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Yonkers, NY-- On Thursday evening, Oct. 3 two harness racing divisions of trotters in North American Amateur Drivers Series (NAADA) went to post at Yonkers Raceway and when they were declared official Bob Hechkoff and Tony Ciuffetelli, Jr each emerged victorious in their respective non-wagering divisions. Hechkoff guided Five Towns to a 2:01.3 triumph while Ciuffetelli scored with Someway Same Hall in 1:59.3; both races contested before the wagering card got underway over a rain slicked oval. In his division Hechkoff sent Five Towns to the front and due to the short five-horse field they got away with :30.1 first quarter with no challenges. But when they headed for the halfway point Miguel Alejo Hernandez was out and moving with Tropical Trice. The two raced side by side until the three quarters when Hechkoff's trotter rebuffed the challenge and then braced for Paul Minore and his veteran Wygant Prince. But Five Towns held strong and rambled to a 1-1/4 length triumph over Minore's trotter. Tropical Trice faded and finished third. Five Towns is owned by RBH Ventures and Spagnola Racing and trained by Kyle Spagnola. The second NAADA split saw Tony Ciuffetelli, Jr. sit a pocket until the head of the stretch and then hustle his trotter to a length triumph in the 1:59.3 clocked mile. After Joe Lee zipped Soul Train to the lead when the gate sprung Ciuffetelli was content to sit in the two-hole and follow the leader. Fast early fractions over the rain-soaked race course took a toll on the leader and when Ciuffetelli decided to challenge late in the mile Someway Same Hall didn't have any trouble circling Soul Train and rallying to victory. Meanwhile in the deep stretch Dave Offenberg hustled Fiji up for second money while Soul Train faded and finished third. Someway Same Hall is owned by his driver and trained by Joe Ciuffetelli. The NAADA Trotting Series continues next Thursday at Monticello Raceway For full results and entries click here. by John Manz, for NAADA

Monticello, NY--It was a tough day for racing at Monticello Raceway with the pouring rain and the muddy track, still business went on as usual. Six members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association battled for supremacy and when the judges posted the official order of finish Alan Schwartz and his old warhorse Ladys Big Stormont emerged victorious by a head in 2:02.1 over Five Towns and driver Bob Hechkoff. After starting from post five Schwartz angled his charge to the pylons and settled in fourth position as Bob Hechkoff gunned Five Towns to the lead and they had three lengths on their competition as they passed the first stanza. "Ladys Big Stormont isn't really comfortable in a hole so I moved him first-up as we headed to the half but we were still some five lengths off Hechkoff's,lead," Schwartz related. "But my horse kept grinding and we finally got alongside Five Towns as we rounded the final turn. From there we were head-to-head all the way to the finish line but my horse got up in the final strides to win it by a head." Although they had a two-hole trip from the get-go, Chapter And Ruth, and driver Tony Ciuffetell Jr.had to settle for third money. Send off at odds of nearly 4-1, Ladys Big Stormont paid $9.80. And for Schwartz, a former Amateur Driver of the Year, it was his 10th seasonal triumph and the 618th of his amateur career. By John Manzi, for the NAADA Series

Yonkers, NY-- In what turned out to be an adjustment in the first leg of the third NAADA Trotting Series at Yonkers Raceway tonight, the first harness racing horse under the wire, Ladys Big Stormont driven by Alan Schwartz, was disqualified and placed second which opened the door for Soul Train and driver Joe Lee to walked away with the lions share of the $8000 purse. "Because of tight racing on the final turn I was forced by Soul Train to go over the pylons on the final turn and when I did the judges deemed it was a Euro-rail violation and my horse should not have gotten any advantage, " Schwartz related after the race. " And I didn't, because the judges disqualified my horse and placed Joe's ( Soul Train) first, even though I beat him by a head at the wire." When the wings of the mobile starting gate folded Schwartz gunned his veteran trotter to the lead and they had command in a :28.4 first quarter with Uriel and Tony Ciuffetelli, Jr. pressing hard on the outside. But after the .59.3 half Uriel began to fade and when he did Joe Lee moved Soul Train off the pylons and rallied up alongside Ladys Big Stomont. However, around the final turn with the leaders tightly side by side the infraction occurred which caused Schwartz's trotter to receive a disqualification which allowed Lee's horse to be placed first. Wygant Prince and driver Paul Minore finished third, just one length behind the top two. Next Thursday the NAADA Trotting Series moves on to Monticello Raceway. by John Manzi, for NAADA  

