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On Monday May 13, the New York Sire Stakes made their first stop of the year at Monticello Raceway for 3 Year Old Pacing Colts, the conditions were less than ideal as it was a cold, rainy raw day that was reminiscent of a fall day and certainly not the middle of May. Hickfromfrenchlick, the Ray Schnittker trained harness racing son of So Surreal started from post position 4 and went off the 1/5 odds on favorite in the 6 - horse field. Hickfromfrenchlick (Mark Macdonald) lead the pack every step of the way, reeling off even rated fractions of 28.2, 58.1 1:28.1, American Mercury (Tim Tetrick) were the first to move down the backside as the outer flow developed with Stone Hanover right behind him. It looked like Hickfromfrenchlick was going in for an easy layup but American Mecury was not done yet as the duo paced home strong, but Hickfromfrenchlick rebuffed American Mercury by a scant neck to score in 1:55, pacing his last ¼ in 27 in the fastest mile of the afternoon. Stone Hanover finished 3rd, coming home in 26.4. Hickfromfrenchlick is owned by Ray Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing LLC and TC Spatorico. In the second heat of Sire Stakes, it was a race of the Major's, Major Blake left fast from post 4 from the gate but decided to take the 2- hole tuck as Major March from the rail cut the steady fractions of 28.2,58.1 1:26.4, Respect The Flag and Astarie angled out past the ¾ maker in an effort to start tracking down Major Blake, but their efforts were thwarted as he coasted to a 2 length victory in 1:55. Major March is trained by soon to be Hall of Famer Linda Toscano, the Art Major - Mach You And Me colt is owned by Bay Pond Racing Stable of Malvern, PA. Major Blake was 2nd and Astaire finished 3rd Major March                    --Geri  Schwarz photo The highly touted Reigning Deo highlighted the last heat of Sire Stakes in the 6th race, the Rock N Roll Heaven colt started from the rail and was the 3/5 favorite going to post. Dealer's Table (PP4) and Jason Bartlett cut the soft fractions to the ¾ pole 29.3, 59.3 1:28.1. Rollwithpapajoe (T. Buter) was the first to come off the rail approaching the half, he continued the overland route with no cover. Heading for home he rolled to an easy 3 length win over Reigning Deo held on for 2nd place followed by Covered Bridge. Rollwithpapajoe is trained Jenn Bongiorno, The Roll With Joe colt is owned by Barbara Bongiorno, BK Lambos and D. Libertos. The Excelsior A contest's saw Shim (American ideal - Feel Life) leave the gate unhurried to rally over Caviart Cale in 1:58.3 for Trainer - Driver and part owner Pat Lachance, in the second A class Surreal Art (So Surreal - Artcotic) was content to sit the pocket while Shanghai Bobby cut the mile. It was a good battle down the lane between the two but Surreal Art hung on for a neck victory over Shanhai Phil in 1:55.1 Sire Stats for the afternoon showed American Ideal and So Surreal both had 2 winners, Jason Bartlett and Patrick LaChance each had a driving double on the chilly afternoon. $461,000 was wagered on the 8- race card for a per race average of $57,625.   By: Shawn Wiles

Monticello, NY--In what started out as a furious contest for position ended in a romp for Soul Train and driver Joe Lee as the harness racing duo scored their second consecutive triumph in the NAADA Trotting Series this week at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon, May 9. Lee, the New York Yankee's assistant locker room manager, bided his time and watched the early speed duel between Joe Faraldo, with Tough Get Going, and Alan Schwartz, up behind Ladys Big Stormont, and then rallied and picked up all the pieces to turn the contest into a laugher, winning by eight lengths in a time of 1:59.2. After Schwartz had gained command when the starter said go, Faraldo came alongside with a rush and Schwartz grabbed leather and let him go. But as they approached the first stanza Schwartz wanted to retake which he did but not after he was forced to trot at :29.3 second quarter before he had command. Meanwhile, Lee had settled along the pylons in the early going and after the battle on the front-end he moved his trotter to the outside as the field neared the halfway point. "I floated out of there and watched the leaders battle royally and when the dust settled I sent my trotter toward the front-end and "ole Soul" knew just what to do as he trotted to the lead and opened up daylight up the backside," Lee said. At that point Soul Train had three lengths on his competition at the three quarters and from there only the margin of victory was in doubt as Soul Train coasted home an easy winner. Connie Keeper (Tony Verruso) nosed-out Ladys Big Stormont for second money. The 8-year-old Trainforthefuture gelding is co-owned by Lee and Blindswitch Racing, Good Friends Stable and Santo Farino. He paid $3.20 for win.   by John Manzi for NAADA

