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Freehold NJ- Again this week, two divisions of the American Harness Club harness racing series went to post at Freehold Raceway, and when the dust had settled, Tony Verruso and Joe Faraldo each emerged victorious in their respective $9000 splits. Verruso scored a 1:57.1 triumph with Drazzmatazz in his division while Faraldo was placed first in his split with President Zette in 2:00.4. In his event, Verruso floated away from the gate and landed his trotter third along the pylons as Dave Offenberg and Fiji showed the way to the 28 second first quarter. And they were still in command when they passed the half in :56.4. "After the steppy half I moved Drazzmatazz off the pylons as we headed to the three quarters and we charged up alongside the leader and when we headed for home my horse was strong and we rallied to a solid 1:57.1 victory," Verruso said. Although Fiji was second under the wire, he was disqualified and placed last. That placing allowed for Ooh Rah (Todd Whitney) to be moved up to second and Always a Good Time (Joe Faraldo) up for third money. DRAZZMATAZZ REPLAY   Drazzmatazz, an 8-year-old RC Royalty gelding, is owned by Danbry Racing and trained by Vincent Stallworth. Sent off the favorite in the six-horse field, he paid $3.00 for win. Joe Faraldo emerged victorious with 17-1 shot Presidente Zette in the eight-horse second division, but only after the first horse under the wire, Keystone Orion (Tony Beltrami), was disqualified for a racing infraction With Keystone Orion on the engine, Beltrami kept the pedal to the metal and zoomed to an apparent open-lengths victory. But after the start it was determined that Keystone Orion left the course and the judges disqualified him. When the gate folded Faraldo ducked Presidente Zette in sixth along the pylons an then found cover later in the mile as Pound Sterling (Bob Hechkoff) and Keystone Thunder (Matt Zuccarello) duked it out past the three quarters and into the final turn. But, in the lane, Presidente Zette was the strong horse and rallied to victory over Masster Blue (Tony Verruso) and Inukchuk Chuck (Mark Schullstrum). PRESIDENTE ZETTE REPLAY   Presidente Zette, a 7-year-old Muscle Hill stallion, is owned by Cozette McAvoy and trained by Scott Di Domenico. He paid $36.60 for win. For full race results, click here. by John Manzi, for the American Harness Drivers Club

There may never be a good time for a major expose on horse racing, especially with the Kentucky Derby taking place this Saturday. But, nonetheless, the Washington Post today has a major story on the drugging taking place in both harness racing and thoroughbred racing. Here is the beginning of the story. Scott A. Robinson was in the market for revenge. A Lamborghini-driving horseman, he’d gotten rich selling farm animal supplements online. But he claimed he was owed money by a former business partner he’d met at New Jersey’s Meadowlands Racetrack. Then the track’s security chief offered to help, Robinson said, connecting him with a private investigation firm called 5 Stones Intelligence, which was known for its formidable federal connections. Robinson met them and agreed to pay $30,000 for their services, he said, hoping they could help prove his case. Eager for payback, Robinson wasn’t bothered when the investigators’ questions veered from his financial dispute with his partner to doping horses. Nor was he concerned when they brought him to a hotel suite where two FBI agents were waiting, and where the questions again veered toward doping. By around the third time he met with the agents, Robinson said he realized the person under investigation was him. To read the rest of the story, click here. Reprinted with permission from the Washington Post