Yonkers, NY--The NAADA $15,000 Summer Series Final was a harness racing barn-burner when only three lengths separated the winner from the last place finisher. And Joe Pennacchio's 1:59.3 triumph in the event didn't come easy. Up behind his own Cheeky Little Minx in the seven-horse contest which was presented before the first race on the betting card, Pennacchio left the gate from the five-hole and his veteran trotting mare never saw the pylons the entire mile and by all standards she went a very gutsy trip. When the gate sprung Joe Faraldo and Tough Get Going darted to the front and were challenged by Paul Minore and Wygant Prince. Faraldo yielded command to Wygant Prince as Pennacchio and Cheeky Little Minx wanted a part of the action and challenged on the outside as the leaders trotted by the first stanza in :28.2. As they headed for the halfway point Pennacchio and Minore were going at it and the two raced side by side to the half in :58.2 while being stalked on the outside by Cheeky Little Miss. Wygant Prince showed the way to the three quarters and put away Tough Get Going but the veteran trotter couldn't shake the plucky little mare. As they rounded the final turn Cheeky Little Minx and Wygant Prince were noses apart before the latter began to fade. At that point Hannah Miller hustled Jacks To Open up alongside Cheeky Little Miss and the two raced as a team all the way to the wire. It took a photo to determine that Pennacchio's mare was a head better than Hannah's veteran trotter. Broadway Bruiser took home the show dough for Matt Zuccarello. Cheeky Little Minx is a seven-year-old mare by Lucky Chucky, trained by Corey Stratton for Joe P Racing, LLC/ by John Manzi, for NAADA      

Monticello, NY--Two different events for amateur drivers were featured on the eight-race card at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon, Aug 8 and when the judges declared each official, Tony "the Capo" Verruso was victorious with Six Bax in a 1:58.4 mile in the Billings trot while Paul Minore copped the NAADA Trot with Warrawee Preferred in 1:59.4 The local driving colony at the Mighty M is always very cooperative in helping to fill these amateur races and today was no exception. And strangely, local horseman, Gary Messenger trained both winners and both happened to be owned by Dr Scott Woogen, an owner of many standardbreds as well as being an accomplished amateur driver. In the Billings trot Verruso sent Six Bax immediately to the lead from post two and they led their competitors by the first stanza in a swift :28.3 while parking out the favorite Someway Same Hall (Tony "Shifty" Ciuffetelli, Jr.). With Six Bax along the pylons and Someway Same Hall on the limb they trotted by the half in :57.4. Up the backside Someway Same Hall tired and "Joltin' Joe" Pennacchio hustled Super Manning up alongside Six Bax and they raced as a team around the final turn. "My horse was rough in the turns and Pennacchio kept the pressure us but once we straightened for home Six Bax flattened out and we opened a short lead which held all the way to the wire,"Verruso explained. At the wire Six Bax was length winner over Pennacchio's trotter. Tough Get Goings garnered the show dough for Smokin' Joe" Faraldo Six Bax paid $5.80 for win. In the NAADA Trot Minore started from post two and Warrawee Preffered had an exceptionally easy two-hole journey while following Joe Pennacchio with Cheeky Little Miss. They raced one-two all the way to the top of the stretch where Minore angled his trotterout to challenge the leader and in the deep stretch Warrawee Preferrede went on to an easy one length victory. "I was little more than as passenger as my horse, an 8-year old, knew just what to do when we followed the leader to the top of the lane" Minore said. "And when I moved him out to challenge he trotted around the leader and away to an easy victory," Minore said.. Monica Banca finished third with Master of Excuses Sent off as the odds-on favorite Warrawee Preferred paid $3.80. by John Manzi, for both the Billings and NAADA

