winery and vineyards and tasting wines and Majorcan food. The tour will be about four hours in duration. Saturday, Sept 26  Visit to the famous Caves "Cuevas del Drach" in Porto Cristo, about 10 minutes from our vacation house. Lunch at the race track of Manacor. Two races (first race post time is at 4 p.m., amateur races probably will be second and fourth). After the races we will go to the Hotel Valparaiso in Playa de Palma for the presentation with French and Spanish Federation, accompanied by finger food and dinner.  Sunday, Sept. 27 Lunch at the race track of Palma. We’ll have two races (first race probably at 4 p.m.). After the races we will have dinner on the way to our vacation house.  Monday, Sept. 28  At night we will have a casual party dinner, with wine and cocktails to highlight wonderful Mallorca food. Tuesday, Sep. 29 Return to the USA John Manzi

Monticello, NY - Two divisions in the North American Amateur Drivers Association Fall trotting series were on tap on Thursday afternoon (Sept.15) at Monticello Raceway and when the dust cleared Joe Lee and Tony Farina each emerged victorious in their respective splits. Lee won with Mario Bi in a time of 2:00.4 while Farina scored behind Chelseas Chance in 1:59.3. Lee, the assistant equipment manager for the New York Yankees, subbed for Joe Faraldo and he scored an easy victory with the 4 year-old Andover Hall stallion. After getting away slowly from the three hole Lee had Mario Bi some nine lengths off the leader as Pembroke Snapshot and Hannah Miller showed the way in the :28.3 first stanza. When the field headed for the halfway point Lee was out and going with his trotter and they were in third position on the limb but just two lengths off the lead. However, up the backside Mario Bi trotted to the front and it was 'Katey bar the door' from there on as Lee's trotter opened up daylight and cruised home an easy three length winner. Gimme The Loot was second under the wire for Bobby Krivelin but a racing infraction caused the trotter to be disqualified and placed last. That allowed Tagmaster and Tony Ciuffetelli to be moved up to second and Pembroke Snapshot to the show position. Owned by Joe Faraldo, Mario Bi paid $6.00 for win and for Lee it was his third driving victory of the year and eighth since he began amateur racing in 2010. In the other split, young Tony Farina scored an impressive come-from-behind triumph with Chelseas Chance, a 4-year-old daughter of Kadabra, in 1:59.3. Sent off as the 8-5 favorite in the contest Farina was content to follow the leaders through fractions of :29.1; :59:1 and 1:29.4 . In fourth position, four lengths off the lead at the top of the stretch, Chelseas Chance rallied with a :28.3 final quarter to score a 1-1/2 length victory in 1:59.3, her sixth of the season. Second money went to Current Crisis (Bobby Krivelin) while Typical New Yorker took home the show dough for Tony Verruso. Jerry Ray trains the winner for The Absolute Return Stable. She returned $4.70 win mutuel. For 24-year old Tony Farina it was his second driving victory this year and second of his fledgling career. On Sunday a NAADA contingent consisting of Joe Faraldo, Alan Schwartz; Joe Pennacchio and Hannah Miller will wing their way to Spain for a return competition with the Spanish amateurs on the island of Mallorca. by John Manzi, for NAADA

