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Yonkers Raceway wrapped up its 2016 season with nearly $20 million US Dollars wagered from European sources throughout the French PMU network. Just under $18 million Euros were wagered on 32 race cards from Yonkers. Those programs were 20 Tuesday afternoons, 11 Sunday afternoons and one Saturday featuring the $1 million Yonkers International Trot. Each simulcast is a partial card of five to seven races, just trotters. Wagering on pacing races is not allowed in France. An exciting addition in 2016 was the first commingled pools on a regular basis between Yonkers and the PMU. Win and show wagers began to be commingled on May 24. In total 12 Tuesdays, six Sundays and the Saturday card were commingled, resulting in $3.6 million Euros, or about $4 million Dollars, being added to the Yonkers North American win and show pools. The exchange rate fluctuates daily and in 2016 went from a high of $1.15 US Dollars per Euro to a low of $1.03 with an average of $1.10. Just two years ago that same exchange rate was approximately $1.36 US Dollars for each Euro. "We're very pleased with how the relationship between Yonkers and the PMU and Le Trot has grown," said Bob Galterio, Vice President and General Manager of Yonkers Raceway. "We were thrilled to quickly begin commingling some pools in 2016 and look forward to more cooperation and collaboration in 2017." There were larger field sizes and all different classes of races simulcast to France but the biggest factor in the wagering figures was the day of the week and the time of day the races were simulcast. With Paris normally six hours ahead of New York, the Sunday cards which started around 11:30AM in New York arrived in Paris at 5:30PM. The Tuesday French races were normally at 3PM at Yonkers which is 9PM in France. "Just like here in the US, Sundays are very strong racing days in France and Tuesdays aren't as busy," explained SOA of NY Executive Director Alex Dadoyan. "Also, at least half of the betting locations do not stay open at night so the Sundays were much stronger as expected." Nine of the 11 Sunday Yonkers cards handled more than $1 million dollars throughout the PMU Network. For 2017, all of the regular simulcasts originating from Yonkers to France will be on Sundays. There will be 24 Sundays and one Saturday again for the $1 million Yonkers International Trot October 14. Yonkers returns to racing Tuesdays at night. "The additional money generated by the European wagering is in addition to the daily handle figures normally reported and they've been very encouraging," said Joe Faraldo, SOA of NY President. "Yonkers Raceway and the SOA of NY continue to work very cooperatively to expand the wagering base and add to our win and show pools for the benefit of our bettors." The 2017 season at Yonkers Raceway begins Sunday January 8 with an 11:30AM first post. The card features seven trotting races at a mile and a quarter distance being simulcast to France as well as purse levels boosted well above their normal levels to welcome everyone back for the New Year. From the SOA of New York

HARRISBURG PA -- The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), harness racing's largest and leading membership organization for industry communicators, is very pleased to announce that Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York (SOA/NY) are partnering with USHWA in sponsoring the Cocktail Party and Open Bar at its annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet Presented by Hoosier Park, which will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2017 at the Planet Hollywood casino in Las Vegas. The sponsorship features a lavish cocktail party from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm., and then an open bar during the Dan Patch awards dinner until 10:00 pm. In addition, every guest attending the dinner will receive a special edition Yonkers-SOA/NY-USHWA commemorative wine glass. Yonkers Raceway "dates back" as a host of harness racing to 1899 and its origins as the Empire City Trotting Club; in 1950, William Cane recast the facility as a pari-mutuel harness racing track, and the Rooney family has operated the oval since 1972. For over three decades, Yonkers combined with Roosevelt as the undisputed "power center" of quality harness racing performance, uniquely hosting a leg of the Triple Crown at both gaits - the Cane Pace and the Yonkers Trot. Today the quality of racing at Yonkers is evidenced by the fact that they feature, by some margin, the most lucrative purse schedule in North American harness racing. The Standardbred Owners Association of New York, founded in 1954, tirelessly works for the horsemen racing at the New York City oval: meeting with management on purse negotiations, marketing, and backstretch and other matters (including the recent successful addition of simulcasting into the lucrative French market); providing insurance, health benefits, and scholarships to its members; and liaising with local and state politicians to ensure that the scope of harness racing's contribution to its community, in economic and other terms, is understood and appreciated. Tim Bojarski, president of the Harness Writers Association, noted that "USHWA is honored to have both Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York partner with us for the 2017 Dan Patch banquet presentation. They are institutions in our industry, one of harness racing's leading tracks through the pari-mutuel era and a horsemen's group tireless in their advocacy for the best of their membership. The fact that the two groups can combine in this sponsorship shows the 'win-win' attitude of both groups, so necessary in this competitive entertainment market, and we of USHWA are proud they have chosen to support us as we honor the best in our sport early next year." The Dan Patch Awards Banquet Presented by Hoosier Park will be held during the same weekend when USHWA holds its annual business meetings. Further information about the Banquet and the weekend, including links for dinner tickets, Souvenir Journal advertising, and room reservations at special USHWA rates for Planet Hollywood, is available on the group's website, www.ushwa.org. From the United States Harness Writers Association

