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A little more than a decade ago, Amateur harness racing driver Dave Yarock decided it was time to give up playing basketball. He had played throughout his life; in high school and college and was still going full court two or three times a week into his mid-50s. After putting hoops on hold, he needed a way to satisfy his competitive nature. That is when he discovered harness racing. Yarock was introduced to the sport by a friend and was captivated by the opportunity to drive in races. He soon became a mainstay on the amateur circuits, winning 67 races over the years, and co-founded the GSY Amateur Club. "Here was something I could do competitively and combine it with my love of the horses," Yarock said. "That's what drew me to it, and still draws me to the sport." But his involvement in the harness racing community has extended beyond the track. Since 2008, Yarock has coordinated an educational scholarship fund to assist the children of horsemen and horsewomen pursue careers in equine fields. The fund has given out more than $200,000 in aid since its inception, Yarock said. Ordinarily, the GSY club uses membership dues, driver commissions, and individual donations to support the Edward Weiner & Edward Yarock Scholarship Fund, but this year the club will use its funds to assist horsemen and horsewomen in need because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its first donation was to the Fusco family, which last month lost four family members to the virus, including trainers Carmine and Vincent. "I'm trying to do my best, whatever I can do," Yarock said. "It's for the industry, it's for the people. Basic needs are going to be pretty profound. People are going to need to feed their horses, feed themselves. A lot of people don't really have a safety net. I'm trying to address that in my own small way. "If people have any particular needs, they should let us know and we'll try to help as best we can. We have limited resources and we want to try to stretch them out and do the best we can to help as many people as we can. I would love to be able to broaden it out, make it bigger, but everyone has their own issues right now. We're all trying to do what we can do." Anyone wanting to make a tax-deductible donation to the "EWEY Scholarship Fund" for distribution to those in need can send contributions to Dave Yarock, 70 Sherwood Road, Tenafly, NJ 07670. Requests for assistance, with a brief explanation of the circumstances, can be emailed to daveyarock@gmail.com. "We're here to help the horsemen," Yarock said. "We'll take whatever help we can get. We're all in this together." Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager

Monticello, NY--- The third leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's (NAADA) current harness racing trotting series on Thursday afternoon at Monticello Raceway went to Dave Yarock and Kickinitwithkohler when they rallied for a stunning come-from-behind victory in 2:01.3 over a rain-soaked course. But victory didn't come easy. The race began with four horses going for the lead but it was Cinderellas Dress and driver Alan Schwartz who had command on the first turn and led the field by the first quarter in :28.4 with the eventual winner some nine lengths in the rears in sixth position. The field was in Indian file as they trotted past the quarter pole, around the clubhouse turn and toward the halfway point. As the y headed down the homestretch the first time around Paul Minore moved the favorite, The Fighter, off the pylons from fourth position and charged up to challenge the leader. However, on the clubhouse turn the pace-setter, Cinderellas Dress, went off-stride and the drivers of the trailing horses searched quickly for the best route to get by the breaking horse which certainly changed the complexion of the race. Uriel and driver Annie Stoebe, who were in the two hole, cleared with no trouble but for others the route was not as easy as many of the trailers had various degrees of interference caused by the breaking horse. At that point Yarock did a masterful job with Kickinitwithkohler weaving her in and out of the horses in front of them and by the time the leaders passed the three quarters they were a three-deep as they headed around the final turn. "I was just happy to get through and around the horses in front of me but when I finally saw daylight on the far outside I must have been six or seven lengths behind Annie (Stoebe and Uriel) and I thought that second was the best I could be," Yaroch said. Actually Kickinitwithkohler trailed Uriel by six lengths and they were in fourth position when they straightened for home. "My horse just put it in another gear when he headed down the homestretch and and we passed everyone, Annie's horse must have tired a bit because we trotted right by him in the deep stretch and we were easy winners," Yarock added with a smile on his mud-filled face. Kickinitwithkohler finished a one length winner over Uriel in 2:01:3, a time slowed somewhat with all the confusion after The Fighter went off-stride on the third turn. Third place went to Stitch In Time, driven by Bob Davis. The winner, a 6-year-old Southwind Breeze mare, is owned and trained by George Anthrop. She paid $25.40, $12.40 and $9.20 across the board. by John Manzi, for NAADA

