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Amidst all of the Hall of Fame induction speeches and industry honors, the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association made their annual donation Sunday (July 1) to the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame. Museum president Larry DeVan was on hand to accept the donation from long-time chapter trailblazer and current chairman of the board John Manzi. DeVan noted, "The Harness Racing Museum is fortunate to have such a dedicated group of writers that have consistently raised thousands of dollars annually on our behalf. We are truly grateful, and appreciate the 'raise' as well!" The amount of the donation has increased to $4,000 from past years, thanks in part to a new fundraising venture, the Iron Horse Poker Run, a recent motorcycle event that brought over 120 Harley-Davidson enthusiasts to Goshen's Hall of Fame. Manzi outlined the efforts of the chapter over the last several decades, and noted that, "This is our Cooperstown, and we are proud to continue to support our Hall of Fame." DeVan and Manzi were flanked by chapter secretary Janet Terhune, chapter treasurer and National president Shawn Wiles and chapter president Chris Tully. In addition to other efforts, a successful banquet and souvenir journal are the primary fundraising mechanisms which allows the benevolent organization to make annual donations to both Goshen Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, two separate and distinct entities that share the same hallowed ground and a mutual purpose of preserving and promoting harness racing. This year's banquet will be the chapter's 60th annual event and is being held at the Fountains at Wallkill Golf Club on Sunday, December 2, 2018, with the main honoree being Frank "the elder" Antonacci of Lindy Farms. by Chris Tully for the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of USHWA          

Meadowlands, Pa-The ever traveling CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series was on the move again on Saturday afternoon (July 14) for a $10,000 mid-west region harness racing trot at The Meadows in western Pennsylvania and when the results were deemed official Tom "Mayhem" Svrcek notched his first seasonal driving victory when he rallied Upfront Charlieboy to a stunning come-from-behind victory over eight others in a 2:00.2 clocking. Svrcek, an insurance man by profession, made his first start in this years Billings Series a winning one after finishing off the board in most of his 20 previous non-amateur events. "Fifteen years ago I raced in the Billings but my work schedule made it hard over the ensuing years to drive regularly," noted Svrcek. "Its been a while since I won a race and this victory today was extra-special considering the fact that my horse was eighth at the half and finished like gangbusters." When the wings of the mobile gate folded the betting favorite, Rufus DeVie, driven by Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford, went off-stride before the start as Mutinyonthebounty and Ned "the Insurance Agent" Hodkinson scooted to the front as the first quarter timer flashed :29.2 They were followed closely by BL Class Act and driver, Mike "the Mortgage Man" Mitchell and at this point Upfront Charlieboy was eight lengths off the lead in seventh place. Meanwhile, Hodkinson and his charge showed the way past the half in 1:00.2 followed closely by Mitchell's trotter. As they headed for the three quarters Mutinyonthebounty seemed well in hand as he led the field (the eventual winner still some seven lengths behind) all the way to the top of the stretch. But at that point the leader's lights seemed to dim as he faded and Svrcek had Upfront Charlieboy in high gear. When the field headed for home Upfront Charlieboy still had a lot ground to make up but the 10-year-old Cantab Hall gelding fired on all fours and surged to the lead before the wire and kept Better Call Saul ("Michelle the Belle" Ruvola) at bay for a head triumph in 2:00.2. BL Class Act finished third. Mutinyonthebounty faded to fifth. "My horse has no gate speed that's why we got away so badly," Svrcek explained. "But he loves to stalk and when I finally got a chance to show him daylight the old fella knew just what to do." Trained by Bill Fahy and owned by his wife Moira, Upfront Charlieboy paid $10.60. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

