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Monticello, NY--The final leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's fourth trotting series of the season went to post at Monticello Raceway on Thursday (Nov. 15) and to the pleasant surprise of those who purchased win tickets on Tough Get Going were rewarded when Joe Faraldo sent the veteran trotter to the lead when the wings of the mobile gate folded and then made every pole a winning one en route to a 2:01.1 victory. And each lucky ticket holder received $47.00 for each two-dollar wager. "The crowd didn't have much faith in my horse's ability in here today but I felt fairly confident that he had good chance to win if things broke our way in the race," Faraldo said as he handed the reins to the caretaker upon returning to the paddock. Tough Get Going has had some trouble behind the starting gate on occasions but today wasn't one of those days. When the starter said "go" Faraldo sent his trotter to the lead and was challenged on the outside by Makin Trouble K and driver Joe Lee, Faraldo played hardball and wanted the front-end so he opened up a hole behind him and Lee took back and found room along the pylons as they passed the first stanza in a soft :29.2. With the field lined-up behind Tough Get Going the venerable trotter led them by the halfway point in 1:01.2 where Jennifer Lappe decided to move the 2 to 5 betting favorite, Winning Princess, out to challenge and they ranged up alongside the leader. "When we passed the half my horse was strong and I felt pretty confident that we had a good chance to win it,"Faraldo related. "And when Jennifer couldn't clear I felt even better." Although Tough Get Going and Winning Princess raced side-by-side as they passed the three quarters in 1:31:1 the former got first call. On the final turn Faraldo's charge had opened a length lead and despite a strong drive by Lappe her trotter hung and Tough Get Going emerged a one-length winner in a 2:01.1 clocking. Four lengths in the rears, in third place went to Makin Trouble K. Tough Get Going is owned by Joe Faraldo and Richie Banca and trained by Banca. The 5-yr-old altered son of Kadabra won for the fourth time this year and raised his seasonal bankroll to nearly $39,000. For Faraldo, a former Amateur Driver of the Year(2000), it was his 145th career win in the USA. by John Manzi, for NAADA

Monticello, NY--To say that the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) is having a busy year would be a gross understatement. Besides three local 10-race series--the third underway now- the members have hosted three European organizations; one from Spain, another from Hungary and a third from Italy; and now beginning October 8 and continuing thru October 14 they will host their counterparts from France. And just a month ago NAADA members traveled to Palma de Mallorca to compete against the Spainards on their home turf. According to NAADA president Joe Faraldo, one of two Americans who has won a race in France, his members will have to be at the top of their game when the French come to town. "We raced against them here four years ago and we came out on the short end. They're confident in their driving ability and they drive like professionals so we can probably expect another beating." There will be a Competition at Yonkers Raceway on Tuesday, October 9 followed by one at Monticello Raceway on Wednesday, Oct. 10. On Friday, Oct 12th there will be a race--maybe two--at the Meadowlands Drivers for the French team include Jerome Maillard, Ms Sandrine Oyer, Sebastien Campain and Jean Marc Freyssenge. NAADA will field different members at all three venues. "We may win or we may lose but the results are not that important. The camaraderie shared is what is," Faraldo added. "However, either way, everyone will enjoy good food, good wine and a good time." The following is the tentative itinerary: USA/FRANCE Friendship Competition October 8th - October 14th Monday - October 8th 2018... Pick up at JFK airport. Transport to The Bentley Hotel 500 E 62nd St, New York, NY 10065 Dinner at Sel et Poivre 853 Lexington Ave 10065 Tuesday - October 9th. Free in the Morning. Pick up at 2:30 PM to get licensed Race at Yonkers Raceway. Dinner in Little Italy of the Bronx Ristorante Zero Otto Nove . Transport back to hotel. Wednesday - October 10th - Pick up at 10:30 AM.. Drive to Monticello Raceway Race at Monticello. Visit Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY en route to Dinner at the River Palm Steakhouse , Mahwah NJ. Transport to Hotel. Thursday - October 11th Pick up at 10 AM.. Professional New York City tour. Tour guide will drop off at Pepolinos about 6:30 PM for dinner 281 W Broadway, New York City Friday - October 12th Morning free. Pick up at 2:00 PM. Drive to Meadowlands for a race or two. Dinner at Il Villagio Saturday--October 13th International Trot and dinner at Yonkers Raceway Sunday - October 14th Don Peppes for dinner then drive to the airport by John Manzi, for NAADA

Manaor, Majorca--The Spain v NAADA Competition ended on September 9 on the 3/8ths mile track in Manacor with the Spanish team racing one-two with Faraldo in the pocket all the way until the wire. The Spanish prevailed finishing first and second with the visitors' Alan Schwartz, third, Joe Lee, fourth, Joe Faraldo, fifth and Paul Minore trailed the field The distance was 2,350 meters or 3 1/2 times around the well banked oval which sports a iron pipe crafted running horse rail. ("There is no way you wanna touch that thing", Faraldo remarked). The sand based track provided a really good surface for the all-French trotting horse field. Once again NAADA ended-up on the short end. The final points: Spain 86, USA 67. During the afternoon the Americans had a tour of the largest Cathedral in Europe and a special delightful lunch of Majorcan cuisine at Celler Sa Premsa in Palma. The evening highlight was the performance of the 6-8 year old children in their colors driving a variety of ponies without a starting gate, with the best ponies handicapped by meters. Afterwards there was festive dinner in a setting of about 400 in attendance, mostly to support the children, "and not the American amateur drivers", Faraldo added. by Joe Faraldo with John Manzi, for NAADA