Jo Ann Hertlein, 69, of Bronxville, N.Y., daughter of the late Anna and Joseph Stivala, died after a battle with cholangiocarcinoma on Dec. 17, 2016. She was born and raised in Scranton, Pa., before moving to Bronxville upon her marriage. For the last several years she had faithfully worked as an office administrator for the SOA of NY. She will be remembered for her incredible warmth and kindness, her delicious meals and her contagious laughter. She is survived by her devoted husband of 42 years, William; loving daughters and sons-in-law, Victoria (Marco) and Deborah (James); and her brother, John Stivala. Calling hours are at the Fred McGrath & Sons Funeral home, Bronxville N.Y., on Tuesday (Dec. 20) from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday (Dec. 21) at St. Joseph’s Church. Private interment at Cathedral Cemetery, Scranton, PA. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her name to Save the Children. from the SOA of New York

The new harness racing owner promotion at Yonkers Raceway held in conjunction with the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and the United States Trotting Association comes to a close with 10 lucky new owners tasting victory and some strong returns. In early November, 10 harness racing fans were randomly chosen from the USTA new owner's database to each receive five percent of the earnings of a designated horse racing at Yonkers Raceway through the end of the meet. The 3-year-old trotting gelding Emerald Chip was chosen for the promotion with trainer Andrew Harris. Emerald Chip made five starts, including a win in his first start of the promotion, a $20,000 non-winners of four conditioned event. He moved up in class and made four starts in non-winners of six trotting events at Yonkers for purses of $25,000 and $32,000. Emerald Chip picked up checks for $2000 with a fourth and $1600 with a fifth place finish and also earned $500 for starting in a 10-horse field at Yonkers. For the five starts, Emerald Chip earned $14,100, netting each of the 10 virtual owners $705. As part of the promotion, the winners were not responsible for any expenses associated with the horse. I have to thank the SOA of NY, Yonkers Raceway and the USTA, said trainer Andrew Harris. Without movements like this, it's hard to show people how easy it is to get involved. It just takes a push in the right direction. We can make this business great again! The 2016 racing season at Yonkers Raceway concludes Sunday December 18 with a 1pm first post. Yonkers Raceway has submitted a 2017 calendar of 238 racing dates to the New York Gaming Commission with a proposed return to racing Sunday afternoon January 8. The opening day card in 2017 will feature purses boosted from their normal levels in appreciation of horsemen both old and new. TIME CHANGE FOR FINAL ‘NEW YORK, NEW YORK DOUBLE’ A bit of change in times for this Sunday (Dec. 18th) final 2016 ‘New York, New York Double’. Aqueduct has moved its first post up an hour, to 11:20 AM, to accommodate more races. Thus, the third race—first half of the gimmick double—now goes at 12:20 PM, instead of the originally-scheduled 1:18 PM. Yonkers’ season-ending first post remains at 1 PM sharp, with our second race—second half of the wager—going at 1:30 PM, as planned. Past performance pages for these races shall again be made available in all corresponding on-track and simulcast programs. The ‘New York, New York Double,’ also available through Empire City Bets, is a one dollar minimum wager and an 18.5 percent takeout rate. With Aqueduct having moved up the start of its Sunday program, Yonkers’ mutuel windows shall now open at 10:30 AM. Frank Drucker

