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Bracing For The French Invasion

Published: April 16, 2015 11:43 am ET

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The members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association will have to be at the top of their game when a contingent of French amateurs invades the U.S. later this week.

It has been announced that NAADA will host its French counterparts for a week beginning on April 19 and continuing through until April 27.

The organization’s president, Joe Faraldo, has tentatively lined up competitions at four tracks in the mid-Atlantic region beginning with the Tuesday matinee on April 21 with races at Yonkers Raceway, followed by races on Wednesday at Monticello Raceway on April 22, Freehold Raceway on April 23 and at the Meadowlands on April 24.

The races slated at Yonkers Raceway will have international appeal when they’ll be simulcast to off-track outlets in France, something that began after Yonkers and the SOA constructed bridges for making American races available for wagering in Europe.

“Not only will the races be on the betting card at Yonkers, but the contests will be simulcast to the off-track outlets in France and they will be available for the French – and other European – harness players to wager on them,” Faraldo explained. “The participating French amateurs are especially well known in their homeland.”

The quintet from France includes Sophie Blanchetiere, four-time French amateur champion who has been tops in 2013 and 2014; Romain Poree, amateur world champion in 2010 and French champion in 2009; Michel Poirier, who was the top French amateur in 2003; and Christophe Roszak, who finished in the top ten of the French championships.

A fifth driver, Hubert Jay, is the club representative and will only drive in the two races at Yonkers and The Meadowlands when there will be a field of 10 starters.

NAADA will also field a powerful team which will change from track to track. Among the top-flight American amateurs who will be driving in the competition include Alan Schwartz, Bobby Krivelin, Steve Oldford, Bob Hechkoff, Tony Verruso, Matt Zuccarello, Paul Minore, and the USA’s own ‘female flash,’ Hannah Miller.

NAADA will host the French contingent and not only treat them to races at four various American tracks, but their visit will include many other amenities. Among them will be a guided bus tour of New York City, a visit to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame and Historic Track as well as luncheons and dinners at Don Peppe, Circus, Zero Otto Nove, Delancey’s and more.

Prior to their French counterparts return trip home they will be treated to a sail around the Statue of Liberty.

(With files from NAADA)

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