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Pompano Beach, Florida...January 31, 2015...Pompano Park's Saturday night harness racing program included the finals of two Late Closing events, an Open Handicap Pace, the second leg of the Murdock Hanover L.C. and a Super Hi-5 with a huge carryover of over $87,000.   The Murdock Hanover--honoring one of the first 2:00 performers in Pompano Park history during its infancy--went to Nine Innings, a 36 to 1 outsider driven by Aaron Byron, that one sweeping three wide around the final bend and nailing the pacesetting Fearless Chip (Matt Romano) in the last stride to record a 1:53.1 victory.   Bold Willie (Wally Hennessey) finished third while M G Home Run and Ring Leda picked up the two remaining checks.   Trained by Gaston Lareau for the J P Houle Stables, Nine Innings was unhurried early as Fearless Chip recorded opening panels of :27.1 and :56. On the backside, Byron caught some love cover and tilted three deep just after they reached the third station in 1:23.2 and kept gnawing away until nailing the win in the final stride.   Nine Innings, a nine year-old son of Bettor's Delight, won for the 30th time during his career with the victory worth $4,000 to his owner and $74.20--certainly a Bettor's Delight--to his faithful followers. He's banked $217,581 lifetime.   Next on the card was the $13,500 Open Handicap Pace, which, last week, ended in a dead-heat between Don't Tell Rusty and That'll Be The Rei. This week, the margin was a scant nose with Don't Tell Rusty driven by Kevin Wallis, also up in the very last stride to score a 1:51.2 decision over the stubborn Lyons Johnny, handled by George Napolitano, Jr.   Duc Dorleans finished third for Donald Dupont while Pontiac Luck finished fourth. Shanderock picked up the nickel in the septet.   At the outset, a war developed developed between Duc Dorleans and Lyons Johnny, with "Johnny" extremely hard pressed to stick a head in front at the opening marker in :26.4. Finally clearing after three-eighths of a mile, Lyons Johnny was forced into a half in :54.3 and, then, on the backside, the leader was involved in another war, this one with Don't Tell Rusty. Turning for home, it looked as though Lyons Johnny edged clear but Don't Tell Rusty kept digging away, eking out the victory by the narrowest of noses.   After the race, driver Kevin Wallis related, "To tell you the truth, I didn't know who won. We were both going as much as we could go. You have to give both of these horses credit. Nap's (George Napolitano) horse (Lyons Johnny) was dead game, especially after the opening stages. And my horse was terrific, too. He just has a great will about him!"   Trained by Paul Holzman for owner Melvin Fink, Don't Tell Rusty earned his second win of the year in five starts with this success pushing his lifetime bounty over the $100,000 mark--$106,386 to be exact.   Third choice in the betting, Don't Tell Rusty paid $8.40 to his faithful.   The $18,000 Baron Lancer Final went, as expected, to Coopers Beach, driven by Rick Plano. This six year-old son of Western Ideal, kept his 2015 perfect in tact--now four-for-four--with a wire to wire win in 1:51.3 measuring just short of three lengths over Major Stone, driven by Jason Dillander. Remission Of Sins was third for Wally Hennessey while Attack Modes Billy and St Pete Star picked up the minors.   In a post race interview, Driver Rick Plano said, "I'll tell ya, I really liked the way he had been racing the past few weeks so we claimed him last week. He was just an "8" (claimer) a few weeks ago--we claimed him for twice that--and he justified our confidence. He raced giant tonight. I hope he keeps going!"   Now owned by John Darrah along with Lawrence Keethe, Coopers Beach now has lifetime bounty of $148,147--$23,500 of that in the first month of the new year.   Even money on the tote-board, Coopers Beach paid $4.00 to win.   Steve Oldford 100th career driving win   In a milestone event for driver Steve Oldford, South Jersey Hey, formerly owned by the Oldford Stable but claimed last week by Susan Oakes, won the final of the Florida Amateur Club Late Closer, giving Oldford his 100th career driving win.   Laying off the exceptionally hot pace--:28 and :56.3--set by perennial front-stepper Prairie Big John, Oldford send his charge on a mission on the backstretch, wearing down the leader turning for home and then sprinting away in the final stages for a 4 3/4 length victory over Explosive Muscles, also given a superb drive by Teddy Bowman from the outside nine post. Jam and Jelly finished third for "Sky" Walker while VT's Gold Key and American Empress also picked up awards in the field of nine.   Now trained by Chris Oakes, South Jersey Hey paid immediate dividends this night, with the biggest chunk of the $10,500 purse sending his 2015 bankroll to $10,250 in three starts and $67,746 lifetime.   After the event, a jubilant Oldford said, "you know, it was great that Chris (trainer Oakes) allowed me to get my milestone victory with 'Hey.' On the other hand, nobody knows this one better that I, so it was kind of great for both of us!"   The winner was 1 to 5 on the tote-board and paid $2.60 to win.   Finally, the Super Hi-5 had multiple consolation winners again on Saturday night with the jackpot now over $90,000 going into the Monday night racing program, which begins at 7:30 p.m.   John Berry for Pompano Park

