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The second leg of the three-track international Friendship competition between the visiting New Zealanders and the hometown NAADA team was contested Tuesday night (Oct. 17) on the betting card at Yonkers Raceway and when the judges hung the official sign the Kiwi’s Cheree Wigg emerged victorious with Big Turn On in a 1:57.1 clocking. Second place went the New Zealand’s Gavin Cook while the USA’s Jennifer Lappe saved face for the NAADA team by finishing third. But the race was dominated by the talented ladies with the Kiwi’s Colleen Nequs finishing fourth giving the visitors three of the first four placings. When the starting judge said “Go” New Zealand’s Mike Maynard charged to lead from the six-hole with 62-1 shot Every Intention and they had command at the first stanza as the timer flashed :28.1. Still in command as they passed the halfway point in :57.2 the early fractions soon began to take toll on the leader. Still second but tiring as they paced by the three quarters in 1:27.1 Maynard and Every Intention watched as Ms Wigg and Big Turn On zoomed by to take command. In the lane Big Turn On was the strong horse and rebuffed a late charges from both Dirty Devil (Gavin Cook) and Lucky Man (Jennifer Lappe) to score a solid one length triumph .“It was great,” Cheree Wigg said via telephone about her driving victory tonight at Yonkers. “I got away OK from the mobile in third place, followed the leaders and then popped out at the three quarters and skipped away on the turn. My horse was strong and held off the others to win it.” The winner, a six year-old altered son of Mr. Big, is owned by Joseph Di Francesco and trained by Bruno Nicolo. He paid $12.20 for win and set up a $75.50 all-Kiwi exacta. The final leg of the USA-New Zealand Friendship Competition will be contested tomorrow (Wednesday) at Monticello Raceway where two events are slated as races three and six on the 10-card. by John Manzi for NAADA

CAMPBELLEVILLE, ONT -- It was the last day of the lengthy harness racing race meet at Mohawk Racetrack and among the 10 races offered on the Monday, Oct 16th card were two events for Billings amateur drivers. And once again they were well received. "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello was victorious in the first trot with Taurus du Parc in 2:00 while the second went to Lets Leavem, driven by Shane "The Freelton Flash" Arsenault in a 1:57 clocking. Both winners were mostly dismissed by the betting public. In his contest Zuccarello gunned his trotter to the lead from the six-hole and they had command as they passed the first stanza in :28.4. with Dave "Modern Legend" Drew in hot pursuit with Swan For Dee. The two leaders raced one-two until the top of the stretch when they were joined by The Power Of Many and driver David "Poppa Glasser When the field headed for home a real horse race ensued as the three aforementioned trotters raced side by side all the way to the wire with 7-1 shot Taurus du Parc finishing a head in front of Swan For Dee. A head farther back in third place was The Power Of Many. For Zuccarello it marked his first winning drive of the 2017 season and the 12th of his amateur driving career. Lets Leavem is owned by Fellows, Knechtel, and Szabo of Bradford, Ont. and trained by Robert Fellows , He returned a $17.80 win mutuel. Pay-offs to those with winning tickets were even bigger in the second Billings split when Shane Arsenault swept the field around the final turn with Lets Leavem and then rallied to an easy 2-1/2 length triumph over Justasmalltowngirl in rein to Daniel "In The Lion's Den" St Pierre. Third place went to Bobby "I'm Back" Ciavardini. Disregarded by the betting public Lets Leavem paid $33.10; $11.10 and $6.40 across the board. The veteran Angus Hall gelding is owned by Sarah Town and trained by Arsenault. It was the second winning drive of the season for Arsenault and 129th of his career, as well as his 654th victory as a trainer. Next Billings action will be at Yonkers Raceway on October 19th. by John Manzi for the Billings Amateur Series