Four members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association have traveled to Palma de Majorca as guests of the Spanish Amateur Organization and will compete in a Friendship Competition this week. The following is an account of the first days events on September 5 by NAADA president and participant, Joe Faraldo. "The warmest day of the year with races at the unusual distance ( for us) of 2150 meters at the beautiful facility called, San Pardo, began the first installment of NAADA v Spain Friendship Competition. "Despite the beauty of this 1,000 meter oval, the day was about to get even hotter for the Americans. "The first of the two events saw the Americans outnumbered in the heavily weighted 12 horse field, eight Spanish amateurs vs four Americans and the points there killed us ( perhaps we should have applied a curve). The Spanish finished 1-3 with (NAADA's) Alan Schwartz, Paul Minore and Joe Lee following them, 4-6. I (Faraldo) finished last but not disqualified as were two Spaniards. "Event #2, a seven horse race at the same distance, saw me cut the fractions with Schwartz parked for his life and Minore enjoying the two hole trip. As the field turned for home Paul Minore tipped his French horse Cocktail Broniais out and "jiggy jogged" home. Following dutifully were two Spaniards, then Schwartz, Faraldo and Lee. With their being only seven in that second heat the points shook out as follows:Spain 67,USA 48, which precipitated a question; where is that curve when you really need it. "After the races 24 people were hosted to a fabulous lunch at a great restaurant called Nimos in the heart of the thriving Palma de Majorca. The Spanish Federation's head honcho, the affable Juan, had a feast set out for us with Majorcan bread, Spanish burrata, pulpo, chorizo and then the grand dame of all Paella. Juan then provided diet killing deserts and we were carried away. off to the FINCA. A Finca is like an Italian Agro Turismo, basically a farmhouse with horses , other livestock and fresh vegetables that somehow get to our table. "A host of other goodies show up at the Finca via Juan Bassa, the owner and sire of the great Spanish amateur Jaume Bassa. Minore is serving as our champion as of today and he bought the champagne and ten bottles of wine. Everyone is poolside right now pushing a few back. "There will be one race left in Monacor on the 3/8s mile oval on Saturday night. Because of Paul's generosity we are kinda rooting for him but with us leaving early the next morning with no time for him to shop, we just figure we will." by Joe Faraldo & John Manzi, for NAADA

Who said that amateur racing isn't fun? Certainly not members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association. After hosting three different European amateur organizations on American soil already this year four NAADA members; Joe Faraldo, Alan Schwartz,Paul Minore and Joe Lee, and their guests; will soon be winging their way to Palma De Mallorca for an international Friendship Competition with the Spanish amateurs. "Though some may be going earlier than others we are all meeting in Palma on the 4th September and racing will be on September 5th, in the morning, and on the 8th in the evening," noted NAADA Event Coordinator, Alicia (Mrs Alan) Schwartz. According the NAADA president Joe Faraldo,"We have had competitions, almost yearly, with the Spanish amateurs. We hosted them last year in the States and we came out on the short end in the competition. But winning or losing is incidental, what is important is the friendship and comraderie shared during the competitions." Tentative itinerary: Arrive in Mallorca on September 4th. Drive to the Finca for accommodations.-Relax and dinner at Italian Restaurant September 5th; -Races in the morning,-Lunch at the racetrack then back to Finca for a barbeque. September 6th ; Visit the Rafa Nadal Museum-Paella by Xisco and after party with Gin tonics--then back to Finca. September 7th; -Visit Ca'n Axartell Vineyards with wine tastings and tapas. Then visit the Pearls in Porto Cristo followed by dinner in Restaurant Sa Fonda September 8th-- Boat Trip with tapas and cocktails during the day and at night races in Manacor followed by dinner with the horse owners September 9th - NAADA members leave Mallorca; except for Joe Lee who will be staying on a bit longer to enjoy the scenery.. by John Manzi, for NAADA    

Yonkers, NY--"Smokin' Joe" Faraldo is a happy man. And why shouldn't he be? After all, the Queens, NY attorney just won the $15,000 CKG Billings Eastern Region Mid-Season Final tonight (July 28)at Yonkers Raceway when he guided Tough Get Going to a gate-to-wire triumph in a 1:58.4 clocking. "A win tonight and a catch drive on Thursday at Monticello (Raceway) where I finished second, heck, things are really looking up," chuckled the Queens, NY attorney who has been a premier supporter of amateur racing since its resurgence in the early 1980's. Faraldo, a Billings member from its inception and founder of the North American Amateur Drivers Association, is getting to show that he really knows his way around the racetrack. It's true, he was the National Amateur Driver of the Year in 2000 and a winner of 144 pari-mutuel races (2 this year in Europe, also), but the move he put on Wygant Prince's and "Coach Paul" Minore tonight which kept them locked-in until mid-stretch was almost professional and saved the victory for Tough Get Going. "We were on the engine all the way and Paul had Wygant Prnce on my back from the start," Faraldo said. "When we rounded the final turn Annie ("Get Your Gun"Stoebe--with Uriel) was on the outside and I kept backing into her trying to keep Paul's horse from seeing daylight. But finally, in mid-stretch, Wygant Prince shook loose and came charging but my horse hung tough and we won it by neck." Winwood Scout garnered the show dough for David "Poppa" Glasser in the non-wagering contest Faraldo co-owns the Tough Get Going with the horse's trainer, Richie Banca. Meanwhile, later in the evening at Northfield Park in Ohio, a 9-horse field in the mid-west region of the Billings Series went to post and when the judges hung the official sign the odds-on favorite Utopia and driver Steve Oldford rallied late to overtake the pacesetter, Winback Charles M ("Lawbook Larry" Farley) and go on to a 1-1/2 length victory in a 1:57 clocking. In that contest Farley sent Winback Chales M to the lead from the pole position and they rumbled by the first quarter in 28 seconds flat and were still two lengths to the good as they passed the halfway point in :57.2. At that point Oldford got Utopia in high gear and with a three-deep move up the backside they were two lengths off Winback Charles M as the field passed the third stanza in 1:27.2. As they rounded the final turn Farley's trotter braced for Oldford's charge but Utopia was too much to contend with and he went on to victory. Winback Charkes M held on for second money while Michelle"the Belle" Ruvola finished third with Better Call Saul. Unlike the Yonkers Billings the Northfield Park Billings was a wagering affair and Utopia paid $2.60 for win. The 7-year-old Mutineer gelding is owned by Oldford Racing LLC and trained by Terry Deters. For Oldford it was his 5th seasonal driving victory and 135th of his amateur career. by John Manzi, for the CKG Billings Series    