Monticello, NY-- The final two races in the Italy vs NAADA Friendship Competition were contested at Monticello Raceway on Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 6) and when the shouting was over NAADA's Alan Schwartz and Chris Doherty each emerged victorious in their respective splits; Schwartz won his with We're Gonna Rock in 2:01.2 while Doherty copped his division with Machmemackie in 2:00.1. It was the first time that NAADA has swept all four races in an international competition on American soil. Perhaps that both races were for pacers gave NAADA an advantage since only trotting events are contested in Italy. Sent off as the 3-5 betting favorite Schwartz decided to find a hole when the gate sprung and he did in fifth position along the pylons, a position he held until he moved first up at the half as Monica Banca showed the way with Ryan's Mistress. It wasn't until they reached the three quarters that We're Gonna Rock had the leader in sight. When they headed for home Schwartz only tapped the wheel discs and shouted at his steed and little-by-little We're Gonna Rock began gaining ground on Ryan's Mistress. And at the wire it took a photo to determine that Schwartz's charge was victorious by a head as Italy's Enrico Colombino garnered the show dough with Local Art. The winner, a 6-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven mare is owned by Twin Bridge Racing and trained by Frank Yanoti. She paid $3.30 for win. Young Christopher Doherty was joyous after his victory with Machmemacki. And he should have been, after all, it was is first driving victory this year and only the third of his fledgling career. "We got off to a good start, and with some confusion behind, me we had a four-length lead at the quarter," Doherty related. "But we were never in any trouble through out the entire mile." Even when Relentless Dreamer, driven by Italy's Michele Bechis, looked Machmemackie in the eye at the three quarters Doherty said he still had plenty of horse which proved correct when, on the final turn Doherty's charge began to draw away from his challengers and went on to a 2-1/2 length victory over Relentless Dreamer. Despite a covered two-hole trip the entire way in the deep stretch Yankee Devil in rein to Enrico Colombino, could do no better than a third place finish. A recent purchase by Jim Doherty Jr and John Santini and trained by Doherty, Machmemacki paid $8.10 to win. by John Manzi, for NAADA

Yonkers, NY -- After watching the visiting Italian amateur drivers make a good showing in the Hambletonian Amateur Trots at the Meadowlands on Friday (Aug. 2), the NAADA v. Italian Amateur Friendship Competition got underway at Yonkers Raceway on Monday night (Aug. 5) with two races on the betting card. And when the judges hung the official sign after each contest was completed NAADA's John Calabrese had won both events. Calabrese scored an eye-opening 1:53.2 victory with the Erv Miller-trained Normandy Beach in the pacing contest and Calabrese came right back to score a 2:00.1 triumph in the trot behind the Bill Adamczyk pupil, Blue Swan. Both races comprised the daily double on the Yonkers Raceway betting card. In the trotting contest Calabrese started from the four-hole and coasted along the pylons in fifth position as NAADA's Tony Verruso cut swift fractions of :26.2; :56.3 and 1:25 with Our Regal Ideal N. But when the field headed for paydirt Calabrese angled to the outside and Normandy Beach zipped the lead and coasted home an easy 1-1/2 length winner over Our Regal Ideal N. Italy's Michele Bechis finished third with Hudsonandbernard. The winner, a 5-year old altered son of Somebeachsomewhere, is owned by the Rock and Roll Stable. He paid $13.00. In the trotting event Calabrese had the odds-on favorite Blue Swan from the four-hole and trailed in fourth position until he moved first-up at the half to challenge the pacesetter Muzzy's Muscles , driven by Joe Faraldo. With Muzzy 's Muscles on the inside and Blue Swan on his chin-strap on the outside the two trotters were one-two by the third stanza. Although Muzzy's Muscle got first call at the top of the lane he faded as Blue Swan trotted clear and gamely held-off Merry Hanover (Jacopo Brischetto ) and Tech Titan, with Enrico "Vino" Colombino at the controls. Blue Swan, owned by William Chin, paid $3.90 for win. NAADA has been hosting Italian amateurs from the Venice area with the final two contests tomorrow at Monticello Raceway. by John Manzi, for NAADA    