Harness racing's greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series, employed plenty of action on Sunday, October 15 when the granddaddy of all amateur racing organizations had contests at two different racetracks, one in the USA at Northfield Park in greater Cleveland, Ohio and the other in Canada at Flamboro Downs in Dundas, Ont. "Tiny Tim" Miller won the Midwest region Northfield trot with Song In My Heart while "Gentle Ben" Hollingsworth copped the Canadian event- a pace-behind with Michelle's Deuce over Flamboro's double oval. In his event Miller took no prisoners and sent his trotter down the road from the four-hole and made every pole a winning one en route to a solid 1-1/2 length triumph over Kelly "Sky" Walker's Stemilt Touch. Patricia "the Write Stuff" Miller took home the show dough with 45-1 shot, Keep The Cash. The winner, owned by Bert Hershberger and trained by JD Wengerd, was sent off the 6-5 favorite and returned a $4.40 win mutuel. For hot-handed Miller it was his fifth driving victory in just 10 seasonal starts. In the Canadian Billings pace later Sunday evening "Gentle Ben" had the prohibitive favorite Michelle's Deuce and drove like one is supposed to when deemed the best in the filed and rushed the 8-year-old Armbro Duece mare to the lead and remained unchallenged throughout coasting to an easy 1:59.1 triumph to notch the mare's 6th seasonal victory. The battle for second money saw Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford and No Teasing Me out-foot Thrift Shop with David "Poppa" Glasser to the wire to garner the place dough. Owned by the LINK Stable and trained by Corey Johnson, Michelle's Deuce paid $3.50 for win. It was Hollingsworth's first seasonal driving victory(from just 4 starts) and 21st of his limited career. Billings action continues on Monday night with two trots on the card at Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville, Ont. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

Two short fields went to post in the NAADA Trots at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday, Oct. 12 before the betting car got underway and when the dust settled "Hurricane Hannah" Miller and "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo each emerged victorious in their respective harness racing splits. Miller won her division with Pine Tab in 2:03.2 while Faraldo scored with Tough Get Going in 2:01.2. Despite his outstanding and time-consuming efforts in producing all aspects of the International Trot slated for Saturday (Oct. 14) Faraldo found time to sit behind a spirted steed in his own NAADA Trotting Series. "Actually this race was scheduled for Wednesday but it was held over until tonight (Thursday) which was the night of the boat ride for our International Trot guests which caused a minor dilemma for me," Faraldo said after his victory. "I really wanted to go on the boat ride but I knew I had a good shot to win the NAADA race tonight." According to Faraldo he drove Tough Get Going at Monticello Raceway last week and a mishap behind the starting gate caused him to finish back. "I knew he (Tough Get Going) had a great chance to win tonight and I wanted to be in the driver's seat even though I had to pass on the International Trot boat ride around Manhattan Isle with all my friends," Faraldo said. "You know, I don't have that many live mounts when I drive and I didn't want to pass up this one." And Faraldo ,the president of NAADA, assumption was correct and he gunned his charge to the front and took no prisoners while making every pole a winning one. Second place went to Fox Valley Steffen driven by Jennifer Lappe. Billings president Tony Verruso finished third with Sam's Honeybee. Tough Get Going is a 4 year old Kadabra gelding owned by D'Elegance Stable, Richard Banca and Carmine Iannacone and trained by Banca. The other division saw Hannah Miller send Pine Tab to the lead and with the short field they didn't encounter any challenges as the two time National Amateur Driver of the Year got her trotter to the halfway point in a soft 1:03.2 Still Pine Tab needed a :59.4 second half to hold off Bobby Krivelin's Permanent Joy for ahead victory. Third place went to SJ Better Days in rein to Bob Hechkoff. It was Ms Miller's 22nd winning drive thus far this year and her 95th in just 322 career trips to post. Pine Tab is an 8-year-old Cantab Hall gelding owed by the JL Benson Stable and trained by Nick Surick Both NAADA races were non-wagering events. by John Manzi for NAADA