On Monday afternoon May 13, the New York Sire Stakes Circuit will make its 2019 debut as the glamour harness racing division of 3-year-old pacing colts come to town. Going to post will be 3 divisions of Sire Stakes ($38,000) 2 splits of the Excelsior A class ($15,000) and 1 Excelsior B ($6,700) The first division of Sire Stakes ($38,200) will go to post in race 1 with 7 entries, Hickfromfrenchlick (PP4) has been pegged the morning line favorite. The So Surreal colt had a very productive year as a 2-year-old where he earned $138,541 and earned a speed badge of 1:51.3. Last week he had an easy tightener at Pocono Down where he romped in 1:53.3 to win by 8 ½ lengths for trainer Ray Schnittker. Local favorite KJ Leo will start from post 6, last year the Gary Messenger trained colt won the NYSS Consolation at Yonkers and finished the year with $68,292 in earnings. This year the Art Major colt won a conditioned race last week at Monticello Raceway in 1:57.1, regular driver Jim Taggart Jr. will drive. The 2nd division of Sire Stakes features Respect Our Flag was sharp in his performance 2 weeks ago where he scored in 1:49.2 at the Meadowlands for trainer Jenn Bongiorno, Joe Bongiorno will drive the son of Roll With Joe. Sam Schillaci brings Major Blake to fray, the son of Art Major has had 3 winning qualifiers under his belt at his home track Northfield Park, Major March will start from the rail for trainer Linda Toscano, the Art Major colt is owned by Bay Pond Racing, Jason Bartlett will drive. The final heat of Sire Stakes action is in race 7 and highlights Reigning Deo, the winner of last year's NYSS final at Yonkers Raceway in 1:54.4, the son of Rock N Roll Heaven will start from the rail with Jim Morrill Jr at the helm for trainer Brett Pelling. After winning the NYSS final last fall, Reigning Deo dabbled in Grand Circuit competition and finished the year with $243,163. The Excelsior A, class first split highlights Jack Nation, the son of American ideal took his Lifetime mark as a 2 YO at Monticello Raceway in 1:57 for Blake Macintosh, Mark Macdonald will handle the driving assignment. Post time for the 8-race card is 12:50   by Shawn Wiles

MONTICELLO, NY-For the second consecutive week, and for the fourth time in his last six starts, Ladys Big Stormont emerged victorious over his harness racing rivals in the NAADA Trotting Series event at Monticello Raceway on Thursday (April 25). But unlike his other triumphs the big strapping altered son of Earl Of Stormont came charging with a furious rally in the lane to score a 2:00.2 victory for his owner and and driver, Alan Schwartz. “I was thinking about leaving and challenging for the lead but when three others had the same idea I grabbed leather and looked for room along the pylons,” Schwartz explained. And Schwartz's move proved beneficial despite being 10-lengths in the rears as Joe Lee, with Soul Train, and Joe Faraldo, with Tough Get Going led the field by the first quarter in a swift 28 seconds. Soul Train showed the way to the half as the timer there flashed :58. “I was caught near the back of the pack and was looking for somewhere to go but there was no room other than to follow the leaders.” Schwartz related. However he wiggled his way out off the pylons but at the three quarters Schwartz saw the leaders getting away from him so he moved to the far outside and although his trotter was seventh at the top of the lane once they straightened for paydirt Ladys Big Stormont hit another gear and began gobbling up his rivals and trotted clear for a 1-1/2 length triumph. “I raced him many times over the past four seasons but he was never as strong at the end of a mile as he was today,” Schwartz said smiling.. “He even amazed me.” But the victory also amazed Ladys Big Stormont's backers as the gelding paid $14.20; $6.70 and $8.90 (no typo here) across the board. It was the 40th lifetime victory for veteran trotter who raised his career bankroll to over $319,000. In the NAADA contest, where the top three in points at series end, will vie for a chance to be determine the candidate who'll represent NAADA against their Italian counterparts later this year. With three series legs remaining Schwartz leads the way 39 points. Joe Lee (35) and Joe Faraldo (34) follow but also in the hunt are Bob Krivelin (28) and Paul Minore (27) and Monica Banca (24). The next leg will be on Thursday, May 2nd at Yonkers Raceway   by John Manzi for NAADA

