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John ManziMonticello Raceway Legend John Manzi
Announces His Retirement

(Monticello, NY 12/11/14)
Having reached a 50 year milestone working in the harness racing industry (with 34 years serving as Monticello Raceway’s Publicity Director), today John Manzi announced his retirement effective December 19th, 2014. Commenting on his retirement, Manzi stated, “Every race has to come to an end. And after five decades of answering the call to the post, the time is right for me to relax a little and enjoy my golf clubs and my grandchildren. After seeing so much being at the helm of the Monticello Raceway public relations office for many years, one thing remains supremely important to me. It’s all of the good people I have met and the friends I have made.” While he is officially retiring, Monticello Raceway management and John Manzi have agreed that he will continue to write articles for the track and from time-to-time he will offer assistance to racing operations office.

Laurette Pitts, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Empire Resorts, Inc., owner of Monticello Raceway, stated, “John Manzi is simply an industry legend. Through good times and bad, John played a pivotal role in promoting the harness racing sport. Read more about John ...


Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA
Again Donates to Historic Track

After again running another successful awards banquet in late November the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of U.S. Harness Writers again donated $3000 to Historic Track at their monthly Board Meeting on December 10.

The presentation of the check was made to Steve Jones, President of Historic Track’s Board of Directors by John Manzi, the chapter’s banquet chairman who is also a longtime Historic Track Board member.

Steve Jones and John Manzi“The check looks like is has seen better days,” Jones said to which Manzi replied, “Still, it’s worth $3000 and you can take that to the bank!”

The donation will be matched and the National Historic Landmark will actually end-up with $6,000.

For the 31st consecutive year the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association has donated to Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame.

Last summer the organization presented a $3000 check to Museum President Ebby Gerry, Jr. prior to the ceremonies at the Hall of Fame Banquet in Goshen, NY in early July.

Since the mid 1980’s the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA has donated money to Goshen Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum. Money raised for the donations is made possible from successful chapter banquets and the continued support of the chapter’s charity journals.


Goshen Track Auxiliary donated $7000 to Historic Track

White and JonesAt a recent meeting of the Auxiliary of Goshen Historic Track at Delancey’s Restaurant in the village, the Auxiliary made a $7,000 donation to the members of the Historic Track’s Board of Directors who joined them for dinner that evening.

Accepting the $7,000 check from co-president Judy Green was Steve Jones, President of the track’s Board of Directors .

“We are always so very appreciative of the Auxiliary’s dedicated efforts and we can’t thank them enough”, Jones said. “The ladies do an outstanding job and work tirelessly to raise money for Historic Track.”

Money is raised annually through the efforts of members of the Historic Track Auxiliary with an array of fundraisers. Last year $7,000 was donated and in previous years they donated more. And over the past few decades the amount of the Auxiliary’s donations is well into six figures .

“We apologize that our donation isn’t what it usually has been but these are tough times. Still we are always very pleased to be able to provide a $7000 donation to the track from the efforts of our very dedicated volunteers,” said Auxiliary co-president Eveline White.



Mont-Goshen Amy Bull Crist Award to George Casale

George Casaleby Chris Wittstruck, for the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA
As a daughter of privilege, Amy Bull Crist could have rested on the laurels of her lineage. Rather, this remarkable first lady of Orange County spent her entire life serving the interests of others. It is thus fitting that George Casale, a tireless advocate for our industry and other worthy endeavors should be the 2014 recipient of the award named in her memory.

On November 16 at the 56th Annual Awards Banquet of the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA Casale will be the 31st recipient of the chapter's Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award.

George N. Casale received his bachelor's degree from St. Francis College, a master's from Long Island University and his juris doctorate from the University of New Hampshire School of Law. For over 35 years, George enjoyed a rewarding career as an insurance executive and practicing attorney. His work and leadership positions in various professional societies led George to places around the globe. His last employment was as a partner in Rivkin Radler LLP; Long Island's largest law firm. Read more...


AuxiliaryThe Second Annual Hambeltonian Marathon Raises Money for the Track

Members of the Auxiliary of Goshen Historic Track used hot dog sales as a fundraiser on Sunday, October 19th during the second annual Hambletonian Marathon in Trot Town USA which started on Main St and ended at the finish line on Historic Track. Through the dedicated efforts of the organization’s volunteer’s many thousands of dollars are raised annually for the National Historic Landmark.