The members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) have been making plans to host their Italian counterparts from Torino in early August after being guests of the Italians from the Venice area in July. "Besides competing against our NAADA teams at Yonkers on Monday(Aug. 5) and at Monticello on Tuesday (Aug. 6) we are in the process of securing drives for the visiting Italians in the Hamiltonian Amateur Trot at the Meadowlands on Friday, Aug. 2," said NAADA president Joe Faraldo. "And at this time,with the assistance of many, it appears that that the Italians will be able to participate over the famed mile-oval." The visiting Italians team includes; Senor Michele Bechis (461 lifetime wins), Jacopo Brischetto (27 wins), Gianni Scrima (27 wins) and Enrico Colombino (367 wins). "The Italian team leader, Enrico Colombino is a well know Italian amateur and a true gentleman. Alan (Schwartz) and I know him for more than 25 years," Faraldo said. "His dad and mom always brought us homemade soppressata and homemade wine. Enrico's dad did that so many times that we nicknamed him "Vino Colombino" and of the entire family we have very fond memories. It will be great to see a friend from years ago and compete with him on American soil." The following is the scheduled itinerary: Thurs. Aug.1--Italians arrive at JFK and have dinner at Sel et Poivre in NYC Fri Aug. 2--Italians get licensed at the Meadowlands for Hambletonian Amateur Sat. Aug 3-- Italians taken to the Meadowlands,to watch Hambletonian, dinner at Pepolinos Sun. Aug 4-Guided tour of NYC and dinner st Fraunces Tavern where President George Washington gave his farewell address Mon. Aug 5-Race at Yonkers..dinner at Roberto's in the Bronx Tues. Aug 6-Picked up from their hotel in NYC and stop at the Hall of Fame in Goshen; then race at Monticello. dinner at the River Palm in Mahwah, NJ Wed. Aug 7 Italians depart for home by John Manzi, for NAADA  

Yonkers, NY -- As the participating members in the NAADA Series ready for an international competition next week with the visiting Italian amateurs the eighth leg of the current local harness racing series went to post for an $8000 purse tonight at Yonkers Raceway on the betting card and when the race was official, Paul Minore's old warhorse, Wygant Prince, the longest shot on the board (24-1), went wire to wire to score his first seasonal triumph, albeit the 39th of his illustrious career. After grabbing the racetrack from the four-hole Minore played hardball when the odds-on favorite , Tough Get Going (Joe Faraldo) came calling. Despite a :28.2 first quarter Minore refused to allow Faraldo' s trotter to gain command and the two whizzed by the half in :57.4.. And as the two leaders headed for the three quarters they were still heads apart. However, at that point Tough Get Going understandably began to fade while incredibly the 12-year old Wygant Prince kept going forward. He passed the third stanza in 1:28. and opened a 2-length lead on his competitors. When they headed for paydirt David Glasser's, Eyore Hanover, rallied from far back but ran out of racetrack and had to settle for second money as Wygant Prince got off the schnide to notch his first victory this season. Third place went to Fiji, with Dave Offenberg aboard. Those who wagered on Wygant Prince who treated to a $51.00 payoff. He is owned by his driver and trained by Taylor Gower. by John Manzi, for the NAADA Series    

Yonkers, NY ---There's an old adage in harness racing that states "more horses made men than men made horses". And although gender is not quite accurate that statement could highlight Dark Poole's prowess as the veteran gelding has recently won races with two different amateur drivers. A month ago Dark Poole gave 16-year old Brett Beckwith his first pari-mutul win and recently the veteran side-wheeler came into tonight's NAADA trot with two consecutive victories--both guided to triumphs by Annie Stoebe. But at Yonkers Raceway on Labor Day night Stoebe was traded for young Brett Beckwith and the 6-year-old Cantab Hall gelding didn't miss a beat and trotted to a wire-to-wire triumph in 1:57.1 for owner- trainer, Paul Fusco. Having the pole position was certainly an asset and a :28.1 first quarter made a statement that Dark Poole was here for action. Once on top Beckwith kept the pedal to the metal and they trotted through fractions of :58.2 and 1:27.4 and they led Tough Get Going and driver Tony Verruso, all the way to the wire before finishing 1-3/4 lengths to the good in the 1:57.1 clocked mile. Third place in the 8-horse field went to Cheeky Little Miss in rein to Joe Pennacchio. For the record Verruso subbed for Joe Faraldo, who is the captain of the NAADA team which is abroad competing against their Italian counterparts in a three- race series on Italian soil. by John Manzi, for NAADA   USA STILL LEADS ITALIANS IN FRIENDSHIP COMPETITION   The Americans are still on top in the Italy v NAADA Challenge by virtue of a win today (July 4)  by Alan Schwartz and a second by John Calabrese. Then a second place by Paul Minore  in the second contest and a fifth by Joe Faraldo keeps the Americans on top.  The Italians effort fell short in spite of their win, but they did close the gap.  After a recount of the points and two disqualifications, one on each side the points stand at 87 USA and 80 ITALY. Our hosts and the beautiful track Hippodromo Snai Sesana could not have arranged things better. The surface of the racetrack is somewhere between the best of Pocono and Delaware Ohio. You cannot hear a horse going over this surface.Tomorrow they will open the Castello first Medici just for us. This is the home of Catherine di Medici of Firenze in Italia. Mr. Daniele Orsini arranged everything and Alan won with his horse Viola Orsini. Mr. Orsini also handed over an envelope that is not to be opened until team USA arrives home. It is either an invitation to return, a request to visit  or a warning not to return  again. by Joe Faraldo, NAADA president    