MONTICELLO – Last Wednesday afternoon at Monticello Casino & Raceway, there were probably 50 people inside the gambling hall that has 1,100 video-lottery machines. The empty scene demonstrated why its owner, Empire Resorts, plans to shutter the Sullivan County facility on Tuesday after 15 years in operation, making it the first so-called racino in New York to close since they were approved in 2001. Empire Resorts also owns the $1 billion Resorts World Catskills casino just six miles away, and the company says the two facilities simply couldn't co-exist. The betting at Monticello Casino & Raceway's video-lottery terminals has slowed to a crawl since the larger casino opened in February 2018, while Resorts World Catskills faces its own financial challenges. There is not enough business that remains at that VLT facility to justify the cost of operating it," Ryan Eller, Empire's president and CEO, said last week. The closure raises questions about the future of horse racing at Monticello Raceway and whether the VLTs can be relocated to another venue in the region, which Empire Resorts and state lawmakers are considering.         What happens next? Empire Resorts is vowing to keep open the venerable harness track, which started racing in 1958. But closing the VLT facility is drawing criticism from local officials and customers, who talked about missing the small, family atmosphere at Monticello. Resorts World "will never be like this. This is like a family here. You get to where you know everybody," Hunter Rhinesmith, 77, of New Jersey, who has come to the track since 1959, said as he and his wife left the racino last week. There are also concerns the company ultimately wants to dump racing all together, but Resorts World said it has no plans to do so. "The guardians of racing are the horsemen. Track operators are the guardians of their pocketbooks and nothing else," said Joe Faraldo, president of the state's Standardbred Owners Association. Hunter Rhinesmith talks about the imminent closing of the casino, at the Monticello Casino Raceway in Monticello, April 10, 2019.  (Photo: Mark Vergari/USA TODAY NETWORK New York)   The VLTs could get a new life in other locations in the region. A state bill would let the Catskill Off-Track Betting Corp. take over the machines and locate them in three locations in its region, which stretches across the Hudson Valley and into the Southern Tier. To counter the legislation, Empire Resorts has quietly floated its own proposal to reopen a VLT facility with 1,100 machines in Orange County, ideally near the popular Woodbury Common outlet mall.   Empire Resorts had downplayed relocating the VLT facility, but the USA Today Network's Albany Bureau obtained a copy of the company's 15-page proposal dated March 19 circulated at the state Capitol that boasts of the money and jobs a gambling hall in Harriman could bring to the region. On Wednesday, Eller confirmed Resorts World's interest in a new VLT parlor in neighboring Orange County. "We’re eager to explore various options to preserve the Monticello Raceway operations, and relocating the raceway video-gaming machines to Orange County would definitely go a long way to that goal," he said. "It creates jobs, increases revenue for the state of New York and education, and we look forward to continuing the dialogue with the state, Orange County, Sullivan County and all stakeholders." More: An exclusive, inside look: New York’s largest waterpark, The Kartrite, is opening More: Resorts World Catskills: Financial struggles grow for new casino, report shows Closing a racino The exterior of the Monticello Casino Raceway in Monticello, April 10, 2019.  (Photo: Mark Vergari/USA TODAY NETWORK New York)   When Resorts World Catskills opened in February 2018, Empire Resorts said it would keep open the VLT parlor at Monticello Raceway, hoping to serve enough customers so both could be profitable. But Resorts World has struggled to draw customers from the New York City area as it had anticipated, and it appears the new casino is simply pulling customers from Monticello. Resorts World's net win per day — the money left in the slot machines after payouts to winners — has been the lowest in the state at about $119 per machine. Monticello has been even worse over the past year: a mere $75 win per day, which is the lowest of any racino since the VLT parlors starting opening across New York 15 years ago. The amount bet at Monticello over the past year fell 50 percent compared to the year prior, records show. Empire Resorts announced in January it would close Monticello's gambling hall April 23. All players' points and perks will be transferred over to Resorts World. About 40 employees will remain at the racetrack, while the roughly 160 workers at the Monticello casino were offered either a severance package or a job at Resorts World. Mona Karasik, 65, of Bethel, said she is retiring as a slot engineer at Monticello, saying she wasn't offered a comparable position at Resorts World. "It’s a big loss, and I’m going to miss all my people," she said. "I have two physically challenged sons and to me this was my escape for the last 15 years. And my co-workers were the best. We were like a family." Mona