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Pompano Beach, FL - All trainers, caretakers and their harness racing horses in the backstretch at Eldorado's Isle Pompano Park racetrack have been told that they must vacate the premises by March 31, 2020.   The notices were sent out to the horsemen and women at Pompano Park late Thursday morning. The flyers posted in the backstretch state: "Closure Notice....For the safety and security of all, the backstretch will be closing March 31. All dorms and barns need to be vacated by March 31."   "This is just outrageous, dangerous, and just plane disappointing" said Dein Spriggs, President of the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association. "The horse people in the backstretch and their horses at Pompano Park should remain stabled right where they are. The backstretch is the safest place for them right now.   "There is almost no place for the trainers to go with their horses and caretakers. Many caretakers live almost year-round in the dorms. Now they want them to move. Where are they supposed to live? This is just so wrong for Eldorado to do this.   "We would like to work things out," Spriggs explained, "But was told by Troy Buswell the Isle Casino general manager at 10:41 AM that Pompano Park was terminating the race meet."   Currently, there are approximately 50 caretakers that live on the backstretch of the track and approximately 650 horses that are stabled on the grounds.   The racetrack was conducting fan-less live racing on Wednesday and now have canceled live racing indefinitely at Pompano Park while Gulfstream Park is still holding their races without any fans.   "Eldorado's eviction of the horses and horse people from the backstretch, along the ceasing of racing, will cause serious financial hardships to the Industry, as well as the safety and welfare of the horsemen and horses," said Spriggs.   by Steve Wolf, for the FSBOA    

Pompano Beach, FL...December 10, 2019...In a "see-saw" finish right to the wire, the USA Amateur team eked out a narrow harness racing victory over the visiting Italian team at Pompano Park on Monday night in the annual friendship series between the two countries. The final tally was 100 to 86 with Ron Cusimano reaching the winners circle with Everyone' Talkin to give the USA the narrow win. With USA taking a 53-40 edge on opening night, the Italian visitors struck first on Monday night when Italy's Daniele Orsini gave a "heads-up" drive to Kelly Walkers' Stables Thisisshe, pushing the Italians into the point lead with one race to go. Thisisshe completed her one mile journey in 1:57.4. In the finale, Cusimano sent Everyone's Talkin, who he co-owns, right to the front from his mid-pack post and proceeded to wire his foes in 1:55.4. The Jake Huff trainee carded panels of :28.1, :57.2 and 1:26 along the way to earn his 25th career win. Both winning drivers were gracious in he winners circle with Cusimano applauding his main rival for the "fantastic drive" he gave to Thisisshe an Orsini thanking Dein Spriggs and Joe Pennacchio for their "grand hospitality" during their stay. Spriggs added, "This is what our sport can do for the community and beyond in the form of promoting our industry and, at the same time, be of benefit for so many worthwhile charitable organizations." The Florida Amateur Driving Club has donated over $200,000 to charities benefiting everything from Make-A-Wish and Animal Rescue Organizations to finding a cure or cancer. Racing continues Tuesday with a Pick-6 carryover and a blossoming Super Hi-5 jackpot of $4,731. Post time is et for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry, for the Florida Amateur Driving Club              

Pompano Beach, FL...December 9, 2019...The USA-Italian Amateur Competition took center stage at Pompano Park on Sunday night with the USA team edging out the Italians in the first of their two night-four event harness racing series. The 53-40 edge came as Gary Barbere, driving his own Andriy Fortna, and Dein Spriggs, handling his new addition High Blue, won their respective events. Andriy Fortuna, a 12 year-old gelded son of S J's Photo, got picture perfect handling by Barbere to score a 1;56.4 win over Sheer Flex (Daniele Orsini) and Savin Rock (Pier D'Angelo) with Cheeky Little Minx (Alessandro Manfredi) and Toss Cartwright Leon Cable) also in the top five. The winner paid $3.20 to his multitude of faithful. High Blue led every step of hi journey--also clocked in 1:56.4--as this nine year-old altered son of Majestic Son earned his 40th career win and first for new owner Spriggs. Tymal Tullo (Tony Dinges) was second, two lengths away, with Legend Field (Pier D'Angelo) next over Photo Master (Daniel Orsini) and Santini (Steve Oldford). A the 3 to 5 tote-board favorite, High Blue paid $3.40 to win. Said Spriggs after the event, "This is a very wonderful competition between two countries that love their trotting events. They have many, many talented horsemen and horsewomen over there and it's wonderful that the come over to be in this highly competitive--but friendly--competition. "And one other thing...the two trainers deserve special recognition, as well, as Odell (Thompson, trainer of Andriy Fortuna) and Allen Saul (trainer of High Blue) have each been around horses for over a half century and they still have the magic touch to train winners. They are both amazing!" Father Time couldn't dent the spirit of winning for several other "oldsters" competing on the Sunday card. Track record holder Panocchio, now nine, scored his 68th career win (44th at Pompano Park) with a near gate-to-wire score in 1:51.4 for Wall Hennessey. Making his 199th career start, Panocchio carded number of :27.4, :56.1 and 1:24.1 before a :27.3 final sealed the deal by two lengths over the pocket sitting War-N-Munn (Kevin Wallis) with Always Glorious (Dave Ingraham) third. America Chrome, closing fastest of all, finished fourth while Bass Player picked up the nickel. Trained by Jim Mattison, who co-owns wit Emile Johnson, Jr., Panocchio, the splendid son of No Pan Intended, has banked $621,538 to go along with his Pompano track record of 1:48.3 set four seasons ago. Panocchio returned $4.00 as the even-money chalk. Father Time has yet to catch up to Prescotts Hope, either, as this nine year-old made a quarter move o the top and went on to score in 1:51, a seasonal best for trainer-driver Rick Plano. Also a son of No Pan Intended, the winner, after a :26.3 opener, went on to put up fractions of :55 and 1:22.3 before coasting home in :28.2. After the race, Plano simply said, "He's a pretty good pony!" Prescotts Hope, owned by Nikki Hudson and Maryann Plano, now has banked $341,298. Off as third choice at 7 to 2, the winner paid $9.20. Also of note, yet another nine year-old captured the Super Hi-5 finale as Late Night Joke, dismissed at 18 to 1, nailed the pacesetting Mcjagersonthemove to win in 1:50.4 The gelded son of Western Terror, handled by MIke Simons, was away in mid-pack as Mcjagersonthemove, with Fern Paquet, Jr. in his bike, absolutely sizzled through panels of :26.1, :53.4 and 1:21.3. From six lengths out of it turning for home, Late Night Joke began gnawing away and caught the still-game leader right on the wire. Favored Feelin Lika Winner (Wally Hennessey) was third. Trained by Rob Rittof for Dandy Farms and the Ft Racing Stable, Late Night Joke rewarded his followers with a $39.60 mutual a sent hi career bounty to $380,002. Racing continues on Monday night with the grand final of the USA-Italian Amateur Competition with post time set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry, for the Florida Amateur Driving Club            