Freehold, NJ -- On the warm and sunny afternoon of April 3rd harness racing amateur driver Joe Faraldo and Always Good Time rallied and then held off a hard-charging Masster Blue and driver Tony Verruso to win the $,9000 American Harness Drivers Club (AHDC) trot in 1:59.2 at Freehold Raceway Lightly regarded and sent away at odds of over 21-1 Always A Good Time paid $44.60 for win. "Despite the odds I thought we had a good chance to win even though we were the second longest shot in the race ," Faraldo said. "It's a good thing my horse couldn't read the tote board." After the starter released the field one of the favorites Southwind Frost (Bob Hechkoff) went off-stride as did DaBoogie Man (Tony Ciufettteli) but the betting favorite, Ooh Rah (John Calbrese), who started from the seven hole, trotted to the front and led the field by the first stanza in :28.3. Once on top Calabrese kept the pedal to the metal and they showed the way by the half in :58.3 Faraldo was the first to move and once on the limb his trotter chugged forward and they finally ranged alongside the pace-setter at the three quarters as the timer flashed 1:29.1. ALWAYS A GOOD TIME REPLAY   "When we rounded the final turn and headed for home I had a couple of lengths on Verruso," Faraldo said " But that lead began to diminish and when we hit the wire we were noses apart and it was hard to tell who the winner was. But the photo showed that we (Always a Good Time) held on by a nose.." For the driving barrister it was his 153rd career victory. Always A Good Time is owned by the Triple D Stable and trained by Scott Di Domenico. For full race results, click here. by John Manzi, for the American Harness Drivers Club

While it does not alter the SOA’s concerns about horse and driver safety at Yonkers I have now been told that the horse was not euthanized as previously reported to me and indeed may recover from his injury. The horse’s condition is being monitored. Thankfully, the initial assessment was upgraded. The owner rejected euthanizing him and the horse is presently wearing a cast of some sort. While that is some consolation, it only indicates that we thankfully missed a bullet at Yonkers, but these conditions cannot go on and there must be consequences. Joe Faraldo, President SOA of NY

If anyone chooses to buy into The Jockey Club mandates imposed upon harness racing; that seek to shove this Federal bill down our throats based upon what they think is good for us because it's good for them, then I guess we could be satisfied with whatever The Jockey Club comes up with. Further, if one so believes, then one should be counted with those who believe that the USTA has not been negotiating, or not expending a great deal of effort for the best interest of its membership and our industry. You can believe that the hundreds of hours expended by USTA officers, directors, staff, lobbyists and counsel over the last three years has been nonexistent from the debate to negotiation stages on this Federal Bill. Blindly believe as anyone chooses but the reality is that simply is not true. Besides working to achieve recognition for the differences in our breed, bet you didn’t know that the USTA has been actively negotiating with thoroughbred interests even on a state level for recognition in regulations suited to our industry. The USTA has been pro active negotiating for our breed on state and federal levels, which work it has put front and center as its priority to protect the harness racing industry.   Just to give you an idea of what has also been taking place on the state level while we worked for similar goals on the National level. The concept of a National Racing Compact was advanced in a number of states that would have put us under thoroughbred umbrella similar to what the  Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act will also do as a practical matter. That effort was initially and forcefully opposed by harness horsemen’s associations. Then with the aid of the USTA, a compromise was not only suggested, but crafted for the good of the harness industry. The USTA worked and actually drafted a state bill that would have put harness into the National Compact on the same footing as the thoroughbred industry. That would be with the statutory recognition that harness would have a separate state commission-appointed delegate to the Compact. That each breed would have separate delegates and each breed would be recognized for its differences and its unique performance model. The delegates would not be bound by, but would take input on medication rules regulations  from the separate breed representatives and enact regulations suited to each breed as those delegates saw fit. Under the National Racing Compact compromise offered by the USTA, the harness delegation could not force any regulations on the thoroughbreds, or vice versa, unless the other breed’s delegates consented. For example, if a regulation’s withdrawal time and threshold level was scientifically shown to have applicability to each breed, the other breed’s delegates could adopt it. Regulations would not be forced upon a breed that did not fit its own performance model. Unfortunately, while the Compact was deemed to work well for the thoroughbreds, when an offer was made for the same formula for harness separately, negotiations broke off despite all our work. What  the USTA sought in those negotiations was a simple equal and fair agreement on National Racing Compact legislation that would be as fair and acceptable to the harness industry as it was for the thoroughbred industry. Simply, everything was the same in the statute that was applicable to them would be applicable to our industry, but on a parallel line. Naively we thought that this should get a done deal. It seemed fair, after all we race more than they do and our vets treat our horses quite differently often doing multiple joints bilaterally. The USTA’s work was rejected by the thoroughbreds. No reason given. Over many months and before the new version of the “Integrity” Act of 2020 popped up, harness offered that deal on the National Compact in our negotiations. The same kind of effort was put into the Federal Bill but with even greater intensity and work. The thoroughbred representatives refused any negotiation and the USTA received the very same response it was getting to the Compact offer it made. This despite the harness industry’s efforts spearheaded by the USTA over the last three years and 300 hours of meetings to factor fairness for our breed into the Federal bill. The result, the same, No deal. The thoroughbreds, one has to think, will benefit from our payments under the new Federal bill based upon our number of starts as compared to theirs and at a cost to our horsemen of initially $50 per start. Much of our money will be for studying how to prevent thoroughbred breakdowns by improving racing surfaces. Additionally, the cause for removing Lasix is based upon the fiction that the therapeutic medication is the cause of those breakdowns and the further fiction that it masks other medications, when today we can find medications down to the picogram in most horses on Lasix.  Safety and Integrity are nice buzz words… but don’t be fooled, because all the 2020 Act will provide the harness industry is a massive fee assessment towards the cure of someone else’s problems, and a brand new set of regulations that will provide solace for the pet peeves of someone else’s industry, and the potential destruction of ours. The USTA is not so naive to think that once this law is passed, if indeed it might be, that somehow our negotiations will continue and the USTA will succeed in achieving fairness for our members. Make no mistake, once enacted we will pay under this law in many ways. With 1 seat at a table of 27 and you can see the degree of input we will have in effectuating necessary reforms in either the law or its application. For those who think differently, one can only wish you are correct. Our experience teaches us differently. From Joe Faraldo, chairman of USTA District 8A  