The Standardbred Owners Association of New York ("SOA") and Yonkers Racing Corporation have entered into an amendment of their current horsemen's agreement. The terms and conditions governing harness racing at Yonkers Raceway was just extended beyond the current expiration date of May, 2019 to May, 2021. The July 10th, 2018 agreement entitled the "First Amendment" will maintain the same number of annual race dates, as well as the current revenue stream for purses. Joseph Faraldo, President of the SOA of NY said, "The SOA Board of Directors has approved the negotiation of the terms and the execution of this First Amendment. I am pleased that this process was seamless and entered into with the knowledge and consent of the Raceway's new owners, MGM Resorts International, as the same portends a good working relationship with our new partners. Hopefully, this amendment will be followed by others in numerical sequence." Faraldo also noted that in April of this year MGM Growth Properties acquired the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park outside of Cleveland, Ohio and indicated, "We may now be referring to Northfield Park as our 'sister track' and vice versa. Coordinating post times may add some benefits to both tracks, with the racing fans the prime beneficiaries. In sum, despite the initial apprehensions expressed in some quarters, world class harness racing at the Hilltop Oval appears to have a very bright and elongated future." by Chris Wittstruck, for the SOA of NY  

Goshen, NY--On the sweltering Saturday afternoon of June 30th in Trot-Town USA with the temperature hovering in the mid-90's two Billings divisions went to post over Goshen's Historic Track and when they were declared official Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford and "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo each emerged victorious in their respective divisions. Oldford winning with Starsaboveallerage in 1:58 while Faraldo scored behind Tough Get Going in 2:00 flat. And although each contest had short fields action was intensified when each winner scored a tight nose decision. In Oldford's contest he sent his trotter to the lead from the two-hole and they carved out fractions of :29.2; :59 and 1:28.2 with "Joltin' Joe" Pennacchio and Cheeky Little Minx shadowing the leader's every move. However, when Starsaboveallerage rounded the final turn and headed for home he was quickly joined by Cheeky Little Minx and the two trotters raced for the wire head-to-head and nose to nose and when the photo was deciphered Oldford's trotter was a nose better that Pennacchio's. "My horse went a game race and he hung tough when we were challenged by Joe's horse( Cheeky Little Miss) in the deep stretch. And we were so close at the wire I wasn't sure who won it,"Oldford said and the added "I was happy to hear the announcer call my horse the winner." Third place some 4-1/2 lengths behind the top two was Connie Keeper, driven by Scott "the driving doctor" Woogen. Oldford Racing owns the winner who is trained by Allen Sisco. In his division, Faraldo gunned Tough Get Going to the lead when the wings of the mobile gate folded but yielded command to Winwood Scout and driver David "Poppa" Glasser before the quarter which was clocked in :28.2. "I really had no other choice but to grab leather and let Glasser take command or else he would have run me down," Faraldo said. "We got over to the half in :59 seconds and I was still comfortable when we passed we three quarters and I sat in until we rounded the final turn at which point I moved to challenge and we cleared Glasser and braced for a challenge from (Matt) Zuccarello (with Gianni) Like the previous Billings event it was a two-horse charge to the wire and so close a photo was needed to declare a winner. Gianni was a nose back at the wire and Winwood Scout faded and finished third. Faraldo co-owns the winner with trainer Richie Banca. And for "Joltin' Joe" it was his first winner on American soil this year after having had two victories in France earlier this season. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

