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
YONKERS, NY, Monday, January 18, 2016 - Yonkers Raceway and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York have announced a joint contribution to assist those affected by the Classy Lane barn fire. The initial donation is $10,000-equally shared by the track and its horsemen-with an initiative underway to increase that amount."As with the rest of the harness industry, we were stunned and saddened by what happened," Raceway COO Bob Galterio said. "We have enjoyed a strong simulcast relationship with Ontario tracks for many years, and we're thinking of those horsemen and their loss at this very difficult time." "It's the worst thing that can happen to anyone in this business, so we're just trying to assist in any way we can," SOA of New York president Joe Faraldo said. In addition to the "first donation," Yonkers' owners, trainers and drivers have been encouraged to set aside a portion of their purse earnings to be earmarked to the Central Ontario Standardbred Association. The SOA has specifically requested that the half the money raised go toward caretaker assistance and for those trainers who had three or fewer horses. Distribution of the balance is at the sole discretion of COSA for those based upon financial need. "We've had any number of our members ask how they can help," Faraldo said. Frank Drucker
SOA of NY recognizes harness racing driver George Brennan's 9,000th win. In 1981, a youngster named George Brennan drove a horse named Myron's Bunny to a fifth place finish in an amateur contest at Monticello Raceway. His entire $2.50 in driver earnings was donated to charity. Little did anyone know that this inauspicious appearance in the sulky was the beginning of a storied career that would bring Brennan perennially towards the top of the leader board at our nation's top harness ovals. On November 9, the Sullivan County native notched his 9,000th career win at his home oval, Yonkers Raceway. The 2011 winner of both the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks at his old stomping grounds, George has achieved in excess of $150 million in purse earnings, ranking him by that standard among the top ten drivers of all time. At only 48 years old, there's no telling what stratospheric heights the "Minister of Speed" can reach. SOA President Joe Faraldo, who has known Brennan since his teenage years, said in awarding him a commemorative plaque on November 17th "From those days back at Monticello, George has aspired to be among the top drivers in our sport. There is no doubt that he has reached that plateau and is now setting his goal higher still.". Alex Dadoyan
On November 15th, the Standardbred Owners Association of New York honored Maine native Jason Bartlett for notching his 6,000th lifetime win on October 29 at Yonkers Raceway. With over $70,000,00 in career purse earnings and a quartet of Hilltop Oval driving titles under his belt, the 34 year old continues to dominate the 2015 Yonkers drivers standings, winning with roughly one out of every five mounts. The 2009 and 2013 United States representative to the World Driving Championships, Bartlett has been privileged to sit behind some of the classiest horses of the last decade, including the venerable Foiled Again, hard hitting Anndrovette and millionaire racemare Krispy Apple. The SOA is proud that Jason calls New York home and has chosen to compete as a member of North America's deepest drivers' colony. With youth and talent on his side, there is no limit to what Jason can accomplish as his career develops. From the SOA of NY
YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 9, 2015 -- Doing their part to make sure no harness racing handicapper has to go it alone, Yonkers Raceway and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York present some assistance toward taking down Saturday afternoon's International Trot program special $75,000 guaranteed pool Pick 5 wager. The guidance comes courtesy of the Hilltop Helper, a very useful (and gratis) handicapping sheet which is distributed on-track every Saturday as well as sent to the all Empire City Bets members and available at www.soaofny.com. The Helper's analysis accompanies this release and has compiled a $36 ticket for the 50-cent base wager. Again, some notes regarding Saturday's special gimmick wager... --it includes $25,000 of "seed money"; --it encompasses races 2 through 6 on the 13-race card (usual Pick 5 sequence is races 7 through 11). --first