Monticello, NY- If the industry doesn't consider amateur racing an integral part of the current scene they just need to check the number of races being programmed at many racetracks, especially on the East Coast. On a pleasant Thursday afternoon (July 12) at Monticello Raceway amateur racing was front-and-center on the 10-race betting card with members of three different amateur racing organizations taking a seat behind a spirited steed. And when the judges declared the races official, "Joltin Joe" Pennacchio won the Billings trot with Connie Keeper in 2:01.1 and then came back two races later to score a 2:01 trotting triumph in the North American Amateur Drivers Association's trot behind Cheeky Little Minx. A final amateur contest saw Bob Krivelin use the front-end route for a 1:59.2 victory in the Catskill Amateur Club's pace. Even though the program marked the return of two-time National Amateur Driver of the Year "Hurricane Hannah" Miller, the day really belonged to Joe Pennacchio. And although its still early in the season talented driver and multiple horse owner is leading his competitors for seasons-end awards. Currently, his 12 victories are tops among the amateur driving colony. In his first contest of the day "Joltin' Joe" started from the from pole position with Connie Keeper and was content to hug the pylons in the early going. After the half he moved his charge to the outside and rallied alongside the leader and old warhorse, Wygant Prince, only to ware him down in the deep stretch. Wygant Prince and driver "Coach Paul" Minore held on for second while Better To Be Lucky finished third for "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli. "I followed the leaders and when I moved my mare she hung as we rounded the (final) turn but when we headed for home she began to pull away and we went on the a two-length triumph," Pennacchio said. Connie Keeper is owned by Dr Scott Woogen and trained by Gary Messenger, She paid $5.10 for win. Pennacchio's second win was a laugher when his Cheeky Little Minx notched her fourth victory since her purchase in early May. The 6-year-old Lucky Chucky mare ran away and hid on her competition and cruised to an oh-so-easy 5-1/4 length triumph over Gianni (John Campagnuolo). Woody and Bob Krivelin garnered the show dough. "I have 11 horses currently racing with three in the amateur ranks," said Pennacchio, a retired CEO. "We bought "Cheeky" at an Ohio sale in early May and she's been stellar for us. This was her fourth victory since we purchased her." Cheeky Little Miss is owned by Pennacchio's, Joe P Racing, and trained by Allen Sisco. Sent off as the odds-on favorite she returned a $3.20 mutuel. The final amateur contest was in the Catskill Amateur Drivers Pacing Series and when the dust settled Bob Krivelin had guided TKR's Metro Spec to a gutsy gate to wire victory in a 1:59.2 clocking. When the gate sprung in that contest Krivelin sent his pacer to the lead from the pole position and they had three lengths on the field when they passed by the first stanza. From there Krivelin had to contend with a parked-out Idontthankyoucan (Bob Davis) who kept unrelinquished pressure on TKO's Metro Spec. They then raced one-two past the half and three quarters and were still heads apart when they headed for paydirt. At the wire Krivelin's horse scooted away for one length victory over Davis' charge. Hannah Miller finished third with Eagle Artesian. The winner is trained by Bruce Aldrich, Sr. " I really like driving Aldrich's horses because Bruce always has them ready when they hit the racetrack," Krivelin said after garnering his 217th career victory. Owned by Woody Hoblitzell TKO's Metro Spec paid $11.40 by John Manzi, for Amateur Racing

Jackson, MI--The results of the CKG Billings Series trot at Jackson Raceway in Michigan probably won't go down in the annuals of harness racing history for it was a non-wagering affair and just another stop along the road in the sports inaugural and enduring national amateur driving program. But, then again on second thought, it may be long remembered for it was the final race contested over the double-oval at Jackson Raceway which will soon be leveled. However, it certainly will be remembered by that races' winning driver, Patricia "the Write Stuff" Miller. She has been a longtime member of the Midwest region of the Billings Series and her victory with her own veteran trotter, Keep The Cash left her completely ecstatic. "It was a most exciting day and win for me. Huge crowd; a full grandstand bidding Jackson farewell. Much joy and some sadness as well. Another track is history," she offered via email. "I had the one-hole so got away well. Kept the lead until passed by Steve (Oldford with Mulligan Bi). We were well out in front of the others. I stayed on Steve's helmet until just before the last turn. Remembering what John Campbell says about when to pull on a 1/2 mile track (how is that for a memory?) I pulled out and Cash just cruised around Steve and on to victory. The packed grandstand was roaring and it was a huge thrill for me. Cash raced perfectly, so well trained by veteran Michigan trainer and driver, Keith Crawford. Oldford was second best and the show money from the $2000 purse went to My Country Boy, driven by "Jerry The Jet" Mihelich. "Jackson is and was so special for me,"Michigan native, Pat added. "After driving endless Q's (qualifying races) at different tracks, I drove in the rain, fog, and mud of a Jackson spring day and was soaked muddy and dripping. I stomped into the race office and told them it was time, I wanted my license THEN, and they gave it to me. So that is a special spot in my heart for sure." Pat, a professional writer by trade, and her husband "Buckboard Bob" Miller have been longtime owners and drivers and have competed in many amateur series of which the Billings is the granddaddy of them all. by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Driving Series