Karasik a slot attendant, talks about the imminent closing of the casino at the Monticello Casino Raceway in Monticello, April 10, 2019. (Photo: Mark Vergari/USA TODAY NETWORK New York)   The state Gaming Commission said it is set to remove the VLTs, which the state owns. "The commission has been working with both Empire Resorts and the central system and game vendors to appropriately close the gaming activity and secure and remove all technical equipment," the commission said in a statement. The state gets a portion of the revenue from Monticello's VLTs to fund education, and the horsemen also get a piece for racing, as do local governments for hosting the facility. Those payments will now be covered by Resorts World Catskills. The state budget doesn't anticipate any reduction in revenue to the state. Resorts World, meanwhile, is lowering the number of slot machines it has: Last month, the state approved it going from 2,150 machines to 1,600 machines, 26 percent fewer than initially mandated. More: Resorts World Catskills struggling financially: report More: Resorts World Catskills, Tioga Downs to lower number of slot machines A horse track remains Harness racers warm-up their horses before a race at the Monticello Casino Raceway in Monticello, April 10, 2019.  (Photo: Mark Vergari/USA TODAY NETWORK New York)   While the racino at Monticello was nearly empty inside last week, the harness track outside had more horses than people. Just three or four people were along the rail watching the races last Wednesday afternoon, a sign of how horse racing has become reliant mainly on simulcast betting rather than on-track attendance. Indeed, attendance at Monticello Raceway in 1987 was about 426,000, state records show, but was down to a meager 13,000 in 2017. With the racino closing, there will be even fewer people on the property. The amount bet on races there fell from $13 million in 2007 to $4.6 million in 2017. Jimmy Walker, 81, of Monticello, remembered when the expansive grandstand at the track would be packed. He said he has been coming since it opened.  "The parking lots were full; you couldn’t find a place to park," he recalled. Video slot machines are pictured at the Monticello Casino Raceway in Monticello, April 10, 2019.  (Photo: Mark Vergari/USA TODAY NETWORK New York)   Faraldo said he fears Empire Resorts will look to get out of the remaining six years of its contract with the horsemen to run racing at Monticello. Faraldo said it would difficult to try, though: State lawmakers have opposed any inkling of talk of closing racetracks, citing the jobs they create. Moreover, state law requires any racino to maintain racing in order to keep their VLT license. Faraldo contended Resorts World's license could be in jeopardy if it decided to close racing, since Monticello's revenue sharing is now tethered to the casino. But Eller said it has no plans to close the track. "We have an intention and a commitment to continue to run racing operations for the foreseeable future," he said. "So we have no intent to shut down the racing operations. As long as we’re able to support it, we’ll continue to support it." More: How VLTs saved NY horse racing More: How upstate's new casinos are underperforming Talk of moving the VLTs The exterior of the Resorts World Catskills Casino Resort in Monticello, April 10, 2019.  (Photo: Mark Vergari/USA TODAY NETWORK New York)   Assembly Racing Committee chairman Gary Pretlow, D-Mount Vernon, introduced a bill in February that would turn over Monticello's VLTs and the track to Catskills OTB. The structure would be similar to the one by Western OTB, which owns and run Batavia Downs — a harness track with VLTs. Pretlow said the measure would put the track on better footing and allow the state and local governments to benefit from keeping the VLTs open. The bill would let Capital OTB open three smaller VLT facilities in the region, including potentially in Broome, Chemung, Orange, Rockland, Dutchess, Tompkins, Putnam or Ulster counties. "My concern has always been the viability of the racetrack, and that’s supported by the activity in the racino, not the casino," Pretlow said last month. "When they said they wanted to shut down the machines, I suggested that we, the state, take over those machines and make them part of Catskill OTB." The exterior of the Resorts World Catskills Casino Resort in Monticello, April 10, 2019.  (Photo: Mark Vergari/USA TODAY NETWORK New York)   Resorts World, though, has indicated it could run a VLT parlor in Orange County, projecting in its analysis that the facility would be a revenue boost for the region, include $100 million or more of investment from Resorts World and add about 400 jobs. Resorts World said it intends to talk to local leaders about the idea. Either way, officials locally hope that the soon-to-be empty casino at Monticello Raceway can be reused as a space for events or another full-time purpose. "It’s a great location for economic development," said Joshua Potosek, the Sullivan County manager. "There is a lot of real estate where they can do a lot of things." By Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Reprinted with permission of The Poughkeepsie Journal