post is 2 PM, with the $1 million, 10-horse International scheduled as the fourth race (approximate post 3:10 PM). --though additional monies may be carried over should the Pick 5 not be hit Friday night, Saturday's total guaranteed pool remains at $75,000; --as always, the Pick 5 is not a "must-pay" wager, so if no one selects all five winners in the sequence, the entire pool (minus takeout) would move to the Monday, Oct. 12, program; --program pages for this wager are available at www.yonkersraceway.com. Again, please note the International is part of a matinee card, with first post at 2 PM and the race itself going at approximately 3:10 PM. Also note that a superfecta has been added to the International Trot wagering menu. Frank Drucker
The Standardbred Owners Association of New York will contribute $25,000 to the 50 cent Pick 5 pool on International Trot Day Saturday October 10 at Yonkers Raceway. With this added money, the Saturday Pick 5 will be starting with a $25,000 carryover. Based upon that seeding of the pool, Yonkers Raceway and the SOA in conjunction with the USTA's Strategic Wagering Program have guaranteed the 50 cent Pick 5 pool at $75,000. "We felt it was very important to do something very special on this great day of international racing that rewards our betting fans," said SOA of NY President Joe Faraldo. "There are some great events already planned for the participants in the International Trot, and some very nice promotions for those in attendance at Yonkers Raceway thanks to the generosity of Tim Rooney. The SOA Board of Directors felt that the bettors both on track and throughout the simulcast network should participate in a wager that will provide unprecedented real value to much appreciated fans." With such a large sum contributed to the pool in advance, it is likely that bettors will be wagering into a pool with a positive expectation - where more money will be paid out than is wagered, a true rarity in gambling. The Pick 5 is a 50 cent base wager and will cover races two through six on Saturday October 10 at Yonkers Raceway. The International Trot Day card is a special afternoon program at Yonkers Raceway with a 2pm first post. The second race and start of the $75,000 guaranteed Pick 5 with a $25,000 carryover will have an approximate post time of 2:20pm. The International Trot will be the middle leg of the sequence, race four and have an approximate post time of 3:10pm. The $1 million International Trot returns to Yonkers Raceway after a 20 year absence and features 2013 Horse of the Year and Yonkers Raceway track record holder Bee A Magician taking on many of Europe's top trotters. Trotters from the United States, Canada, France, Sweden, Norway and Italy will compete in this year's International Trot. Free past performances for the 50 cent Pick 5 starting in race two will be available courtesy Trackmaster at internationaltrot.com, yonkersraceway.com/pick5 and trackmaster.com/usta The Standardbred Owners Association of New York
The Standardbred Owners Association of New York has set December 5, 2015, for the election of Directors to the S.O.A. Board. The Board of Directors has nominated Irving Atherton, Michael Kimelman, Henry Gargiulo, Peter Venaglia for three year terms, expiring in 2018 in the Owners category; and John Brennan for three year term, expiring in 2018 in the Trainer/Driver category. Any S.O.A. member qualified pursuant to the By-Laws who wishes to become a candidate must file a petition, signed by at least twenty-five (25) current S.O.A. members endorsing his/her candidacy. The petition must specify the category (owner or driver/trainer) the candidate wishes to run in, as well as the term for which they are running, and must be submitted to the S.O.A. office by November 5, 2015. A brief biographical sketch must also be submitted, and will be forwarded to the membership along with the official ballot. Petition forms may be obtained in person at the S.O.A. office at 733 Yonkers Avenue, Yonkers, New York. A contested election will be conducted under the supervision of a qualified election administrator or CPA firm. Chris Wittstruck, Chairman of the Election Committee, has stated, "As always, we welcome the active services of members willing to dedicate their time and effort on behalf of horsemen racing at Yonkers Raceway, and we encourage any qualified member who wishes to become a Director to obtain and complete the required petition." For further information contact the SOA office at 914-968-3599.
