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NAADA vs. Hungary competition kicks off at Monticello
Monday, April 16, 2018 - by John Manzi, for the NAADA

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Monticello, NY --- To say that Monday (April 16) was a horrible day for racing at Monticello Raceway would be a gross understatement. With the falling rain, the near freezing temperatures, and the muddy race track, it was a tough day for all the participants. And it just so happened that was the first day of the Hungary vs. USA international driving competition with contests to follow at Yonkers Raceway on Tuesday and at Saratoga Raceway on Thursday.

But despite the adverse conditions all went well with both Hungary and the USA, each winning a race.

 
NAADA's Paul Minore won from post three with 16-1 Lightning Madison.

With the USA team being comprised of members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association, the first event saw NAADA's Paul Minore set sail from post three with 16-1 shot Lightning Madison. They not only easily grabbed the front-end, but in the process went wire-to-wire, making every pole a winning one en route to a four length triumph over Sureimalynn, handled by Hungary's Kriztian Fazekas. And the final time of 2:08.2 was indicative of the track condition. The USA's Monica Banca took home the show dough with Jaybeebullville.

“I got to the lead real easily so I just kept going on and not looking for cover,” Minore related in the paddock after the race was completed. “In spite of the inclement weather it was fun. Of course, winning is always fun.”

Sent off at odds of 16-1, Lightning Madison paid $34.00, $7.20 and $8.30 across the board. The 11-year-old Pro Bono Best mare is owned by Ruth Ingham and trained by Vernon James.

In conversation after the race Minore told how he has been fortunate when racing against European amateurs abroad.

“I have been lucky to win three times in Europe on different occasions,” he said. “I won last September against the Hungarians in Budapest and in previous years I won a race at Vienna, Austria and at Solvalla in Stockholm, Sweden.”

Minore, a retired physical education teacher and high school coach, is proud of having world champion and Olympic multi-gold medal winner Carl Lewis begin his fabulous career under his tutelage.

 
Geri Schwarz photos
The second USA vs. Hungary contest was won by Andrea Fazekas.

The second USA vs. Hungary contest was won by Andrea Fazekas who showed real talent in keeping her pacer, Rosie Rozzo, alive in the final quarter after being collared by Diamondsforember (Alan Schwartz-USA) on the final turn and then went on to a length triumph in 2:04 over her challenger. Monica Banca, also representing the home team, finished third again, this time with Check My Pulse.

In the post race interview Fazekas was assisted by her hubby and professional driver Tamas Keleman who is fluent in English. Through Tamas, Andrea related that she listened to instructions given to her prior to the race where she was told to go to the lead.

Then in her broken English she said she felt the nose of a horse that was breathing on her back on the final turn but concentrated on Alan Schwartz who was challenging with Diamondsforember. However in the deep stretch Fazekas and Rosie Rozzo went on to a one length triumph.

Sent off as the favorite in the race the winner paid $3.90, $3.00 and $2.30. The Yankee Cruiser 5-year-old mare is owned and trained by Jody Weidman.

Two things of note in the final USA-Hungary competition are that Fazekas was challenged, but to no avail, by her mother, Andrea Nagyvary, who finished sixth in the race with Fly To The Angels. And after the last race in the competition at Saratoga on Thursday Fazekas and her hubby will celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary with a trip to the Dominican Republic.

The USA-Hungary competition moves to Yonkers Raceway Tuesday night with two races on the betting card. The Hungarian team will remain the same but driving there for the NAADA team will be Joe Faraldo, Jennifer Lappe, Alan Schwartz and Joe Lee.


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