Monticello, NY—After spending the winter competing in amateur harness races at Pompano Park, Joe Pennacchio, last years Amateur Driver of the Year, has moved north and made his first start in this season's NAADA trotting series a winning one when he guided his own Cash For Gold to an easy two length triumph in a 1:59.4 clocking and turned back seven others at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon, April 11. “It wasn't easy because he's a high stung individual and he wears you arms out prior to the start,” Pennacchio offered after the race was completed. “He's a nervous sort who 'latches on' prior to the race so much so that I have to take him back to the paddock to rest my arms and then go behind the gate when we're called to do so.” After starting from the seven-hole as second choice in the betting, Pennacchio sent his trotter toward the front but smartly took a tuck before the first quarter was trotted in:29.3. However, he didn't stay there long and moved to the outside as the field, led by last week's winner, Tough Get Going and driver Joe Faraldo, approached the halfway point in :59.3 When the leaders straightened up the backside and headed for the three quarters, Cash For Gold was pressuring Tough Get Going but the latter rebuffed the former and Faraldo's charge still had command as the three quarter timer flashed 1:29.4. In the lane Monica Banca, with the race favorite High Blue, was sitting along the pylons in third position and was looking for daylight. But racing room in the lane never appeared until mid-stretch and when Banca sent her trotter up the pylons it was too late as Cash For Gold trotted clear to score the victory. Tough Get Going held on for the show dough. “He has been prone to making breaks on the double ovals but this was one of his best miles on half mile track,” a happy Joe Pennacchio said after the race referring to Cash For Gold's 1:59.4 victory. Owned by Joe P Racing and trained by Allen Sisco, the winner scored his first victory of the season and returned $6.90 for win. In the quest to determine who'll represent NAADA in an amateur competition in Italy later this year Joe Faraldo, with 29 points, leads Joe Lee (22), Bob Krivelin (21), Paul Minore (16) Alan Schwartz (16) and Monica Banca (16). At series end the top three in points will vie for a chance to get that all expense -paid trip to represent NAADA against the Italians in an international competition.   by John Manzi for NAADA