After competing at Flamboro Downs on Sunday (Oct.5) the Billings Series action in Canada continued on Monday(Oct. 6) at Mohawk Raceway where Michiganders, Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford and Mike "the Mortgage Man" Mitchell, each emerged victorious in their respective divisions; Oldford with Bold Strike and Mitchell with Unabating. The two-day trip marked the second time this season that Billings members raced in Canada, initially competing over a weekend in early September at two racetracks in the Maritimes. Although going into his contest on Monday as the leading point-earner in the lengthy amateur driving series, Oldford added even more points to his seasonal total after reining his own Bold Strike to a gate to wire triumph in a time of 1:58:4. Second place went to Kelly "Sky" Walker who rallied Protégé Seelster from 13- lengths back at the quarter pole to finish second, a length behind the winner. Once again, Canada's own Howie the Horse" Gelfand took home the show dough-as he did yesterday at Flamboro Downs-this time with Back To Peace. "I had the rail and sent my horse to the lead and we went down the road. I got to steal a few fractions along the way and my horse was still strong in the stretch," Oldford related. "It was fun, but then again, it's always fun when you win." Bold Strike, owned by Oldford, paid $7.40 for win. Oldford's traveling companion, Mike Mitchell, was also victorious but his triumph came behind a catch - drive.. In that contest Mitchell had the heavy favorite, Unabating from the two hole, and they got away slowly -fifth at the first panel 13 lengths back-allowing "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello with BWT Taj to lead the field by the quarter in :27. Still on the engine at the halfway point in :56.3, as Zuccarello headed to the third stanza Mitchell began to move closer to the lead and with a three-deep move on the final turn Unabating trotted by BWT Taj and breezed home a solid winner in 1:56. "I was told that my horse would not leave (the starting gate) good but once the race got underway I'd be able to do anything I want with him," Mitchell said. "Still being so far behind in the early going made me a little nervous. But we caught the leaders and in the lane my horse finished like the favorite he was." Zuccarello and BWT Taj finished second while yet another Michigander, "Jerry the Jet" Mihelich was third with Natural Forces. by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Driver Series

Batavia, NY---After getting hung out to dry last week, Armed Dangerously ($6.10) bounced back with the best effort of his career in winning the $9,000 trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 26). At the onset of the race, Justgottogetthere (Jim McNeight) made a laborious trip to the front after being parked out by Starlitestarbrite (Shawn McDonough) in :28.4. Then after taking his two-length lead past the half, Dartmouth Hall (John Cummings Jr.) initiated the outer flow and took Armed Dangerously (Jim Morrill Jr.) along with him. When the pair drew near Justgottogetthere before the three-quarter pole, Cummings elected to tuck Dartmouth Hall in behind the leader while Morrill urged Armed Dangerously to trot on. Morrill's decision ended the race because Armed Dangerously pulled away around the last turn and down the stretch to post a wrapped-up, three-length victory in 1:57.4. The winning time was a new lifetime mark. Justgottogetthere gallantly hung on for second and Force Nine (Ron Beback Jr.) closed to show. It was the seventh win in 21 starts this year for the 5-year-old Cash Hall horse and it drove his annual earnings up to $38,511 for owner Mike Torcello. Armed Dangerously is trained by Gerry Sarama. There were also two divisions of the CKG Billings amateur driver series on the docket. The first $4,500 division went to Windsong Destroyer ($16.40) driven by Richard Roach and the second $4,500 division went to Allpointsbulletin ($6.60) driven by Steve Oldford. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. piloted three winners on the night while Drew Monti registered a driving double. Morrill is currently the second ranked percentage driver in North America among all reinsmen starting at least 500 times this year. He is boasting a gaudy .403 UDR which is only .005 from the top spot. Racing resumes on Saturday night (Sept. 27) at Batavia Downs with a 6:35 scheduled post. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The Battlin' Billings Boys made their annual trip north of the border to compete in Canada and race on Prince Edward Island at Charlottetown Driving Park on Saturday,(Sept. 6) and at Summerside Raceway the following afternoon. Eight members were to make the trip but when "Bullet Bob" Davis had to cancel, the group leader and Billings vice president, Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford, contacted local amateur and Charlottetown resident, Todd Walsh, to fill in for Davis. And Walsh made the best of his chances, winning a Billings contest at both Maritime racetracks. But even though Todd "the substitute" Walsh copped a pair that still left room for two others who made the journey to have their pictures taken in the winner's circle. Mike "the Mortgage Man" Mitchell was one and "Racin' Jason" Sgrignuoli the other. The first contest at Charlottetown on Saturday went to Walsh when he sat back off the leaders and then closed with a rush to score an easy 2:01.2 victory with the veteran Bettors Delight pacing gelding, Blue Man Group. Also coming from off the pace was second place finisher TMS Starlet Cruise, capably handled by "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello. Third place went to Wine To Go, driven by Hilliard Graves, the retired professional hockey player. Graves appeared in 556 games in the National Hockey League from a 1970-1980 with the Vancouver Canucks, the Atlanta Flames, the Winnipeg Jets and the California Golden Seals. And like many other Canadian- born hockey players where hockey and harness racing are national sports in their country, Graves has been involved in harness racing, for most of his adult life and thus far he has won 265 races. Oldford, and the other Billings members, were very pleased to have Graves fill in for one the absent members. The second contest there saw "the Mortgage Man" take advantage of sizzling early fractions then rally Sumbodys Fool to collar Forced To Travel and Steve Oldford in the final strides to score a neck victory a time of 1:59.2. Hilliard Graves drove the third place finisher in that contest, also. On Sunday (Sept. 7) at Summerside Raceway, Walsh was back in the winners circle after winning the first Billings contest there with In Cahoots in a time of 2:01.3. They finished 1-1/2 length s ahead of Bizzy Izzy driven by Daniel "Handy Dan" St. Pierre. Matt Zuccarello took home the show dough with Incredible Mike. A final Billings race went to All Out, who seemed to be all-out from gate to wire to score a two length triumph in a time of 1:59 triumph for "Racin' Jason" Sgrignuoli. Zuccarello was second with Jamantha while Todd Walsh finished third with Woodmere No Fool. "We got to the lead easily and we never had a serious challenge in the race ," Sgrignuoli said. "At the finish my horse still had a lot left and the owners (Dale and Ronnie Rennie) were very happy. I was too. " Later all the Billings drivers, and even some of ( the PEI) horsemen, got together and celebrated with a nice dinner." The next day, when all the Billings participants were at the airport and were readying for the trip back home, Steve Oldford, who has been the driving force behind this international amateur completion, had nothing but compliments for their Canadian hosts. "I can't say enough good things about the hospitality we are shown when we come here," Oldford said. "Every one invites us to stop by their barns and 'have a beverage or two'. No one tells us how to drive their horses; all they say to us is 'have fun-be safe'. "We enjoy every moment when we are with our PEI friends and we look forward to a return trip again next year. by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Driver Series