Monticello, NY-- As they did last year, and for several years previously, several members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association will be winging their way to Italy for another harness racing friendship competition against their Italian counterparts. Those representing NAADA include; Joe Faraldo, Alan Schwartz, Paul Minore and John Calabrese. They will be competing against a different Italian team at each venue. "We fly to Venice and we'll be in Italy through July 7," noted NAADA president, Joe Faraldo. "We have an experienced international team and many of us have already won races abroad." Contests are scheduled in Trieste (July 2); Padova (July 3) and Cosena (July 5). Of course, while they are there, the Americans will be treated to various local sites in northern Italy as well as enjoying the fabulous local cuisine. Then, after the celebrating-win or lose-- the USA squad will return to the States on July 7 by John Manzi, for NAADA  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Some harness racing fans are not satisfied with just watching the races from rail, they want to be on the other side — and in the driver’s seat — and they can! Many enthusiasts, both men and women are part of amateur harness racing clubs in the tri-state area. Most have day jobs but on weekends they trade business attire for racing colors. According to the United States Trotting Association website: “An amateur driver is a driver who has not received valuable compensation for his or her services as a driver. To participate in amateur driving events, the person must hold a driver's license issued by the United States Trotting Association.". Most amateur drivers donate the percent of the purse money won that a driver would normally receive, to charity, raising money for a variety of good causes. While there are races restricted to amateurs, the amateurs can and often do compete against the pros. For esample, Mal Burroughs, then of Flemington, N.J., won the harness racing’s most prestigious race for trotters — the Hambletonian with Malabar Man in 1997. Only one other amateur has won that race since it started in 1926. The other was Harrison Hoyt, who won it in 1948. The Hambletonian with Malabar Man in 1997 However, it doesn't have to be a world class stakes race to be fun. New Jerseyan, Matt Zuccarello, a Field Sales Representative for Herr Foods Inc. by day, fell in love with harness racing when he attended the races as a kid with his father, at the legendary Roosevelt Raceway on Long Island. “I love so many things including the excitement, speed (even though it feels like slow motion at times), strategy, and camaraderie among all the amateurs. When you win a race and get your picture taken in the winner’s circle, especially surrounded by friends and family, it is awesome!” Over Memorial Day weekend at the Meadowlands, Zuccarello just missed getting his picture taken in the winner’s circle, finishing second in a division of the GSY Amateur Driving Club series. Zuccarello also competes with the North American Amateur Drivers Association and the CKG Billings series, and in a total of 16 starts this year he has two seconds and two thirds. Since 2012 he has raced 347 times, won 12, as second 34 times and was third 39 times. Anthony Verruso, a Flight Attendant for Jetblue Airways also just missed winning the CKG Billings trot at the Meadowlands on May 25 — by a head. Just because they are amateurs, doesn’t mean they are any less competitive than the pros. In 2019 Verruso has won twice and finished second five times in 14 starts with his most recent win at Monticello Raceway in New York. “It is an experience like no other. Racing at high speeds in such tight quarters and having to make split second decisions is as exhilarating as anything you could ever do. And there is no feeling like sweeping a field up the back side and opening lengths to win a race,” Verruso said. He is also president of the Delvin Miller Amateur Drivers' Association which runs the Billings series which will conclude in November with the top point earners earning a start in the final. Verruso was introduced to racing a t a young age. “My Dad was a workout clocker and went to Roosevelt and Yonkers every night for what was my entire life. He told me I could go with him if I got A's in school. So I did and he took me on a regular basis from when I was 10 years old. I learned to clock the workouts too but from those early days on I wanted to be Carmine Abbatiello,” he said referring to the professional driver who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986. For Anthony Beltrami, a state trial judge for the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Pa., driving in races is a welcome change of pace. He loves, “that I get to do something that is really fun and totally different from anything else I do.” His father owned harness horses as long as he can remember. “Before I went to law school, I worked as a groom for Earl Beal, Jr. and David Rovine. Several years ago, I got my trainer's and driver's licenses.” This year he has two wins, a second and a third from eight starts. Men and women compete on equal terms in harness racing. Hannah Miller, not only competes with the men, she often beats them. She was the first woman to earn National Amateur Driver of the Year honors in 2015.  The next year she represented the United States in the amateur World Cup in Budapest, Hungary. So how does one get started in amateur harness racing? Zuccarello said, “I told my dad that one day I wanted to drive and own horses. Years later, I took a class in Delaware, Ohio, where the Little Brown Jug is raced at, was connected to a trainer, Dennis Laterza and his son, who I still have horses with, learned how to clean stalls, jog horses, train and equip them, and I was hooked.” Zuccarello suggests attending the USTA driving school, although none are scheduled for 2019, check http://www.ustrotting.com/standardbred-driving-school/ for 2020 opportunities. Next, Zuccarello said, “get connected with a local trainer near where you live to learn everything about the industry. Once you get this experience under your belt, I would suggest purchasing an inexpensive horse to use for qualifiers while also networking with other trainers and try to secure as many qualifying drives as you can and this will help you work your way towards getting your amateur license.” “You need to start from the ground up. Find an old time guy who likes to impart knowledge and listen to what he says. Don't just go and jump in the seat and think you can drive. First learn to muck a stall. Then understand how to put on the equipment. Jogging would be the next progression and finally going training miles. From there try to get drives in qualifiers to obtain a license. In my opinion, that is the best road to success,” Verruso said. “Find a trainer/stable that you can work for and start out as a groom — hopefully one that can eventually jog and train the horses you care for. Be willing to put in long hours and to learn as much as you can along the way, said Beltrami. See www.ustrotting.com/trackside/amateur-driving-clubs/ for more information on local clubs. For the younger set, the Harness Horse Youth Foundation offers summer camps at area tracks and training centers. At the camps kids learn to care for and drive Trottingbred ponies, miniature versions of Standardbreds.Several former campers have gone on to become professionals. By Lillian Shupe Reprinted with permission of Tap Into Plainfield      