With an explosion of amateur harness racing gaining credibility among the racing fans and dotting the programs at many racetracks the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) is currently staging a 12-race Fall Trotting Series at four east coast raceways with the first leg presented at Freehold Raceway on Saturday, September 5th. Then, on a weekly basis, events will follow at Saratoga, Monticello and Yonkers Raceways and culminate in a $15,000 Final at Yonkers on December 3. On Saturday afternoon at Freehold Raceway two $5,000 divisions were contested with Tony Ciuffetelli and Bob Hechkoff each emerging victorious in their respective splits with the former winning with Tagmaster in a time of 2:02.3 while the latter scored with Alternat Thursdays in 2:00. Tagmaster, a 12 year old altered son of Tagliabue, a mid-August purchase from Bob Hechkoff's R.H.B. Ventures by Tony Ciuffetelli, battled valiantly to score a one length triumph over Blazin Delores and driver Jimmy Marshall IV. Pembroke Snapshot finished a close third for Bob Hechoff who was subbing for an ill Hannah Miller. Hechkoff and Pembroke Snapshot cut the fractions only to be overtaken by Tagmaster as they rounded the final turn and then they succumbedto second place finisher, Blazin Delores, just before the wire. It was Tagmaster's second start for Ciuffetelli after his purchase on August 18. Prior to mid-August, Tagmaster was a pleasurable and rewarding drive for more than two years for Hechkoff. The trotter won more than 20 times while property of Hechkoff's R.H.B. Ventures. It was Tagmaster's first victory for Ciuffetelli and the trotter's 63rd lifetime win. He returned a $15.60 mutuel. For Ciuffetelli, a trucker and part-time trainer, it marked his 24th career driving victory. In the second NAADA split Hechkoff sent Alternat Thursdays to the lead from the two-hole and, as usual, took no prisoners. They sailed through fractions of :28.2; :58.2; and 1:28.2 and finished a four-length winner over Hallanet and driver Paul Minore. Gimme The Loot was third for Bobby Krivelin. Alternat Thursdays has been racing for Hechkoff since he purchased the veteran trotter in late May. It was their second victory together and the 37th career win for the 9-year-old Andover Hall gelding. Sent off as the betting favorite, Alternat Thursdays paid $5.60 for win. Enjoying his best season in the sulky Hechkoff, a headhunter by trade, notched his 15th win and 69th since joining the amateur ranks in 2000. Hannah Miller, the leading amateur driver this year currently with 22 wins, was noticeably absent from the NAADA action at Freehold Raceway. "She's been in hospital for two days with some problems - home this afternoon but very weak and couldn't drive - all good and she should be back driving in the Billings Monday at Plainridge (Racecourse)", her boyfriend Nick Surick said via email. By John Manzi for NAADA

There are few amateur harness racing drivers who log as many miles as Steve Oldford. The automotive manufacturers rep from Croswell, Michigan thinks nothing of hopping a plane to race in an amateur contest no matter where it is. On Thursday, July 23 Oldford winged his way to Monticello Raceway to drive in the final leg of the 10-race NAADA Spring Series and his efforts paid dividends when he guided the Dan Gill-trained Up Front N Crazy to a romping 14-length victory in a time of 2:01. Although Up Front N Crazy was sent off at odds of over 9-1 he won like a 1-5 shot. But there were extenuating circumstances. When Matt Zuccarello's trotter Gray N Cloudy-- 5-2 on the tote board--made a break on the first turn it scattered the field and allowed Oldford's charge to open up daylight on his competitors. However, Oldford's luck continued when Joe Pannacchio's Sir Winston, who was following just two length behind Upfront N Crazy as the two passed the half in 1:00.4 had nothing in the tank. "My horse was empty at that point," Pennacchio said of his veteran trotter who came into the race with two consecutive wins in the NAADA Series. "He must have bled?" Pennacchio assumption was correct because at the third stanza Oldford's trotter had a seven length lead which was opened to 14 lengths at the finish. "I skirted the trouble in the first turn and we trotted clear and when there was no one around me as we headed for home I actually thought there might have been more problems for those in the rears," Oldford said after the race. "But thankfully there were no more trouble." With Sir Winston fading as he headed to the three quarters it allowed the trotters in the back of the pack to gain ground quickly on him. Dave Yarock rallied the strongest with CSI What's My Name and they finished in second place while Nice Dream, driven by Gerry Fielding caught Sir Winston yards before the wire to take home the show dough. Sir Winston held on for fourth money. For the record, Picture Perfect, the betting favorite in the race driven by Hannah Miller, was interfered with by Zuccarello's breaking horse on the first turn and went off-stride vanquishing any hope of victory for Miller and those who wagered on him. Up Front N Crazy, owned by Edward Hall, paid $20.60 for win. A condition to the series stated that the drivers with the most points who participated in six of the 10 legs would be eligible to draw for an all expense trip to Mallorca and join NAADA team who will race against their Spanish counterparts in a Friendship Competition in mid-September. However, that drawing, which is forthcoming, will be announced at a later date by NAADA president, Joe Faraldo. As for Oldford, he's back on the road this time to drive in the CKG Billings Spring Final which will be contested over the five-eighths mile oval The Meadows tomorrow night. John Manzi  

