Day At The Track

Pena & his owners support epilepsy research

06:41 AM 20 Oct 2011 NZDT
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Lou Pena is sponsoring The Bronte
Lou Pena is sponsoring The Bronte - Epilepsy Research Foundation Amateur Series

Saturday night (October 22) at Cal Expo will find the opening leg of The Bronte Epilepsy Research Foundation Amateur Series, which is being sponsored by top harness racing trainer Lou Pena and some of his owners. Between their generosity and the driver fees, a total of $7,000 beyond the purse monies will go to the Foundation.

Two separate pacing events, one for the males and one for the mares, will be held over three Saturdays. The first two legs are going for $3,000, while a $10,000 pot will be waiting at the end of the respective November 5 finales.

The first leg of the series will get underway with the pacers sporting $3,000 base claiming prices, while they will have $4,500 claiming tags on the second week. The top eight purse earners from those first two legs will compete in each of the respective $10,000 finales and there will be no claiming in that affair.

California Amateur Driving Club President Dave Siegel is high in his praise for Pena, who contacted him and said he wanted to do something to benefit both The Bronte Foundation and California harness racing.

"I really miss California and I hope things can turn around," Pena said. "While I have had success since leaving two years ago, I'm happy to give something back to the place where I have many friends and family.

"I still have a strong interest in the health of the industry, with some horses sent back here to compete, and I'm happy to continue to support the amateur cause and more importantly the horsemen and Bronte Foundation. It's great that Dave Siegel continues to drive these events and they are winners for the track, the horsemen and the bettors", Siegel said.

Speaking of the bettors and in conjunction with the Amateur Series, free TrackMaster past performances and TrackMaster Greg analysis will be available for the next three Saturday night programs by going to

The Bronte Epilepsy Research Foundation Amateur Series and Sire Stakes have Saturday Cal Expo Spotlight

The first leg of The Bronte Epilepsy Research Foundation Amateur Series and the second round of $15,000 California Sire Stakes action for the 2-year-old pacing and trotting colts headed by Ra Ra Steven and El Azteca top the marquee at Cal Expo Saturday evening (October 22).

Looking at the Sire Stakes, Ra Ra Steven and El Azteca both posted impressive victories two weeks ago in the first round of added-money action for the 2-year-old colts. Ra Ra Steven is a homebred son of Little Steven who races for Billie Schwartz, David Rachford and Jim Wilkinson Jr., with Wilkinson training and Rich Wojcio once again guiding.

The bay performer made every pole a winning one in that first stakes clash for the pacers, reporting home with four lengths to spare over Down Holme and Little Tor. They will challenge again, while Bloom N Doom and Looks Don't Count will complete the line-up.

El Azteca left little doubt in the trotting event for the boys as he waltzed home by 14 lengths in the first big-money gathering for his owner/breeder/trainer/driver Marco Rios. Taking him on in the non-betting event are Light Red, Lee's Persuader and High Dollar.

Rios Sets Sights On Two Prizes At Cal Expo

river/trainer Marco Rios is looking at a couple of races in particular on Saturday's (October 22) card at Cal Expo, with Misty Waters carrying the stable hopes in the first leg of the Bronte Foundation Amateur Series, while his homebred 2-year-old trotting colt El Azteca eyes a second Sire Stakes tally a bit earlier on the program.

Misty Waters is a daughter of Cam's Card Shark who races for Marco's wife Sandra and goes in one of the distaff divisions of the Bronte. Unfortunately, for the second straight week she has drawn the outside post in a field of eight.

"We'll just have to try and find a good early spot," Rios explained. "The idea is to get through the first two legs and qualify for the final."

El Azteca is a son of Panama Hanover and the Jonathan Lobell mare Jonathan's Girl who has waltzed home by double digits in both his September 24 qualifier and the first stakes dance of the season for the young male trotters two weeks ago.

"I bought Jonathan's Girl as a yearling and she raced four or five times for us before she got injured," Marco related. "This colt showed quite a bit from the very start, and part of the battle is just to keep them flat. The dam was very hot and a little bit crazy, but this colt takes after Panama Hanover and is much calmer."

Thursday (October 20) live racing returns to Cal Expo at 5:30 p.m. (PDT), and continues on Friday (October 21) & Saturday (October 22) at 6:00 p.m. On Thursday and every live card, Cal Expo offers free admission, as well as free preferred & general parking after 4:30 p.m. Also on Thursday night from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Cal Expo offers a complete Lasagna dinner, which includes salad and bread, for just $3.00. Additionally on Thursday, beer & wine can be purchased for $3.00 each as well.

Cal Expo offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on Saturdays for both Pick 4's. In addition, the late Pick 4 will come with a $10,000-guaranteed pool and there will be a 0% takeout on successful Late Pick 4 tickets made on track or at


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