If you have been following the Meadowlands over the past few years, you have seen amateur races that were titled as GSY Amateur events. Ever wonder what GSY stands for, who they are, and why they race? VFTRG had the opportunity to talk to two officers of the GSY Amateur Driving Club, David Glasser and David Yarock, to get some answers. The GSY Amateur Series is named after Jeff Gural, Jason Settlemoir, and David Yarock who are the club founders. The series was established four years ago in an effort to add additional races to the C.K.G Billings Amateur Driving Series. Originally, the series was centered around Tioga Downs but included several other tracks. Today though, the series is focused on the Meadowlands even though on occasion they will compete at other area tracks; tracks such as Tioga Downs, Pocono Downs, Monticello Raceway, Harrah's Philadelphia, and Freehold here they are the featured amateur race on Open Space Day.. At this point, GSY's goal is to support the Meadowlands and provide competitive races for amateurs at the most recognized track in the United States. Members of GSY belong to other clubs as they look forward to racing as much as possible. In addition to GSY, many are members of the Freehold Amateur Driving Club as well as NAADA (which races primarily at Monticello, Yonkers, and Freehold) in addition to being members of the CKG Billings series which races nationwide. The beauty of amateur club racing is it give horse owners and others the opportunity to leave their desk job on a Friday afternoon and head to a track's locker room full of professional drivers, including members of the Hall of Fame and they compete on the same racetrack. As to the question of the ability of amateur drivers, there is a misconception as to their ability since 90% of amateurs hold a full license and are able to compete against professionals in regular races. Glasser pointed out he learned to drive in the 1980's when there were no amateur races, others have followed the same path. Bob Krivlen to name one continues to race against professional drivers with some success, while drivers like Glasser, such as Dein Spriggs, Roy Marohn, Bob Davis, and others who cut their teeth before amateur races were regularly contested raced with regular drivers successfully. One may think professional drivers resent the fact these amateur races are on the race card but you would be wrong as many of the pros are supportive of the amateurs. Just recently GSY and the amateur club at Pompano Park held a Pro-Am at Pompano Park which Dave Miller and Tim Tetrick participated in. A Pro-Am may be held at the Meadowlands in the fall and some pros have already indicated an interest in participating if one is added to the schedule. With amateurs racing weekly, how do they get the horses to race? Some drivers provide their own horses but other horses are provided by trainers. To help pay the expenses for these horses, the purse structure has been modified so every horse earns at least 3% of the purse if they finish out of the money. The club works with the racing secretary in determining the class of horses which should compete in this series and this year they are racing horses which would fill non-winners of $3,500 in their last five starts with $10,000 claimers also eligible to race in the 'B' series while those who are non-winners of $6,000 in their last five starts with $15,000 claimers racing in the 'A' races which is the same class which will compete on the Billings circuit. They primary key is to have competitive races so all the horses have a chance to earn money as this is an expensive 'hobby'. As you know, amateurs don't accept compensation for driving in these races. So where does the GSY driver commissions go to? Back in 2009, David Yarock started a scholarship fund in memory of his father and step-father to give scholarships to students seeking to pursue equine and harness racing studies as well as providing scholarships to those in the harness racing industry and their families seeking to pursue higher education. Since inception, over $150,000 has been distributed in scholarships. In addition to the driver commissions, annual club dues are also contributed to the fund. The club seeks racing opportunities to raise funds; the previously mentioned potential Meadowlands Pro-Am will raise additional funds for scholarships. Further information on the scholarship fund is available here. The club makes no secret of the fact they work in partnership with the Meadowlands. They supply races when the Meadowlands needs them. While the drivers enjoy racing for the sake of racing, they also aim to help the Meadowlands survive. With the slots-infused tracks drawing horses away from the Meadowlands, GSY helps fill races to complete the racing card. When GSY races at other tracks, it is either because they wish to support amateur racing and/or have races they need filled. From the amount of money being wagered, it appears the punters are pleased with the amateur races being carded on the wagering program. Glasser feels in some ways having races with amateur drivers is a plus because "anything can happen". He further feels some of today's gamblers want more random possibilities than the predictable outcomes one sees at many racetracks, citing the popularity of slot machines. The GSY races have growing pools and less predictable outcomes. Make no mistake, while fans don't want amateurs to take over an entire card (something done at Monticello Raceway sometime around 2013), they do like the fact amateur racing adds something to a few races on the wagering card. Of course, racing every week, handicappers have the opportunity to get used to the drivers and their abilities. When asked if GSY races could be added to Saturday night programs, it was made clear they are satisfied with the ability to race on Fridays. Dave Yarock always felt amateur racing could have a significant positive effect for the sport and is thoroughly delighted the betting public has embraced GSY races. With all the negative publicity the sport gets, the industry can be proud of the positive feedback coming out of the amateur driver movement; it is truly a growth area in an otherwise stagnant industry Of course, the appreciation goes two ways. The members of GSY appreciate the gamblers support because their wagering is what allows them to continue to race at the Meadowlands. Asked a hypothetical question if they would consider expanding to racing under saddle should pari-mutuels be approved for the sport, Glasser said it would be interesting to consider but they would have to gauge the interest of track officials and their members to see if there would be any interest in pursuing it. Of course, there are a lot of things which would have to happen before it would be an issue they would need to visit. by Allan Schott, for View From The Grandstand  Check out View From the Racetrack Grandstand.    