Veteran amateur drivers, Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford, and Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff along with newcomer Robert "Big Bob" Kenney, each won their respective divisions in the Billings Harness Driving Series this past weekend. Oldford scored a 1:57 triumph with Bold Strike in Midwest Region action at Scioto Downs on August 29 while Hechkoff and Kenney were victorious in the east at Plainridge Racecourse on September 1; Hechkoff with Tagmaster in 1:56.1 and Kenney with Rev Up The Spice in 1:59.3. No stranger to the winners circle, Steve Oldford visited that revered ground again when he scored his seventh seasonal triumph with his newly purchased Bold Strike. "I bought him from June Du Russel, who over the years has generously supplied horses for the Billings Series. "This was the first time I sat behind him and I like him a lot," Oldford explained. "He's a pleasure to drive and (he) did everything I asked of him. " Oldford and Bold strike left from the four hole as "Lawbook Larry" Farley hustled Margarita Man to the lead and they had two lengths on the field as the timer flashed :27.4. At that point Oldford had allowed Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg II to fall in second position in front of him with TK's Karma. When the leaders passed the halfway point in :57.3 Oldford was out and going with Bold Strike and they were nose to nose with Margarita Man at the three quarters in 1:26.4. Even though Farley's mount regained command on the final turn it was short lived as Bold Strike rallied back to score a two-length triumph over Margarita man. TK's Karma took home the show dough. "Now we're ready for the Billings at Delaware, Ohio, "Oldford added delightedly. Bold Strike paid $7.40 for win which was Oldford's seventh of the season and 90th of his amateur driving career. Meanwhile on Labor Day afternoon at the five-eighths mile oval in southern Massachusetts "Big Bob" Kenney scored his first lifetime pari-mutuel victory when he sat the pocket with Rev Up The Spice and then they trotted by 1-2 favorite CSI What's My Name and driver Dave "Steady As" Yarock in mid-stretch for a solid one length triumph to win the first of two Billings trots that day. Third place went to Catalyst driven by Mark "Wafefern" Schullstrom. Needless to say Kenney, who has driven just 27 times since he joined the amateur ranks in 2000, was a happy man and his fellow competitors were among the first to congratulate him. Bob and Linda Kenny co-own Rev Up The Spice who's trained by John Di Stefano. Sent off at odds of over 6-1 the 6 year old Revenue S gelding paid $14.40 for win. A second Billings division at Plainridge Racecourse was a laugher for driver Bob Hechkoff when his Tagmaster romped to a 1:56.1 wire to wire five-length triumph over Permanent Joy, driven by Bob "Rapid Rail" Krivelin. Third place went to Coin Collector and driver Jimmy "It's all In The Family" Marshall IV. Tagmaster, owned by Hechkoff's T.B.H Ventures Inc. and trained by James Hardy paid $9.60 for win. It was Hechkoff's sixth seasonal triumph and 50 driving victory of his career. A two-time winner of the Harness Racing Museum's Amateur Driver of the Year Award his competitors will have to hurry to derail him from that honor again this season. This coming weekend the Battling Billings Boys will head to the Canadian Maritimes for races at Charlottetown on Saturday, (Sept. 6) and at Summerside Raceway on Sunday. by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Driver Series

After making one of the best showings ever by an American a few weeks ago in the World Cup of Amateur Racing in Finland where he won two of the nine events in the competition, Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford returned to the good ole USA and emerged victorious in a Billings trot at the Fowlerville, Michigan Fair on Monday, July 21 On that beautiful summer afternoon at the Wolverine State's award winning Fowlerville Fair Oldford catch-drove trainer June Du Russel's Rub A Dud to a neck victory over What Do You Want and driver Larry "Overhand Serve" Steenbergen in a time of 2:05.1. The show money went to "Lawbook Larry" Farley with his own Rewrite The Rules. "I had the three-hole and sent my trotter to the lead and we opened up daylight," Oldford said. " We had six or seven lengths all the way until the stretch where Larry (Steenbergen) came charging but we held him off to win it," Oldford said. Oldford couldn't say enough good things about trainer June Du Russel. "I'd really like to thank trainer June Du Russel for her continued her support of amateur racing. She sent out two contenders today in the only leg of Billings action to be raced in Michigan this year. Her second entry, in his first start under June's watch, was the forth place finisher, Bold Strike, with new Billings member Jerry Mihelich aboard. "June has supplied Billings Gold Cup winner Rush N Supreme, Silver Cup winner Starry Night, along with series winners Howmuchubench, Howmacs Amigo, and Ace Hanover . June continues to train and race from her Millington, Michigan farm despite the adverse racing conditions in Michigan." On Thursday the east region of the CKG Billings harness Driving Series will have a semi-final at Yonkers Raceway while on Saturday there will be Billings action in the Midwest region at Northfield Park. And on August 1 at the Meadowlands the annual Hambletonian Amateur Trot is slated. byJohn Manzi, for the CKG Billings Series

