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Ciuffetelli Doubles In France-USA Series

Published: October 10, 2018 7:31 pm ET

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He has been competing with amateur status since he began driving, but on Wednesday (Oct. 10) at Monticello Raceway, Tony Ciuffetelli drove like a professional when he won both divisions of the French-American Friendship Competition. The former corrections officer won one race from behind and the other on the front end.

In the third race, Ciuffetelli avoided the congestion in front of him and rallied Sams Fortune to a come-from-behind triumph in 2:03.4 over seven rivals. Three races later, he sent Brandos Music Man to the front and made every pole a winning one en route to a 2:00.4 victory.

“This is my first driving double and I'm certainly thrilled,” a smiling Ciuffetelli said in the paddock as he handed the reins to the horse's caretaker.

Starting from the post 2 with Sams Fortune, Ciuffetelli got away slowly as four others sped for the lead. They were in fifth place when the field passed the first quarter as France's Sandrine Oyer was stuck on the limb with Five Star Stud.

As the race progressed, French driver Jerome Maillard had Tattle Tell Teen on the lead as Frenchman Jean Marc Freyssence and Four Star Lefty were second-over behind Oyer's pacer, which made a block for anyone trying to get around. Sensing a problem, the U.S.A.'s Alan Schwartz wheeled Lightning Madison three-deep, and they paced by the leaders while followed by Ciuffetelli and Sams Fortune.

At the top of the lane, Lightning Madison had a three-length lead, and despite being hung out the entire way, Five Star Stud was still in contention. At that point, Sams Fortune was fifth on the far outside and still five lengths off the leader. But as the field progressed in the lane, Lightning Madison faded to finish third and Sams Fortune rallied to a length victory over Five Star Stud.

“I made it through the traffic, and when we finally cleared and headed for home, my horse was the strong horse and we went on to win it,” Ciuffetelli explained.

The winner is owned by Pete and Donna Siebert and trained by Siebert. He paid $7.80.

After all the road trouble Ciuffetelli had in the first event, he hustled the betting favourite Brandos Muscle Man to the lead from post 6 and played catch me if you can — and nobody could. They chugged along unchallenged for a one-length victory in a time of 2:00.4 as French rivals finished second and third. With a two-hole trip, France's Jerome Malliard was second best with Ralph R, and his countryman Jean Marc Freyssence was third with Bootswiththefur, albeit in a dead-heat with Linda Marie, driven by American Jerry Fielding.

“He's a classy old horse,” Ciuffetelli said referring to Brandos Muscle Man. “And even though the old veteran knew just what to do, I still had to keep after him in the stretch.”

The winner is owned by Rick Dane and Monica Banca and trained by Dane. He paid $4.80.

For Ciuffetelli, who has sights on possibly being the amateur driver of the year, his season's stats after today's races are: 10-7-6 in 50 starts with a UDR of .318.

On Friday (Oct. 12), the final race in the French-American Friendship Competition will be at The Meadowlands.


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