With the eliminations of the Progress and Matron Stakes at Dover Downs, the Big-4 stakes eliminations at Chester, you may be wondering why I am picking two Amateur Driver races at Cal-Expo as the feature race of the week? First of all, these are $10,000 races. A $10,000 race at Cal-Expo is the equivalent to a $100,000 race back East. The race is for a good cause, the Bronte Epilepsy Research Foundation, which is working on helping children with epilepsy.
But there is another reason I picked these races; for the amateur drivers. Yes, many gamblers dislike wagering on amateur races; often they race so infrequently it is really hard to tell who the good drivers are; sometimes these drivers make errors. However, these drivers are part of what keeps racing going. Often amateurs own horses that are too good for them to drive and spread the gospel of harness racing by having friends and family attend the races when they race. They may also be future drivers in regular races as time goes on; many having provisional licenses. In otherwords, they are an important part of the standardbred family.
Since these races are one of the few times these drivers get to shine, I will list the driver names in each race in a slightly different format. If the driver is a provisional driver, it will be designated with a '(P)'.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention this series was sponsored by Lou Pena, Inc. Say what you may, the fact is he is sponsoring a racing series for a charitable cause and it should be noted.
7th Pace - $10,000; Bronte Epilepsy Research Amateur Series - Final (Fillies and Mares)
1 - Incredible Gambler (Robert Stepien(P), 4-1) - Draws the rail and picks up a high pct driver. Good chance.
2 - Spanish Rosey (Brian Marchand(P), 5-2) - Won last elimination, driver will attempt wire-to-wire effort.
3 - Just Plum Lucky (Amanda Fraser(P), 7-2) - Won last with bad trip. Driver picks this one over #1.
4 - Taxi Driver (Marco Rios(P), 6-1) - Seems to be a step below the main contenders.
5 - Red Star Gilda (Karen Isbell(P), 12-1) - Was off last week; don't expect improvement despite driver change.
6 - Pip's Jenny G (Alan Kirschenbaum, 8-1) - If an upset is coming, it is with this horse.
7 - Tutiming Gal (Richard Bertrand, 8-1) - Draws the outside; just can't see.
8 - Ogs Si Bon (David Siegel, 8-5) - Jumped off last, prior was good. Think he will be overbet.
9th Pace - $10,000; Bronte Epilepsy Research Amateur Series - Final (Colts and Geldings)
1 - Rude Awakening (Karen Isbell(P), 9-2) - On three race win streak; trainer takes the reins.
2 - Yougotwhatyouwant (Richard Bertrand, 10-1) - Seems to be overmatched in this field.
3 - Wrangler Reward (Amanda Fraser(P), 6-1) - Just needs racing luck to get involved. Driver is capable.
4 - Nightscreamer (Brian Barchand(P), 6-1) - Runner up in last two starts and picks up a driver with a good UTR.
5 - Sterling Chris (Robert Stepien(P), 5-2) - Will try to catch a trip to win. A possibility.
6 - Serious Art (David Siegel, 6-5) - Rough trip expected, but driver can handle it.
7 - Hanover D G N (Alan Kirschenbaum, 10-1) - A likely also ran.
8 - Komoda's Fantasy (Marco Rios(P), 6-1) - Post eliminates.