Kew Gardens, NY -A rematch with the invading New Zealanders is set to begin on Friday Oct. 13th when a contingent of Kiwi's arrive on American soil Friday, Oct. 13th to begin an amateur harness racing driving competition at three different race tracks in New York State. Races are slated at Yonkers Raceway, Saratoga Raceway and Monticello Raceway. "Late last fall a contingent of NAADA members traveled to New Zealand for an international amateur driving contest there and now we have the pleasure of reciprocating," noted Joe Faraldo president of NAADA. "We didn't fare very well Down Under but it didn't really matter What did was sharing the comradery and friendships fostered by amateur racing." The Kiwi's are coming with a powerful foursome consisting of Gavin Cook, Mike Maynard, Cheree Wigg and Coleen Negus and they will drive at all three venues. However, the NAADA Team members will change at each participating race track. Scheduled to drive at Saratoga on Monday, Oct. 16 are Tony Cuiffetelli, Bob Davis, Alan Schwartz and Gerry Fielding. At Yonkers on Tues. (Oct 17) Joe Lee, Joe Faraldo, Jennifer Lappe and Peter Kleinhans will represent NAADA. And at the final leg at Monticello on Wednesday (Oct 18), Alan Schwartz, Gerry Fielding, Monica Banca and Joe Faraldo will represent the Americans. Nightly dinners at outstanding restaurants along the journey will be supplied by the hosting North American Amateur Drivers Association(NAADA). Also on Saturday Oct 14th the visiting Kiwi's will dine at Yonkers Raceway while they enjoy the $1,000,000 International Trot and the rich finals of the New York Sire Stakes program. Enclosed below is the competition itinerary. New Zealand/USA Friendship Competition October 13th - 19th 2017 Friday Oct 13th...... Day of Rest at the Bentley Hotel - 62nd Street,, NYC Meet at 7:00 PM for dinner at Zero Otto Nove West 21st Street, NYC Saturday Oct 14th pick-up from Hotel at 10:30 AM to arrive at Yonkers Raceway to enjoy The International Trot and finals of the NY Sire Stakes... Dine at the track...Back to hotel.. Sunday Oct 15th. Pick up -8:30 AM to compete at Saratoga Raceway.. Enjoy the town of Saratoga. Dinner at Lonfellows Union Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY Monday Oct 16th - FREE DAY to explore New York City... Meet our host Peter Kleinhans for dinner at 7 PM at The Redeye Grill 7th Ave, New York, NY Tuesday Oct 17th - Pick up at 10 AM.. to visit and have a guided tour of the 9/11 Memorial Museum in Manhattan. Transport to Yonkers Raceway for 2nd leg of competition. Dinner at Tra Di Noi and back to Hotel. Wednesday Oct 18th. Pick up at 10 AM for transport to Monticello Raceway for final leg of competition. Farewell dinner at the River Palm, Mahwah NJ in the evening. Thursday, Oct 19--Kiwis return home by John Manzi for NAADA  

Monticello,NY- On Sunday, October 8, the longest running show in the Catskills, WVOS-FM's "The Bop Shop" hosted by John Manzi, will celebrate its 34th Anniversary. The four-hour radio show is heard on Sunday nights from 8pm until mid-night. The unique program which features music--mostly vocal group harmony records-- from the late 40's, 50's and early 60's is available on WVOS radio at 95.9FM and on Time Warner Cable channel 1962 in southeast New York. And the show can be heard world-wide on the internet at "We have a fun program and we play enjoyable songs from small labels that never really go much airplay and since we've been on the internet we've been getting calls from listeners in Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, the greater New York area, including Long Island and all over the East Coast; even from Alaska," Manzi relates. "We go back to the roots of rock n roll and rhythm n blues playing great songs from what is now known as the doo wop era. Sure we play chart records but mostly we feature vocal group harmony records but we also play some rock-a-billy and blues records, too." Currently with features like "the name game", "name that tune", "same thing only different", battle of the (record's) B-sides", "rate a record", and "common denominator", Manzi tries to keep his audience involved in the show. Over the years Manzi has had live in-studio a cappella from vocal ensembles like Larry Chance and the Earls, Guy Villari & the Regents; The Shallows; the Cliftonaires; Mystique; the Creations, the Arrogants, the Excellents; Sentimental Journey; and BQE, to mention a few; and recently, Little Isadore and the Inquisitors. Every Sunday Manzi is joined by his sidekicks, Cindy "G" and Steve "the Eggman" Ristano. But it is not unusual that visitors, knowledgeable in doo wops, join Manzi in the studio from time to time. Before his passing earlier this year Joe "Doo Wop" Greco had been with Manzi since the beginning of the show which started in early October 1983. Besides playing the music, Manzi informs the listeners of the background of the songs; talks about the personnel and where they originated from, as well as where songs placed on the Billboard charts. Manzi recently retired from Monticello Raceway -after 41 years- where he had been the longtime director of publicity and public relations. He has always been a fancier of oldies music and his personal collection of 45RPM records exceeds 50,000; and his albums number more than 3000. Though it's rare in today's world he still plays his 45RPM records over the airwaves. For the first 25 years the Bop Shop was heard on WSUL-98.3FM but eight years ago Watermark Communications, which owned both WSUL and WVOS, switched the program to WVOS-FM when that station began an "oldies" format. Recently, both WSUL and WVOS have been purchased by Bold Gold Media. When Manzi took over the Sunday night oldies show at WSUL radio in October 1983 little did he fathom that 34 years later he'd still be at it. "The beautiful part of this music is that even though the records are 50 years old, and most older, I'm always coming across vocal group harmony songs that I never heard before," Manzi said. "It's like listening to new music." "I really look forward to Sunday nights. I love the music and I love our audience." John Manzi