Nichols,NY--The beauty of the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series is that its a traveling harness racing program where the competitors get a chance to exhibit their abilities on different size racetracks throughout the nine month season. Today ( July 7) the race was over Tioga Downs' 5/8ths mile oval in New York's southern tier and after a hard fought battle "Coach Paul" Minore and his veteran trotter, Wygant Prince, withheld a late charge by Aventure and driver "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli and to score a 1:57.3 victory. Overlooked by the attending public Wygant Prince paid $25.40 for win. When the six-horse field was approaching the starting line the rail horse and even-money favorite, Fleet Honeybee ("Yankee Joe" Lee), went off-stride and was never in contention thereafter. When the mobile gate sprung Wygant Prince, racing from the two-hole, allowed (#6) Uriel and "Annie Get Your Gun" Stoebe, to gain command in the 28-second first quarter. When all the trotters lined up in single file Wygant Prince got to enjoy a two hole journey until the field headed to the third stanza. As the leaders rounded the final turn Minore kept his charge along the pylons and rallied past Uriel and braced for the hard charging Aventure. In the deep stretch Wygant Prince and Aventure matched stride for stride but at the finish Minore's trotter got the last call for a head victory. Uriel finished two lengths behind the top two for third money. The winner, an 11-year-old altered son of SJ's Photo, notched his sixth seasonal triumph and 37th of his illustrious career while raising his career earnings to over $411,000. Wygant Price is owned by his driver and trained by Taylor Gower. by John Manzi for the Billings Series  

MONTICELLO, NY -The results of the NAADA Trot at Monticello Raceway on the steamy afternoon of July 5th was a case of good things come to those who wait. And Bob Krivelin bided his time shadowing the leader and then rallied his veteran trotter, Permanent Joy, to a one and one-half length victory over seven others in a 2:00 clocking. Overlooked and sent off at odds of over 14-1, Krivelin's charge notched his first seasonal triumph and paid $31.40; $11.40 and $6.10 across the board. When the starter said "go" Joe Lee gunned the second choice in the wagering, On The Podium, to the lead from the three-hole and they easily had command as the rest of the field all looked for a position along the pylons. Because of that Lee got his trotter by the frst stanza in a soft :29.3 as Krivelin and Permanent Joy were comfortable in the two-hole. On The Podium then trotted another :29.3 quarter with the trailing horses content to sit still. As they headed for the third stanza Lee's charge looked comfortable as no one in the rears could make up any ground. When the field rounded the final turn On The Podium looked like a winner. But wait...in mid-stretch he began to falter and Krivelin and Permanent Joy rallied along the pylons and went on to a triumph, the horses first victory in five seasonal starts. On The Podium held on for second place while Gianni finished third for Matt Zuccarello. "He's a grand old veteran whose won more than a quarter of a millions dollars in his career,"Krivelin said in the paddock after the race as he hung-up the lines. "But really, he (Permanent Joy) was down in class after having raced in the weekly winners-over here for the past four weeks." Permanent Joy, a 10-year old altered son of Trot For Joy, is owned by the Hero Stable and trained by his driver. Krivelin, a longtime accomplished amateur driver, scored his fifth seasonal triumph and the 217th of his illustrious career. by John Manzi, for NAADA

Goshen, NY - The great trotting mare Check Me Out only has two foals of racing age, and both are track record holders at the track that their mom called home. Check Me Out raced to fame and fortune in 2011 and 2012 for Ray Schnittker and her first two foals - Mooska Stride - 3,1:56h at Goshen Historic Track (GHT) on Sunday, July 1 and Check Out Trixie - 2,1:58.4h at Goshen on Friday, June 29 were both Track Record performances. Through three days of racing at Goshen Historic Track, Cameo Hills Farm in Montgomery, which produced all three of these fillies, has bred the winners of six races at GHT - Check Out Trixie, Major Sugar Rush, Hickfromfrenchlick, Damion Diesel Hahn, Mooska Stride and Youcouldbethatgirl. The first four are trained by Ray Schnittker while Mark Harder trains Mooska Stride and Dan Daley conditions Youcouldbethatgirl. by John Manzi, for Goshen Historic Track

