Two $10,000 finales of the Bronte Epilepsy Research Foundation Amateur Series and a pair of $15,000 California Sire Stakes have the harness racing spotlight at Cal Expo on Saturday night (November 5).
The Amateur series is being sponsored by 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 Bronte Foundation. In addition, driver George Brennan has pledged an additional donation that will significantly augment that figure.
The field for the mare finale will line up this way: Incredible Gambler (Robert Stepien), Spanish Rosey (Brian Marchand), Just Plum Lucky (Amanda Fraser), Taxi Dancer (Marco Rios), Red Star Gilda (Karen Isbell), Pips Jenny G (Alan Kirschenbaum), Tutiming Gal (Rick Bertrand) and OGs Si Bon (Dave Siegel).
The cast for the male division finds Rude Awakening (Karen Isbell), Yougotwhatuwant (Rick Bertrand), Wrangler Reward, Nightscreamer, Sterling Chris (Robert Stepien), Serious Art (Dave Siegel), Hanover DGN and Komoda’s Fantasy (Amanda Fraser).
Rude Awakening is the only performer eligible to make a clean sweep of a series and goes for new connections after last week’s claim. From the eight elimination races, half were captured by Dave Siegel, who won three in the first leg and added another last week. Amanda Fraser has accounted for a pair, while Robert Stepien and Brian Marchand took the other two contests.
Looking at the Sire Stakes, Bloom N Doom and Ra Ra Steven have won the first two stakes clashes for the pacing colts, while El Azteca has been clearly best in both big-money gatherings for the trotting males.
Bloom N Doom is a homebred son ofand the mare Bloom N Grow who carries the banner of Wayne and Rod Knittel with Bob Johnson the conditioner and Lemoyne Svendsen guiding. He made his debut a winning one two weeks ago, sitting a pocket trip and coming home smartly to garner the trophy in a 1:58.3 performance.
STEPIEN HAS SIGHTS ON 2012 SQUAD
Saturday’s (November 5) Bronte Epilepsy Research Foundation Amateur Series finals at Cal Expo will decide the fourth person on the local 2012 East-West Challenge team. While the top three spots are secured by leading 2011 driver Amanda Fraser, Dave Siegel and Karen Isbell, the fourth slot will be contested between Rick Bertrand and Robert Stepien.
Stepien figures to be a major player in the male division with Sterling Chris and in the distaff contest with Incredible Gambler. Both will be sent out by trainer Frank Petrelli, with Robert guiding Sterling Chris to a win and a third in the first two legs.
“Sterling Chris is getting better each week,” the pilot noted when asked about the 5-year-old pacer. “He’s very handy and can work from various spots. I expect he will be even better this week and with a good cover trip he can win this final.”
There will be a 500 T-shirt giveaway on track to commemorate the Bronte series and free TrackMaster past performances and analysis for the Saturday card will be available at trackmaster.com/calx and at calexpoharness.com.
Lou Pena himself will be on hand to help distribute the T-shirts.
“I am coming out this weekend to push hard for the Foundation,” he said. “If all goes as planned, I will be on Good Morning Sacramento on Saturday and around the track that night, all in hopes of boosting the awareness of the great work the foundation does.
“Dave Siegel has done a great job, along with the racing office, of putting this together, but now I want to push it over the top first hand. It’s also been great that George Brennan and the Buss Family are adding to the pot to help my friends at the Foundation.”
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo On Thursday, (November 3) at 5:30 p.m. (PDT), and continues on Friday (November 4) & Saturday (November 5) is 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, in partnership with the USTA Strategic Wagering Committee, will offer the Thursday Pick 4's with a 15% takeout and a $10,000 Guarantee on the Late Pick 4. On Saturdays, Cal Expo will continue to offer a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on both Pick 4’s. In addition, the late Pick 4 will come with a $10,000-guaranteed pool with a 0% takeout on successful Late Pick 4 tickets made on track or at Twinspires.com.
by Mark RATZKY