Monticello, NY -- It was bombs away in the NAADA trots at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon (Sept. 28) when both harness racing winners, each starting from the seven-hole, sparked exorbitant payoffs. In the first division Tony Verruso scored a 2:02.3 triumph with Sam's Honeybee and returned a $76.50 mutuel while in the second split Paul Minore guided his old warhorse Wygant Prince to a 1:59.3 victory which really lite up the toteboard when the veteran trotter paid $130.50-$27.40 and $14.20 across the board. When the gate sprung in their split, which was arguably the better field of the two, Minore sent Wygant Prince away swiftly and they gained command midway around the first turn and then led the field by the first quarter in :28.3. Once on top Wygant Prince marched steadily forward unchallenged by the half in :59. and past the third stanza in 1:29 before any realistic challenge developed. And when did it came from Tony Ciuffetelli with favored Tropical Storm BI. But it was too late as Minore's trotter crossed the finish line like an even money favorite. Third place went to Brandos Music Man, driven by Monica Banca. "I don't always get a chance to ask him to leave because of various circumstances but today I took a shot and it proved to be fruitful,"Minore, a retired high school track coach, said referring to Wygant Prince. "He's been racing real good lately so I thought I'd take a chance and seek the front. It turned out to be a winning move." Minore owns the winner, a 10-.year old SJ's Photo gelding, who with this victory raised his lifetime earnings to over $365,000. He's trained by Taylor Gower. The other split was a 'dogfight' all the way to the wire as Tony Verruso's Sam's Honeybee showed tremendous grit in the deep stretch. After getting away sixth some nine lengths off the leader Verruso erased three of those lengths as Sam's Honeybee passed the halfway point, but still in sixth place. With a big a sweeping move up the backside Sam's Honeybee had on her trotting shoes and when they came off the final turn they were second on the far outside and then took command and braced for the challenge which came from Cassa's Image (Jennifer Lappe) With both drivers all-out urging their horses in the deep stretch Sam's Honeybee prevailed by a head. Joe Lee and Woody were right there but had to settle for the show dough. "My mare was really game in the stretch and we battled all comers right to the wire," Verruso said of Sam's Honeybee. "She's always tough in the lane and she showed it today." Sam's Honeybee, dismissed by the wagering public paid, $76.50-$18.80 and $6.10 across the board. She's owned by Verruso and trained by Carl Gillespie. By John Manzi for NAADA

DELAWARE, OHIO, Sept. 21--The Hall of Fame Amateur Harness Racing Series began last winter in Florida at Pompano Park with future legs contested at Historic Track and the Meadowlands and culminated in the series finale at Delaware, Ohio on Jug Day, September 21. That well contested final saw Ned Hodkinson and his veteran trotter Mutinyonthebounty rally in the final strides to notch a stunning victory in a time of 1:58.4. Previous series winners included Steve Oldford, Dein Spriggs and Hannah Miller. On Thursday at the home of the Little Brown Jug Ned Hodkinson was content to allow Dein Spriggs to cut the fractions with Rompaway Beau. Hodkinson stalked the leader throughout and overtook him at the top of the stretch and then held off late rushes by both Gregg Keidel's Tinder and Kween Mightus, driven by Peter Gerry. They finished second and third respectively. Owned and also trained by Hodkinson, Mutinyonthebounty was sent off at odds of over 8-1 and returned $18.80 to all his supporters. The HOF Amateur Series is the brainchild of both Museum Trustee, Steve Oldford and Dein Spriggs, who by the way is currently running for USTA Director from District Six. Says Spriggs, "This amateur series was, and is intended, to raise funds for the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY as well as increasing membership to the museum." The starting fees collected from the participating amateur drivers along with matching funds totaled more than $10,000 this season with hopes that number will increase precipitously in future seasons. "This year, our first, we raised over $10,000 for the Museum and Hall of Fame and we gained members for the Harness Racing Museum," said Steve Oldford. According to Oldford the 2018 Hall of Fame Amateur Series will commence at Lexington Kentucky's Red Mile this coming Thursday,October 5th. "We'll be renaming the track's Gentleman's Amateur Trot to now be known as the Hall of Fame Amateur Drivers Series Trot,with all starting fees and other ancillary levies to be donated to the Harness Racing Museum," Oldford added. The entire dates for the 2018 HOF Amateur Series will be forthcoming. By John Manzi  

