by john manzi for NAADA
When country songster Jerry Reed warbled ‘When You’re Hot, You’re Hot’ he could have been talking about Tony Ciufettelli because no one in amateur racing currently is hotter than Ciuffetelli. The former corrections officer reined his own Aventure to a come-from- behind triumph in a time of 1:58.3 to garner the winners share of the $15,000 final of the North American Amateur Drivers Association’s Fall Trotting Series at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday night, November 5. (NAADA).
For the hot-handed Ciufettelli it was his sixth driving victory in his last eight starts and 11th overall
And for the first time this season a NAADA series trot was placed on the wagering card which brings the Westchester Country oval even with all the other racetracks that use amateur races as part of their betting programs.
When tonight's NAADA Final was ready to start Aventure seemed to have other ideas. Sent off as the betting favorite his backers got a scare when Aventure went off stride behind the mobile starting gate but Ciuffetelli stayed calm and got his trotter back on gait just before the starter said “go”.
At the first stanza Aventure was fifth position some seven lengths off Lady’s Big Stormont (Alan Schwartz) who was clear on the engine. But as he headed to the half Schwartz drew company. Ciuffetelli was the first to move off the pylons and the two others who followed that move became non-factors.
As the field trotted to the three quarters Aventure ranged alongside The Franchise (Bob Hechkoff) who was traveling along in the two-hole behind Lady’s Big Stormont. As they rounded the final turn Aventure and The Franchise traded positions and as they headed for paydirt Ciuffetelli took aim at Schwartz’s trotter.
In the lane Aventure gained on Lady’s Big Stormont with every stride and as they neared the finish it was clear that Ciuffetelli and Aventure would be the winner despite the late rally by The Franchise. At the wire Aventure was a length winner over the hard charging The Franchise with Lady’s Big Stormont a head farther back in third place.
Besides owning Aventure, Ciufettelli also trains the 5-year-old Muscle Mass gelding who scored his sixth triumph this year and raised his seasonal bankroll to over $41,400. He paid $4.10 for win.