After the last stage of the FEGAT World Championship for amateurs drivers held in Finland in the race tracks of Riihimaki, Teivo (Tampere) & Vermo (Helsinki), the local driver, Janne Raisanen, was crowned as the new World Champion.   Raisanen lead the classification with 80 points, followed closer by Swiss Joey Vignoni with 79 points and Dutch Wim Brouwer with 78 points.   Raisanen, 39, has had his driving license since 2003 and has more than 75 wins in his career.   The next Fegat competition will be the European Championships for men in Sweden, from the 20th to 23rd of September in the race tracks of Jagersro and Halmstad.   Below are the final point standings and results from all the races in the FEGAT WC competition.   CLASS:   COUNTRY DRIVER TOTAL POINTS DAY 1 DAY 2 DAY 3 1 FINLAND  Jäane Räisänen 80 27 30 23 2 SWITZERLAND Joey Vignoni 79 29 26 24 3 THE NETHERLANDS Wim Brouwer 78 28 26 24 4 BELGIUM Piet Van Pollaert 75 22 29 24 5 NEW ZEALAND Jeff Darby 64 17 24 23 6 DENMARK Bjarke Haagesen 62 26 18 18 7 USA Stephen Oldford 56 21 14 21 8 GERMANY Jorg Hafer 56 21 14 21 9 ITALY Maurizio Biasuzzi 43 11 14 18 10 SPAIN Miquel Vich Capó 42 10 19 13 12 HUNGARY Sandor Hegedus 42 12 13 17 12 RUSSIA Ivan Serik 34 21 7 6 RACE 1 – RIIHIMAKI 07.07.14 Hevonen / Ohjastaja Aika   Kerroin Palkinto Matka:rata 1. 5 Sahara Innuendo / Stephen Oldford 18,0   29 2 000 € 2100:5 2. 12 Bella Bousse / Wim Brouwer 18,0   1100 1 000 € 2100:12 3. 10 Tuff Enuff / Joey Vignoni 18,0   81 600 € 2100:10 4. 8 In Speedy Action / Janne Räisänen 18,0   64 400 € 2100:8 5. 9 Indico Brave / Ivan Serik 18,1   52 200 € 2100:9 6. 3 Victoria Del Oro / Jörg Hafer 18,1   213   2100:3 7. 4 Billy Bob / Piet van Pollaert 18,2   175   2100:4 8. 1 Happy Days Vivian / Sandor Hegedus 18,5   308   2100:1 9. 7 Stoneisle Logan / Maurizio Biasuzzi 18,7 x 49   2100:7   2 Yammy Paxx / Miquel Vich Capo 20,6 hlo 10 350   2100:2   6 The Best Spruce / Bjarke Haagensen Poissa       2100:6   11 Guarda Che Luna / Jeff Darby Poissa       2100:11 Väliajat:17,0/In Speedy Action 19,0 16,0 18,0 RACE 2 – RIIHIMAKI 07.07.14 Hevonen / Ohjastaja Aika   Kerroin Palkinto Matka:rata 1. 8 Golda Most / Janne Räisänen 16,2   23 2 000 € 2100:8   2. 7 Icy Winds / Bjarke Haagensen 16,7   162 1 000 € 2100:7   3. 1 Oscar Magia / Jeff Darby 16,8   187 600 € 2100:1   4. 12 Keeper’s Family / Wim Brouwer 16,9   767 400 € 2100:12   5. 11 Luck Carrier / Joey Vignoni 16,9   43 200 € 2100:11   6. 2 Madonnas Classic / Ivan Serik 16,9   98 200 € 2100:2   7. 9 Quick Nightmare / Miquel Vich Capo 16,9   281   2100:9   8. 10 Roofmaker / Jörg Hafer 17,2   191   2100:10   9. 3 Ranch Let Me Fly / Sandor Hegedus 17,6   148   2100:3   10. 5 Vivaldi / Piet van Pollaert 17,6   468   2100:5   11. 6 Enrico Narva / Maurizio Biasuzzi 18,4 x 444   2100:6   12. 4 Galluzzo / Stephen Oldford 18,8   100   2100:4   Väliajat:14,0/Icy Winds 16,0 16,5 16,0 RACE 3 – RIIHIMAKI 07.07.14 Hevonen / Ohjastaja Aika   Kerroin Palkinto Matka:rata 1. 12 Cheat Sheet / Piet van Pollaert 16,0   54 2 000 € 2100:12 2. 1 Fame Laukko / Joey Vignoni 16,0   39 1 000 € 2100:1 3. 5 Amazing Goal / Jörg Hafer 16,0   49 600 € 2100:5 4. 4 Milkway Gate / Ivan Serik 16,2   45 400 € 2100:4 5. 11 Sundsvik Showman / Bjarke Haagensen 17,1   1265 200 € 2100:11 6. 7 Cortland / Stephen Oldford 17,1   460 200 € 2100:7 7. 8 Maika’s Nightrun / Maurizio Biasuzzi 17,4   74   2100:8 8. 2 Stensro Ivar* / Janne Räisänen 18,1 x 194   2100:2 9. 6 Hit Avalanche* / Miquel Vich Capo 19,2   723   2100:6 10. 9 Bluehill’s Thunder / Sandor Hegedus 23,5 x 184   2100:9   3 Tour Moa* / Jeff Darby   hll 273   2100:3   10 Golda Matador / Wim Brouwer Poissa       2100:10 RACE 4 – TAMPERE 08.07.14 Hevonen / Ohjastaja Aika   Kerroin Palkinto Matka:rata 1. 1 Wim’s Wild Rose / Wim Brouwer 18,2   34 1 700 € 2100:1 2. 2 No Money No Honey / Jeff Darby 18,3   20 850 € 2100:2 3. 5 Adagio Mi Amor / Piet van Pollaert 18,4   375 425 € 2100:5 4. 4 Not So Easy Blue / Janne Räisänen 18,8   121 255 € 2100:4 5. 7 Coktail Venus / Miquel Vich Capo 18,8   432 170 € 2100:7 6. 11 Caribian Lady / Joey Vignoni 19,2   475   2100:11 7. 6 Audrey Belle / Stephen Oldford 19,5   1297   2100:6 8. 3 Scofield / Bjarke Haagensen 20,3 x 151   2100:3 9. 9 Mighty Man / Maurizio Biasuzzi 20,8 x 87   2100:9 10. 8 Sign Of Magic / Jörg Hafer 21,0 x 375   2100:8 11. 12 Thali Streamline / Ivan Serik 21,1   396   2100:12 12. 10 Pamperedmuscles* / Sandor Hegedus 23,5 x 1019   2100:10 RACE 5 – TAMPERE 08.07.14 Hevonen / Ohjastaja Aika   Kerroin Palkinto Matka:rata 1. 6 Zacarias Kemp / Piet van Pollaert 17,4   34 1 700 € 2100:6 2. 12 Vanilla Cake / Janne Räisänen 17,4   293 850 € 2100:12 3. 1 Mystification / Jeff Darby 17,4   128 425 € 2100:1 4. 5 Lewis Hip / Joey Vignoni 17,5   48 255 € 2100:5 5. 2 Glorious Sunbeam / Jörg Hafer 17,6   241 170 € 2100:2 6. 8 Raoul Grif / Maurizio Biasuzzi 17,7   83   2100:8 7. 3 Rocking The Way / Wim Brouwer 17,8   62   2100:3 8. 10 Figaro Sund* / Sandor Hegedus 18,3   1026   2100:10 9. 7 Only Nice Power / Ivan Serik 20,1 x 153   2100:7   4 Lovely Dart / Miquel Vich Capo   hpl 59   2100:4   9 Golden Snitch / Bjarke Haagensen Poissa       2100:9   11 Brown Royal / Stephen Oldford Poissa       2100:11 RACE 6 – TAMPERE 08.07.14 Hevonen / Ohjastaja Aika   Kerroin Palkinto Matka:rata 1. 6 Iida Speed / Joey Vignoni 15,4   93 2 000 € 2100:6 2. 4 Windsong’s Love* / Miquel Vich Capo 15,4   24 1 000 € 2100:4 3. 10 Global Option / Janne Räisänen 16,1   47 500 € 2100:10 4. 5 Incanto / Wim Brouwer 16,5   458 300 € 2100:5 5. 2 Prince As / Sandor Hegedus 16,7   103 100 € 2100:2 6. 8 Yakari / Piet van Pollaert 17,0   202 100 € 2100:8 7. 1 Benito Kievitshof / Bjarke Haagensen 17,0   318   2100:1 8. 12 Barbera / Maurizio Biasuzzi 17,1   577   2100:12 9. 9 Finish Fast / Jörg Hafer 17,1   82   2100:9 10. 3 Sweet Jack / Jeff Darby 17,2   410   2100:3 11. 7 Geysharaa / Ivan Serik 19,9   487   2100:7   11 Trade A Photo / Stephen Oldford   hpl 147   2100:11 RACE 7 – HELSINKI 09.07.14 Hevonen / Ohjastaja Aika   Kerroin Palkinto Matka:rata 1. 5 Bar Open / Wim Brouwer 16,4   64 2 000 € 2100:5 2. 9 Beggel Vanaja / Maurizio Biasuzzi 16,5   294 1 000 € 2100:9 3. 8 Aqua’s Katya / Jeff Darby 16,6   288 500 € 2100:8 4. 3 Fairytale Star / Piet van Pollaert 16,9   396 300 € 2100:3 5. 1 Info Point / Jörg Hafer 16,9   195 100 € 2100:1 6. 12 Stoneisle Logan / Bjarke Haagensen 16,9   264 100 € 2100:12 7. 11 Melman / Janne Räisänen 17,3   181   2100:11 8. 10 In Cookie Boogie / Stephen Oldford 17,4   437   2100:10 9. 6 Wild Me Even / Miquel Vich Capo 17,8 x 107   2100:6 10. 4 Here Goes / Sandor Hegedus 17,9   152   2100:4 11. 7 Tipo Cavallo / Joey Vignoni 19,9 x 137   2100:7 12. 2 Forest Polestar / Ivan Serik 19,9 x 18   2100:2 RACE 8 – HELSINKI 09.07.14 Hevonen / Ohjastaja Aika   Kerroin Palkinto Matka:rata 1. 4 Great Goljat / Stephen Oldford 14,2   45 2 000 € 2100:4 2. 8 Magpie / Janne Räisänen 14,2   43 1 000 € 2100:8 3. 3 Ranch Let Me Fly / Bjarke Haagensen 14,7   177 500 € 2100:3 4. 5 Metternich / Joey Vignoni 15,1   85 300 € 2100:5 5. 11 Sweet Choco Star / Wim Brouwer 15,2   149 100 € 2100:11 6. 7 Keeper’s Family / Sandor Hegedus 15,2   392 100 € 2100:7 7. 10 Hitman Hutton / Maurizio Biasuzzi 15,2   248   2100:10 8. 6 High Hopes / Piet van Pollaert 15,9   344   2100:6 9. 12 Amy’s Love* / Jörg Hafer 17,9 x 469   2100:12 10. 2 Rhapsody in Rock / Miquel Vich Capo 20,9 x 44   2100:2 11. 9 Bluehill’s Thunder / Jeff Darby 22,2 x 80   2100:9   1 Cortland / Ivan Serik   hpl 562   2100:1 RACE 9 – HELSINKI 09.07.14 Hevonen / Ohjastaja Aika   Kerroin Palkinto Matka:rata 1. 1 Lovesong / Joey Vignoni 17,2   20 2 000 € 2100:1 2. 9 Merry and Pretty / Jeff Darby 17,4   29 1 000 € 2100:9 3. 10 Hot Beer / Piet van Pollaert 17,6   256 500 € 2100:10 4. 5 Livi Import / Jörg Hafer 17,7   229 300 € 2100:5 5. 12 Liliana Li* / Miquel Vich Capo 17,7   329 100 € 2100:12 6. 3 An-Nea / Sandor Hegedus 17,9   154 100 € 2100:3 7. 2 Unique Io / Janne Räisänen 18,1   273   2100:2 8. 11 Demolition Pezzo / Ivan Serik 18,1   224   2100:11 9. 7 R.R. Endazzle / Wim Brouwer 18,3   918   2100:7 10. 8 Bouncing Hill / Stephen Oldford 19,9 x 1010   2100:8   4 Hookland Elwis / Bjarke Haagensen   hpl 191   2100:4   6 Run for Temple / Maurizio Biasuzzi   hpl 918   2100:6