Monica Banca doesn't drive often but when she does she's a force to be reckoned with. Today, (Thurs. Sept 21) in a division of the NAADA Trotting Series at Monticello Raceway Ms. Banca went to post for the 13th time this season and logged her seventh harness racing seasonal driving victory when she scored a 1:59.4 triumph with Brandos Muscle Man. After settling in the three hole after the wings of the mobile gate folded Banca, was content to follow the leaders until Joe Lee, who was traveling along near the back of the pack moved Tim Lizzi off the pylons as the field headed to the halfway point. That challenge precipitated a move from Banca who was moved her trotter out to challenge the pacesetter Ladys Big Stormont (Alan Schwartz). When they rounded the clubhouse turn for the final time Brandos Muscle Man had command and braced for Wygant Prince and driver Paul Minore who moved out from behind Schwartz's trotter and ranged alongside Brandos Muscle Man. as they headed for the three quarters. They raced one-two around the final turn and in the lane it appeared Wygant Prince would trot by the leader but that was not to happen as Brandos Muscle Man Dug in and rebuffed Wygant Prince to score a neck victory. Three lengths farther back was Tim Lizzie in third place. "My horse raced real good last week when we finished second beaten by just a head," Banca said after the race "Today I moved earlier than I wanted to so I wouldn't get locked in, but Brandos was strong and trotted to the lead. When we headed for home Wygant Prince began gaining ground but my horse dug in and wouldn't let him pass." Banca co-owns the Muscles Yankee 9-year old gelding with the Rock and Roll Stable. Trained by Rick Dane, Jr. Bandos Muscle Man paid $7.50. In the other NAADA split Dave Yarock used the front-end route for a trip to the winners circle with Mr Ridgetaker. After starting from the two-hole Yarock got away with a fairly soft :29.2 first quarter and had his sights set on racing on the front-end which could easily be determined when Alan Schwartz and Grand Vision).came alongside near the quarter pole and he kept them on the limb They raced one-two to the halfway point with the order remaining the same as they trotted by the three quarters in 1:30.3. When the field came off the final turn Mr Ridgetaker had three lengths on field and cruised home an easy winner "He raced good last week when we finished fourth (by length and a half) but today he was at the top of his game,"Yarock said referring to Mr Ridgetaker. "We had a better post this week and he was strong the whole mile." Sam's Honeybee with Tony Verruso aboard, snuck up the passing lane late to garner second money while Jennifer Lappe finished third with Fox Valley Steffen. Mr Ridgetaker, also owned by Yarock, is trained by Dawn Devaux. He returned a $10.20 mutuel. John Manzi

She's only been harness racing full time for the past four years but one thing is for sure about "Hurricane Hannah" Miller and that is she doesn't need to take her racetrack around with her because everywhere she goes-and even in Europe, she wins. On Sunday afternoon, September 17 the talented miss guided Pine Tab to an easy 1:59.4 victory over seven others in a Billings Trot at the home of the Little Brown Jug, Delaware, Ohio. Sent off as the 7-5 favorite Hannah sent Pine Tab to the lead and they had command on the first turn as her competitors filed in along the pylons behind her which allowed the talented miss to get away with a soft :30 first quarter. Bob "Lumberman" Troyer and Oneeyedmomma were the first to move followed closely by Kelly "Sky" Walker and Rush N Supreme as the field headed to the halfway point. However, Ms Miller got them by that stanza still a length in front as the timer flashed 1:01. When Pine Tab straightened in the backstretch he had company in the presence of Oneeyedmomma. But that challenge faded as Miller's charge rounded the final turn. And when they headed for home Pine Tab opened daylight on the field as Gregg "Fast Greggy" Keidel and Kween Mightus took over second place. In the deep stretch it was all Pine Tab who went on to a three-length 1:59.4 victory over Keidel's trotter. Rush N Supreme out-footed Oneeyedmomma to garner the show dough. Owned by the JL Benson Stable and trained by Nick Surick Pine Tab paid $4.40 for win . And if that wasn't enough "Hurricane Hannah" won the Tim Fouts Memorial Driving Championship with odds-on favorite Banging The Drum in a swift 1:57.1 a little later on the Sunday card. It was her 21st amateur victory thus far this year. Ned Hodkinson's Badger Quinn finished second with third place going to Picasso Forever handled by Kelly Walker. Banging The Drum is owned by Robert Brooks and trained by Jimmy Lupton. He paid $3.40 for win. A very happy Hannah Miller was contacted after her victory in the Fouts Memorial and she said. "This was my second time driving here at Delaware and I couldn't be any more happy with how the day went! "Pine Tab was able to leave out of the gate well here and get the lead pretty easy and he was in hand at the wire. That was my first win here at the Delaware County Fair and I had another win in the Tim Fouts Memorial later on the card. I'll drive here again on Thursday." An annual event, the Fouts Memorial pits drivers---one from each--who are members of the industry's various amateur clubs By John Manzi for the Billings Series

