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Miller Leads All Amateur Drivers

Published: August 4, 2016 10:36 pm ET

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When “Hurricane Hannah” Miller returned to the Monticello Raceway paddock after her driving victory with Histoire Eternelle on Thursday she handed the lines to trainer Nick Surick and said “It was a good day,” and by all accounts it certainly was for the nation’s leading amateur driver.

The 1:55 triumph with Histoire Eternelle was the talented miss’s second driving victory of the day and 22nd of the season after previously scoring behind trotter Rocket Master in 1:57.4 in an earlier race on the card.

In all, there were four events for amateur drivers on Monticello’s 11-race Thursday afternoon program; three trots in the NAADA Series and one pace in a Catskill Amateur Club event.

The NAADA trots were the eighth leg of the 10-leg series that will afford the three top point-earners in the events a chance to draw for an all-expense paid trip to New Zealand later this year to race against the local amateurs in events slated down under.

The afternoon’s amateur events got underway when Miller reined Rocket Master to a two-length triumph in the second race.

After being careful as the wings of the mobile gate folded, Miller took her trotter to the pylons and was fifth at the first stanza, some eight lengths behind the leader as the timer flashed :28.3. With a move to the outside at the three- eighths pole Rocket Master improved to fifth position at the half and by the time he reached the three quarters he was on top. From there Rocket Master coasted to a two-length triumph over Peter Kleinhans’ Windsun Galliano. Current Crisis was third best for Bobby Krivelin.

“I was careful with him as the gate pulled away because he’s rough-gated on the straightaways,” Miller said. “He put in a couple of extra steps along the way time but he was still strong finishing.”

Co-owned by Hannah, her dad Erv Miller and trainer Nick Surick, Rocket Master paid $2.90 for win.

Hannah’s ride behind Histoire Eternelle was the fastest on the afternoon card.

“He was a little head-strong warming up and scoring down but once he got behind the (mobile starting) gate he relaxed. But when the gate sprung he was off to the front,” Miller said referring to Histoire Enternelle.

They were never in trouble and were an oh-so-easy four-length winner over KBs Bad Boy and driver Barry Addison. Azoreansailor (Ken Heins) finished third.

Owned by the J L Stable and trained by Nick Surick, Histoire Eternelle returned a $2.50 win mutuel.

Another NAADA trot saw Tony Ciuffetelli and Aventure steal soft fractions during the first half mile and then speed away to a two-length triumph in a 2:00 clocking. Joe Faraldo and For You Almostfree chased the winner home while Bob Kenney and Rev Up The Spice were third best.

“I rushed him (Aventure) out of there and when no one came at us I lulled him,” Ciuffetelli explained. “When we passed the half (in 1:02.3) I stepped on the gas and he paced a final half in :57.2.”

Owned, trained, and driven by Ciuffetelli Aventure paid $4.60 for win.

A third NAADA trot went to Sams Honeybee and driver Tony Verruso with a gate to wire performance in a time of 2:00.4. Cassas Image finished second for Dr. John Kokinos and Steve Oldford took home the show dough with Starsaboveallerage.

“We had the pole position and we got a big break when the favourite (Zoli, driven by Peter Kleinhans) broke at the start,” Verruso said. “My mare is good on the lead and when we were left alone in a 1:02.2 half I knew we’d be tough to beat from there.”

Owned by her driver and trained by Carl Gillespie, Sams Honeybee won for the sixth time this season. Discounted by the betting public and sent off at odds of nearly 12-1 she returned a $25.60 mutuel.

Now with eight legs in the books Hannah Miller leads with 48 points followed closely by Tony Ciuffettelli’s 46. Peter Kleinhans is currently third with 40 points. Rounding out the top five are Alan Schwartz (37) and Tony Verruso (29). Upon completion of the series 10 legs the top three in points will draw for a trip to New Zealand.

(NAADA/Catskill Amateur Club)

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