Freehold, NJ -- It was bombs away in the American Harness Drivers Club trot at Freehold Raceway ‚Äčon Saturday afternoon (Oct 17) when "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello hustled 47-1 Latoka up the inside to collar "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo and 30-1 Tough Get Going and together the trotters produced a whopping $1,017.40 exacta, one of the biggest in recent memories in amateur racing. And the third place finish by Wygant Prince ,with "Coach Paul" Minore at the controls, produced a near record $3,813.80 trifecta. When the gate sprung Minore sent his veteran trotter to the lead as Faraldo ducked in the two-hole, a place where he stayed until the stretch drive. In the meantime Minore played hardball with Marianna Monaco who had her Awol Hanover challenging for the lead from the six-hole in the :29.2 first quarter. But with Minore's insistence Awol Hanover never was able to drop down along the pylons as the trotters race one-two all the way to the final turn. With Wygant Prince showing the way and Tough Get Going following Faraldo was content with the way the race was breaking for him. "I moved Tough Get Going to the outside and when we rounded the final we had the lead and I thought we were going to win it," Faraldo said."I was eyeing Wygant Prince and I knew we had him beat. " Faraldo was right but his trotter drifted in the deep stretch which permitted Zuccarello and Latoka, who was fifth at the head of the lane, with a clear path to the finish line now that they were down along the pylons. With daylight the veteran 9-year-old Groton Hall gelding kicked it in another gear and collared the leader and went on to a head victory over Tough Get Going in 2:01.1.   For Zuccarello, who doubles as the publicist for the GSY Amateur Series, it was his first seasonal driving victory and the 17th of his career. The winner is owned and trained by Donald Maiorano by John Manzi, for the American Harness Drivers Club    

