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Calabrese wins Monticello NAADA event
Thursday, June 21, 2018 - by John Manzi, for NAADA

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Monticello, NY --- There's an old adage that states “good things come to those who wait,” and that expression fit John Calabrese's trotting victory on Thursday (June 21) at Monticello Raceway to a T.

Geri Schwarz photo
Keenan, patiently driven by John Calabrese, won Thursday's NAADA event at Monticello Raceway.
“I got away fourth along the pylons and just bided my time,” Calabrese said after he reined Keenan to a come-from-behind 2:00.3 triumph in the second leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) Trotting Series at the Sullivan County oval. “As the race progressed, I kept moving up after the horses in front of me kept pulling, and in the stretch my horse was full of trot.”

When the gate sprung, Alan Schwartz hustled Tim Lizzie to the lead from the two-hole as Joe Faraldo found room behind the leader with Tough Get Going after a quick start from post position six. They were one-two as the field passed the first stanza in a soft :29.4 and remained that way past the half in 1:01.2 and three-quarters in 1:30.4. Meanwhile, Calabrese and Keenan were viewing the front-end action while still some four lengths of the leader.

Midway around the final turn, Faraldo moved Tough Get Going to the outside, and they raced head-to-head with Tim Lizzie. However, unbeknownst to the leaders, Calabrese's trotter kept moving up and was just lengths off Tim Lizzie as the field rounded the final turn.

In the lane Tough Get Going was stronger than Tim Lizzie, but Keenan was the strongest of all and rallied in the passing lane to a solid one-length triumph.

“When I reached the passing lane, I felt confident that Keenan could pass the leaders because he was still strong, even with his left knee boot down around his hoof,” Calabrese said. ”But the classy old veteran trotter didn't flinch a bit and just kept to his work.”

Later, Calabrese explained that Keenan's knee boot slipped down the horse's left front leg as they sometimes do. However, when something like that happens, a trotter usually goes off stride, but the 10-year-old Credit Winner gelding and lifetime winner of over $564,000 shrugged it off, didn't miss a beat, and kept going forward as Tough Get Going headed Tim Lizzie for second money.

Calabrese owns and trains the winner, who paid $47.00 and keyed a 6-7-2 trifecta which returned a whopping $2,221.00.

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