Over the years the International Trots were raced on American soil and featured the most outstanding aged trotters in the world. Since the race was an American initiative, one would figure that the host country would have had the most winners in the event. Initially that was not the case but over the course of time the United States trotters emerged victorious 15 times, only three more than the amount of French victories. Sweden’s three International Trot wins is third best followed by Canada’s two. Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands trotters each had one win in the international event. And though they started multiple times in the International Trots, no German or Finnish horse has won the event. A Finnish horse “Seabiscuit” is currently being considered as a potential invitee for this year’s event. The inaugural International Trot was staged at Roosevelt Raceway in 1959 and that track was the site of the event until its demise in the early summer of 1988. The last International there was won by Sweden’s Callit when he turned down France’s Potin d’Amour in 1987. With the 1988 edition threatened by the closure of Roosevelt Raceway the powers to be were in a quandary. But Tim Rooney came to the rescue and quickly made plans to race the event at Yonkers Raceway. In doing so he hired Lew “Tootie” Barasch, Roosevelt’s premier PR man who was instrumental in all the previous International Trots at the Roosevelt facility. Tim even secured the United Nations as the venue for the post position draw. With Yonkers Raceway as the host, the world saw the United States’ Mack Lobell cruise to an easy victory over Canada’s AJ’s Speed in 1988. Six additional International Trots were then staged at Yonkers Raceway before economics forced the race to be discontinued in 1995. America’s last international champion was Giant Force in 1993. Giant Force was owned by the Spar J Stable (the Katz Family) and Ted Gewertz, still prominent veteran horse owners today. Giant Force a son of Meadow Road came into the August 14th, 1995 event with impressive credentials having won the Nat Ray at the Meadowlands the previous week. Driven by John “Sonny” Patterson, Jr. Giant Force, one of two American horses entered in the eight-horse field, used a burst of speed down the stretch to catch Meadow Prophet and just yards before the wire, he dashed past the Swedish champion. Giant Force, the 3-1 second choice, behind Sea Cove, the German horse who was the 9-5 favorite, trotted the mile and a quarter on the familiar oval in 2:27 flat, shattering the then world and stakes record set by the French horse Reve d'Udon in the 1990 International Trot and equaled by Sweden's Peace Corps the following year. "It was getting a little late so I thought it was about time to get started with him, and he really kicked in,” Patterson explained while being interviewed after the race. “Luckily, we got behind Meadow Prophet, and my horse really kept on coming down the stretch.” Unquestionably all involved with Giant Force’s victory were ecstatic but none more so than Ted Gewertz, a fan of Latin dance music who admitted he named Giant Force after a favorite album cover of the same name by bandleader Ray Barretto. “I was especially thrilled since not too many years previously I was just a player attending the races three or four times a week sitting in the grandstand and now there I was standing in the winner’s circle as a co-owner of the International Trot champion,” Gewertz said, and then added with a smile, “not bad for a kid from the Bronx!” Gewertz couldn’t say enough good things about Tim Rooney and the way he graciously extended both himself and Yonkers Raceway to all the participants, both before and after, that International trot. “After the race we all were invited to a hotel in Westchester for a post-race celebration and Tim had champagne on hand for all the other participants in the race. This after Tim personally opened his home to all at a pre-race dinner,” Gewertz added. The work behind the scenes to make the International Trot come to fruition can be mind-boggling when dealing with the likes of transportation, quarantine, licensing and all the details prior to the race. Joe Faraldo, president of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York, was instrumental in the return of the International Trot and he and his organization are working arm-in-arm with Yonkers Raceway to expand simulcast wagering to Europe. Because of those simulcasting inroads in Europe, for the first time Europeans can not only watch the race when it is being contested, but also wager on the race. This year’s International is expected to have two US representatives, a Canadian representative Bee A Magician and up to seven European trotters. The mile and a quarter event will be Saturday October 10 with a 3:25pm post time. First race on the card is scheduled for 2pm. Yonkers International Trot 1993 - Giant Force with John Patterson Jr driving Standardbred Owners Association of New York
