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Verruso Triumphs In NAADA Trot

Published: June 6, 2019 8:04 pm ET

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When Tony Verruso is not airborne assisting travelers he enjoys time sitting behind a spirited steed in an amateur race. And on Thursday afternoon Verruso, the president of the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series, drove Connie Keeper to a 2:00.1 victory in the NAADA Trotting Series which began its summer events today at Monticello Raceway.

When the starter said “go” Joe Faraldo gunned Tough Get Going to the led but he was chased by Someway Same Hall (Tony Ciuffetelli, Jr.) and Connie Keeper, eventually yielding to the latter who got first call as the field passed the quarter pole.

“They were all leaving pretty good and I figured I'd go out and look for a hole after the start but it wasn't until Joe (Faraldo) grabbed leather and Tony Ciuffetelli, (Jr.) found a hole with the favourite (Someway Same Hall ) that I cleared to the lead and after that happened I had constant pressure and just kept going,” Verruso said.

After a :29 first panel Verruso kept the pedal to the metal and Connie Keeper showed the way past the half in :59.2 being challenged now by Joe Lee with Surface Tension, who hung around up the backside before he began to fade when Connie Keeper passed the third stanza in 1:29.4.. At that point Faraldo moved to the outside with Tough Get Going as Ciuffetelli hung along the pylons in third place with thoughts of using the passing lane in the stretch... which he did. But the race for victory was between the top two trotters and both Faraldo and Verruso went to work urging their charges in the deep stretch.

“When we rounded the final turn I thought I was home free but after a tough trip on the engine Connie Keeper's strides began to shorten as we approached the finish line. However, the finish wire came up in time and we won it by a head,” Verruso said in the paddock as he handed the lines to the horses' caretaker.”

Sent off at odds of over 6-1 Connie Keeper paid $14.20. With her victory the veteran Muscles Yankee mare raised her lifetime earnings to over $201,000. She is owned by Dr. Scott Woogen and trained by Gary Messenger. For Verruso, it marked his 73rdcareer win since he began competing in amateur racing in 1999.

(North American Amateur Driving Association)


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