The inception of the idea of importing some French horses, cast in a comment to me made by Alex Dadoyan the executive director at SOA of NY over 18 months ago, became an odyssey that he and I initially never thought might ever become reality.  Originally cast as just something we would try to implement in November of 2017, we concluded that this project might fail because the finances to complete it might be too lean after the fall yearling sales and we were just too busy working on showcasing the "Day of Champions and the International Trot. Besides, all the the details had not really been thought through.More time was needed and with the break at Yonkers coming over some 10 days in May and June we thought it best to try to have the details in place by then. Alex and I decided to acquire 24 head- if possible - from France. A few questions like price; what would we ask interested parties to do; how could we make it fair to all; and how could we do our due diligence in the selection of these horses and gain the trust, of the 24 potential new owners of horses they had never seen? My first thought was to get someone like my friend Mike La Chance to come on board to help us select the horses. Then Ray Schnittker signed up and when Ron Burke was brought on board by Alex, all the expertise one could hope for was settled. Thinking that we need commitments from people, a non refundable payment was decided upon to test the real intent of the potential new buyers. That filled up quickly once it was decided that these horses would be written into a series of races just among themselves so as to avoid their being thrown in with horses taught more speed over shorter distances and harder tracks. They might never initially have had a shot. So off to management to get an agreement on the series, the number of legs and the purses. Both Bob Galterio and Steve Starr, thought that legs of $30,000 each and a $100,000 final and longer distances was the way to go. Next the details with the French Le Trot had to be worked out to get horses that were currently racing who were geldings and would only require a 24 hour quarantine, had to be found for a price of $25,000 saving an additional $3,000 for that matching cost for the shipping put up by the SOA of NY. The SOA board approved the project that has a substantial cost but provided everyone, and anyone, the opportunity to participate. The ARK at JFK -where these horses will be shipped to-is a $62,000,000 state of the art brand new facility unparalleled in the world today. That quarantine cost is being absorbed by the SOA of NY and besides saving the new owners money, more importantly it saves these horses from further shipping to Newburg, NY after traveling from France to their point of departure in Belgium . While the Le Trot or Cheval Francais as it is also referred to, had an original list of 132 horses meeting our general criteria that had to be whittled down to 60 or so head. That number, we assumed, would all be shipped for our convenience to the great training center owned by Le Trot outside of Paris known as Grosbois. Later we learned that our volunteer team of experts would travel the country by road, rail and air to get to see 12 here, 8 there, in either Paris, Nice, Normandy, Laval or Bordeaux.... France is bigger than we knew. The team of Burke, La Chance and Schnittker proved to us that not only is the harness horse breed very tough and durable but our trainers are even tougher. The schedule was very, very tight and saw unanticipated bumps in the road like a plane cancellation and a train strike that popped up 1 hour before departure. The audibles that had to be called by our French counterparts and guardians Damine and Emmanuelle came with the expected look of desperation but always an improvised last minute solution. It was always apparent to me that this was strictly a working trip but I never anticipated that our team would be subjected to this kind of a work load. Our guys nevertheless went about their business and trained all 60 or so head without a complaint. Comments like, "Oh, he's real good; too slow; may have a breathing problem; is unsound; hits his knee; interferes behind; I like him a lot; we are taking this one; I hope I get that one" was precisely the best we could hope for from this team of pros. We had vets at every place to pull bloods, scope and x-ray every horse if that was the call. In Bordeaux, Burke drew some of that racing juice out of La Chance as they had a match race while egging each other on. While there is never a guarantee how one will turn out, at least they did their best, worked like you would not believe, had a little fun and were happy to do it for the project. As Ronnie Burke commented he was intrigued with " the novel idea and felt it was creating some excitement in the game". The journeys end will be at Grosbois where all the horses selected in the draw will be beginning to arrive on Monday and will be taken care of by Le Trot, insured by them and the SOA until their arrival at the ARK at JFK . There, additional insurance will be at the option of the new buyers. While at this beautiful facility they will be under the exclusive care of the USDA until the bloods come back from the US government lab, disease free. The new owner will have to arrange shipping, either with their own individual trailers or can ask Global Horse Transport who will supervise all importing details and requirements once they are landed, or whoever is chosen, to ship them to their new homes at the new owners expense. The SOA 's financial obligation to the ARK will end at the conclusion of the time the blood results come back and any longer stay, for a spiked fever, or the failure to pick up the horse the minute the release is approved will fall on the new owner. by Joe Faraldo and John Manzi

Latham, NY- With the pending sale of the Empire City Casino and Racetrack the Harness Horse Breeders of NY expect the New York State breeding and racing program to continue to flourish. The sale of Yonkers Racetrack and Empire City Casino was inevitable but the long term commitment made by New York State to support agriculture is well documented. Regardless of any changes of ownership at Yonkers Racetrack and Empire City Casino we are confident that the economic impact made by the Standardbred industry will continue to be protected and supported. Without racing the VLT's would not exist at Empire City. The Breeder's are further aware that the current full scale casinos in upstate New York are not performing at expected levels. Any rush to add another casino is not expected with the current saturation level. The Breeder's believe the VLTs and racing are a lucrative business model at Empire City and expect that will not change for some time. Now is actually a great time to take advantage of the NY breeding and racing program. The current number of 739 yearlings eligible to race in 2019 is the smallest in 15 years. With purses at an estimated $14 million the opportunities to make money could not be better. If you further consider the $1 million in funding for residency Breeders ' awards with the fact that there is a smaller pool of resident eligible horses, breeders awards could easily reach twenty five percent of earnings. The following statements were (taken in part) from an article in Harness Racing Update on June 1st, 2018. The Harness Horse Breeders fully support the comments and strongly recommend the breeding, racing and buying of NY eligible horses. From Harness Racing Update (full article can be read here): Joe Faraldo, the president of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York (SOANY), said there is no reason, yet, to be concerned about racing's future at Yonkers Raceway in the wake of Tuesday's announcement that the Rooney family has reached a deal to sell the Westchester, NY track and its Empire City Casino to MGM Resorts International for $850 million. Reached in France, where he is part of the team scouting French trotters to purchase and bring back to the United States. Faraldo said "the horse people have a contract with Yonkers that provides for more than 230 days of racing annually through 2019." The Harness Horse Breeders expect, as Faraldo stated, "that will continue past its 2019 expiration date, as will the purse enhancement from the VLTs. Racing and VLTs are married in (New York State) legislation for the benefit of the operator as well as the agriculture and racing industry's tens of thousands of jobs." Faraldo added that "MGM Grand may even help grow purses thanks to its expertise in the casino business. Slots contribute, by far, the vast amount of the revenue stream for every casino operator and MGM Grand is one of the best operators I know of," Faraldo said, indicating a growth in slot/VLT revenue would deliver more money to purses. There certainly may be changes but until we sit down with the new people for future terms and conditions governing the conduct of racing, there is no need to engage in wild speculation or make further comments at this time. Faraldo said. "Suffice it to say that the SOA of NY's long standing position regarding the protection of racing and agriculture is well known. We look forward to working with the new management after the official approval is given by the NYS Gaming Commission." From the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State  