On Saturday, December 3, the Standardbred Owners Association of New York, the horsemen's association representing the more than 1,000 harness racing owners, trainers and drivers regularly competing at Yonkers Raceway, held its annual membership meeting. At the meeting, the results of the SOA's 2016 Board of Directors election were certified. In the driver/trainer category, Ray Schnittker and Peter Younger were elected to three year terms. In the owner category, SOA President Joseph Faraldo and Chris Wittstruck were re-elected to three year terms. Additionally, freshman director Tyler Buter joined the Board, elected to a three-year term in the driver category, also in unopposed fashion. Missing from the meeting was 1st Vice President Peter Venaglia who was in Paris to attend the annual international meeting and help enhance and expand our business on the European Continent. Additionally, the following officers and trustees of the Welfare and Retirement Funds were elected to serve during 2017. They are: Officers: President: Joseph Faraldo 1st Vice President: Peter Venaglia 2nd Vice President: Irv Atherton 3rd Vice President: John Brennan Treasurer: Irv Atherton Secretary: John Brennan Executive Committee: Joseph Faraldo Michael Forte Irv Atherton Peter Venaglia Trustees: Peter Venaglia, Chairman Joseph Faraldo Irv Atherton John Brennan Jordan Stratton Henry Gargiulo (1st Alternate) Ray Schnitter (2nd Alternate) Chris Wittstruck (3rd Alternate) At the meeting, the Board discussed a variety of statutory and administrative goals for the upcoming year as well as what has become somewhat complicated contract negotiating issues. Also discussed was the successful conduct of the International Trot on October 15, as well as the results of the SOA's realized goal of achieving commingled pools with our international simulcasting partners. Subject to approval by the New York State Gaming Commission, the 2017 racing season will commence with a day card on Sunday January 8, 2017.  Tentative plans for opening day 2017 currently include an Open at $75,000 and down the line inflated purses in appreciation for the support and efforts of those racing at the Hilltop Oval in 2016.  

The Standardbred Owners Association of New York and Yonkers Raceway have joined together to offer 10 harness racing fans a chance to own part of a horse racing at Yonkers Raceway. Ten lucky fans were randomly chosen through the USTA's new ownership database and each person will receive a five percent stake in the three-year-old trotter Emerald Chip. The horse is in to go in Tuesday's third race at Yonkers Raceway and is the 9-5 morning line favorite from post one in the $20,000 conditioned event. And the best part for the new owners is there won't be any bills! Trainer Andrew Harris has agreed to send the ten winners a summary of the horse's earnings and expenses on a regular basis so they can get a true sense of what the ownership experience would look like. The SOA of NY and Yonkers Raceway will give each winner five percent of what Emerald Chip earns through the end of the Yonkers meet December 18, up to a total of $10,000. "This is a great new initiative to give people the sense and experience of owning a horse", said SOA of NY President Joe Faraldo. "We want to thank Yonkers Raceway for partnering with us on this marketing venture to get more people involved in our sport." The current Yonkers Raceway schedule has afternoon racing on Sundays and Tuesdays, and the traditional 7:10pm posts Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays.  