Right on the heels of having hosted a group of amateur drivers from France the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) is readying for a contingent ofharness racing  amateur drivers from Spain on Sunday, May 31. According to NAADA president Joe Faraldo the team of Spaniards which they will be hosting are from Mallorca and many are world class amateur drivers. And even before the Spaniards have arrived they have plans to return the favor and entertain a group from NAADA in late September. "We have planned the races in Mallorca in September the weekend of 26 & 27" noted Augustin Mascaro-Pou, one of the amateurs who'll be driving in the Friendship Competition. "Sept 26 we will have races in the small track of Manacor and Sept. 27 in Son Pardo where also will be the biggest international race that we have in Spain where will come eight top trotters from France, which is part of the European Tour of French trotters." Although NAADA will field different teams at each venue the Spanish team slated to be making the trip to America for this International Friendship Competition include the following drivers: Jaume Bassa-Riera -- - Partner in Sport Trot company of horse products - Winner of the Spanish Breeders Crown; Represented Spain in 2001 in European Apprentices Championship Augustin Mascaro-Pou.---. Police Officer. General Secretary of European Amateur Drivers Federation (FEGAT). Winner of Spanish Amateur Championship in 2006 and Spanish reprresentative in 2007 European amateur championship. Miquel Vich-Capo-- Breeder and Livestock dealer. Winner of Spanish Amateur championship in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Spanish Amateur Champion in 2012 .. Spanish rep in World Amateur Cup in 2014. Bernardo Jaume-Cirer--A partner in kitchen manufacturer's company and winner of many races on the European continent. At least one of the Spanish competitors is fairly well known by NAADA's Joe Faraldo. "I have raced with Jaume (Bassa-Riera) in Taranto, Italy several times and finished behind him every time. Maybe this time an American team can turn the tables on my good friend," Faraldo said. "Jaume has gone to the World Cup events more than anyone else appearing as far away from home as New Zealand. He was also the translator for the exceptional Spanish reinsman who competed in the World Cup for Professional Drivers which concluded at Yonkers Raceway where the Spanish guy finished third to Jodie Jameson and Corey Callahan." The Spanish contingent is expected to arrive at JFK International Airport on May 31. After a day of touring New York City and enjoying outstanding sights and excellent cuisine the driving competition will begin Tuesday, June 2 at Yonkers Raceway. On Wednesday (June 3) the competition moves to Monticello Raceway and after the races the group will head to Goshen for a tour of the Hall of Fame and Historic Track. An entertaining trip on the World Yacht with dinner and dancing will take place on Thursday. Then Friday (June5) after a tour of the Mark Ford Farm in Goshen the contingent will be off to Tioga Downs for a race there. On Saturday (June 6) a 6am departure from Stewart Airport in Newburgh, NY will get the Spaniards to south Florida where they will drive in the two races at Pompano Park that evening. The following day the Spanish contingent will head back home to Mallorca. John Manzi for NAADA

Harness Racing Driver Hannah Miller and Rev It Now teamed-up again this time winning the $14,000 Final of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's Trotting Series at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday, May 14. Once again Miler sat cool and collective while trailing the leaders until the final turn where she revved-up Rev It Now and the veteran Revenue S gelding rallied for a 2:01.3 victory winning by a head over Wygant Prince and driver Paul Minore. One-half farther length back in third place was Tony Verusso with Flirting Duezy. It marked the sixth time that Miller had reined Rev It Now to victory in the NAADA Series and for the hot-handed lady she now has 11 wins, 6 seconds and one third in 28 seasonal starts which equates to a .524 UDR. As he has done in the majority of his races lately Rev It Now started slowly from post four and was next to last at the quarter where pace-setter Tagmaster (Bob Hechkoff) tripped the timer in :29.4 despite being challenged from command by Starsaboveallerage (Steve Oldford). But Oldford wasn't alone on the limb. Trailing him was Bad I Am (Alan Schwartz) while Minore was snuggled in along the pylons in second position behind the leader, Tagmaster. When the field headed toward the first quarter Miller moved Rev It Now out third-over and sat comfortably following those in front of her. "With two tiers of horses in front of me I decided that I better move out third-over so not to get boxed in later in the mile," Miller said. Up the backside Schwartz moved three-deep and the field bunched-up heading into the final turn. It was there that Miller got after her trotter and she moved him to the far outside on the turn and when they straightened for home Rev It Up was 'flying' on the far outside. Still some three lengths behind at the top of the lane Miller hustled Rev It Now and they passed the leaders and rallied for a neck victory over Wygant Prince, who never saw daylight until mid-stretch. "He's a grinder and we went a long mile but we had cover all the way," Miller said referring to her journey with Rev It Now. "On the final turn I got him fired up and he was the strong horse in the deep stretch. He's a classy ole guy who knows when he's heading for home. We really get along good together." The winner is co-owned by her driver, her dad Erv Miller and her proud boyfriend, Nick Surick, who doubles as the horse's trainer. Although he didn't have a mount in the series finale NAADA president Joe Faraldo was on hand overseeing the final event and was pleased with the outcome and complementary of Hannah Miller. "It was a real good race and an exciting one, too, with just 2/5ths of a second separating the first five finishers. All in all it was a good series. "And 'Hurricane Hannah' stuck it to the boys again. She comes from a family of horse people and she certainly knows her way around the race track. We're really going to need her when we host the amateurs from Spain in an international competition in early June" The North American Amateur Drivers Association makes it their business to donate money to worthwhile charities. Recently they made substantial donations to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation in 2013 and to the Susan B Komen Breast Cancer Foundation last season. "After our Trotting Series this fall we'll make another donation to charitable organization," Faraldo added. John Manzi