YOUTH DOMINATES DURING SECOND DAY OF WORLD CUP COMPETITION Our Finnish hosts were concerned last week about this week's weather as it snowed just days before our arrival to Findland. The weather continues to cooperate with temperatures around 27° C (around 80° F) and brilliantly blue skys. On the two hour trip to Tampere, our gracious hosts took us to the YPAJA Equine College which is the leading facility in Finland for breeding, training, and equine education. The proud heritage of the Finnish Coldblood breed is evident in the museum on the grounds and in the over 100 Coldbloods in training at the facility. Coldbloods are Finnish cart and work horses that were bred over the years to trot (hopefully fast!). One third of the races are the Coldblood breed. After a beautiful parade of drivers, complete with a limousine ride to and from the paddock, gifts were presented in the winners circle and interviews given with the previous night's winners. The three World Cup races tonight were dominated by youth as young drivers from The Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland came away with the wins. Along with the young Finnish overall point leader Janne Raisanen who won yesterday, this group makes up the top four point leaders. They are 57, 55, 54, and 51 points respectively. I remained in the middle of the pack with 35 points. My evening of racing was highlighted by a scratch (we do get points for this), a breaker, and a sixth place finish with a long odds horse. The group travels together by bus and has been enjoying each other's stories of home, family, and of course racing. In this link you can find the race results of the 2 days of competition.   by Steve Oldford