Historic Track’s Refurbuished Arden Clubhouse is Saluted

By John Manzi
Two years ago the Historic Track Board of Directors had a dilemma; refurbish the track offices located under the grandstand or move to the Arden Clubhouse. But that, too, needed renovating. Either way, the upgrade posed a costly problem, especially for the non-profit organization. Historic Track’s Board of Directors President Steve Jones accepted the non-profit 2013 Goshen Restoration Unlimited Preservation Award handed to him by Goshen Preservation president Maureen Quattrini.

“We decided that our best move would be to renovate the Arden Clubhouse,” noted the then Board president, Bernie White. “And we’re so glad we did. The old offices under the grandstand had seen their best days so we figured the Arden Clubhouse would work best for us.”

Though the decision was a daunting one, still something had to be done. And it was. Read more...


Harness Writers Banquet on Nov. 16
Will Raise Money For Historic Track

The Monticello Goshen Chapter, which began in 1959, is one of 13 chapters that constitute the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), a national organization, now with Canadian members, whose main business is to promote the sport and business of harness racing.

I’m proud to say I have been a member of the Monticello-Goshen Chapter since 1977 although I have been involved in harness racing nearly all my life, having been a trainer/driver in my youth.

To be honoredMonticello-Goshen has always been a strong chapter since its formation. Over the years, before his leaving for Pompano Park, the chapter was ruled supreme by Allen J. Finkelson, the crown prince of harness racing’s public relations, and my mentor.

But we have also had prominence from outstanding deeds of our various members and we’ve always relished the fact that the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame as well as Historic Track were, and still are, in our jurisdiction and that that the sport of harness racing actually began in Goshen, NY in the 1830’s which is why Goshen has always been known as the “Cradle of the Trotter”.

Each year, when fall rolls around in southeastern New York State, the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA holds its Annual Awards Banquet to celebrate the best performances, both human and equine at Monticello Raceway and Goshen Historic Track during each season.

However, also honored annually are some important industry people, many of whom have contributed locally to harness racing at both Monticello or Goshen, or to the Harness Racing Museum.

In recent years the chapter has cited other outstanding individuals, many who have contributed immensely to the sport, and some, because of our bringing their deeds to industry awareness, have gone on to be elected the Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Those Hall of Famers include: Phil Tully, Cat Manzi, Bill Brown, Hal Jones, John Cashman, Harry Harvey, and most recently Joe Thomson, who will be inducted this coming summer.

However, our chapter’s strong support helped, Ebby Gerry, Jr., Joe DeFrank, Tommy Thomson, Ron Gurfein, Jim Doherty, John Simpson Jr., Wally Hennessey, Phil Langley, Clint Galbraith and Buddy Gilmour to reach the hallowed Hall.

Monticello-Goshen is still a very active chapter of USHWA and many members have gone on to become the national president, starting with Allen Finkelson and followed over the years by Phil Pines, yours truly (John Manzi), Ed Palladino and currently, Chris Tully. And last year at the national meetings Shawn Wiles was elected second vice president and he will work his way up the chairs and become the sixth member of Monticello-Goshen who has risen to the national USHWA presidency.

USHWA began in 1947 and through the decades many ‘Mon-Go’ chapter members have proven themselves worthy of the highest award given in the field of journalism that covers the sport of harness racing and they have been inducted into the Writers Corner – now Communicators Corner – Hall of Fame.

Members, both past and present, who enjoy the title of ‘Hall of Famer’(and their year of induction) include: Jim Harrison (1986), Al DeSantis (1989) Phil Pines (1990) Allen Finkelson (1992), Wesley “Bo” Gill (1999), John Bradley (2000), Ed Palladino (2001), John Manzi (2006) and Joe Hartmann (2010).

On November 16, 2014 the 56th Annual Awards Banquet of the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA will be held at The Fountains at the Wallkill Golf Club on Sands Road in Middletown, NY and once again promises to be an outstanding gathering of great people in our sport.