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

MONTICELLO, NY--Amateur driver, Joe Lee, proved that when a horse is the best in a race send him to the lead and if he gets beat on the front-end then he wasn't the best when he started. But fear not Joe, your calculations were precise in the sixth race at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon, June 28. When he drove Soul Train in the third leg of the NAADA trotting series he sent his charge to the front and not only did Soul Train win, but he made a laugh-er out of the contest scoring an 11-length triumph over seven others in a race timed in 1:59.1. "When I drove him here (at Monticello) two weeks ago we were comfortable on the lead and had three lengths on the field as we headed for home but in mid-stretch it felt like someone cut the lines and Soul Train 'caved-in'. But after the race we found out the reason he stopped (and finished a well-beaten fourth) was because he bled," Lee said. "We treated him and he raced like a champ this week. In today's contest Lee gunned Soul Train to the lead from the five-hole and the veteran pacer had command in a :28.2 first quarter. The lead then opened to two lengths as they passed the halfway point and when Soul Train headed up the backside he began to put distance between himself and the remainder of the field. The farther he went the bigger the lead became. It was eight lengths at the three quarters; nine lengths at the top of the stretch and 11-lengths at the finish. " I knew we were going to win it but I was surprised to find that there were no horses even close as we headed for home," Lee added. "It felt kinda strange to win by so many(11) lengths and a margin of victory of that magnitude doesn't happen often." The race turned out to be for second place when Woody and driver Bob Krivelin came from the back of the pack to finish second at odds of 33-1. Third place went to Keenan (John Calabrese) who was just a neck off Woody at the wire. Soul Train, a 7-year-old Trainforthefuture gelding, is owned by Blindswitch Racing, Good Friends Stable, Santo Farina and Joe Lee. Sent off as the slight favorite in the race he returned a $4.70 win payoff. For Lee, who was the Amateur Driver of the Year last season, it marked his 5th victory thus far in 2018. by John Manzi, for NAADA                  

One of the more enticing features of the CKG Billings Series- the granddaddy of all amateur organizations-is that its members are, and have been, offered competitions on all size racetracks. Tonight eight gentlemen drivers lined-up behind the mobile starting gate on the Meadowlands mile-oval with each having visions of reaching the winners circle. But when the race was declared official it was "Joltin Joe" Pennacchio and his trusty steed Super Manning who led his rivals to the finish line while stopping the timer at a very creditable 1:55.2. Sent off as the betting favorite from post six it didn't make much difference if Super Manning ever saw the pylons, the veteran 10-year old Diamond Goal gelding raced with cover on the limb until Pennacchio moved him as they approached the three quarters. Second on the outside when the field passed that marker once they squared for home they began to put daylight between themselves and the rest of the field. At the wire Super Manning was two lengths better than runner-up Toss Cartwright, driven by Peter "Enough Talk" Kleinhans who shadowed the winner from the three quarters but came up short. "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli took home the show dough with Aventure. The winner is owned by Pennaccio's, J P Racing LLC, and trained by Allen Sisco. For Pennacchio, a retired executive, it was the 172nd career victory for the talented amateur reinsman. To say that "Joltin' Joe" currently has a hot hand would be an understatement. With the Billings season not yet half completed Pennacchio already has a start on his best year ever. He has victories in three of his last four starts and thus far this year he has 10 wins, 7 seconds and 2 thirds and a UDRS of .401 from 39 seasonal trips behind the mobile gate. by John Manzi, for the Billings Harness Driving Series    