Goshen, NY -- The Florida Amateur Driving Association designated April 14 at Pompano Park as the Harness Horse Hall of Fame and Museum night by donating $2,000 to the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in the “Cradle of the Trotter” Goshen, NY. On hand in South Florida to receive the “big check” presentation from the amateur drivers club and Pompano’s John Berry was Museum president Larry DeVan and trustee David McDuffee. During the special race card, four divisions were held with two each won by veteran amateur driver and former USHWA and Harness Racing Museum Amateur Driver of the year, Dein Spriggs and successful newcomer reinsman, Roy Dinges. In fact, Dein Spriggs won the first two races on the card, taking the Daily Double with his own Security Guard in the first, a Prayer I Am 5-year-old who posted a :28.2 final quarter off a two-hole trip, winning the mile in 1:57.3f.  The second race featured a gate-to-wire, nose victory by Fire In My Heart, which completed a $36.80 daily double payout. The following two Florida Amateur events were carded as races five and six, which were both won by Roy Dinges.  The first was captured by the heavy favorite Thundercrest who went to the top and never looked back.  The second saw Power And Faith overcome post 6 while being parked to the quarter in :28.2, to cruise home in 1:58.3f for Dinges. These races are part of the Amateur Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame series created by Steve Oldford and Dein Spriggs to raise money and awareness for the Museum.  The series continues on Hambletonian weekend at the Meadowlands, then moves to upstate New York at Goshen Historic Track during Grand Circuit week.  The schedule then continues on to Lexington’s famed Red Mile, with a grand finale at the Delaware (OH) County Fair on Little Brown Jug day for the final.   Chris Tully

Pompano Beach, FL - The Federation Europeenne Des Gentleman Cavaliers, known as F.E.G.A.T., held their championship series in Belgium on July 28 and 29 with Argentina taking the crown, capturing the title over worthy opponents representing 11 other countries. Individual honors went to Argentina's Leonrado Agusti, who at age 67, entered the competition with over 1,300 career wins, tops in a very select group of drivers. The United States was represented by Dein Spriggs, who was hampered by the draws in his events and finished well back in the competition. In one of the closest finishes in F.E.G.A.T. history, Argentina edged out Australia and The Netherlands in the near triple dead-heat, while Norway and Finland were next in the two day competition. Germany was next, followed by New Zealand, host country Belgium, Sweden, Russia, Austria and, finally, the United States. After day one of the event, Norway had sprinted out to a quick early lead, followed by The Netherlands and Argentina. The United States, drawing outside posts in the majority of the events, was trailing the field. Things didn't get any better for the U.S.A. during day two with Spriggs lamenting, "The draw sure hasn't been very kind to us during this competition. "One good thing," Spriggs joked, "is that, if someone out there has dyslexia, they would think I came in first! "I must say, though, that the hospitality here has been absolutely great and the F.E.G.A.T. folks and the Belgium contingent were just great and made the journey memorable and more than worthwhile." Reported by John Berry for F.E.G.A.T.      