Besides honoring the exploits of our local horses and horsemen we will also cite prominent industry people. This year our main honoree will be prominent horse owner, Ted Gewertz, who’ll receive the chapter’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Other major awards will include the fine New York State breeding operation at the Crawford Farms (Excelsior Award), the U.S. Trotting Association’s great writer and publicist, Ken Weingartner (Phil Pines Award); harness racing’s Mr. Everything and one of the sports true rising stars, Jason Settlemoir (John Gilmour Good Guy Award). The major award from Goshen (Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award) will be given to the Historic Track’s Board of Directors vice president George Casale while Monticello Raceway and Historic Track’s award winning photographer, Geri Schwarz wil receive an Award of Appreciation.

And upon completion the Awards Banquet, Monticello-Goshen will again donate $3000 to both Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum.

The Banquet is open to the public and if you, or anyone know, would like to attend tickets are available. The ticket price of $65 includes a one-hour open bar, a full course dinner and door prizes. Congratulatory ads for our accompanying charity journal ranging from $100-$250 can be purchased from me by calling 845.794.4100ext.455. Or you can email me at jmanzi@empireresorts.com.

Oh, I almost forgot — but maybe on purpose. I serve as master of ceremonies and after the presentation of awards, four or five of my friends who may end-up being ex-friends, will ‘roast’ me, gently I hope, since they know that I will have the microphone last.


George Casale (continued)
Despite the time and intensity of George's career, he always found time for those things that were foremost to him: Family, friends, service... and Harness Racing.

A lifelong horse enthusiast who as a young boy marveled at the western movie genre on his television screen in Bay Ridge, Casale formed Brooklyn Cowboy Farms, a training and boarding center in Farmingdale, New Jersey. From this facility, George honed his skills as an amateur driver. The hard work paid off, as George was the Monticello-Goshen chapter's 2004 Amateur Driver of the Year, as well as a three-time victor in the American Harness Club Finals.

George, however, is much more than an owner-driver. For over ten years, he served as the Executive Director of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York. Here, he championed the health, wellbeing and economic wherewithal of countless drivers, trainers, grooms and owners competing in New York. He was an all-important point person in negotiations with the New York State legislature, especially its insurance and workers compensation committees, as well as with the former New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

As George's time commitments have lessened in retirement, his dedication to our industry has strengthened. Casale presently serves as the Vice-President of Goshen Historic Track and as volunteer counsel to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. He is a frequent speaker on behalf of the Historic Track and Museum before Kiwanis clubs, chambers of commerce, schools and anywhere else he can share his love and knowledge of Goshen's favorite sport with others. He is also a U.S.T.A. certified judge, and serves in the stand of Goshen's favorite sport with others.

He is also a U.S.T.A. certified judge, and serves in the stand during the July Grand Circuit meet.

Yet, as to his spirit of selfless altruism, George is no one-trick pony. As Former Chairman of the Board for Daytop Village and Trustee of Daytop International, Casale fostered the drug and alcohol recovery of countless teens and young adults. As a member of Hofstra University's Paralegal Advisory Board, he followed in Amy Bull Crist's footsteps as an education advocate. A licensed pilot, George is a past President of the Orange County Pilots Association.

George is married for nearly 50 years to his beloved Anita. They have two sons, Thomas and George, and three grandchildren Angelina, Christina, and Sabrina. While home is Staten Island, the young gals love spending time with their grandparents at George and Anita's second home bordering on, where else; the far turn of the Goshen Historic Track!


NYSS 2 Year Old Filly Trotters Shine: Shaqline Equals Freshman Filly Track Record; Schnittker Wins a Division with Kaliska

NYSS TrottersMonticello Raceway hosted the final leg of the New York Sire Stakes and the Excelsior Series for 2 year old filly trotters on Wednesday (Sept. 3). There were three $37,000 splits in the sire stakes and five short fields in the Excelsior Series. And despite eight of the 12 races on the card featuring the up- and -coming freshmen trotters still wagering was good.

The owners of all the winners could stand tall especially Braxton Medical AB, the proprietors of Shaqline who, in only her fourth lifetime start, equaled the track record for freshmen trotting fillies when Jimmy Takter guided her to a 1:59.2 triumph in her NYSS split. Shaqline now shares top honors with Lady Riviera who also was victorious in 1:59.2 for Ronnie Pierce in 2012.