Although the sun was shining brightly but the gusting winds kept the temperature in the mid-20's at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon (2-18), still the harness racing surface was in good shape for the two divisions of the trotting series sponsored by the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) . And when the judges posted the winners, Bobby Krivelin and David Yarock each emerged victorious in their respective splits. Krivelin moved to the top of the series leaderboard after he scored a come-from-behind victory with his Current Crisis in a time of 2:00.3. It marked Krivelin's second victory the five currently contested legs. Content to stalk the pace-setter, AJ Destiny driven by Bob Hechkoff, Krivelin followed the leader all the way until the homestretch at which point he moved Current Crisis off the pylons and they rallied to a neck victory. Windsun Galliano finished a neck behind AJ Destiny to garner the show dough for Peter Kleinhans. "He's an honest race horse and we had a good trip," Krivelin related after his victory. "We were getting a good trip so I waited until we straightened for home to challenge Hechkoff and when I pulled Current Crisis I knew he'd go on to win it." It was the 27th career victory for the former Maine colt trotting champion who is now owned by Krivelin's, Hero Stable. Current Crisis paid $6.10 for win. And for Krivelin, who has been competing regularly in amateur races since 1996, it was his 186th driving victory. Dave Yarock won the second division with Nautilus De Vie in a 2:02.3 clocking. Sent off at odds of over 4-1 Yarock sent the 6-year-old altered son of Credit Winner to the lead when the gate sprung and the duo was more than content to cut all the fractions. Despite the betting favorite, Just Like Lloyd (Robert Kenny), falling into the two hole on the first turn Yarock and his charge proceeded undauntedly on the front-end and they had two lengths on Kenny's trotter as the field headed for home. In the lane Just Like Lloyd began to gain on Nautilus De Vie but they ran out of racetrack and had to settle for second money a head behind the winner. Cassa's Image finished third for Bobby Krivelin. "I really thought we were the best before the race and I drove him like he was the best," Yarock said. "And he was,". "Junior (Jimmy Doherty Jr.-the horse's trainer) has worked real hard to make sure he was at the top of his game and he deserves a lot of credit." Owned by his driver, it was the first seasonal triumph for Nautilus De Vie who returned $10.80 for win. For Yarock it marked his 55th amateur driving victory. Now with 28 points Yarock is fourth on the leaderboard which is currently at the halfway point of the three- month series. By John Manzi for NAADA