It all started in 1986; a year with just two driving wins. It got better a few years later, with 421 and 419 wins in 2004 and 2006 respectively. Now, Yonkers Raceway mainstay Larry "Bomber" Stalbaum's legendary work ethic and aggressive on-track style has garnered him the milestone achievement of 5,000 lifetime driving wins. Larry's path to accomplishment was a long and winding road, accentuated by his forceful desire to make good on both professional and personal fronts. While the 5,000 victory plateau is a career feat, his personal life is no less of an accomplishment. Larry and veteran conditioner Kimberly Asher are lovingly raising four focused and devoted children. Facebook postings show Larry with his brood, none older than teenagers, traveling behind him in jog carts during training miles with charges from the Asher Stable. A recent posting by the children themselves spoke volumes, referring to Larry as "the best Dad EVER." Larry has right to be very proud of how far he has come, exhibiting the traits of both a consummate horseman and a very special father. The SOA of New York is proud that Larry graces the Yonkers' oval as part one of North America's deepest driving colonies, and wishes him every continued success, both at the Hilltop Oval and on the northeast circuit. The SOA of New York
The framers of the inaugural International Trot in 1959 could not have been more pleased with the way it was received and that over 48,000 fans attended the race spoke volumes alone. However, all involved were even more delighted with the race's second edition at Roosevelt Raceway in 1960 playing to a crowd of over 54,261 which was, and still is, an all-time attendance record at a night time harness racing venue. First time champion Jamin dropped out of the 1960 race which gave tremendous confidence to Holland's Willem Geersen, the driver/trainer of the vastly improved Hairos II. A French-bred trotter, Hairos II, was purchased early in his career by Geersen for his Dutch connections, although the trotter at that time could not really be considered a serious threat amongst the elite group of potential competitors. But with his horsemanship and training knowledge Geersen developed Hairos II into a world class trotter who improved with every season. By 1960, at age nine, Hairos II was at the top of his game and was invited to race in America. Geersen, racing under the flag of the Netherlands, was very confident that Hairos II was going to win. So much so that the rotund driver had no qualms when he asked: "where is the press box" since the winning driver was scheduled to be brought to the press box after the race. The second edition of the International trot was raced at a distance of 1-1/4 miles, two furlongs shorter than the inaugural version. Since Geersen was a big man, weighing more than 260 pounds, Hairos II was not given favorable consideration from the wagering public. Despite being parked the whole way outside of Tornese, the Italian entrant who had finished second to Jamin in the inaugural International Trot, Hairos II won a relatively comfortable victory. Another Italian trotter Crevalcore, rallied to be second while the favored US Entrant, Silver Song was third. And after giving his backers an $11.90 payoff the confident Willem Geersen was escorted to the press box to meet the international media and expounded on the virtues of Hairos II. Now with a pair of International Trots already in the books many were questioning the supposed superiority of the American entrants which were yet to take a jaunt to the winner's circle. Hairos II was unable to defend his title in the 1961 race, after suffering a bowed tendon. At the 1961 International Trot, a French horse named Kracovie who had won that year's European circuit was missing a stablemate, either a mountain sheep or a goat that could not be brought into the United States due to quarantine regulations. Kracovie would not eat in the absence of its companion. As described by George Vecsey in the New York Times, "The entertainer Tina Louise just happened to have a goat in her Manhattan apartment. Wearing a sleek and revealing dress, she her agent and the goat paid a mission of mercy to Roosevelt." Despite the publicity, and the goat, Kracovie lost the race to Su Mac Lad, with Tie Silk third. Su Mac Lad, driven by the legendary Stanley Dancer finished in a time of 2:34.4 in driving rain and a sloppy track in front of 28,105 racing fans. The following year (1962) before a crowd of 53,279, Su Mac Lad got corralled by Canada's Tie Silk who had his revenge and Su Mac Lad had to settle for second money. But in 1963 "Summie" redeemed himself and turned back the Netherlands Martini II in a driving finish. That victory for the American entrant was followed in 1964 by yet another American horse, Speedy Scot, winning the International. Over the years there was a competition as to which country would send out the most winners in the International Trots. Although France won the inaugural and then had a streak of five years in a row (1981-1985) with French trotters prevailing on the strength of three wins by Ideal du Gazeau and two by Lutin d'Isigny, their total of 13 winners was eclipsed by the United States 15 wins. So it seems the rivalry will be renewed this year on October 10th after a twenty year hiatus. Sweden's three International Trot wins is third best followed by Canada's two victories. Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands trotters each had one win in the international event. After the closure of Roosevelt Raceway in 1988 the International Trot was raced at Yonkers Raceway until 1995 when economics forced the race to be discontinued. However, it is coming back in grand style later this year at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday October 10th and the invited entrants will race for a $1-million purse. Standardbred Owners Association of New York