by john manzi for NAADA
Two exciting races in the North American Amateur Drivers Association trotting series went to post on the betting card at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon (Apr. 27) and upon their completion Alan Schwartz and Tony Ciuffetelli each were victorious in their respective splits. Schwartz scored a come-from behind triumph with I’m Fabulous in 1:59 while Ciuffetell used the front end route for a 2:00.3 victory with Avivas Winner.
Schwartz, who was the National Amateur Driver of the Year in 2000, has spent most of the recent seasons racing against professionals while carrying amateur status.
Today (Thurs April 27) at the Mighty M he hustled I’m Fabulous away from the mobile gate and settled in behind the betting favorite Current Crisis (Bobby Krivelin) and was content to follow the leader as Krivelin cut fractions of :30-1:00.4 and 1:29.4 all the way to the top of the lane at which point Schwartz tipped his mare to the outside trotted to away to a two-length victory over Current Crisis. Third place went to AJ Destiny driven by Bob Davis.
“I figured if I could get in behind ‘Kriv’(elin) on the first turn and then let his horse cut the fractions I’d have a good chance to beat him in the stretch,” Schwartz said after his driving victory. “And it worked out perfect as my mare was the strong horse in the lane.”
Although he has been participating in amateur races at Monticello and Yonkers Raceways in recent years Schwartz has been reluctant to travel the Billings circuit as he did in the early 2000’s.
“I have a small stable and get plenty of action at Monticello so I don’t have to travel far away to drive,” Schwartz explained.
It was his ninth winning drive this season and over the years Schwartz has won 584 races ranking him second all-time behind “Boots” Dunn’s 1152.
I’m Fabulous is owned by Brenda Messenger and Scott Woogen and trained by Gary Messenger. She paid $5.40 for win.
The other NAADA event saw Tony Ciuffetelli and Avivas Winner trot to the lead as they came off the first turn and use the front end route to score an exciting victory with three horses just heads apart at the finish.
“My horse likes the front end and as long as I keep the wraps on him so he doesn’t got too fast to the half he finishes strong,” Ciuffetelli explained. “He wasn’t that strong today but strong enough to hold off (Tony) Verruso (with Pocket Passer) and (Bob) Krivelin (with Superiorcourt) for the victory.”
Comfortable all the way until the backside the second time around Ciuffetelli’s trotter was joined by Tim Lizzi (Joe Lee) nearing the third quarter but that trotter went off-stride erasing Lee’s chances at victory. However, Verruso moved Pocket Passer, who was following Tim Lizzi, up alongside Avivas Winner as Krivelin moved in closer along the pylons hopefully awaiting a chance to rally in the passing lane.
Around the final turn the three leaders were all set for the stretch drive but Avivas Winner showed real grit keeping both Pocket Passer and Superiorcourt at bay and trotted on to a neck victory over the former with Pocket Passer a length back in third place.
Avivas Winner is owned by Scheigert Racing Stable and trained by Amanda Kelley. He returned a $12.40 win mutuel.
With the completion of five NAADA series legs Krivelin’s 42 points are two better than Schwartz’s. Third, with 32 points, is John Kokinos while Joe Lee (23) and Tony Verruso (21) round out the top five in series points.