MONTICELLO,NY- There's an old adage that states "good things come to those who wait" and that expression fits John Calabrese's trotting victory today (Thursday, June 21) at Monticello Raceway to a tee. "I got away fourth along the pylons and just bided my time," Calabrese said after he reined Keenan to a come-from-behind 2:00.2 triumph in the second leg of the NAADA Trotting Series at the Sullivan County oval."As the race progressed I kept moving up after the horses in front of me kept pulling (moving to the outside) and in the stretch my horse was full of trot." When the gate sprung Alan Schwartz hustled Tim Lizzi to the lead from the two-hole as Joe Faraldo found room behind the leader with Tough Get Going after a quick start from post position six. They were one-two as the field passed the first stanza in a soft :29.4 and remained that way past the half in 1:01.2 and by the three quarters in 1:30.4. Meanwhile, Calabrese and Keenan were viewing the front-end action while still some four lengths of the leader. Then midway around the final turn Faraldo moved Tough Get Going to the outside and they raced head-to-head with Tim Lizzi. However, unbeknownst to the leaders Calabrese's trotter kept moving up and was just lengths off Tim Lizzi as the field rounded the final turn. In the lane Tough Get Going was stronger than Tim Lizzi but Keenan was the strongest of all and rallied in the passing lane to a solid one-length triumph in a time of 2:00.3. "When I reached the passing lane I felt confident that Keenan could pass the leaders because he was still strong, even with his left knee-boot down around his hoof ," Calabrese said."But the classy old veteran trotter didn't flinch a bit and just kept to his work." Later Calabrese explained that Keenan's knee boot slipped down the horse's left front leg as they sometimes do. However, when something like that happens a trotter usually goes off-stride but the 10 year old Credit Winner gelding and lifetime winner of over $564,000, shrugged it off and didn't miss a beat and kept going forward as Tough Get Going headed Tim Lizzi for second money. Calabrese owns and trains the winner who paid $47.00 for win. And the trifecta of 6-7-2 returned a whopping $2221.00. by John Manzi, for NAADA

Goshen, NY - Goshen Historic Track, where it all started and where it still is today, is prepping for its 182nd season of exciting harness racing and 2018 will be the 108th year of Grand Circuit Racing at "the Cradle of the Trotter". Racing action this year commenced with three matinee racing programs on the consecutive Sundays of June 3, June 10 and June 17 and this year marked the 57th consecutive season of matinee racing over the historic double-oval. Grand Circuit racing begins on Friday, June 29 and will feature the Landmark Series and the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series. Then on Saturday, June 30, 3-year-old pacers will be featured in New York Sires Stakes action. However, the creme de la crème of the racing meet is the $10,000 Mr. and Mrs. Elbridge T. Gerry Memorial Trot which will be presented on Sunday, July 1 and feature various members of Harness Racing's Hall of Fame at the controls, which has always been a fan favorite. Hall of Famers who will be participating this season include: Brian Sears, Dave Miller, Jimmy Takter, Dave Palone, Dick Stillings,Wally Hennessey and Ron Waples. Autograph cards will be distributed to the first 500 racegoers on Sunday(July 1) and then after that featured race is completed the Hall of Famers will be available for photos and autographs. Also slated on the July 1st card is the New York Sire Stakes for 3 year old trotters and the race under saddle. And then in the evening, on the lawn of the Harness Racing Museum, will be the annual Hall of Fame Banquet. The 2018 racing season ends on Monday, July 2nd with the New York Sire Stakes for horses competing in the County Fair division. All post times for racing will be at 1pm. Also part of the Historic Track offerings this season will be the Goshen High School Graduation on Friday, June 22 followed by a concert on the facility's stage on Friday,June 29 after the racing card is completed. On Tuesday, July 3 through Saturday, July 14 Historic Track will host the Harness Horse Youth Foundation followed on Saturday, July 28 with the Jimmy Sturr Concert. The annual Car Show is set for Sunday, Sept. 2nd and the tracks Golf Outing fundraiser is scheduled for Monday, September 10. by John Manzi, for Goshen Historic Track    

In late February the initial Pro-Am Competition was staged at Pompano Park and today (Tuesday, June 19) at Scioto Downs, the second edition of the challenge where the amateur drivers competed in races with and against some of the industry's top reinsmen was showcased. The competitions are the brainchild of Stacy Cahill, the director of racing at both Pompano and Scioto Downs. And from the participants at each venue monies were raised for the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and for New Vocations. Participating professionals included Tim and Trace Tetrick, Dan Noble and Aaron Merriman while the remainder of drivers in each event were all amateurs. And to the surprise of no one, every one of the four contest races was won by a professional. The first contest race was won by Dan Noble with amateur driver, Steve Oldford second and Tim Tetrick third. Noble came back to win the second Pro-Am event as amateur driver Joey Putnam finished second. And Tim Tetrick was again third. Then in the third Pro-Am event Trace Tetrick turned back Aaron Merriman for the victory. Amateur driver Michelle Ruvola took home the show dough. And in the final Pro-Am event Trace Tetrick again emerged victorious with Aaron Merriman second and Michelle Ruvola third. But the amateur drivers had their day in the sun with a race strictly for Billings members late on the card. NED HODKINSON WINS THE BILLINGS TROT  Ned "the Insurance Man" Hodkinson and his trusty steed, Mutinyonthebounty, remain a perfect two-for-two this year after they out-footed nine others to score an impressive victory in a 1:58.1 clocking. After racing on the front-end relatively unchallenged the wire came just in time as a host of trotters were closing in on Mutinyonthebounty. But the veteran Mutineer gelding refused to lose and kept Winbak Charles M and driver "Lawbook Larry" Farley at bay for a head victory.. Better Call Saul was a neck farther back in third for "Michelle The Belle" Ruvola. Sent off the favorite in the race Mutinyonthebounty paid $5.90 for win. Hodkinson, who owns and trains the winner, notched his 61st lifetime driving victory. by John Manzi, for the Billing Series     