Under brilliant blue Finland skies that do not darken at night, twelve countries started the first three races of the nine race series for the World Cup of amateur racing. The races were held at the Riihimaki summer race course about 60 miles north of Helsinki. It reminded me of summer fair racing of old as families spread out around the track with their children, picnics, and blankets to enjoy the days racing. The grandstand was full of enthusiastic spectators who were able to wager on the races which include Standardbred and Coldblood breeds . The World Cup drivers were presented to the cheering crowd prior to the first race. Each of the twelve countries flag waived proudly in the summer breeze. Three World Cup races will be contested this day. In the first race I drove a lightly raced three year old son of Donarail out of the five hole. He was very immature but smart. We raced from the first over position which leads the common place second row of horses in the 12 horse field. He was very strong and relaxed to the head of the stretch in this 2000 meter (1 1/4 mile) race and pulled ahead for the victory. From the four hole in the second race, I had a trotter that needed a lot of help! In place of head poles, gating poles that are similar to our gating straps are used. They are controlled by my legs drawing them in or out to help guide the horse. It feels like rear end steering instead of using the bit. This 11 year old gave a big effort but was not able to match the field. The third race saw me coming from post seven and racing from about forth over for the distance finishing sixth in the twelve horse field. I accumulated 21 points in the first three races which places me in 6th place after the first day of competition. The point leader is Joey Vignoni from Switzerland with 29 points. Our international group heads to Tamperre raceway for Tuesdays card.  by Steve Oldford in Finland

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

This past weekend was the busiest thus far in this year's CKG Billings Harness Driving Series with a contest at Vernon Downs on Saturday night (June 14) and three events at Buffalo Raceway on Sunday (June 15). Scott "the Driving Doctor" Woogen was victorious at each venue and, Tony "the Capo" Verruso and, Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford also drove winners. After a great few days in Trot Town, USA working with the participants of the USTA Driving School in Goshen, Billings vice president Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford and seven other Billings drivers headed to Vernon Downs for at contest there. In that Billings trot Oldford sent his old warhorse to the lead from the five hole and they seemed to have it all in hand as the field headed for home. But in the deep stretch Doc Woogen, with I'm Fabulous, rallied strong to beat Celtic Merchant to the wire and pick up all the marbles in the 1:57.4 mile. Third money went to Choke Hold driven by Vladimir "Butch" Melnichenko. "I cut them mile and really thought it was all mine but Doc Woogen snuck up and snapped me at the wire to win it all," Old ford said. "Unfortunately for me, it was another good drive by Doc Woogen." I'm Fabulous is owned by Woogen and Brenda Messenger and trained by Gary Messenger. He paid $5.30 for win. The next night in Hamburg, (NY) in the second Billings event- a pace- Doc Woogen with 10-1 shot Launching Tonight caught everyone by surprise when he gunned the pacer to the lead from the four hole. They grabbed command on the first turn and despite a swift :28.2 quarter they kept right on going. By doing so it kept the challengers away and Launching Tonight cruised to a solid one length victory in a time of 1:58.3. Howie "the Horse" Gelfand came from fifth at the three-quarters to finish second and "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli finished third with Officer Candidate. "It was certainly a fun weekend driving both days in the Billings." Doc Woogen related. "They were my first two races in the series this year and added to my pleasure was that I got a chance to visit my daughter who lives in Buffalo. Launching Tonight paid $22.40 to win. He is owned and trained by Scott Bompczyk. Series president, Tony Verruso got the Billings started that evening when he guided pacer Aurora Borealus to a 1:59.4 victory. They used the front-end route, and like Doc Woogen, they didn't back down the second quarter and kept the pedal to the metal and led the field by the halfway point in :58.1 When they reached the homestretch Aurora Borealus was getting a bit leg weary but the pacer had enough left to keep LCB's Charm and driver Howie Gelfand at bay for a neck victory in 1:59.4. Skyway Shania and "Sir Christopher" Shambo took home the show dough. "The mare I drove was coming off a two and a half year racing absence due to breeding. They told me she was rounding into form and I should just send her, which I did. She left like a rocket into that first turn and I didn't look back from there, Verruso said. Aurora Borealus , owned by Fortunate One LLC paid $4.40 for win. She is trained by John Mungillo. In the final Billings event, a trot, Steve Oldford made amends by sending Sam Can to the lead and he took no chances about being caught from behind this time and finished a seven-length winner over Alabama Flash and driver "Bullet Bob" Davis. Chris Shambo was third in this one. "I figured to leave a little but once I got on top my horse swelled -up like no tomorrow and grabbed leather so I took a deep seat," Oldford said. "The farther we went the more we opened daylight on the field and in the lane I had enough of a lead so not to get caught at the wire this time "When I got back to the paddock the owner ( Perry Wilson) invited me back to drive him again. I guess he thought I did a good job." Wilson owns and trains the Sam Can who paid $6.00 for win. by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Drivers Club