Takter, driving more now and enjoying it immensely, sent the daughter of Credit Winner-Vivaca Hall to the lead from the pole position and they raced unchallenged on the front- end until the final turn. There, after shadowing Shaqline all the way from the get-go, Mark MacDonald moved Nunkeri out to contest the leader but all Takter had to do was give his filly her head and she remained in front as she trotted a final quarter in :28.4 en route to her track record equaling performance. Nunkeri was three lengths back in second place and Dancewithmechuck took home the show dough for Charlie Norris

She’s a real good filly,” Takter told those who joined him in the winner’s circle..

He was asked why this was only Shaqline’s fourth career start to which he replied; “She had an entrapped epiglottis and it took three surgeries before the problem got fixed. She’s breathing great now and she’s going to be a real good 3 year old.”

Shaqline is a pretty nice 2 year old now, Jimmy, and she’ll be the one to beat in her $225,000 NYSS Final at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday, September 13.

Sent of the favorite in the betting Shaqline paid $3.80 for win.

The finale will be no cake walk when Shaqline faces some of the other division winners along the way, especially Concentration and Kaliska, who each were victorious in NYSS action at the Mighty M on Wednesday.

Concentration, a daughter of Conway Hall-Super Starlet, had driver Chris Lems smiling in the winners circle after they scored a 2:00.1 victory over Summer Scent and driver Dan Daley.

After a slow start Lems put Concentration on the pylons in third position and they were five lengths off the lead set by Daly and Summer Scent as they passed the quarter in :30.

Lems followed the leader until he moved his filly out to challenge up the backside. They easily gained command and at the third stanza in 1:30 they had two on Summer Scent. From there it was catch me if you can, and no one could, as Concentration coasted home a 1-1/4-length winner in 2:00.1. Daley’s filly was second and Ray Schnittker got Summers Windsong up for third place.

“She’s a nice filly and if we get a good (post) position in the final I think she’ll be heard from,’ Lems added through his smiles.

Trained by George Ducharme for owner Chip Campbell, Concentration paid $5.20 for win.

Schnittker also got a chance to have his picture taken after he won the final $37,000 NYSS division with Kaliska in 2:00. But he had to work hard for it.

After they fell into the two-hole on the first turn behind Dan Daley and Cherry Crown Jewel that duo led the field by the quarter in a swift :28. When they passed the half in :58 Schnittker was out and going and Kaliska took command up the backside.

They kept the lead until the finish and Schnittker had to steadily urge his filly but Kaliska held off a late rally on the far outside by Mark MacDonald and Duolectra to win by a neck. Favored Pig Hunt was third for George Brennan.

“She’s green and I had to keep after her because she tried to pull up three times in the stretch,” Schnittker expounded after the mile.

The Credit Winner-Armbro Vivian filly is trained by Schnittker and owned by Schnittker, Tom Spatorico, the Pepin Stable and Fam Alber Horse Racing LLC. She paid $10.00 for win.

The undercard featured five divisions in the Excelsior Series also for freshmen trotting fillies. Winners included: I'm Very Lucky (Sam Schillaci) in 2:08.4 ; Barn Girl (Jeff Gregory) in 2:00; Morcredit Bluechip (Jeff Gregory) in 2:00.2; Teacher Pat (Chris Lems) in 2:02.3 and Waiting Room (Jimmy Morrill, Jr.) in 2:01.1.


2014 Golf Outing Wnners


Historic Track Moves its Track Office to the Arden Clubhouse

Our New Office!For decades the Track Office at Goshen Historic Track has been underneath the longstanding grandstand and recently work has been completed to move the main office to the Arden Clubhouse which has been totally restored.

“The new move has been absolutely wonderful and greatly appreciated,“ noted Linda Myers, the longtime secretary to the Board. “It’s such an improvement and so nice to have this building restored and utilized after all these years.“

The new track office, which is located near the facility’s front gate, still has the same phone number (845.294.5333) and the same fax number (845.294.3998).

According to members of the Board, it has been a costly move for the not-for-profit corporation but extremely necessary since the area beneath the grandstand, which previously housed the offices, has seen its best days.

Since the needed move at the National Historic Landmark was expensive. donations will be graciously accepted to help defray costs. Should anyone want to make a donation, please address all correspondence to Goshen Historic Track, 44 Park Place, Goshen, NY 10924.

Memberships to Historic Track for family ($35), patrons ($100), and corporations ($200) are also encouraged and would be greatly appreciated. Sign up now and be a part of our exciting new year!