The Standardbred Owners Association of New York (SOA of NY) has made every effort to insure a continuity of personal aid and racing from the time of the shutdown of racing at Yonkers Raceway, through the resumption of racing in June and after the recent grant of authority to open the Racino. The cost to the SOA of NY to for aid and for supplementation of the purses account to keep racing going while the Racino was closed was in the neighborhood of $1.4 million dollars. With the advent of the reopening of the Racino at Yonkers, on site play on the VLT machines has resumed. That raises the question as to why, if the Casino can operate at 25% capacity, with attendees, does not the onsite simulcasting and on track wagering by fans get the same consideration? The SOA of NY is petitioning for such approval of simulcasting and on track wagering from leading racing Legislators and from the Executive Branch of State Government. We are hereby requesting that MGM Resorts-Yonkers join in that request and that it bring back many of the key personnel necessary to secure the return of onsite wagering. Of course, much of the wagering is on self-serve betting machines, not very dissimilar from the VLTs. MGM Resorts does an admirable job with its Racino protocols, and there seems to be no reason why those efforts cannot be duplicated consistent with MGM's responsibilities as a NYS licensee, holding a racing and simulcasting license along with its Racino license. The additional revenue from on-track wagering certainly would not hurt the purse account or the NYS Agriculture and Horse Breeding Development Fund (NYSS) which has been negatively impacted by the pandemic as has all of racing and agriculture in NYS. We have endured quite a hit that can negatively impact our industry and its economic multiplier effect to NYS. Racing, as you know, has struggled with no racing, lower revenues that fuel the Agricultural industry in NYS, less racing opportunities and no finally fans on site. The SOA Board of Directors continues to strive towards a return to normalcy. Our cooperative efforts with MGM Resorts has now seen the return of live racing next week on a five day per week schedule with still reduced purses and 9 races per card. It is anticipated that we will see that number of races per day slowly increase and the purses themselves begin to slowly crawl their way higher in the near future. Those achievements will only be possible through a careful analysis of the economic trends that we hope -- and are optimistic -- will continue on the rise The SOA of NY Board of Directors' wish to thank our member for the confidence shown in our judgments so far, as well as your support and cooperation in those efforts. From Joe Faraldo fro the SOA of NY

Resorts World Catskills reopened 30 of its 150 table games on Wednesday evening, and it expects to resume regular poker in a few weeks. The harness racing horsemen at Monticello Raceway reached an agreement in principle on Wednesday to amend the contract, which will likely be signed by the end of next week. Tioga Downs Casino Resort reopened with 350 active slots machines. Affter reopening with a 25-percent capacity limit and other restrictions on Wednesday, Resorts World Catskills reopened 30 of its 150 table games, after initially being closed while the casino’s operators sought the New York Gaming Commission’s approval for a table games safety plan. A casino spokesman told Times Herald-Record that the state Gaming Commission has closed roulette and craps games, and there is not yet a reopening date. Regular poker also remains closed, though the spokesman said it will likely begin in a few weeks, and the casino will keep patrons updated so they know an exact date. Casino visitors can now play blackjack, baccarat, three-card poker, Let it Ride, Caribbean Stud, Ultimate Texas Hold ’em, Casino War, Pai Gow with tiles, Pai Gow poker, Crazy 4 poker and Mississippi Stud. To staff the table games and the 700 (of 1,600) slot machines now back online, the casino is bringing back 700 of its 1,400 employees. Workers who test positive for the coronavirus will be required to immediately notify state and local health departments, cooperate with contact tracing efforts, including notifying potential contacts. They'll also have to provide proof to the casino that they sought and received a quarantine order from their local health department. Moreover, the casino’s sister property Monticello Raceway will reopen for harness racing as soon as Monday, said Joe Faraldo, an attorney for the Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association, as reported by Times Herald-Record. He contends Empire Resorts, the casino’s parent, has kept Monticello’s track closed, despite all of New York’s other harness and horse racing tracks being allowed to open since June, as leverage while casino leaders tried to renegotiate the horsemen’s contract. The contract has four years left on it, Faraldo said. Plus, Resorts World Catskills agreed to fund the horse track, split earnings with the horsemen and preserve racing, as a major condition for receiving a state operating license before opening in 2018. But Faraldo said that the horsemen reached an agreement in principle on Wednesday to amend the contract because of how hard the casino has been hit by the pandemic. He said the contract will likely be signed by the end of next week, and then he can disclose its new terms. All of the lost racing days will be made up gradually in the coming years, he indicated. With files from the Times-Herald Record