Once again three races for amateur drivers dotted the harness racing card at Monticello Raceway on Thursday (Sept). 14) with two events contested in the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) Fall Trotting Series and one in the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club (CADC) Pacing Series. Bob Krivelin, Alan Schwartz and Monica Banca were victorious in their respective splits. Krivelin and Schwartz each won a NAADA trot while Banca's victory came in a CADC pacing even. With rain threatening throughout the afternoon Krivelin was the first to reach the winners circle when he guided Permanent Joy to a come-from-behind victory over Tony Verruso's Flirting Duezy in a 1:59.3 clocking over a racetrack rated fast. When the field rounded the second turn in that contest Krivelin moved Permanent Joy to the outside and flushed out Verruso's trotter for cover as Dave Yarock showed the way with Mr Ridgetaker. At the head of the lane Yarock's charge still had command but yielded as Permanent Joy finished strong and rallied to a 1-1/2 length victory over Flirting Duezy. Jennifer Lappe took home the show dough with Fox Valley Steffen. "I moved (Permanent Joy) early and we had cover until I wheeled him three deep on the final turn and when I did he trotted by the leaders and was home free," Krivelin said of his 9-year-old Trot For Joy gelding. Dismissed by the bettors and sent off at odds of over 7-1 Permanent Joy, owned and trained by Krivelin, paid $16.80. For Krivelin it marked his 210th career driving victory. Schwartz's triumph with The Fighter came as a result of patience, both before and during the race. Hard to control prior to going behind the starting gate but once there The Fighter acts almost normal. When the gate sprung Schwartz settled in the two hole behind Hannah Miller's Hidden Identity and sat patiently behind her as she led him all the way to the top of the stretch where he found room in the passing lane and rallied to a nose victory over a hard charging Brandos Muscle Man ,driven by Monica Banca. Hidden Identity held on for third. "I got lucky in that Hannah (Miller) was strong on the lead all the way to the stretch. And at that point I sent The Fighter down the passing lane and we won by the slimmest of margins. But a win is a win ," Schwartz said smiling. Owned by Ed and James Hall and trained by Danny Gill The Fighter returned a $10.20 win mutuel. For Schwartz it marked his 12th seasonal driving victory and the 587th of his amateur driving career. Although denied victory in the NAADA trot Monica Banca wouldn't be rebuffed in the CADC pace when she gunned Fox Valley Leo to the lead and made every pole a winning one en route to a 1:57.2 triumph Second place went to Artistic Cruiser driven by Hannah Miller which made 'all-lady' exacta. Third place went to Bob Hechkoff's Italian Rebel. "Once the gate closed he really wanted to go and I had a firm hold on him all the way to the half," Banca said of Fox Valley Leo.. "After that I eased up on the lines and he paced on to an easy three length victory " Owned and trained by Rick Dane, Fox Valley Leo scored his 7th seasonal triumph. For the Norwegian native it marked her sixth driving victory in just 12 seasonal starts and 20th since she began driving here in 2013. Amateur Day at the races began last Thursday at Monticello Raceway and is slated to continue weekly through November. by John Manzi for NAADA and CADC

