Alan Schwartz and Hannah Miller emerged victorious in the respective divisions in the next to the last leg of the trotting series sponsored by the North American Amateur drivers Association held at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon, April 30. For Miller it was her fifth driving victory in the series and Schwartz's fourth.
Schwartz, a Mighty M regular and a former USHWA National Amateur Driver of the Year, won the first division with his own Bad I Am in at ime of 2:02.1 while Miller, the scourge of the amateur ranks this year, scored behind Casanova Lindy in a 2:01 clocking. In his split Schwartz was forced to make and early move when the field jammed-up heading to the quarter pole.
Bad I Am was just that as far as the race leader Bob Hechoffwas concerned. Hechkoff's charge Tagmaster had grabbed a quick early lead when the gate sprung, but a:30.2 first stanza tightened the field as they trotted toward the quarter pole.
"I was getting run over from behind so I had to move way before I wanted to,” Schwartz said after he moved his trotter first-up as the field headed for the second turn. "I knew it was real early but if I didn't move I might have pulled him off his feet.”
Tagmaster and Bad I Am then raced side by side toward the halfway point and were still heads apart as they trotted by the third stanza. Tagmaster was still in command as the field headed for home but he began to tire as a quartet of trotters from the rears began serious challenges as the field headed for paydirt.
Surprisingly, even to Schwartz, after being on the limb for nearly three quarters of a mile, Bad I Am refused to give it up and refused to lose as the 4-year old altered son of Like A Prayer staved off all comers to win by a head over Starsaboveallerage, driven by Steve Oldford. Third place went to Samsawinner and driver Joe Lee.
The winner, owned by Schwartz and trained Raheem Strong, paid $5.60 for win.
After having road trouble with Rev It Now in that race--he finished sixth--Hannah Miller made amends in the second split winning decisively from the eight-hole with Casanova Lindy in a time of 2:01.
"Before we claimed him (Casanova Lindy) I saw him cut a mile at Freehold and win easily, so I decided I'd send him to the front and avoid any traffic like I had in the last race with Rev It Now,” she explained. "He left(the mobile gate) so fast that we were on top before the (first) turn and I just let him cruise.
"I was surprised when we passed the quarter in :28.3 because he was trotting so easily. So I justtook a steady hold on him and he just did the rest.”
Dave Yarock kept Rompaway Alan on Miller's back as the two raced lengths in front of the field as they passed the halfway point. They were still one-two by the three quarters but at that point Casanova Lindy began to open daylight and the farther he trotted the move he opened daylight between him and Rompaway Alan.
As Miller's charge headed for home he had three lengths on his competition and at the wire it was opened to six lengths. But in the deep stretch driver Tony Verusso rallied Pocket Passer by a tiring Rompaway Alvin to finish second as Yarock's trotter faded and finished third.
Casanova Lindy, co-owned by his driver, her boyfriend NickS urick, and her dad Erv Miller, returned a $5.30 win mutuel.
The final leg of the NAADA Trotting Series will be contestedat Yonkers Raceway on May 7. (By John Manzi/NAADA)