The American Harness Drivers Club (AHDC), in its ongoing mission to help communities and communities in need, presented another donation aimed at cancer prevention and research on Sunday (Aug. 13) at Harrah’s Philadelphia.
Club president Anthony Verruso led the presentation of $2,000 to the V Foundation, founded by Jimmy Valvano, who passed to adenocarcinoma in 1993. Founded after Valvano’s passing, the foundation has given more than $310 million in grants worldwide aimed at advancing cancer research. This year, the V Foundation is also celebrating 30 years in operation.
“Us amateur drivers are lucky and proud to compete in the sport we love and get to support those in need in the process,” said Verruso. “We will continue to aid those in need anyway we can.”
Sunday’s donation marks another the AHDC has given towards cancer research. In July, the AHDC donated $2,000 to the American Cancer Society, and with that donation, had given more than $20,000 to charitable causes in the last calendar year.
As a club of amateur drivers, members of the AHDC do not keep driving earnings from purse money. Those driving earnings are instead saved for donations to various causes.
Harrah’s Philadelphia again played host to three $9,900 events for the AHDC, and two of the victors on Sunday found the winner’s circle through pocket trips while one vaulted well off the speed to slam a victory.
Verruso worked a trip with Winneress behind tempo-setter and 2-1 favourite Drazzmatazz (Yogi Sheridan) to take the second division of the AHDC Trot in 1:57.2.
Drazzmatazz grabbed the lead from the pylon post to a :27.3 first quarter while Wesley Hanover (Tony Beltrami), launching off the wings from post seven, failed to find a seat at the cones and continued to press along the rim. Wesley Hanover began a retreat to a :56.4 half, creating room for The Wish (John Calabrese) to pull first over and ply an attack to three-quarters in 1:26.2. While Drazzmatazz fended off foe after foe, Winneress with fresh legs darted through the open stretch and collared Drazzmatazz by a nose with The Wish third and My Big Kadillac (Mike Polansky) back in fourth.
Symon Spicer conditions Winneress, a nine-year-old gelding by Credit Winner, for owner Verruso. Sent off as the second choice in the betting, he paid $6.60 to win.
In the lone division of the AHDC Pace, Mike Terpolilli took over command off a pocket ride in rein to Jonah and held sway for a 9-1 upset in 1:54.2.
Harry Hanover (James Slendorn) hustled to the top to a :27 first quarter as 6-5 favourite Its Showtime (Tony Beltrami) plied forward through the first turn and attempted to squeeze into the cones moving to the half, bearing into his backfield competition in the process. Harry Hanover, meanwhile, clocked a :56 half and motored up the backside until going on a gallop, which left Jonah on a two-length lead to three-quarters in 1:24.2. Jonah maintained the advantage through the lane as Jumping Jake (Joe Lee) charged from off the speed to snag second with Rockabilly Charm (Anthony Verruso) following suit in third and What The Luck (Jacob Stillwell) taking fourth.
Terpolilli trains Jonah, a seven-year-old gelding by A Rocknroll Dance, for owner Paradis Racing Stable LLC. He paid $20.80 to win.
Bob Hechkoff barrelled off cover in the first AHDC Trot division to deliver as the 2-1 choice with Southwind Frost in 1:57.3.
Hechkoff sat sixth as Brownie (Mike Polansky) carved a clip of :28.3 and :58.4 before facing pressure from Vendor Bill (Maria De Bruijn) to three-quarters in 1:27.4. To the final turn, Southwind Frost sat third over before Hechkoff launched his charge three-high and swooped to the top through the straight, opening a length at the beam over Brownie. Vendor Bill held third and pocket-sitter Blogmaster (Matt Zuccarello) took fourth.
Michael Fiumenero trains Southwind Frost, a seven-year-old gelding by E L Titan, for owner R.B.H. Ventures Inc. He paid $6.80 to win.
The AHDC’s summer series continues next Sunday (Aug. 20) at Harrah’s Philadelphia, which has a first-race post time of 12:45 p.m. (EDT). Only three preliminaries remain for the series.