It has long been a belief by many in the harness racing business that “the horsemen are the guardians of the sport,” and there is no doubt that we have a direct and abiding interest in making sure this game survives. And while we have long known that some entities and individuals who have benefitted from harness racing would rather see us and our game disappear, rarely is this unfortunate and ugly truth detailed as blatantly as it was in Harness Racing Update on March 18th.  In an article discussing the future of marketing harness racing and the relationship between racino/casino owners and racing, Jeff Gural was quoted on the record as admitting that “the tracks – including me, if I’m just wearing my ‘track hat’ – all want harness racing to disappear as quickly as possible” and “so they are going to do whatever they can do to make that happen.” While Mr. Gural’s conclusion may not be a surprise to astute watchers of the game, the cavalier manner in which he so easily dismisses an agriculture/harness industry that employs tens of thousands of New Yorkers is stunning and should be required reading for every regulator and legislator who has heard our horsemen’s and breeder’s concerns in recent years.  Sadly, it seems the owners have forgotten that their entire VLT model was made possible by a thoughtful legislative initiative that mutually benefitted education, agriculture, breeding, racing and the state treasury.  And now it is clear that at least some of them are not only not our “partners,” but are absolutely an enemy among us actively seeking to kill our industry. So while there are certainly exceptions – I’m proud to report that the SOA of NY has been working very effectively in partnership with management at Yonkers Raceway to expand racing into new global markets and concurrently grow our domestic handle – the reality is that too many track owners have no interest in helping to support racing through innovative marketing or other means. Yet there are those who want us to take their advice, use and spend our purse money,  while they plot our demise.  This is despite the fact that in New York there is a marketing and promotion allowance that the state provides the operators of these VLT machines, who collectively take in $300,000,000 per year, for the promotion of both video lottery gaming and horse racing.  The state clearly understands the value of allowing the operators to seamlessly market the sport along with their own interests.  Once again, let’s be clear that no one is naïve enough to be particularly shocked that this is how the racing industry is treated by some of our supposed “partners”.  However as partners  and guardians of the sport – guardians working seemingly alone every day to find new ways to help our industry grow and thrive –we have a duty to continue to try to work cooperatively despite such comments which and  speak out about the clear, direct interests lined up against us…and which was finally just confirmed for all of the world to read. By Joe Faraldo President, SOA of NY  

Yonkers, NY --- The annual meeting of the United States Trotting Association’s District 8A, encompassing downstate NY , was held on Saturday (Jan. 20) at the Hilltop Oval on the night Foiled Again was foiled in his attempt to achieve a career milestone 100th win. But as they used to say of the Brooklyn Dodgers, “wait till next time”. District Chairman Joe Faraldo , Yonkers GM Bob Galterio and newly appointed Director of Racing Cammie Haughton guided the 27 attendees through the debate over various rule change proposals. The was no change in any of the current directors including Tim Rooney Jr., Jordan Stratton or Mike Kimmelman, Jr. The entire list of rule changes and the sole by-law proposal may be found here.  Below are the recommendations of those attending the District 8A meeting to guide their directors at the USTA national meetings in Columbus this March. The recommendations are presented as they were numbered. It was noted that at the beginning that the wording used in all of the proposals should indicate the rules  will not apply at “extended pari-mutuel tracks. under the jurisdiction of the various state racing commissions” (uniform claiming allowance percentages) - Approved  2. (head numbers) – Rejected 3. (define “length”) – Approved 4. (breath analyzer requirements) - Approved   5. (vs. human illegal drugs) - No action taken 6. (officials at charted matinees) – Approved 7. (track condition, variant, wind indicator) – Rejected 8. (identifier verifies males)- Rejected 9. (stable vs. corporation) –  Specifically section 8.04 trigger the Rejection  10. (scratches due to date change) – Approved 11. (“fair start” pole) - Rejected 12. (driver in accident – medical clearance) - Approved  13. (human disorderly conduct) - Rejected 14. (equality of substitute driver) -- Rejected with the caveat, primarily because it was felt the decision should belong to the trainers, not the judges in the first instance and the words comparable with similar skill sets for multiple race wagers could involve way too much discretion in the judges. 15. (whipping regulations #1) – Rejected; it was felt tgat the current rule is sufficient. 16. (whipping regulations #2) – Rejected 17. (“unnecessary” on track conversation) – Rejected 18. (“change of sex” notification) – Rejected  19. (restricted trainers/”trainers”) – No Action taken 20. (pleasure horse registration) – Approved  21. (correction of ownership transfer date) – No action taken 22. (non-reusable horse names) – Rejected  23. (embryo transfers) – Approved  24. (dissolution of district meetings; by-law change) – Rejected with the thought of not only expansion to some form of an on line USTA open discussion and exchange of comments before a cut off date for on line voting.There was also a discussion of the improvements made at Yonkers Raceway by Management with support from  its horsemen . That support and cooperation included moving the finish line, removing the photo finish’s distorted angle, adding larger fields and distance races for global consumption, resumption of the International Trot, removing the passing lane to create more movement and thus excitement in the races as well as discussions on the Belmont initiative, a slanted starting gate and banking the racing surface. A very positive highlight was the appearance of a couple from Somers, NY who are totally new to the business, have acquired a few horses and are enjoying and participating in the game to the fullest. Lastly, the efforts of Cammie Haughton in his careful attention to the important detail of avoiding head to head post times with other tracks in order to increase handle at Yonkers crafted by Management’s Bob Galterio was duly noted. Joseph Faraldo