Yonkers, NY -- With the addition of three added driving entrants the sixth leg of the harness racing NAADA trotting series, this week presented at Yonkers Raceway, was split into two divisions, both six-horse fields going $8000 before the betting card got underway. And when the judges hung the official signs series regulars Alan Schwartz and Paul Minore each hustled their charges to victories in their respective splits. Schwartz went an overland trip with his Ladys Big Stormont to score a 2:00.2 triumph while Minore used the front-end route to 2:01.4 victory with his own Glenferrie Dreamer over his rivals. In Schwartz's contest; he left softly from the five-hole with Ladys Big Stormont , took a tuck and was third along the pylons. Pearly Allen showed the way with Wygant Prince with Joe Pennacchio and Santini caught on the limb in the :28.4 first stanza. Heading to the half Wygant Prince and Santini were head-to- head with the former getting first call as the timer flashed :59. But up the backside Schwartz and Ladys Big Stormont rallied but were forced three- deep into the final turn. Undaunted, Ladys Big Stormont battled valiantly down the lane and kept a hard closing Osprey Vision and driver Joe Lee at bay for a neck triumph. Wygant Prince held on for third money. "This was one of the better races that my trotter has gone this year," Schwartz acknowledged. "We got pushed three-deep in the final turn but Ladys Big Stomont dug in and hung tough in the lane to hold off a fast-closing Joe Lee (with Osprey Vision)." In the second division Paul Minore guided his own Glenferrie Dreamer--he also owns Wygant Prince- to a hard fought victory over what appeared to be the tougher of the two splits. Miniore took advantage of the pole position and coasted to the lead in a :29.3 first quarter and caught a real break when last weeks winner, Tough Get Going (Joe Faraldo), had a tough time getting going after making a break before the start rendering him virtually out of the race. Dave Offenberg and Fiji made a serious challenge before the half but Glenferrie Dreamer kept him at bay after a breaking Noble Warrawee (Bob Hechkoff) scattered the field. And although they rallied to be second under the wire Noble Warrawee was disqualified . Third place finisher, Permanent Joy (Bob Krivelin was awarded second money. Fiji took home the show dough. The NAADA series moves back to Monticello Raceway next Thursday. by John Manzi for NAADA    

