by John Manzi, for NAADA
Yonkers, NY — The proliferation of amateur driving organizations has been a boon to harness racing, with active clubs in New York, New England, New Jersey, Ohio and Florida. And that’s not counting the granddaddy of them all, the C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series as well as the Hall of Fame Amateurs.
Horses in races in the aforementioned not only abet the local racetracks betting cards, but give true sportsmen and sportswomen an opportunity to enjoy the sport of driving a spirited steed.
Arguably the busiest of all the driving organizations currently is the North American Amateur Drivers Association. They have hosted three European clubs and are currently in the process of hosting a group of French amateurs. Add to that three local NAADA 10-race series, with a fourth currently in the works, and hardly a week goes by without races for their membership.
On Wednesday (Oct. 10), NAADA had two races against the French in a Friendship Competition at Monticello Raceway after an event at Yonkers on Tuesday (Oct. 9). And perhaps all the action available is a reason why the NAADA Trot on Thursday (Oct. 11) at Yonkers only had five declared entrants. When the gate for their race sprung, only three competed.
In that contest, Paul Minore sent his old veteran Wygant Prince to the lead from post three and played “catch me if you can.”
Minore and his charge got by the first stanza in :29.3 and the half in 1:01. Marching along in second place were Keenan and driver John Calabrese, and in third at that point were Gianni and Matt Zuccarello.
Up the backside, Wygant Prince seemed to put the pedal to the metal and he opened up a three-length lead as he passed the three quarters in 1:30.2. The margin was opened to six at the wire as the timer flashed 2:00.1. Gianni trotted by Keenan in the stretch for second money.
Minore owns the winner and has owned him since he began racing. The 11-year-old altered son of S J’s Photo has amassed almost $430,000 in his illustrious career and earned a lifetime mark of 1:56.3.
Minore, a former high school track coach, entrusts the training duties to Taylor Gower. It was the 38th career victory for Wygant Prince. For Minore, it was his 100th win in the United States to go along with four wins against his counterparts in Europe.