ALBANY - The owners of Yonkers Raceway are considering various options as they look to develop the 100-acre site that's home to Empire City Casino — including possibly moving the 118-year-old harness racing track to another location. In recent months, there has been increased discussions about moving the harness track to Belmont Park on Long Island as part of a plan to eliminate horse racing at Yonkers and Aqueduct in Queens as a way for more amenities tied to their casino operations. "We have discussed it at some length, and we’re actually advocating such a maneuver because it would free up the land for Yonkers. It would free up Aqueduct for a convention center that the governor has been advocating for for some time," said Joe Faraldo, president of the state's Standardbred Owners Association, which represents the harness horsemen at Yonkers. "Both of these properties would be shovel ready for expansion, and our concept was that the revenue stream that comes from the casinos that go to racing would follow us over to Belmont Park." Yonkers Raceway eyes adding to casino, track How VLTs saved NY horse racing Racinos seek better tax deals from NY   Options underway The talks coincide with Yonkers Raceway's announcement last month that it hired J.P. Morgan Securities to explore ways to bolster the sprawling property, possibly either with new investors or a sale by the Rooney family, which has owned the facility since 1972. The discussions also come amid a turbulent time in the Northeast gambling market -- with the possibility of casinos in northern New Jersey always looming and with the state's plans to offer three downstate casino licenses as soon as 2021. Empire City runs a massive video-lottery terminal facility with 5,222 machines and is the largest private employer and taxpayer in the city. It is an enticing spot, just 15 miles from midtown Manhattan. Tim Rooney Jr., general counsel at Empire City, told the USA Today Network's Albany Bureau that any number of options will be considered -- though he would expect the casino operation to continue under any expansion or partnership. "Their role is to evaluate the interest from outside in the property and in the business," Rooney said of J.P. Morgan. "We, over the years, have fielded interest from numerous parties about the property and the business, and this is just an effort on our part to formalize the process. We’ve told them: Their instructions are to see what the interest is in our site." Rooney recognized that moving the track for other development is a possibility. The grand vision for the property could include a hotel, parking garage, more restaurants and event space -- and even a sports franchise. Rooney didn't mention the Belmont talks, but said, "We’ve been kicking around the notion of maintaining the racing, but seeking approval to offer it somewhere else. And this is all very preliminary, and we haven’t gotten beyond the drawing board phase with this, but conceivably you could move racing to another site in the state." He added, "The vast majority of people watching and betting on the races here are doing so via the internet or OTBs or off track. As long as you have a facility where you can race and you can broadcast the signal, conceivably you could do it anywhere." Resolve, at left, driven by Ake Svanstedt. , won the 2016 $1,000,000 International Trot at Yonkers Raceway Oct. 15, 2016. (Photo: Seth Harrison/The Journal News)   Track move The idea of putting harness and thoroughbred racing at Belmont -- something that is done at some tracks around the globe -- also comes as the state is considering competitive proposals from the New York Islanders hockey team and New York City FC soccer team to make Belmont Park in Elmont, Nassau County, their future home. Faraldo said moving Yonkers racing to Belmont, which along with Aqueduct is owned by the New York Racing Association, could help bolster the redevelopment at Belmont. Resorts Worlds, owned by the gambling giant Genting based in Malaysia, runs the huge racino at Aqueduct in Queens and could be interested in buying the track land if racing ended there to expand its gambling operation, Faraldo suggested. Indeed, Resorts World and Gov. Andrew Cuomo once had a grand plan for a $4 billion convention center at the property, but the deal fell apart. Both Resorts World and Yonkers would still provide their share of gaming revenue to the track operations if the tracks moved, said Faraldo, who said he has talked to state officials about the idea. Also, Yonkers would have a more lucrative one-mile track inside the main track at Belmont instead of its current half-mile track, which would boost racing, Faraldo said. Already, horses ship in and out of Yonkers between races rather being housed there. So it would be the same at Belmont, he said. "We would hope that Genting would be interested in purchasing that extra property to make this grand thing work," Faraldo said. "That would put money in the coffers of the state, and it would also, as we see it, help refurbish and build the additional facility expansion that is needed at Belmont’s main track."  (Photo: Mark Vergari/The Journal News)   Genting declined to discuss any private discussions, but noted that it is planning to expand its operation. Both Resorts World and Yonkers are hopeful to get full gaming licenses when a moratorium on the licenses expires in 2021 -- a move that the Legislature made in 2013 to let four upstate casinos gain their footing before New York City-area casinos are brought on board. “Genting has always looked at the current Resorts World NYC facility as just the first phase of a multi-faceted, integrated resort destination," Michael Levoff, a spokesman for Genting Americas, said in a statement. "That vision is now slowly taking shape with the start of construction on a 400-room hotel and additional non-gaming amenities -- with hopefully more to follow in the future as the market demands.” Lee Park, a spokesman for the state Gaming Commission, said the agency had "no position on the matter." NYRA, meanwhile, suggested it wasn't interested in a new racing partner, saying it supports 17,000 jobs and has $2 billion in annual economic impact in part through its year-round stables and training at Belmont. "We are focused on ways to enhance and improve our thoroughbred racing and training facilities, not replace them," NYRA said in a statement. Help from Albany Not having horse racing on site at the state's eight video-lottery facilities would be a major shift from the state's initial objective in 2001 to save horse racing by letting the tracks add the slot-machine-like devices. The law, passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to boost state revenue, allowed for VLTs only at racetracks -- and it worked. The New York purses -- the amount paid out to winners in the races -- are among the highest in the nation, and revenue at the so-called racinos has soared. So whether state lawmakers would let the racinos operate without racetracks on the premises is uncertain. And they would clearly have to pass a new law for any of these ideas to move forward. Assembly Racing Committee chairman Gary Pretlow, D-Mount Vernon, said he was unaware that Yonkers may consider moving the track, and he questioned whether it would gain support in Albany. "The VLTs and the track go together," Pretlow said. "So that I don’t know about. I don’t think that would work." Yonkers has had mixed results at the state Capitol in recent years. It avoided having the state picking a new casino in Orange County, which would have been a direct competitor, and instead the state choose Sullivan County farther north. The track, though, has been unable to get tax parity with Resorts World for capital improvements, which has slowed its plans to build a hotel and parking garage. Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano raised concerns about moving the track, saying it is part of the city's history. "I certainly don’t want to see the track go anywhere. I think the track is a very important part of the fabric of our city," Spano said. But he recognized the Rooneys have long sought to keep the facility alive. "I think that if Yonkers Raceway is hopefully able to develop a partnership or a sale that it is done with an eye toward expanding and putting in place full gaming, which I think has limitless possibilities for the city – in terms of tax dollars, thousands of new jobs, a convention center, a hotel. That’s what comes with full gaming," Spano said. The Empire City Casino in Yonkers. (Photo: Ricky Flores/The Journal News)   The future ahead The track, which first opened in 1899, has had a tumultuous history: Attendance would sometimes hit 40,000 people in the grandstand in racing's heyday 60 or 70 years ago. But as interest in the sport waned, so do did the fortunes at Yonkers. The Rooneys put it up for sale in the late 1990s -- and there was a glimmer of hope that once it could lure the New York Jets or another sports franchise to build a new stadium there. The law to allow for video-lottery terminals transformed the facility. Last year, it had revenue of $590 million, a 6 percent increase from the previous year. Rooney said the family-owned track now sees a next phase for the track and casino. He said the state might be interested in moving if the roughly 15-acre track if it means growth at the Yonkers site because the state gets a cut of the racino's revenue. "We would need legislation, but I don’t think it would be controversial," Rooney said. "I think we could get the support of the horsemen, and I think the state is basically our partner in this facility with the taxes that we pay, so I think the state would look at it as an opportunity for us to do something at the property that would likely make it a more attractive site for people to come and visit and perhaps gamble here." But ultimately, the owners are looking to pair up with a major developer who has a vision -- and a bankroll -- for the site. As for possibly selling the whole property, Rooney said, "We’re not looking at it exclusively that way. I mean I think that it could be a possibility. "We’ve been here for 45 years, and we’re a big believer in this facility and we’re not looking to get out, but I guess we’re going to have to wait and see what people’s interest is in terms of if they want to partner, or if they want to go their own." By Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief Reprinted with permission of the Iohud site