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Glowngold set a new track record and Market Rally got that winning feeling back to highlight the two $59,100 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old filly trotters at Buffalo Raceway on a picture perfect Sunday afternoon (June 15).   Former Buffalo Raceway regular Jim Morrill Jr. was in the sulky for both the Sire Stakes victories.   Was it home track advantage? Morrill Jr. grinned and said, "Not sure cause you still gotta have the horses."   Glowngold ($4.70) went wire-to-wire in the first division, covering the mile in 1:59.0, breaking the old mark of 1:59.1 for 3-year-old filly trotters set by Brandnewgirlfriend in 2009.   "She settled in perfectly on the front end," Morrill Jr. said of Glowngold, who posted the fractions of 29.4, 1:00 and 1:29.2. "I was a little surprised I got the lead...I wasn't looking for it. I figured I'd be sitting no worse than fourth at the start. I was actually looking for Avalicious (Doug McNair) but she broke."   He admitted in the winner's circle that he was surprised with setting a track record but said, "The track was fast and she (Glowngold) did everything she needed to do. It was a smooth trip."   Beauty Of Gray (Jim Meittinis) looked like she might collar Glowngold in the stretch but finished a length back while Flyhawk Falina (Dan Daley) took the show spot.   Glowngold (Conway Hall-Glow) is owned by the Andy Miller Stables, Blue Chip Stables and Highland Green Fins with Julie Miller the trainer. It was her second win in 11 starts this season and has now earned $85,726 this season.   Market Rally, the NYSS 2-year-old filly trotting champion, has gotten off to a rough start in 2014 but Buffalo Raceway and the services of Morrill Jr. proved to be the perfect cure. Sitting in the garden spot, Market Rally ($3.30) went to the passing lane in the stretch and caught L Dees Scripture (Chris Lems) and the pace-setting Winning Pursuit (Doug McNair), scoring by a half length in 2:00.4.   "She got a good trip," Morrill Jr. said of Market Rally. "She's gotten off to a bad start this year so it was nice to see her to have this kind of race."   Trained by Ron Burke and owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stable, Panhellenic Stables and Weaver Bruscemi, it was the first win of the year for Market Rally (Cash Hall-Supreme Dish). The victory was worth $29,500 and increased her lifetime bankroll to $311,316.   In the $12,500 Excelsior Series A classification for 3-year-old filly trotters, Maiden Knight (Dan Daley) won the first division in 2:01.3 and Emiliana (Jack Flanigen) took the second division in 2:00.1.   The $6,600 Excelsior Series B classification saw Dreamsteeler (Doug Ackley) make it a perfect 11-for-11 in her career with a 2:00.2 time while Driving Me Linda (Jeff Gregory) won the second division in 2:02.4.   There were three events in the CKG Billings Amateur Series with Steve Oldford, Dr. Scott Woogen and Anthony Verruso all driving home winners.   Racing will return on Wednesday night with a 13-race card set for 5 p.m. The New York Sires Stakes will be back with the 3-year-old filly pacers in the spotlight.   For more information including race replays, results, upcoming promotions and the latest news, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway    

Goshen, NY --- The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame reminds all friends and colleagues of this year's honorees that it's time to congratulate and remember those who have made special contributions to the sport of harness racing.   This year, the harness racing community will honor David S. Miller and William B. Weaver, the newest members of harness racing's Living Hall of Fame; the newest members of the Living Horse Hall of Fame: Donato Hanover, Hattie and Precious Bunny; Immortals Green Speed and Windsong's Legacy; Communicators Carol Cramer and John Pawlak; Museum Amateur Driving Champion Steve Oldford; and Museum Pinnacle Award recipient Jack Elliott.   The Museum's annual Souvenir Journal is a high-quality publication of more than 120 pages containing many historical and informative features and images. Advertising in this eye-catching collector's item will get your message to people in the harness racing community and beyond. Thousands of copies are distributed at major racing venues and events in North America and Europe.   If those being honored on Hall of Fame Day, Sunday, July 6, 2014 have touched your life, your family or your business in a special way, we urge you to send a message of congratulations through this beautiful medium.   The Souvenir Journal is an official, in-house, Museum-approved fundraising project and is therefore tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.   Ad space reservations should be sent as soon as possible. THE DEADLINE IS FRIDAY, MAY 30. Premium space is sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Price sheets and ad sizes are available by calling Janet Terhune at 845-294-6330 or Email: hrmhof@gmail.com for further information.   From the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame

