USHWA Names Top Amateur Driver

Published: December 29, 2021 06:34 pm EST

Amateur racing is a growing part of the harness racing industry, as is evident by more races for amateur drivers, as well as the proliferation of amateur driving clubs. Unlike seasons of yesteryear, where amateur racing was little more than a fad, it has blossomed into an industry which continues to grow.

This season's United States Harness Writers Association's Amateur Driver of the Year award winner, Tony Verruso, is a veteran of many years of participating in amateur driving contests.

In 2021, Verruso participated in many amateur events. From 84 drives, Verruso won 23 times, finished second 15 times and third 12 times for a .421 UDR and purse earnings of $175,545.

Verruso, who is the president of the American Harness Drivers Club and the C.K.G. Billings Series, has driven harness horses since the early 1990s. He admits he's driving better horses for better trainers, and is feeling more comfortable sitting behind a spirited steed.

Amateur racing began in earnest in the early 1980s with the C.K.G. Billings Series and the North American Amateur Drivers Association. Four decades later, amateur racing has blossomed to a point where nearly every racetrack now offers events for amateur drivers.

Verruso will receive his award in February, when USHWA holds its national meeting and awards banquet.

(United States Harness Writers Association)