YONKERS, NY --The final preliminary contests prior to the series finale in the NAADA Fall Trotting Series were staged before the harness racing betting card at Yonkers Raceway on Friday night(Nov. 17) and when the judges hung the official signs Paul Minore and Joe Faraldo emerge victorious in their respective divisions. Minore won with his old warhorse Wygant Prince in 2:01 while Faraldo scored behind Tough Get Going in 2:00.1. In his contest Minore worked out a perfect two-hole journey behind Bobby Krivelin's Connie Keeper. "Krivelin had to pole position and he raced to the lead and since I had the two hole I fell in behind him on the first turn," Minore explained. Once the field settled Minore just played follow the leader which he did until the homestretch. "When we rounded the final turn I eyed the passing lane and then angled Wygant there and he trotted on to one length victory over Krivelin's horse.," Minore added. Peter Kleinhans and Toss Cartwright finished second with the pacesetter Connie Keeper third. Minore owns the 10-year-old altered son of SJ's Photo who's trained by Taylor Gower. It was Wygant Prince's second consecutive victory and fifth this season." It was also the 93rd lifetime driving victory for Minore, a retired New Jersey high school track and field coach whose most famous pupil was world champion Carl Lewis. In the other split NAADA president Joe Faraldo smoked 'em with a solid 2:00.1 wire to wire triumph with Tough Get Going, a 4-year-old Kadabra gelding he co-owns with trainer Richie Banca. The hardworking barrister sent his charge to the lead from the three-hole and despite the short field they were constantly challenged. But Tough Get Going lived up to his name and turned back all challengers despite being looked in the eye from the half to the finish. "We made some equipment changes", Faraldo said referring to his trotter. "He was breathing funny, making noises like he was gasping for air at the end of the mile the last few times I drove him so we put on a throat plate and tied his tongue and it seemed to do the job " At the wire Tough Get Going was a neck better than runner-up Mr. Ridgetaker ,d driven by Dave Yarock. Tim Lizzie and driver Joe Lee were three lengths back in third. by John Manzi for NAADA