David Yarock swept the two divisions of the CKG Billings Amateur Trot at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Sunday afternoon. Yarock, along with partners Joel Golub and David Glasser, claimed trotter CSI What's My Name (Tagliabue) a couple weeks back at Saratoga. As an eight-year-old last year, CSI What's My Name finished in a tie for Trotter of the Year at the Spa despite racing almost solely in claimers. Yarock piloted the gutsy trotter to a first-over victory in the Billings Trot on Sunday and stopped the timer in 1:58.1 as they bested front-running Mr Invincible and reinsman Tony Ciuffetelli. Coincidentally, it was Ciuffetelli who owned and trained CSI What's My Name in his award winning 2013 campaign. Yarock's other victory came behind his Nowerland Nathan (Sir Taurus) as they went wire-to-wire at odds of 10-1 in the $5,000 CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series. Nowerland Nathan's third victory of the year came in 2:00.2. Jim Doherty Jr. trains both CSI What's My Name and Nowerland Nathan for Yarock who enjoyed a driving double in the Billings Series. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Monticello, NY --- As the 2013 GSY Summer Pacing Series heads toward the final leg on Wednesday (Sept. 11), the participating horsemen and women are ecstatic over the generous $8,000 purse that Harrah’s Philadelphia has offered the amateur drivers. Considering that the class of horse used for these events, $5,000 claiming pacers, generally races for about half that amount, finding willing contestants was not an issue. “It is a win-win all around -- which bodes well for amateur racing and the harness industry,” exclaimed series founder and organizer David Yarock. Fresh off a pair of driving victories at another one of his successful endeavors, the All-Amateur Day at Monticello Raceway, the financial planner and active amateur driver noted that “the race at Chester (Harrah’s Philadelphia) is very competitive -- five or six horses have a shot at winning. It is our first time at this prominent venue and we want to put on a good show.” Last week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, and this week at Harrah's Philadelphia, the race is sponsored by Winners Circle Blueberries. Former trainer-driver and current Blueberry magnate Bill Augustine dusted-off his colors for the GSY series and makes his second start at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Augustine is not shy about his love of harness racing, stating, “Promoting the sport through amateur racing is a lot of fun and also supports a number of very worthwhile causes.” Wild Bill needs a win at Philadelphia in order to advance into the final. So far this season, this competition for amateur drivers has been hosted by eight different tracks in the northeast. The final of the series will be held Saturday (Sept. 21) at Freehold Raceway as part of the second annual Open Space Pace Day. A total of 17 reinsmen and two reinswomen have driven in at least one leg. Only the top eight point winners earn a berth in the final. The leading point winner in the GSY series is Robert “The Headhunter” Hechkoff. With 51 points, he has been the most consistent driver in the series, never missing a check in any of the seven previous legs and he has been five times 1-2-3. Hechkoff was named this year’s Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame’s amateur driving champion. Tied for second place with 45 points each are drivers Monica Banca and Alan Charles. Banca, whose horse Ruthless Ace was assigned the eight hole for this dash, comes into the race with a .622 UDR. In her first year of driving she has posted seven wins in just 15 starts. A full-time Standardbred trainer, Banca won her last two GSY series starts at Tioga and Pocono. Charles, who raced a stable of horses at Yonkers during the 1990s, joined the amateur ranks a few years ago and is an energy consultant from New York City. When developing this event, series founder David Yarock enlisted the guidance and assistance of two industry leaders to get it off the ground -- Jeff Gural and Jason Settlemoir. With their input and support the GSY Pacing Series has flourished, while also providing funding for a number of very important causes. All monies raised are equally divided among: The Magic Paintbrush Organization, a Southern Tier-based NGO, which provides facilitated workshops for thousands of individuals, infants through geriatric, diagnosed with a developmental disability (e.g. autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, cognitive delay). Edward Weiner and Edward Yarock Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to individuals pursuing higher education related to the harness racing industry, as well as assistance for any individual in the harness racing community, including their children and/or family members, in their pursuit of higher education. Open Space Pace seeks to highlight the relationship between the horse and open space in New Jersey. The annual event will raise funds to support non-profit organizations involved in the equine industry and the preservation of open space. The Open Space Pace will strive to increase awareness, educate the public, and stress the importance of open space in the Garden State. Entries for the GSY Pacing Series eighth and final leg at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Wednesday (Sept. 11) are as follows: Post-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML Odds 1. Charlie Leru, David Yarock, Dolores Basilone, 6-1 2. B B Smash, Matt Zuccarello, Matt Zuccarello, 15-1 3. Donnie Bop, Alan Charles, Marcus Marashian, 4-1 4. Needles And Pins, Mark Schullstrom, Peter Stratton, 10-1 5. In The Mix, Theresa Donnelly, John Berger, 20-1 6. Hickory Louie, William Augustine, Robert Lounsbury, 6-1 7. Danger Sign N, Robert Hechkoff, Brandon Simpson, 9-2 8. Ruthless Ace, Monica Banca, Rick Dane, Jr., 5-2 9. Captain Greg, Peter Kleinhans, Tony Dinges, 8-1 by Chris Tully

On the big day at Freehold Raceway on September 29th when the harness racing 'Open Space' promotion there got over 3000 people involved, Dave 'Steady As' Yarock vaulted to the top of the East Region leaderboard in C.K.G. Billings Amateur Drivers Series when he guided his trotter Guiding Light to a stunning come-from behind victory in a time of 2:01:3.

The C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Championship Series heads into the final quarter of this year's harness racing events with just eight venues left before the Regional Finals which will be contested in early November.

After guiding Kris's Legacy to a 2:01.2 gate to wire victory in their Billings Trot division at Yonkers Raceway on July 27 Dave "Steady As" Yarock vaulted back into the point lead in the series Eastern Region displacing Bob "the Rapid Rail" Krivelin who was idle in Billings harness racing action this weekend.

Ever since the 1980's Monticello Raceway has successfully presented harness racing amateur races but it wasn't until Thursday, May 24th that fastest mile ever was turned in.

The third leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's spring trotting series was contested on Thursday, April 19 at Yonkers Raceway with two short field trots going to post prior to the harness racing betting card getting underway.

It isn't a part of the C.K.G. Billings annual amateur driving series, which has been in existence since the early 1980's but the Billings Trot at Freehold Raceway on Saturday, March 17th was, however, a race for longtime Billings members and sort of a prelude to the actual harness racing competitions that usually start in late April or early May.

Bob Krivelin's trotter made enough points to allow them to start in the $12,000 final of the harness racing North American Amateur Drivers Association's Trotting Series on Thursday, November 10th but Krivelin's Ace High Hall had been entered to race in the Billings Series this coming Monday and he didn't want to race his horse back again so soon.

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.

On Tuesday, September 13 the C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Championship Series moved on to Yonkers Raceway and maybe it was a case of show me the money and I'll come. Perhaps it was the $6000 purses that attracted 16 better class trotters but it has been awhile since two full fields went to post in harness racing's greatest traveling sideshow.

Frank Tingley is a happy man. Once again the C.K.G. Billings Harness Racing Driving Championship Series, the Grand Circuit of Amateur Driving, will make a stop at the Afton (NY) Fair on Thursday afternoon, July 21.

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