Sandra Kaufman, Chairman of the SOA of New York John R. Brennan/MGM Yonkers Scholarship Committee, has announced that Jessica Hallett is the winner of the 2020-2021 Scholarship Award in the amount of $5,000. The second place award of $3,000 went to Ronald Huff and Dean Blumenfeld picked up the third place scholarship award of $2,000.   Joe Faraldo, President of the SOA of NY commented that this year’s award winners are the recipients of a scholarship named after a longtime good friend, horse trainer and SOA field rep John R Brennan. We lost John to the Covid-19 virus and our hearts.  Jessica Hallett is currently enrolled at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She is pursuing a double major in behavioral neuroscience and biology with a minor in forensic sciences. Jessica enjoys working in the barn with her parents’ horses and is a member of the NSU Equestrian Team. Jessica’s father John owns several horses racing in New York, Pennsylvania and Florida.    Ronald Huff is currently enrolled at Webber International University pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice Management.    Ronald’s father Jake trains horses in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida.      Dean Blumenfeld is currently enrolled at Arizona State University pursuing a PhD in Anthropology.  Dean’s father Paul trains horses in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.    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. The applicants were judged first by an independent third party to produce the top five candidates.  Then the Committee selected the top three winners from the five finalists.   Personal information from all the candidates was redacted when presented to the independent party and the Committee to assure a blind judging process. Joe Faraldo  

Yonkers, NY - Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts (“Empire City”) and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York (“SOA”), the organization representing horsemen at Yonkers Raceway, announced an agreement to extend racing at the historic harness track through Saturday, September 12th. This will allow for the New York Night of Champions to proceed as scheduled on September 12th, which will showcase the best trotters and pacers bred in New York State “In partnership with the SOA, we are excited to be able to continue harness racing operations despite the continued closure and loss of revenue from our casino operation,” said Ed Domingo, senior vice president of Empire City. “This agreement further demonstrates our commitment to the sport and to the men and women employed by the horse racing industry.” Racing prize purses are funded primarily through gross gaming revenue generated by Empire City Casino and casino operations remain suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With limited funds available in the prize pool and no continued funding stream due to the casino closure, racing operations were expected to cease in August. However, MGM Resorts has agreed to continue racing operations and the SOA will contribute $1.2 million to purses from their reserve fund to allow the sport to continue operating through September 12th. “We recognize the hardships our horsemen have suffered during the pandemic,” said Joe Faraldo, president of the SOA. “We have chosen to take $1.2 million from our treasury in order to supplement the purse account and allow us to continue racing until the NYSS Night of Champions September 12th.” While the agreement allows for the preservation of the New York Sire Stakes races, several other stakes races scheduled for later in the year will be eliminated because of the limited purse funds. Those cancellations include the Yonkers Trot and Messenger Stakes. The racing schedule at Yonkers Raceway was interrupted earlier in the season with a temporary closure of the track due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Live racing operations resumed June 22nd with extensive health and safety protocols in place. Pursuant to state and health guidelines, spectators are not permitted at Yonkers Raceway but races are simulcast and available for viewing and wagering online at As always, the health and safety of our customers and employees remains our top priority. For more information on the race schedule, please visit From Yonkers Raceway