Harness racing drivers Alan Schwartz and Hannah Miller emerged victorious in their respective divisions in the next to the last leg of the trotting series sponsored by the North American Amateur drivers Association held at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon, May 30. For Miller it was her fifth driving victory in the series and Schwartz's fourth. Schwartz, a Mighty M regular and a former USHWA National Amateur Driver of the Year, won the first division with his own Bad I Am in a time of 2:02.1 while Miller, the scourge of the amateur ranks this year, scored behind Casanova Lindy in a 2:01 clocking. In his split Schwartz was forced to make and early move when the field jammed-up heading to the quarter pole. Bad I Am was just that as far as the race leader Bob Hechoff was concerned. Hechkoff's charge, Tagmaster had grabbed a quick early lead when the gate sprung but a :30.2 first stanza tightened the field as they trotted toward the quarter pole. "I was getting run over from behind so I had to move way before I wanted to," Schwartz said after he moved his trotter first-up as the field headed for the second turn. "I knew it was real early but if I didn't move I might have pulled him off his feet." Tagmaster and Bad I Am then raced side by side toward the halfway point and were still heads apart as they trotted by the third stanza. Tagmaster was still in command as the field headed for home but he began to tire as a quartet of trotters from the rears began serious challenges as the field headed for paydirt. Surprisingly, even to Schwartz, after being on the limb for nearly three quarters of a mile Bad I Am refused to give it up and refused to lose as the 4-year old altered son of Prayer I Am staved off all comers to win by a head over Starsaboveallerage, driven by Steve Oldford. Third place went to Samsawinner and driver Joe Lee. The winner, owned by Schwartz and trained Raheem Strong, paid $5.60 for win. After having road trouble with Rev It Now in that race--he finished sixth-- Hannah Miller made amends in the second split winning decisively from the eight-hole with Casanova Lindy in a time of 2:01. "Before we claimed him (Casanova Lindy) I saw him cut a mile at Freehold and win easily, so I decided I'd send him to the front and avoid any traffic like I had in the last race with Rev It Now," she explained. "He left (the mobile gate) so fast that we were on top before the (first) turn and I just let him cruise I was surprised when we passed the quarter in :28.3 because he was trotting so easily. So I just took a steady hold on him and he just did the rest." Dave Yarock kept Rompaway Alan on Miller's back as the two raced lengths in front of the field as they passed the halfway point. They were still one-two by the three quarters but at that point Casanova Lindy began to open daylight and the farther he trotted the move he opened daylight between him and Rompaway Alan. As Miller's charge headed for home he had three lengths on his competition and at the wire it was opened to six lengths. But in the deep stretch driver Tony Verusso rallied Pocket Passer by a tiring Rompaway Alvin to finish second as Yarock's trotter faded and finished third. Casanova Lindy, co-owned by his driver, her boyfriend Nick Surick, and her dad Erv Miller, returned a $5.30 win mutuel. The final leg of the NAADA Trotting Series will be contested at Yonkers Raceway on May 7th. John Manzi  

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  

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