It's a very old story that happily never gets old. A young native Canadian harness racing driver garners both wins and accolades at his local raceways with such frequency that he's tagged as a prodigy. He then travels southbound on the Adirondack Northway to ply his trade at the big time ovals in the states. Faced with stiff competition from entrenched veteran horsemen, the prodigy doesn't wilt; rather, he just gets better. On September 15, 27 year old Montreal native Scott Zeron notched his 3,000th driving win at Yonkers Raceway. The achievement marks a career milestone for Zeron during what is clearly a career year. The winner of this year's Hambletonian and Yonkers Trot (Marion Marauder), Scott currently sits fifth on the 2016 earnings' board. The youngest Canadian driver to achieve 1,000 wins, Scott became the youngest driver in history to reach 2,000 wins. The 2012 Rising Star Award winner, Scott is also the youngest driver ever to win the Little Brown Jug (Michael's Power, 2012). The Standardbred Owners Association of New York is proud that Scott earned his milestone victory at the Hilltop Oval, and even prouder that he is a regular part of our deeply talented drivers' colony. Scott has achieved big things in a short time, and we wish him years of future success. Standardbred Owners Association of New York

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, September 22, 2016 - Yonkers Raceway and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York are presenting a seminar on owning a harness racing racehorse Saturday (Sept. 24), prior to the New York Night of Champions. The seminar, scheduled to begin at 4:30 PM, features driver Scott Zeron, trainers Linda Toscano and Andrew Harris, SOA director Chris Wittstruck and Funky Munky Stable managing partner Richard Munk. It is to be held in the Red Room, located on the second floor of the casino's main building and admission is free. The five preeminent horse people discuss the rewards and risks of standardbred ownership, as well answer questions from the attendees. Toscano became the first female trainer to win the Hambletonian (Chapter Seven) and was 2013's Trainer of the Year in 2013. Zeron won his 3,000th career race earlier this month, and is the driver of Yonkers Trot and Hambletonian champion Marion Marauder. Wittstruck is attorney and an SOA of NY director, as well an award-winning writer. Harris has campaigned such quality horses as Phil Your Boots on the local circuit, while Funky Munky Stable offers partnerships in both standardbred and thoroughbred racehorse ownerships. Those interested in attending may register in advance through the USTA by e-mailing owners@ustrotting.com or calling 877-800-8782 ext. 5555. Frank Drucker

Bob MacDougall, Chairman of the co-sponsored SOA of New York/Yonkers Raceway Scholarship Committee, has announced that Johnathan Hallet is the winner of the 2016-2017 Scholarship Award in the amount of $5,000. There was a tie for second place between Olena Hauser and Alleysha Reynolds and they will each receive a $2,500 award. Jonathan Hallet is currently enrolled at the University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida where he is working on achieving a degree in mechanical engineering. Jonathan's parents, John and Michelle, race horses on the East Coast and he is the grandson of Bruce Aldrich. Olena Hauser completed her studies at North Rockland High School in Thiells, New York and will be attending the Lubin School of Business at Pace University in New York this Fall where she plans to study International Business. Olena's stepfather Timothy Hauser is longtime horse owner campaigning top trotters including Classic Martine and Frau Blucher. Alleysha Reynolds is currently enrolled at Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Pennsylvania pursuing a degree in equine science. Alleysha is spending her summer as a groom working for the Ray Schnittker stable and hopes to become a veterinarian and help the horses she loves working with. "We had a very strong diverse group of applicants for this year's scholarship," noted MacDougall. "The winners had a strong combination of academic achievement and extracurricular activities. They should serve as examples for all high school and college students to follow. The Committee wishes all of the applicants the very best as they continue on with their education." The annual SOA/Yonkers Raceway scholarships are awarded to SOA members, or members of their immediate families, or to covered individuals (backstretch personnel) or a member of their immediate families, for study beyond the high school level. The recipient is chosen on the basis of merit and financial need.  

