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Spanish Sulky Sitters Reign Supreme

Published: September 28, 2015 7:38 pm ET

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Besides the great camaraderie shared with their hosts as far as enjoyment on NAADA's venture to Mallorca, Spain for an international amateur driving competition with their Spanish counterparts the best that could be said was that it was relegated to great food and fine wines because on the racetrack they were vanquished again.

The following is a first hand view by NAADA president and team leader, Joe Faraldo on the final day of the international amateur driving competition between the North American Amateur Drivers Association and the Spanish amateurs.

"At Son Pardo in Palma there were two twelve-horse fields. They pre-raced us with paella and roast suckling pig. When the racing began it looked like the twelve horses were all over the place behind the eight-horse gate reminiscent of Yonkers during a French racing afternoon and once again the Spaniards kicked butts. Of course, just by the numbers eight versus four, it was likely that would happen just because of the traffic and team racing the Europeans engage in.

"In the first of two races, Alan Schwartz's horse had not raced for three years. When he asked the trainer about that, the reply was "She had a good rest" and also if she cannot finish, just bring her back. It did not instil confidence and needless to say, the horse was ready to go back after the half.

"(Joe) Pennacchio was best of American blood and finished 4th. The second race was about the same eight versus four. Pennacchio's horse was so unruly, that he could not start in the race and it dumped Joe. So we were down to three. Hannah got behind two breakers leaving the course only to be disqualified. I was on top in a heartbeat and was up by 10 at the half and it seemed certain that I was going to bring it home. Unfortunately at the end, my charge, Benigno Duran, drew a posse an they wiped that lead away as the bottom-them-out strategy failed down that long, long stretch.

"I was so sure that I was third I kept insisting all the next day that I indeed finished third but somehow the judges saw (Alan) Schwartz on the far outside and I ended up fourth.

"The protesting did not end as the mantra of the day continued with "I was robbed". The final US tally had Schwartz with two thirds, Pennacchio with a fourth, and I had a fourth..

"In the winner's circle presentation all the American drivers were presented with beautiful personally engraved plaques cast in Spanish silver and we stood for pictures. As usual Hannah Miller won that photo by open lengths!

"Dinner was awesome, all home raised beef and pork products barbecued and, as usual, super abundant. Then came more wine until we just about couldn't stand at all.

"An invitation was extended to our friends for a rematch in the US next year in September and maybe we can change the results.

"Tonight there was another dinner with the drivers featuring jamon, suckling pig and just about everything else including empanadas and Majorcan bread.

"If nothing else, we beat them at eating."

(NAADA)


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