Monticello, NY--Although it wasn't billed as such Thursday (Sept 7) at Monticello Raceway was 'amateur day at the races' with three different harness racing Amateur driving clubs presenting a race here. They included the CKG Billings Series, the NAADA trotting series, and a pacing event from the Catskill Amateur Drivers Association. And despite the fact that most of the drivers were eligible to all three series races each had with different winners. "Coach Paul" Minore won the Billings trot with Wygant Prince in 2:00 while Joe Lee was victorious in the NAADA trot with Tim Lizzie in a 2:02.4 clocking. And "Hurricane Hannah" Miller copped the CADA pacing event with Artistic Cruiser in 1:57 flat. In the Billings trot Minore took no prisoners when he gained command on the first turn and went down the road with Wygant Prince and they made every pole a winning one en route to a solid two length victory over Hannah Miller's Pine Tab. Finishing third, some four lengths behind the winner, was Permanent Joy with "Rapid Robert" Krivelin at the controls. "He was in over his head in his last two starts and I put him on the lead today because he likes the front end and he showed today why he does," Minore said referring to Wygant Prince. And for Minore it was some kind of milestone for him having won a race in America and one in Hungary this past week. (Minore won a leg of the USA v Hungary Friendship Competition last Saturday at Kincsem Park in Budapest). Dismissed by the bettors and sent off at odds of over 7-1 Wygant Prince paid $17.00 while winning for the fourth time this season. And it was Minore's third driving victory this year and 90th of his amateur driving career. The former high school track coach---- who's most famous student was the Olympic champion Carl Lewis--- owns the trotter who is trained by Taylor Gower. However, in the NAADA trot Joe Lee and Tim Lizzie had the railbirds smiling even more when those who held winning tickets were rewarded with a $61.00 payoff. After starting slowly Lee and Tim Lizzie were fifth at the first stanza but then went an overland trip and marched forward until they cleared the traffic and took command at the top of the lane. From there Tim Lizzie held off a charging Ladys Big Stormont (Alan Schwartz) to score a neck triumph. A length farther back in third was Perfect Road, in rein to Dein Spriggs. "I got cover behind Bob Davis (with The B Street Fan) and he carried me to the final turn where I moved Tim Lizzie three-deep and went to the lead and then held off Schwartz's trotter to win it," Lee explained. Tim Lizzie, a 7-year-old daughter of Tiny Tim, notched her fourth seasonal triumph for owner Woody Hoblitzell. She's trained by Bruce Aldrich, Sr. For Joe Lee, the New Yok Yankee's assistant locker room manager, it was his 29th winning drive. Not to be outdone, “Hurricane Hannah” Miller showed why she is the two-time defending National Amateur Driver of the Year when she sat back off speedy fractions and then rallied her pacer, Artistic Cruiser, to a  three-length victory over Jennifer Lappe’s  Fool’s Gold. Lappe had cut speedy early fractions of :27.2--:57 and 1:26.4 before Miller came to pick up l the pieces. In that contest four of the seven drivers were ladies. But Joe Lee spoiled an all-lady trifecta by getting TKR’s Metro Specs up for the show dough. “We were chasing Jennifer (Lappe with Fool’s Gold) from the start and we began gaining on her when we  approached the three quarters. But when we started to round the final turn I wasn’t sure if we could catch her. But happily we did”, Miller said after the race.  It was the first seasonal triumph for Artistic Cruiser who returned a $7.90 mutuel.For Miller it marked her 19th seasonal driving victory and 92nd  thus far in her short career. John Manzi

Northfield, Ohio-- On a night that the participating amateur drivers probably would rather have sat it out because of the inclement weather still eight harness racing veterans from the Midwest region of the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series ventured to Northfield Park for a trotting contest on Wednesday evening (Sept. 6) which saw Ned "Insurance Man" Hodkinson take no prisoners and make every pole a winning one en route to a 2:00.1 victory with his own Mutinyonthebounty. After a day inundated with rain Mutinyonthebounty, second choice in the wagering, found the wet going to his liking and after starting from the pole position in the eight-horse field Hodkinson zipped him to the lead and they had command early passing the first stanza in :29.2. Despite Oneeyedmomma (Bob "Lumberman" Troyer) and Rush N Supreme (Kelly "Sky" Walker) stuck on the limb Hodkinsons charge was undeterred and trotted by the halfway point in 1:00.2 with the betting favorite, Song In My Heart and "Tiny Tim" Miller, getting a two-hole journey. As the field headed for the three quarters and parked horses faded, Miller moved Song In My Heart out to challenge for the lead but Mutinyonthebounty was able to rebuff him and then open some daylight as they rounded the final turn and headed for paydirt. In the lane it was all Mutinyonthebounty and he reported home a 1-1/2 length winner over Song In My Heart. Third place went to Upfront Chip Daddy driven by Michelle "the Belle" Ruvola. It was the second victory of the season for Mutinyonthebounty who returned a $7.20 mutuel. And for Hodkinson, who doubles as the horse's owner and trainer , it was his 56th career driving victory. by John Manzi for the Billings Amateur Driving Series