On any given day, there are a handful of drivers at Monticello Raceway that can win 5 races in a day, today was Jim Devaux's day. 4 of Devaux's win's came in the wire to wire fashion, he won the first race with Let Me Explain (2:00.1 - $9.40) The Murray Bassen trained Bestgirlfriendever took race 3 (2:00.4 - $2.70) for her second win of the season. Mylittlesurfergirl from the rail found the 2-hole journey to her liking and won the 5th (1:56.3 - $4.10) giving trainer Murray Bassen a training double. Meadowbranch Max accounted for the 4th win of the card (2:02.1 - $3.20) Kamwood Laughter N (1:58 - $2.80) rounded out the afternoon, the 12 year old Live or Die mare notched her 5 win of the season for trainer Joseph Skowyra. With the 5 wins on the card, Devaux is currently in 3rd place for leading Dash winning drivers with 61, Mike Merton is 2nd with 70 and Austin Siegelman is atop the leader board with 99 wins. Austin Siegelman has experienced the quintuple 4 times already this year. A total of $525,000 was wagered on the afternoon for a race average of $65,000.   By Shawn Wiles

Monticello, NY--The third leg of the NAADA spring trotting series was contested at Monticello Raceway on the pleasant Thursday afternoon of March 28 and when the judges declared the race official Alan Schwartz and his sturdy charge, Ladys Big Stormont, emerged victorious. Sent of as second choice in the seven-horse harness racing field the 8-year old Earl Of Stormont gelding turned back six rivals for an easy triumph in 2:01:2. Claimed by Schwartz for $12,500 four years ago, the victory was the 38th of the trotters illustrious career who has massed over $310,000 in purse money. In today's contest Schwartz sent emerged victorious to the lead after they started from the four-hole and they had command midway around the first turn but they were challenged by Joe Faraldo and Tough Get Going who ranged -up on the outside. It was at this point that Schwartz had to make a decision."My horse races best when he's on the front-end but I didn't want to get in a speed duel with Faraldo so I let him go (take command) and then retook (the lead)." The quarter time was a relatively soft :29.3 and once on the lead but both horse and driver seemed comfortable. They trotted by the half in 1:00.3 and Ladys Big Stormont was easily in command as they passed the third stanza in 1:31.2. "On the (final) turn I glanced back as saw the betting favorite, Permanent Joy (Bob Krivelin), in third place but when he rounded the final turn my horse was still strong and we coasted to an easy 2-1/2-lenght victory," Schwartz explained. Permanent Joy finished second while Tough Grt Going held on for the show dough. It was the 610th driving victory for Schwartz owns and trains the winner who paid $6.10 while notching his second seasonal triumph. Now with three legs of the 10-leg series contested there has been a different winning driver in each event. At series end the top three point earning reinsmen in the preliminaries will vie for a chance to represent NAADA in an international amateur driving competition in Italy later this year. The series fourth leg will be presented at Yonkers Raceway next Thursday.   by John Manzi for NAADA  

Three year old harness racing pacing filly, Cheep Sunglasses, under the expert guidance of Austin Siegelman, reaches the wire in 2:02 at Monticello Raceway on Wednesday March 20. Austin Siegelman won 5 races on an 8 race card. No, its not groundhogs day but it is beginning to sound like a broken record, for the fourth time this season Austin Siegelman won five races in an afternoon at Monticello Raceway, he did it again on Wednesday March 20. He proceeded to win the first 3 races Boostwiththefur (1:59.1- $3.10), Cheep Sunglasses (2:02 - $6.30) Gonna Fly (1:58 - $10.80) he finished 3rd in the 4th race. Four Starzz Lefty (1:59.3 - $10.20) won the 5th race, Austin finished 2nd in the 7th race with Cerisier. It was Adorabella, a 3-year-old Pet Rock filly that earned Siegelman his 5th trip to the winners circle. Adorabella is trained by Jody Riedel, it was the fillys first pari mutual win. The five wins from today has vaulted Siegelman to the top of the leading dash winners at Monticello Raceway with 85 wins, Mike Merton is second with 64. James DeVaux 52 and Bruce Aldrich in 4th with 49 wins. Overall Siegelman has won 118 races thus far in 2019, which is good enough to earn him the 6th place nationally , his mounts have earned $676,073 at this point in the season.   By: Shawn Wiles