Not yet 30 years old, Quebec native Rene Allard achieved a training plateau most lifelong harness racing conditioners can only dream about. On April 14, Allard notched his 3,000th training victory with a win at Yonkers Raceway; the youngest person ever to reach that lofty peak. Rene, whose nearly $1.2 million purse earnings presently places him at the top of the list of Yonkers’ trainers in that category, was honored for his stellar accomplishment on the afternoon of May 24 by the Standardbred Owners Association of New York. The date coincided with the inaugural Yonkers’ racing card featuring commingled win and show betting pools with the wagers of punters in France. This important project, literally years in the making, was a collaborative effort by the French PMU, Yonkers Raceway management and the SOA, with regulatory permission and assistance of the New York State Gaming Commission. The endeavor is but another step taken in furtherance of the SOA’s goal to proliferate the Yonkers’ signal on a global scale. Alex Dadoyan, Executive Director

Yonkers Raceway and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York are again playing grateful hosts to some very special harness racing guests. Saturday night (May 14), the Raceway and its horsemen's association shall welcome approximately 100 veterans to enjoy dinner and a night at the races. It's the second such endeavor for the heroes, all of whom are from the greater New York area. Trainer Robbie Siegelman is once again acting as "point person." Siegelman has been a long-time, active volunteer with HorseAbility (www.horseability.org), an Old Westbury, NY-based non-profit organization offering therapeutic riding programs, hippotherapy and a summer day camp to children, adults, and families with special needs. Many of the veterans have become involved with the HorseAbility program, including those chosen to lead Saturday night's first three post parades (one vet each from Army, Navy and Marines). "We're always happy to welcome our veterans," Raceway COO Bob Galterio said. "It's a thrill for us, and we're doing what we can to make it a special night for them." "Everyone from our group is going out of our way to make sure these veterans have a terrific experience," SOA of NY president Joe Faraldo said. Post time for the 12-race card is the usual 7:10 PM. A friendly reminder regarding Yonkers Raceway’s scheduled mid-season intermission. After the matinee program of Tuesday, May 31 (post time 1 PM), the Raceway’s next play date is Monday, June 13 (post time 7:10 PM). At that time, the five-program per week (Mon/Thu/Fri/Sat @ 7:10, Tue @ 1 PM) returns. Afternoon simulcasting—highlighted by the June 11th Belmont Stakes—continues to be offered during the break (save for Tuesdays), with evening simulcasting suspended during the hiatus. As always, a complete schedule is available at www.empirecitycasino.com. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, April 23, 2016--The song remains the same for Maestro Blue Chip. Tuesday afternoon was the ninth victory in as many seasonal starts for the prohibitive ($2.50) favorite, easily winning the $73,500 final of Yonkers Raceway/Standardbred Owners Association of New York Bonus Trotting Series. The series was open to 3-year-olds and their elders who were non-winners of six parimutuel races and/or $100,000 through this past Feb. 1 (winners over $150,000 through that date ineligible). In play early from post position No. 6, "Maestro" (Tim Tetrick) had to work around first leader Summers Windsong (Jason Bartlett) before taking over. Lakota (George Brennan) was away third from the pole. Once pointed toward the point, there wasn't a whole lot of suspense. Maestro Blue Chip did his thing (:28.3, :57.4, 1:27.1, 1:56), dismissing a weak, first-up challenge from Newcastle (Brett Miller). "Maestro" owned and length-and-a-three-quarter lead entering the lane, before closing the sale by a length-and-a-quarter. He had won his three series legs by nearly 15 combined lengths. Summers Windsong was a solid second in a very good effort, with Lakota a three-hole third. Newcastle did hold fourth, while Tuscanellie (Dan Dube) recovered from an early misbehave to grab the final pay envelope. Jackie Goldstein (Vinny Ginsberg), Stormont Park (Jordan Stratton) and breaking-early A List Lindy (Matt Kakaley) rounded out the order. Maestro Blue Chip is a 4-year-old son of Credit Winner owned Richard Poillucci trained by JoAnn Looney-King. The exacta paid $41.60, with the triple returning $82. The $36,750 winner's share upped the seasonal earnings to an even $105,000, not including the $10,000 bonus from the SOA of NY. "He's just so versatile," Tetrick said. "I don't think we know where his bottom is since he hasn't race that much (22 career starts). He can get over any size track and I know they're very high on him. He has some tougher stakes later in the season, so we're going to find out." A $30,000 series consolation was won by a down-the-road Covert Operative (Brian Sears, $5.40) in 1:56.4. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