Steve Oldford, a former National Amateur Driver of the Year, is back in the winner's circle for the 127th time since the business professional began driving in the harness racing amateur ranks .That milestone was accomplished in a Midwest region Billings trot at the Fulton County Fair in Wauseon, Ohio on Saturday, September 2nd. when he guided The Budster to a 2:02.4 victory over four others. "This was the first time that the Billings ever raced at Wauseon," Oldford related via telephone. "We (the Billings) got to race there due to the efforts of Larry Farley, who, by the way, sponsored the winning blanket trophy." Five Billings members from the Midwest region convened at Wauseon and by all indications the race was a barn-burner. Oldford enjoyed a pocket trip after starting from the five hole as Indalecio "Rocket" Arriaga parked Patricia "the Right Stuff" Miller through fast early fractions of:30.3 and 1:00.3, and it wasn't until the three quarters that Miller's Keep The Cash tired. From that point a three-horse race ensued between Oldford's, The Budster, Gregg " Fast Greggy" Keidel's ,Kween Mightus, and Lawbook Larry" Farley's Ronan. All three of the aforementioned trotters nearly hit the finish line simultaneously. "It was so close that neither of us was sure who the winner was," Oldford said. However the finish line photo camera knew. When the judges reviewed the photograph The Budster was a head winner over Kween Mightus and a nose farther back in third place was Ronan. Oldford owns the winner who's trained by Terry Deters. Sent off a slight favorite in well balanced field The Budster paid $5.00 for win. According to Oldford the hospitality shown the Billings participants was wonderful. "Wauseon is a great Fair and we look forward to returning annually.", he added. by John Manzi for the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series

Dein Spriggs, one of the most prolific amateur drivers ever to sit behind a Standardbred showed his competition why he was named harness racing's "National Amateur Driver of the year" twice, first in 2004 and then again in 2005. However, in recent seasons he hasn't driven much in the Billings Series, although he has been productive in the Florida Amateur Drivers Association's races as well as competing against European counterparts in various international amateur competitions Just back from an international driving competition in the United Kingdom and in Finland with his Florida Amateur Club, Spriggs' notched his 437th career victory tonight (Saturday evening, August 26) at Tioga Downs when he sat back off speedy early fractions and then came on to pick up all the marbles to win the Billings Trot with his own Perfect Road in a 1:57.3 clocking. "We had the five-hole tonight and since my horse doesn't have real gate speed I headed for the pylons and figured I'd let the race unfold," Spriggs said. "And they were battling up front so we went speedy early fractions and being close,(to the leaders) I waited until we headed down the stretch before I pulled the plugs and when I did Perfect Road was the strong horse and we caught Doc (Scott) Woogen (driving Six Bax) in the final strides to win it." Third place went to War Cry Hall, driven by Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff. The winner, a 5-year-old Holiday Road gelding , trained by Patti Harmon, returned a $10.20 win mutuel. Spriggs was the leading driver in the Florida Amateur Club's Series at Pompano Park earlier this year and he won a few races against European amateurs on their home turf. "This was only my second start in the Billings this year but I plan to race many more times in the series," Spriggs said. Thus far this season Spriggs has driven 13 winners in just 29 starts and is carrying a hefty .532UDR. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

Harness racing's greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series, moved on to the beautiful facility at the Darke County Fair in Greenville Ohio on Thursday evening (Aug. 24) for a six-horse trot for members in the series Midwestern region and with a cool and collective drive "Lawbook Larry" Farley and his 7-year-old Andover Hall gelding , Ronan, rallied to a 2:01.3 victory over a stubborn The Budster, driven by Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford. When the wings of the mobile starting gate folded Oldford sent his veteran trotter to the front and they and took command before the timer flashed-:30.1. The soft early fractions seemed to appeal to Oldford, that was, until Pat "The Wright Stuff" Miller fired alongside him with Keep The Cash and a head-to-head challenge ensued as both The Budster and Miller' charge battled nose to nose by the halfway point in 1:00.2 . They were still one-two as they passed the three quarters in 1:31.2 but lurking right behind the leaders was Ronan and "Lawbook Larry" just biding their time. As the field rounded the final turn Farley and Ronan set sales for paydirt as Oldford kept urging The Budster. But in the deep stretch Ronan wore down The Budster in the final strides to get up for a head triumph in a 2:01.3 clocking. TK's Jelly Belly finished third for Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg. Sent off as the betting favorite, Ronan paid $6.40. Farley also owns the winner who's trained by Steve Boroff. For Larry Farley, a retired attorney and longtime amateur driver who has been an even a longer harness racing enthusiast, it was his 56th career driving victory. Back in the 1990's Farley, along with 15 others throughout the East Coast ventured to Monticello Raceway to compete in the "the Legal Eagle Pace", a race for strictly for drivers who were also lawyers and Farley placed among the top three finishers in the race. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

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