Goshen, NY - The Racing Under Saddle series of New York is proud to host their inaugural Derby Night at the Races event on (Saturday) May 4 in Orange County, NY, the Cradle of the Trotter. The fundraiser is an audience-participation event where actual races are shown on multiple televisions and guests are given the chance to "wager" on the outcome of eight pre-recorded horse races and win prizes. The event starts at 6 pm, and guests will also be able to watch the 145th Run for the Roses live from Churchill Downs, which is slated for a 6:50 pm post time. Party-goers are encouraged to wear Kentucky Derby-themed attire and there will be prizes for the derby best hat, best dressed, as well as a host of great door prizes. To be held at G.W. American Burgers in Chester, NY, the multi-media facility is well-equipped to host the fun and excitement of a horse racing-themed affair which is geared toward adults and equine enthusiasts. Tickets are $25 each or $40 per couple and seating is limited. Advance ticket purchase is necessary, and can be reserved by contacting Vanessa Karlewicz at (call or text) 914-588-3104 or thru Facebook messenger. RUS NY is a group of passionate equestrians that are collectively committed to organizing and promoting under saddle races for Standardbreds across the state of New York, including events held in conjunction with various New York Fair Stakes races. For more information about RUS NY go to:   by Chris Tully for RUS NY

Monticello, NY-- On a pleasant afternoon with the sun peeking through the clouds and the temperature hovering in the mid-50's the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) kicked off its 37th season with a trot at Monticello Raceway and when the judges hung the official sign Joe Lee was victorious after he guided Soul Train to an easy triumph in a 2:00 clocking. After getting away with a slow start from the four-hole Lee was content to follow the leaders in the early going before he moved his charge off the pylons and then rallied to the lead which was theirs as the field trotted by the half mile marker in :59. "I felt I had the best horse so I didn't want to follow the leaders and after we passed the quarter pole I moved "Soul" off the pylons and headed for the lead," Lee explained. Sent off the odds-on favorite, Soul Train opened up daylight on the field and led Wygant Prince (Paul Minore) by the half way point in:59 and were still in command as they passed the third stanza in 1:29. After sitting in the cat-birds seat Brandos Muscle Man, with Peter Kleinhans at the controls, made their run at the leader as the field straightened for home . Although they trotted by Wygant Prince they came up short and had to settle for second money, 1-1/2 lengths behind Soul Train. Joe Lee, who during the major league baseball season is the New York Yankee's assistant clubhouse manager, was thrilled with his trotter's performance today. "He's such a pleasure to drive, Nothing fazes him and he's so handy. If you want to leave just ask him or if you need to find a hole he's responsive," Lee said of Soul Train. "An old veteran (a $410,000 career winner) he knows just what to do." Lee co-owns the 8-year old altered son of Trainforthefuture with Blindswitch Racing, Good Friends Stable and Santo Farina. He paid $2.80 for win. The second leg of this NAADA trotting series will take place at Yonkers Raceway next Thursday, MARCH 21.   by John Manzi for NAADA

Harness racing driver Austin Siegelman's favorite number recently has been 5, on 2 occasions already in the young 2019 season, 27-year-old Austin Siegelman has won 5 races at Monticello Raceway, today he did it again for the third time. It didn’t matter if he was starting from the rail or the 8 hole, Siegelman found a way to find the winners circle. The winners started in the first race where he piloted River Run for Ryan to a 1:57.3 win for trainer Arthur Jones, the son of Western Terror notched his first win of the year.  Badlands Palace took the 3rd race from post position 2 for his first pari-mutuel win of the year in 1:59.3 for Trainer Robert Lounsbury and owner Margaret Olmstead, the daughter of Badlands Hanover returned $3.10 to win.  Siegelman scored from the 8 hole with Woodmere Rondevous in 1:59.4 by a scant neck and paid $12.60 to win.  Reflexionofroyalty would account for the 4th win of the afternoon, the 4-year-old mare by American Ideal is trained by Allen Sisco (2:01 - $3.70) The last winner of the day was Yankee Devil (PP2) who scored a wire to wire win in 1:59.2 ($5.70) for trainer E. Bucky Angle Jr.  Yankee Devil a 14-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser was winless in 2018 in 14 starts. With a bit more luck Siegelman could have won 7 races, he was just nailes at the wire in the 7th race with the 3/5 favorite Histoire Eternelle in a tight photo. In the 8th race, post time favorite Ironbarbassy was scratched lame in the post parade. In the paddock after the conclusion of racing when asked about his day, the reserved  Siegelman said “I have been getting live mounts and I have been putting them in good spots” Siegelman is atop the leader board for leading Dash Winners with 65 wins, followed by Michael Merton (61) James DeVaux (47) Bruce Aldrich (46) and Jim Taggart Jr rounding out the top five with 30 wins $599,529 was wagered on the 9-race card, an average of $66,000 per race, live racing resume Monday March 11 at 12:50. By:Shawn Wiles

