Day At The Track

Dave Yarock 'amateur driver of the year'

06:39 PM 03 Oct 2011 NZDT
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Dave Yarock
Dave Yarock
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Dave Yarock may be new to amateur harness racing but this season with victories in the Billings Series as well as in the NAADA Series and Catskill Amateur Clubs Series, he has been named 'Amateur Driver of the Year' by the Monticello Goshen Chapter USHWA. He'll receive his award at the scribes 53rd Annual Awards Banquet at Monticello Casino & Raceway on Sunday, October 30.

Not all racing fans understand the amateur driving movement. It’s true that amateurs have to take a backseat to professional drivers but that shouldn’t preclude them from driving, and that goes for betting races, too.

Amateur reinsmen—and women—are sportsmen. True they don’t race horses for a living but by and large the overwhelming majority are not only lovers of the Standardbred sport but they are horse owners, also. And usually they don’t train their stock opting to turn that task over to as professional trainer.

Dave Yarock is just one of the amateurs that has brought a lot to the sport. Since he joined the movement in the mid-2000’s Yarock has been an owner, or part-owner, of over 30 racehorses. He currently has a string that he’s entrusted to his trainer, Jimmy Doherty, Jr. and Yarock also built a training farm not far from Monticello Raceway where he keeps his racing stock.

A Chartered Financial Consultant by trade, during the 2007 season Yarock began to don colors and became anxious to be a harness driver, albeit on an amateur basis. He initially joined the American Harness Drivers Club at Freehold Raceway and drove in qualifying races and then in events of the AHDC .

In his first 11 starts he was a bridesmaid a few times but when he scored his first victory behind his own pacer Shania Twain in a 1:58.1 clocking on May 24, 2008 he was convinced that harness racing was the sport for him.

“What other sport can you get involved in where you can actually participate on such a high level? Yarock reasoned. “And in amateur racing there’s such a great camaraderie among the participants.” Two weeks earlier Yarock joined the Billings Amateur Driving Series and between racing in the AHDC he got a chance to perform on the big stages over various renowned racetracks like Delaware, Ohio and Yonkers Raceway and Historic Track.

Yarock later joined the North American Amateur Drivers Association and fared well in their races at Yonkers Raceway winning a couple of events prior to the curtain coming down on the 2008 season. Yarock won six races that year, six again in 2009 and seven in 2010. This season has been his best to date already reining nine winners and as of press time he’s proudly atop the Billings Series leaderboard with 91 points with five wins alone in Billings competition.

However owning horses, employing a trainer, and driving as an amateur is not all that Dave Yarock is about. He’s also a philanthropist. In 2008 Yarock began a scholarship fund for horsemen and/or children of horsemen in the memory of his father Edward Yarock and his step-father Dr. Edward Weiner.

“Both men were kind-hearted and empathetic inspirational to the people that came in contact with them and they subscribed to the adage “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach an man to fish and he eats for a lifetime,” Yarock said.

“Our goal is to expand the fund in order to assist as many students as possible. The future of the harness industry is dependent on young, educated people becoming part of it and we hope to play an integral role in providing financial assistant. And we recently added a special award in memory of my father-in-law who passed away in June 2009. It’s called the Donald Meyer Memorial Scholarship Fund.,” added Yarock who is the president of both the scholarship funds.

Yarock has had fundraisers at Yonkers Raceway and then this past season at the Mighty M which was part of the All-Amateur Day in mid-July giving $21,000 away in scholarship funds to horsemen or sons and daughters of horsemen .

In all, the Edward Weiner and Edward Yarock Equine Scholarship Fund has bequested close to $100,000 since its formation four years ago.

Yarock owns a 50 acre training facility outside of Liberty NY called Split Brook Farm and he’s currently on the Board of Directors of the Monticello Horseman’s Association. He’s been married to his wife Laurie for 30 years. They have two daughters, Samantha and Lizzie.

AHDC 2009 Spring Pacing Series Leg IV - Division II - Dave Yarock winning 

AHDC 2008 Fall Pacing Series Leg II - Dave Yarock winning

AHDC 2008 Spring Pacing Series Final - Dave Yarock winning

John Manzi

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