The following letter was received at Harnesslink from Joseph Faraldo and it pertains to a letter in Harness Racing Update over the weekend from Danielle Henri, the mother of Rene and Simon Allard. If Rene Allard’s mom owned her own  horses for years she should be allowed to race her horses if her only involvement in any of the allegations against Rene, is her being Rene’s mom. A  similar argument could be made for Simon Allard ie., that guilt, by association is similarly wrong. As far as the new trainers they are free to choose who they train for and guilt by association should not be the standard by which the industry further tarnishes otherwise  innocent trainers who are not acting as beards.  The presumption that relatives are as  guilty as those charged, whose guilt is not yet proven,   is a favorite pastime of our industry and is why the industry suffers in the eyes of the outside world , because it comes from inside.  The justice system is competent in ferreting out the guilty from the innocent and those who are guilty should and must be penalized. Those who are complicit with anyone directly involved in breaking regulations whether they rise to the level of crimes or not,  including other trainers, beards, grooms and even owners, should  be punished. Penalizing any of the owners, trainers or a myriad of others who would aid criminal activity should have some modicum of proof, not be applied by mere association. As far as Yonkers, the HRU headline was disgraceful in and of itself but endemic of the mob mentality that is prevalent in this business. Yonkers rightfully accepted her  entry and that was appropriate until the firestorm created by Harness Racing Update article. At that point  Yonkers then succumbed to the mob mentality giving the impression that  the entry was accepted incorrectly and then decided to follow up by sacrificing up this owner to satiate the presumably false narrative that was promulgated by HRU.  It was interesting to hear a  new version  for the Yonkers action and that  was that Rene’s mom made a lot of money  from the prior relationship with her son . One has to wonder if all the owners, some of the biggest to the smallest in the game, should be barred by some or all the tracks in the country or at their own tracks who used any specific  trainer or driver who subsequently violates any rule. The question is which trainer with a valid license may be the next to get get accused of some wrongdoing or trouble. Some very good owners have quit the business because some tracks have taken this just a bit too far, Yonkers included. You can’t make this up.  Think of the hypocrisy inherent in this mob mentality. So many others who have  horses with those indicted or  those charged in an information, are allowed to still race their  horses even though they may have indirectly profited from trainer activities which are alleged to be criminal in nature  but whose activities were  unknown to them. Where is the outcry for similar punishment  to that meted out to  this one owner and driver or is that too  logical for the industry to ask? Or is it simply that the industry does not wish to apply the same rationale to others it gives a pass too.? It is because  all of this, that this current industry sanctioned  approach is wrong and hypocritical for so many reasons. Many presumed guilty  owners have sold their horses because they are now wearing their “scarlet letter” and have quit the game altogether.  Every, let it be repeated that every  successful trainer starting in my memory with George “Buddy” Regan, is suspect of wrongdoing by this wrongheaded mentality. George  was so disheartened he basically quit the game. Lets  acknowledge then that every successful trainer and all their owners in our game are  guilty regardless of the necessity of proof. We all know better than to need proof and we can all just keep demeaning the game instead of better policing it. When speculation becomes the substitute for proof and rumor mongering and innuendo become the basis for action, driven manly from within the game, the game is shooting itself in the foot. The failure to make more serious efforts to regulate the sport by those vested with such responsibility has in part led us to this precipice.   Hopefully, an independent, repeat independent  and hard working organization like Dr Jablonsky has  recommended and USTA president Russell Williams and the Executive Committee has embraced will do its work successfully and the industry will enjoy a reawakening. From Joseph Faraldo

It is estimated that after a conference call at noon today with the NYS Gaming Commission officials , reps of Yonkers MGM and the SOA of NY, a new plan of operation will be presented to the NYSGC  by Yonkers MGM  and agreed to by the SOA of NY. That new plan will omit the previous mandatory sole requirement for a positive antibody  test as a requirement to participation at Yonkers. The new plan is being submitted today to the NYS Gaming Commission. Much work on this revison has been  done by the SOA of NY and many of its directors, our legal counsel and many of our members. The SOA first VP Peter Venaglia, director Chris wittstruck, Ray Schnittker and Jordan Stratton devoted much time and attention to restoring, as close to near normalcy, our road back, in lock step with the other operating tracks. Additional recognition must be given to Mark Ford, Mark Krouse, Linda Toscano and Cory Stratton for thier aid  and willingness to lend  unselfish support to the SOA’s efforts on your behalf. Lastly the concerns of Assembly Racing Committee Chair Gray Pretlow and his Senate counterpart Joseph Addabbo, aided our efforts on behalf of all horsemen. It is deeply appreciated. Specific recognition must be given to the NYSGC for its leadership in solving this problem. The first two weeks of rcaing shall see 3 days of racing with 4 days for the next  two weeks folowed by a 5 day a week schedule from then on depending on the sustainability of the underpaid purse account. Horesemen will be required to present fever free, respond to a questionnaire re corona virus and observe social  distancing,scrutinized by the track and under increased monitoring by  the SOA of NY. Please cooperate and don’t let the progress made by all those noted above be wasted because you think the social distancing is not  important.  It must be observed so we don’t slip back into more restrictive requirements. Thank you for your patience in this struggle and please cooperate with all requirements. Joe Faraldo