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

Monticello, NY --The North American Amateur Drivers Association is set to kick-off its 2019 harness racing season at Monticello Raceway on Thursday, March 14.with a two-track competition for its members. The following Thursday (March 21) the competitors will move on to Yonkers Raceway for a leg at the Hilltop oval. Races will be held weekly on Thursdays until the top point earners vie for a $15,000 final at Yonkers on May 23. However in this series there is an added attraction where one of the top three point leaders will get a chance to compete against their Italian counterparts on racetracks in Northern Italy. There is a nominal fee to join the North American Amateur Drivers Association but NAADA offers races for its members both home and abroad throughout the entire season. NAADA vice president Alan Schwartz further explains.  “Our first Spring NAADA Trot race will begin on March 14. One of our top 3 point leaders at the end of this competition will be drawn to win ONE ticket to compete in a competition to begin July 1st in Padova, Italy.  “The itinerary thus far is as follows:Tuesday. July 2: Trieste, Wednesday July 3: Padova,and Friday July 5: Cesena. “The trip will be a highlight of the driving career for the one fortunate enough to be selected. You have to compete to win, so don't miss a leg.” To become a member of NAADA please contact the organization's president Joe Faraldo (718-544-6800), or call Alan Schwartz at 845-292-8128. Below are the race dates, the tracks, and the purses offered. Race Dates 1st Leg Thursday March 14 Monticello $5,000 2rd Leg   Thursday March 21 Yonkers $6,000 3rd Leg Thursday March 28 Monticello $5,000 4th Leg   Thursday April 4 Yonkers $6,000 5th Leg Thursday April 1 1 Monticello $5,000 6th Leg   Thursday April 18 Yonkers $6,000 7th Leg   Thursday April 25 Monticello $5,000 8th Leg   Thursday May 2 Yonkers $6,000 9th Leg Thursday May 9 Monticello $5,000 10Leg   Thursday May16 Yonkers $6,000 Consolation Wednesday May 22 Monticello $8,000 Final Thursday May 23 Yonkers $15,000   by John Manzi for NAADA

Yonkers, NY- Joe Faraldo is a happy man. And why shouldn't he be? After all, the veteran amateur driver just won the $15,000 Final of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's fourth and final trotting series with Tough Get Going at Yonkers Raceway on Friday night (Dec. 7). They toured the Hilltop oval in a time of 2:00 to score a one-length victory over Monica Banca and Master of Excuses. When the wings of the mobile gate sprung Banca sent Master of Excuses to the lead from the two hole with Faraldo's charge on the limb pushing the pace after starting from post five. “I wanted to take the lead but Monica wouldn't have it and she said 'get behind me', which I did and it worked out to be the winning move,” Faraldo related by phone after the race. Banca and Master of Excuses passed the first stanza in :28.4 and they were comfortable by the half in :59.4. The leaders then raced one-two past the three quarters in 1:29.1 and on the final turn Faraldo moved Tough Get Going off the pylons. “My horse felt strong at that point and when we straightened for home I knew we'd be the winner,” he said.  Master of Excuses was second best a head in front of third place finisher Multitaskr Hanover in rein to Jennifer Lappe. Tough Get Going has won his last two starts and recently has been at the top of his game. Asked how come the he's currently racing better Faraldo was quick to respond. “He likes the cold weather and he can breath better when the temperature dips,” All things considered ,the veteran 5-year Kadabra gelding has amassed almost $47,000 this season. He's owned by Faraldo and Richie Banca and trained by Banca. Sent off as second choice Tough Get Going paid $6.00 for win. This has been a very prolific season for NAADA. Besides four 10-race series during the year the longtime amateur organization has hosted European amateur clubs from Hungary, Spain, Italy and France. And in September NAADA members traveled to Mallorca to race against the Spanish amateurs on their turf. “We plan to do much of the same next year, too,” Faraldo added. John Manzi        

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