MONTICELLO, NY- The CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series is truly an international competition aided by the fact that on Monday, June 18 some of the Canadian members convened in Ontario, Canada at Grand River Raceway to compete in a trotting contest on the betting card and despite finishing with broken equipment Majestic Mystic was hustled home a five-length winner for "Fabulous Freddie" Bourgault. For the Quebec native it was his first winning drive in Ontario. Sent off as second choice in the eight-horse field Bourgault was content to find a spot in fourth position along the pylons when the wings of the gate folded. But when the pace of the race slowed as the field headed to the halfway point Bougault was out and going and when they passed the third stanza Majestic Mystic had command, albeit by just a head, over the pacesetter Happy Holidays, driven by "Gentle Ben" Hollingsworth). When the field straightened for paydirt Majestic Mystic began to ease away from his competition and finish some five lengths in front of Overcomebyvictory,("Sir Issac" Waxman) in a time of 2:00.4. Third under the wire was Extrapolate in rein to Shane "The Freelton Flash" Arsenault. The winner, a 9-year-old Majestic Son gelding, is owned by Mary Ketros and trained by George Ketros. Sent off at odds of over 3-1 Majestic Mystic paid $9.10 for win. by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Driving Series  

MONTICELLO, NY - Over the lengthy existence of the North American Amateur Drivers Association the organization has donated tens of thousands of dollars to worthwhile industry causes and worthwhile charities. Recently NAADA has donated $500 to both the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and to New Vocations. "These are two very worthwhile charities doing very great work in our industry and for the Pro-Am event coming at Scioto Downs on Tuesday(June 19), noted NAADA president, Joe Faraldo. "The special race card that day provides a great opportunity for our amateur drivers to drive some of the industry's greatest drivers , Aaron Merriman, Dan Noble and Tim and Trace Tetrick." This racing card will feature various amateurs racing alongside the aforementioned professionals with monies raised to be donated to deserving charities. The Pro-Am events will be showcased in races two, four, five and seven with race 10 strictly for members of the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series. by John Manzi, for NAADA

SARATOGA, NY - He doesn't drive often but "Jungle Jim" Hathaway visited the winner circle in his first seasonal drive when the Ballston Spa resident bided his time with EJ's Last Dance with his sites set on catching Tough Get Going before the race was completed. And they did. At the wire they were a two lengths to the good in a 1:58.4 clocking at Saratoga Harness on Friday, (June 15) in the $6000 CKG Billings trot. For Hathaway it was his first driving victory since 2015. Eight trotters lined-up behind the mobile gate and when the wings folded four horses went for the lead but it was Tough Get Going ("Smokin' Joe" Faraldo) who was the strong horse and had command in the stiff :28 first quarter. "Smokin' Joe kept the pedal to the metal and they were three lengths in front at the half as the timer flashed :57.2.At this point the eventual winner, who started from the pole position, was third along the pylons and looking to move up. As Tough Get Going passed the third stanza the lead had opened to five lengths. But as he rounded the final turn his strides shortened and "Jungle Jim" hurried EJ's Last Dance alongside the leader and when they headed down the short stretch Jim Hathaway had victory in site as his trotter gained command and went on to a two length triumph. 18-1 longshot,Tough Get Going, held on for second while Justice Jet, second choice in the wagering, rallied from far back to finish a close third for "Bullet Bob" Davis. Aventure ("Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli) went off as the favorite but he flattened-out and finished fourth. EJ's Last Dance, a 6-year-old Conway Hall mare,is owned by Scheigert Racing Stable and trained by Amanda Kelley. Sent away at odds of over 8-1 the trotter paid $18.40. Next Billings action will be at Scioto Downs on Tuesday, June 19. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

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