The SOA of NY is working very hard to get resolved  the “positive antibody “ requirement which is not imposed on other NYS harness racing tracks. We have done much research on the CDC guidelines that state that a positive antibody test, itself of questionable validity, is not to be used to prevent a person from returning to the workplace. With the Governor’s allowance of racing to continue on June 1, NYS licensees are being denied thier right to work. We have engaged many many friends, as well as professionals, for some time to help us effectuate a sensible change like that okayed , at all other NYS tracks. Finally, I attended the qualifiers and my observation from the post draw sheets indicated that only 49 % of those intending to qualify at Yonkers were able to use the rights inherent in their licenses and qualify either because the trainers or their employees did not have the necessary positive antibodies to gain access to the paddock. This shows the devastating effect this positive antibody requirement is currently having on Yonkers’ ability to conduct racing  and that will be more and more evident as the PA. tracks open soon. Our work continues to gain concensus as soon a possible with Yonkers MGM Inc and the NYS Gaming  Commission. We will keep you posted. from Joe Faraldo, SOA President

The SOA of NY has learned that Yonkers intends to hold qualifiers on Monday June 15th and Tuesday 16th with live harness racing tentatively set for the following Monday, 22nd, Tuesday 23rd and Thursday 25th as we take small steps back to normalcy. At the moment racing will be conducted 3 days per week and at reduced purses those days of the week are currently set for Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.. We hope that as alternative Gaming gets back in operation asap so decisions can be made to expand race days down the road and we can gradually return to business as we once knew it. Lastly, we are endeavoring to find out how best to comply with the Gaming Commission and other state agency protocols. Joe Faraldo

With the vast open paddock space at harness racing's Goshen Historic Track, I reiterate that it would be doable to have qualifiers there and insure that all social distancing mandates, wisely put in place, are observed.   Goshen will not permit spectators, only one groom, perhaps a limited number of trainers will be present and certainly a very limited number of drivers will be on hand.   Goshen being a betting free Fair Track, any racing activity there is under the jurisdiction of the USTA.   In the past whatever charted lines were prepared were incorporated into the USTA data base and then used as part of the official breed registry records.   Records which are  relied upon for years as both accurate and reliable when inserted into official racing programs at pari-mutuel track in all of North America.   Even  assuming  there may be a waiver of the existing 30 day qualifying rule, some horsemen still want and need to tighten up their horses and further educate their babies. We understand that the coronavirus has changed everyone’s mindset as to what is or is not doable but we are confident that we can achieve and insure a safe environment and serve the future needs of racing. I hope we can get some further guidance and your approval to go forward.   I have spoken with the Goshen Historic Track and they will do anything to help harness racing and I know the Gaming Commission feels the same way. Joe Faraldo, President SOA of NY

In an effort to aid those whose invaluable service is given to this country, Paul Martinez and the Robbie Siegelman Stable are piloting a transition program for active and recently retired veterans that centers around driving and other equine opportunities in harness racing.  SSG(ret) Paul Martinez is a former Army Ranger Sniper who  advocates for veteran’s in transition through various organizations such as Mentors For Military Podcast and Equine ImmersionProgram ( Paul, accompanied by Jordan  Puccio, US Army, and Elizabeth Quinones, US Marines,  toured the Yonkers Raceway oval thanks to the efforts kindness of trainers Robbie  Siegelman and Dennis Laterza, aided by SOA director Peter Younger. Robbie, whose  efforts on behalf of our military personnel has not waned one bit, continues the work in helping our dedicated service men, aided by Yonkers Raceway.  “There are many benefits in equine programs such as this” said Siegelman, “and we can all do a part to help.” One  big benefit  as Winston Churchill once said, “ because there is something about the outside of a horse,  that is good for the inside of a man”.  Hats off to all who helped and hopefully more can be done in the future. by Joseph Faraldo, for the SOA of NY

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