Over the last three weeks, while half of the harness racing horses in the Lou Pena sponsored Bronte Series have been eliminated, eight mares and eight geldings stand ready to do battle to win their piece of the $10,000 purses.
And while there is total uncertainty about what horse and driver will prevail, the big winners are already known.
The series benefits the Bronte Epilepsy Research Foundation. They will be presented with a check after the ninth race on Saturday. The donation is the result of the series sponsored by California’s “native son”, Lou Pena, other supporters, and the amateur drivers who are donating their drive fees to this cause. The winning horse owners will receive commemorative trophies as well.
The fans attending the races will be winners as well. There is no fee for parking or admission, and the first 500 fans will receive free “Bronte” T-shirts. Lou Pena himself will be on hand for the festivities and will emcee the check presentation. The fields are contentious, so there should be great wagering opportunities for those that are so inclined. Free programs and selections are being made available by TrackMaster at: trackmaster.com/calx.
The Cal-Expo track and horsemen also are predetermined winners. They are receiving additional purse monies through the sponsorship of this series, and promotional recognition by local television. This past Wednesday, a news crew from ABC - Channel 10 (click on link for video) was out at the track and did several segments about the series, the Bronte Foundation, and harness racing in general. Lou Pena appeared on Sacramento’s Univision station this morning, and Good Morning Sacramento, featuring former TVG anchor Ken Rudolph, will be broadcasting trackside and talking to Lou and other horsemen about the evening’s events.
Driver Amanda Fraser is currently leading the season-long driver’s competition but is still within reach of some other drivers for the top position. The top four drivers are vying for a spot on the 2012 East-West Challenge amateur team. So while the fans, the horsemen and the Foundation are winners for sure, for the drivers and horses, the suspense will continue to mount.
California Harness Horsemen’s Association President, Hollywood producer, and amateur reinsman Alan Kirshenbaum will be driving in both events on Saturday. He commented on how amateur driving is within reach of so many and how California is the perfect place to get involved. "We have one of the most active amateur driving clubs in North America, which is a tribute to the hard work and enthusiasm of our members. And everyone who is out there watching should know that if they think it looks like fun to drive in a race, they should come down to the stable gate and get involved, and within a year, they could be driving in the amateur races, too."
More information about amateur driving can be found on the California Amateur Driving Club’s website (thecadc.com).
President - TrackMaster