Last week it was Austin Siegelman who put on a driving clinic at Monticello Raceway, this week its Mike Merton. On Wednesday February 20, Merton dominated the snowy afternoon and drove 7 winners on the 12-race card. He started off hot winning the first race with Mamie Marc in a wire to wire win for trainer Patti Harmon in 2:00.4. In the 3rd he scored with Permanent Joy in a 7-length romp in 1:59 and paid $3.80 to win. Drive em Cowboy accounted for his 3rd win of the day in 1:56.3. Merton then went on to win races 7 - 10 Hi Ho Steverino won race 7 in 1:57 - $3.40. Zach Lee won in 1:56.1, giving trainer Andrew Adamczyk a training triple for the afternoon. And Patronne Seelster, a 5-year-old daughter of Bettors Delight was another winner for Merton (2:00.3 - $9.70). Rounding out the afternoon in race 10 was Caviar Court, the Jim Doherty trainee scored in 2:03.2 by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

Monticello, NY - No, it's not a typo, yesterday at Monticello Raceway harness racing driver Austin Siegelman won 5 races and today he duplicated the exact same feat. Siegelman won the second race of the afternoon with Reflexionofroyalty from the rail in 2:00.1 and returned a $8.50 win pari-mutuel, it was the first win of the season for Reflexionofroylaty. Histoire Eternelle (PP4) gave Austin his second win of the day, as he scored a wire to wire win in 1:57 for trainer Chris Petrelli. He came right back in the following race to score with Victory Singer (1:59.4 - $2.60) it was the 3rd win a row for Victory Singer. In the 7th race it was Sky Guy from post position 8, to win by 3 lengths after cutting the entire mile in 1:57.1, the son of Sportswriter is trained by Thomas Merton. The last win of the afternoon came aboard Celtic Art, the Joe Moeykens trained son of Artiscape won in 1:59 and paid $10.40 to win. The top 4 drivers are in a bottleneck for leading dash winner with 3 drivers Bruce Aldrich Jr. Michael Merton, and James Devaux all tied with 34 wins, Austin is in close pursuit with 33 wins. Over $780,000 was wagered on the 10-race card. Live racing returns on Monday with a 12:25 post time. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway  

At Monticello Raceway on Wednesday February 13, Austin Siegelman won half of the 10-race card as he steered 5 winners to the harness racing winner's circle. The Rick Dane Jr. trained Brandos Muscle Man ($13.00 - 2:00.4) got things going for Siegelman in a wire to wire effort from the 7 hole. Virtuous Dragon PP2 won the 4th race ($15.40- 1:58.2) A and C Artist ($1:59.2 - $6.70) - Ironbarbassy ($3.80 - 1:59.2) -and Law of Attraction ($9.00 - 2:00.2) The 26-year-old Siegelman is in 4th place for leading dash winning drivers, and sports a respectable .298 UDRS by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway  

Due to Winter Storm Maya, Qualifiers will be held on Thursday February 14, the box closes at 11:45 on Wednesday. Please contact the Race Office at (845) 794 - 4100 EXT 557 by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

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