by john manzi for NAADA and CADC
Planned for and presented on November 10, the 241st anniversary of the founding the United States Marine Corps, local amateur clubs had two races- a trot and a pace- at Monticello Raceway for military veterans who are also amateur drivers and at days end both the North American Amateur Drivers Association and the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club each presented a check for $1000 to the Sullivan County Veterans Food Bank director Kathy Kreiter.
In the trotting event, army veteran, Irving Bluestein, took no prisoners and went down the road to score a 2:01.1 victory with Pocket Passer while Alan Schwartz, a former Marine who served in Viet Nam, rallied Worth Watching to a 1:58.1 triumph in the pacing contest.
Bluestein sent Pocket Passer to the lead from the two-hole and played hardball when the betting favorite, Whata Hustler (Jimmy Marshall IV), challenged for the lead. But Bluestein remained undaunted and kept the pedal to the medal and didn’t allow Marshall’s trotter to get the lead in .28.4 first quarter.
Still out in the fresh air Whata Hustler couldn’t take command and the leaders raced one-two past the half in :58.3. When Marshall’s trotter began to tire Pocket Passer opened up a two length lead at the third stanza and remained in front all the way to the wire. Don Hoover, a former member of the National Guard, got Grecale AS up for the place money while Gerry Fielding, an Army Reservist, took home the show dough with Maggie O
“I felt bad about having to park out (Don) Hoover but it was the right move at the right time,” said Bluestein, who came in from Dedham, Mass. just to compete in the veterans races.
Pocket Passer, owned by Mark Levy, Carl Gillespie and Betsy Phillips, and trained by Gillespie, paid $8.40 for win.
Alan Schwartz, the winningest amateur driver currently competing, scored a length victory- his 575th - when he guided Worth Watching to a solid length victory as the betting favorite.in the pacing contest.
Sent off at odds just over even- money Schwartz settled his pacer in the three hole on the first turn as former army reservist Allen Sisco cut speedy fractions of :27.4 and :58.2 with Smokey’s Luck . As they headed to the halfway point Schwartz moved Worth Watching off the pylons and took aim took aim at Smokeys Luck but his charge didn’t gain complete command until they rounded the final turn.
When the field headed for home Smokey’s Luck began to tire and Worth Watching took the lead and held off a hard charging Fox Valley Leo, driven by Navy veteran Jimmy Marshall IV, to score a one length triumph. Gerry Fielding finished third with Art Retreat.
“When we rounded the final turn I wasn’t sure that I was going to beat Allen’s horse (Smokeys Luck) but by mid-stretch he tired and we went on to victory,” Schwartz related.
The winner, owned by Ed and James Hall and trained by Dan Gill, paid $4.10.
After the final race all the competitors in the veteran’s races gathered in the winner’s circle to present $1000 checks - one each from NAADA and CADC -to Kathy Kreiter, director of the Sullivan County Food Bank.