The 2016 SOA of NY/Yonkers Raceway Scholarship Application is due May 13, 2016. Interested applicants can download the 2016 application at the SOA of NY website www.soaofny.com. A full copy of the rules is also posted on the site. The SOA/Yonkers Raceway Scholarship awards a $5,000 top prize as well as a second prize of $3,000 and a third prize of $2,000. The annual SOA/Yonkers Raceway scholarships are awarded to SOA members, or members of their immediate families, or to covered individuals (backstretch personnel) or a member of their immediate families, for study beyond the high school level. The recipient is chosen on the basis of merit and financial need. From the SOA of New York

A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York about the upcoming YR/SOA of NY Bonus Trotting Series. The harness racing series, contested Tuesday afternoons in April, has its first draw tomorrow (Thursday, March 31) for the Apr. 5 opener. The "bonus" in the series name is $10,000, which is paid to the winner of the Apr. 26 final provided all connections (owners, trainers and drivers) are members of the SOA of NY before post time for the first leg of the first division and throughout the series. The SOA is also sending out commemorative hats to those horsemen entering the series. For more information, please contact the race office (914-457-2627) or the SOA of NY office (914-968-3599). There are 47 trotters nominated to the series, which is open to 3-year-olds and older who were non-winners of six parimutuel races and/or $100,000 lifetime through this past Feb. 1 (winners over $150,000 lifetime through that same cut-off date were not eligible). A list of eligibles can be seen at http://empirecitycasino.com/racing/horsemen/ and a photo of the spiffy hat accompanies this release. Frank Drucker

The annual general membership meeting of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York was held at the end on January 30, 2016 at Yonkers Raceway. After declaration of a quorum, the election committee reported that the following individuals were reelected in uncontested fashion to directorships expiring in 2018: Irv Atherton, Henry Gargiulo, Michael Kimelman and Peter Venaglia in the Owners category and John Brennan in the Trainer/Drivers category. The following directors were then elected to the respective officer positions for 2016: Joseph A. Faraldo, President Peter Venaglia, First Vice President Irv Atherton, Second Vice President John Brennan, Third Vice President Irv Atherton, Treasurer John Brennan, Secretary The following directors were elected as trustees to the pension and welfare funds: Joseph A. Faraldo Irv Atherton John Brennan Henry Gargiulo Peter Venaglia Ray Schnittker, First Alternate Chris Wittstruck, Second Alternate.  

On Sunday, January 17, the Standardbred Owners Association of New York lauded Yonkers Raceway's top harness racing driver and trainer of 2015.   Maine native Jason Bartlett, perennially at or near the top of the Yonkers leader board, notched his fifth driving title at the Hilltop Oval. Winning at a nearly 20% clip, Bartlett finished an astounding 89 wins over his nearest competitor in the deeply talented Yonkers driving colony. The 2009 and 2013 United States representative to the World Driving Championship, Bartlett recently achieved the career 6,000 win plateau. Only in his mid-30s, Jason has achieved the status of consummate veteran horseman by regularly plying his trade at one of the sport's most competitive venues.   Though only in his late 20s, Quebec native Rene Allard has already distinguished himself as one of the country's top conditioners. Allard eked out his leading trainer title with a winning dash total just slightly above the second place finisher Ron Burke. He achieved this result by winning with roughly 26% of his starters. Recently, Allard pledged his support for his fellow Canadian horsemen in need by pledging a percentage of his national training earnings to those victimized by the Classy Lane Farm fire earlier this month.   "The renaissance of New York harness racing has served to attract some of the continent's top young talent to our Westchester Oval," said SOA of NY President Joseph Faraldo. "Both Jason and Rene are on the type of superior career paths we witnessed during the Roosevelt-Yonkers heydays. Their achievements are to be commended, and it is with great pride that we called both of them Yonkers horsemen."   Standardbred Owners Association of New York

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