Brett Sturman is right on target when he opines (Harness Racing Update 9/15/17) that suspending a horse is unfair to the owner, but surely it is also harmful to the industry; an industry that seems to be intent on chasing owners away from the auction rings and claim boxes under the well intended, but misguided popular mantra of much desired "integrity”.   Clearly, as Sturman properly pointed out, any owner found to be complicit with illegal activity, should be severely punished; but to punish an owner for entrusting his or her horse to a trainer who is licensed and fully able to participate by virtue of a license issued by the Commission is just wrong.   If the owner is to be charged with failing to be “more” mindful, diligent and selective about engaging a trainer, should not the regulator be held to the same standard in licensing and re-licensing trainers?   If owners are to be punished for engaging the services of “certain” licensed trainers, perhaps the regulator should consider publishing a list of those licensed trainers they "mindfully, diligently and selectively" issued a license to, and advise owners that in spite of their grant of a license, these licensees are the ones owners should avoid.   This would tremendously help owners in making an informed choice, rather than subjecting owners to such harsh punishment imposed, due to the lack of diligence on the Commission’s part in issuing a “stay away from” trainer a license in the first place.   Punishing owners after the fact for using a trainer who subsequently violates the trainer responsibility rule or for the failure to guard a horse from the administration of an illicit substance is simply not going to produce the desired result, especially when many regulators see fit to adopt the unfounded medication guidelines of RMTC. Enforcement of these guidelines has created false positives already and now could be a further predicate to cause owners to suffer.   Many of the sport’s top trainers have been the subject of permissive medication violations simply because they are the trainer.  Now is this new proposal going to allow regulators or/track track operators to pick and choose, not only which trainers should suffer but now which owners should, or should not, be penalized?    Consider something else, when does the 90 day suspension of the horse commence, when the positive is reported, or at the conclusion of a the trainer’s hearing or the exhaustion of the judicial process?   If from the report of the positive, how does the regulator compensate an owner whose trainer is eventually exonerated?   Can a horse’s ownership be transferred before the process is completed or can the Commission ignore one's right to the "free alienation of property"?   Will the Commission undertake alerting the entire industry that a horse is potentially subject to suspension at the end of the process or does a new and unsuspecting owner now suffer?     We have seen similar pitfalls erupt when Commissions decided to pre-race detain high TCO2 horses and paint them with an industry's "Scarlet Letter".    No doubt the industry needs to champion a level playing field. As usual, its knee-jerk efforts, lauded in so many quarters, make for positive sound bites and a purely negative and mostly counterproductive result.    If no real investment is made in properly policing this sport, no misguided punishment of owners who have done no wrong, will ever be a meaningful substitute for the integrity that we desire, as there may not be owners left.   The only real solution to the problem is, and always has been, the investment in “boots on the ground” investigations by the Commission, valid medication guidelines followed by appropriate testing protocols at experienced labs.   Attempting to clean up the problem via innuendo and the slander of trainers, accomplishes nothing more than a further erosion of the industry by driving out owners whose only foibles were hiring fully licensed conditioners.   Joe Faraldo  

I am writing this response to a letter written by Joe Faraldo to HarnessLink. First of all, I feel qualified to respond because of the fact that I am president of Harness Horsemen International and past president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey.  The first thing that comes to my mind is this senseless vendetta that Joe has with Jeff Gural. I think Joe is an intelligent man, who truly has done his best to help the horse people at Yonkers Raceway, but I think in his letter he has his facts all wrong about Jeff's motives. He has taken Jeff's comments way out of context.  Let me begin by saying that the Jeff I know is honest, well meaning, and loyal to a fault. I am going to start from the beginning.   We raised $100,000 through a fundraiser by the horsemen of New Jersey for the then candidate for New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, based on his promises of how he was going to help our industry.  But after he was elected, Christie proceeded to tell me at a very early date, that we had 24 hours to come up with eight million dollars [$8 million] or he was going to shut down the Sports Authority racing facilities, which meant the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park would close immediately. I thought of only one person that I knew who could help, Jeff Gural, if he was so inclined. I proceeded to call him and tell him of our predicament. Without hesitation he told me he would meet me in Trenton the next morning.  As it turns out, Jeff was able to make a deal with the state to keep the Meadowlands open.    What is interesting about all of this, is that Jeff never thought or knew anything about a possible casino. Jeff's only thought was to save our horsemen and our industry from a sudden tragic end.  To address Joe Faraldo's comments that Jeff was saying that he did a favor for a couple of horsemen is ludicrous. He did it for all of us and the industry which he loves.  He saved harness racing for without the Meadowlands there would be no racing in New Jersey or,  for that matter, most racing in this country would probably succumb.    I sometimes wonder why some people want to take something good and turn it into something bad for their own gratification  Joe took Jeff's comments way out of context.  I don't care how you look at it, the Meadowlands is a success, especially when you look at the surrounding racinos with all their slot money.  They don't wager half of what the Meadowlands does without any help from the slot money, good horses, or many of the top drivers. I am not saying that horsemen should not think about themselves or their families, but don't act or think that Jeff did this solely for his own monetary enhancement, because he stepped up to the plate initially to save our industry.   So whenever you read the articles that criticize Jeff, remember (A) maybe someone has an axe to grind and (B) when you are racing at the Meadowlands some night, you probably wouldn't be there if it wasn't for Jeff Gural.  I know that many of you, including myself at times, don't agree with all of Jeff's decisions, but they all come from his love of the game and what he thinks is best.  So I am taking this time to thank him and all the GRATEFUL horsemen and women who can still enjoy making a living at what they love at the Meadowlands.  Sincerely, Thomas F. Luchento

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