Could it be that Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford is tuning up for his jaunt to Helsinki, Finland in early July for the harness racing World Cup of Amateur Racing Championship, or is it that he just enjoys winning races, something he's done plenty of over the past few seasons. Oldford will represent the United States when the best amateur drivers from 13 nations battle over four days of competition which will comprise the World Cup. And although the amateurs in the World Cup must have at least 25 career driving victories that is something that Oldford doesn't have to worry about even though he didn't earnestly start driving until he was 47 years old. On Thursday night, May 15 the Michigan native, now 56, added to his resume yet another victory, the 86th of his amateur driving career, when he drove TK's Diva to a 2:01 triumph in the Midwest region Billings Trot that night. According to Oldford, who along with three other Michiganders, traveled to greater Cleveland just to drive in the Billings Trot. "It was like Michigan against Ohio, since the three others were all from the Buckeye State, " he said. "It had been raining most of the day but when we were set to race the skies cleared and the rain subsided," Oldford said. "I had the five-hole with a catch drive (TK's Diva) and though she seemed to be overlooked in the betting (9-1 at post time) she raced real well for me. "We were three across the track on the first turn all fighting for the lead but my mare cleared and we made the front in a swift :28.1. But once on top I kept her rolling and we never got any challenges and we were open lengths in front the entire way." At the wire TK's Diva's margin of victory was three lengths over Love Ignites, driven by fellow Michigander Kelly "Sky" Walker who came from far back to get second money. Third place went to Texas Ridge driven by Buckeye, "Marvelous Marvin" Raber. TK's Diva is owned by Ohioans, Becky Zubkoff and Summer Zubkoff. She paid $20.60, $13.40, and $5.00 across the board and for Oldford it was his third driving victory of the year. Next up in the C.K.G. Billings Amateur Driving Series will be a trot at Freehold Raceway on Saturday afternoon(May 17) by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Driving Series

Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford is on a roll. Actually he's been on a roll ever since he began amateur harness racing driving in earnest back in 2006 at age 46. A career winner of 85 races thus far, the bulk coming over the past six seasons, the Croswell, Michigan sales rep was in the winner's circle again on Sunday evening, April 27 after he won the first race in the Midwest region of the 2014 C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series with Claim Jumper in a time of 1:58.4 at the new and beautiful Miami Valley Raceway, some 20 miles north of Cincinnati, Ohio. By his own admission Oldford had perfect trip behind Southwind Nazareth and driver Ned "the Hilliard's Hot-Shot" Hodkinson. "I had a catch-drive and got a two- hole trip behind Ned (Hodkinson with Southwind Nazareth) all the way and in the stretch my trotter (Claim Jumper) was the strong horse and we beat Ned by a couple of lengths, "Oldford related. "And we really have to thank race secretary Gregg Kiedel for going out of his way to see that this race filled." Third place went to Rewrite the Rules with "Lawbook Larry" Farley aboard. Owned by Owen Eiler, Jr. and Marissa Tyler and trained by Ms. Tyler Claim Jumper paid $3.80 for win. As aforementioned good things have happened for Oldford who is one of the busiest sportsmen in the game and one who would travel almost anywhere to drive a harness horse. Last season Steve was presented with USHWA's National Amateur Driver of the Year Award at the scribes annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet in Dover, Delaware even though his wife and family mistakenly went to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. ( but that's another story). And he again earned the Harness Racing Museum's Amateur Driver of the Year for the fourth time in the last six seasons. Additionally, Oldford wears a new moniker recently being named a vice president of the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, plus he's again the vice president of the C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series. "I've been a pretty lucky guy, "Oldford admitted. But rest assured luck has very little to do with his accomplishments. The next action in the Billings Series will be at Freehold Raceway on Saturday, May 3rd in the eastern region competition. by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Driver Series

The C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series kicks off its 33rd season at Miami Valley Raceway on Sunday, April 27 followed by a contest at Freehold Raceway on May 3. Then, almost weekly, there will be races for amateur drivers at various racetracks through late November. Again the Billings will be run under the auspices of the Delvin Miller Harness Drivers Association. The series which began in the early 1980's is considered the Grand Circuit of Amateur Racing. Known for its constant traveling sideshow over the years some of the best amateur drivers in North America compete, or have competed, in it. "This year we are again going with the five separate series format. We believe it was well received by members new and old last year so we thought it a good idea to give it another whirl," said Billings Series president Tony "the Capo" Verruso. Verruso is referring to having five divisions of short series instead of having a seven-month year-long event. "The Eastern Regional and the Midwest Regional will each have two short series and there will also be a Travel Series. And each will have a series ending finale," Verruso added. "On the whole, participation was definitely up last racing season and we did also get some new quality members. Our goal this year is to continue that trend and we hope the new slot money being infused into Ohio will go a long way to rebuilding that driving base for us." Obviously, the eastern divisions will encompass racetracks in the east while the western divisions will feature races at tracks in the Midwest. There will be a travel division with events in both East and Midwest and in early September two racetracks in Canada on Prince Edward Island will again host Billings events. "The beauty of this format will allow everyone to race in any division. However, the points earned in each division will be calculated in that division only," Verruso explained. "And the European Point System will again be used to tally each participant's points." Again there will be Billings Gold and Silver Cup Finals at the end of the season and they will take place at Harrah's Philadelphia on November 23. As usual, only drivers can be nominated to the Billings Series; horses have to meet the certain series criteria. A complete listing of conditions and nominating costs can be had by contacting Verruso at sulkyracer@hotmail.com or Billings Series VP, Steve Oldford at steveoldford@oldford.biz. One can also get pertinent information on the Delvin Miller Harness Driving Series on the USTA website under amateur racing. But remember, nominations by mail close on May 2, 2014. However, late nominations can always be made but at an additional cost. by John Manzi, for the CKG Billing Amateur Driving Series

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