Pompano Beach, FL...June 6, 2018...Noted amateur driver Dein Spriggs will represent the United States in the upcoming World Amateur Driving Championship 2018 event, sponsored and hosted by the Federation Europeenne Des Gentlemen Cavaliers (F.E.G.A.T.), Europe's Amateur Driving Federation. The event will be held in Belgium on July 28-29 at the Tongeron and Waregem tracks and feature amateur drivers from a dozen countries. Spriggs, President of the Florida Amateur Driving Club (F.A.D.C.) has amassed over 450 career wins and was Amateur Driver of the Year in 2004 and 2005. He has spearheaded the success of the F.A.D.C., which has donated over $200,000 to charity since its inception. Upon learning of his invitation, Spriggs humbly lamented, "I received a 'call from the bullpen' from Joe Faraldo, who is President of the North American Amateur Drivers Association. I use the term 'bullpen' because Joe Lee, the equipment manager for the New York Yankees, was originally tabbed to go but, with his obligation to the Yankees, it would have been impossible for him to participate." "Of course, this is a great honor to be representing our country and I will do my utmost in do the U.S., the N.A.A.D.A. and Joe Lee in this prestigious event." Spriggs' driving career stretches over four decades and, since the turn of the century, his U.D.R.S. has been over .300 in 14 of the last 17 seasons and over .400 in six seasons, including a .508 average in 2008, .496 in 2005, .487 in 2006, .479 in 2004 and .469 in both 2015 and 2017, Other countries represented in this world championship competition include Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Sweden and The Netherlands.   Argentina's representative, Leonardo Agusti, has the most wins in the select group with 1,300 while Australia's John Cremen has 1,155 career victories. by John Berry for the Florida Amateur Driving Club

Dein Spriggs, one of the most prolific amateur drivers ever to sit behind a Standardbred showed his competition why he was named harness racing's "National Amateur Driver of the year" twice, first in 2004 and then again in 2005. However, in recent seasons he hasn't driven much in the Billings Series, although he has been productive in the Florida Amateur Drivers Association's races as well as competing against European counterparts in various international amateur competitions Just back from an international driving competition in the United Kingdom and in Finland with his Florida Amateur Club, Spriggs' notched his 437th career victory tonight (Saturday evening, August 26) at Tioga Downs when he sat back off speedy early fractions and then came on to pick up all the marbles to win the Billings Trot with his own Perfect Road in a 1:57.3 clocking. "We had the five-hole tonight and since my horse doesn't have real gate speed I headed for the pylons and figured I'd let the race unfold," Spriggs said. "And they were battling up front so we went speedy early fractions and being close,(to the leaders) I waited until we headed down the stretch before I pulled the plugs and when I did Perfect Road was the strong horse and we caught Doc (Scott) Woogen (driving Six Bax) in the final strides to win it." Third place went to War Cry Hall, driven by Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff. The winner, a 5-year-old Holiday Road gelding , trained by Patti Harmon, returned a $10.20 win mutuel. Spriggs was the leading driver in the Florida Amateur Club's Series at Pompano Park earlier this year and he won a few races against European amateurs on their home turf. "This was only my second start in the Billings this year but I plan to race many more times in the series," Spriggs said. Thus far this season Spriggs has driven 13 winners in just 29 starts and is carrying a hefty .532UDR. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

Big Jer (Dein Spriggs) goes from last to first in the stretch to capture the featured harness racing pace ($7,500), at Vernon Downs Saturday (August 12). Golden Gun (Justin Huckabone), would set the pace from the start with fractions of :26.1, :53.4, 1:22.1. Oh My Joepa (John MacDonald) would put on heavy pressure parked out first over for most of the race. Big Jer (Cheyenne Rei) would come out of the clouds in the stretch and blow right by to win in 1:51.2. Oh My Joepa would finish second but be disqualified and placed fifth. Calvin B (Truman Gale would be placed second while Golden Gun would be place third. Big Jer ($7.20) is owned by Patricia Mulder and trained by Patti Harmon. The 8 year-old gelding would win for the fourth time this year and the 34th time in his career. Celebrity Stimulus (David Glasser) would win the CKG Billing Amateur race ($5,000), going gate-to-wire and winning by four lengths in 1:56.0. Garlandsandpearls (Dein Spriggs) would finish second with Peoplesayimnogood (Scott Woogen) settling for third. Celebrity Stimulus is owned by Glasser Racing LLC and trained by Homer Hochstetler. The 7 year-old would notch career victory number 22. Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Thursday (August 17), starting at 6:45 p.m. For more information go to John Horne for Vernon Downs  

Pompano Beach, FL...August 11, 2017...Avenging an earlier defeat on their home field of Pompano Park, a quintet of Florida Amateur Driving Club members journeyed to the United Kingdom and got a bit of revenge, eking out a 45-43 decision over their British rivals in a hot contested--but friendly--competition. The grand event was held, first, at the Tir Prince course in North Wales with the conclusion held over the Tany Castle turf course in Aberystwyth in North Wales. The Brits jumped out to an early lead as England's Richard Haythornthwaite (victorious at Pompano Park earlier in the year) took the opener with Ireland's Chris O'Reilly second and the U.S.A.'s Dein Spriggs third. With the American contingents "backs to the wall," Dennis Whittemore saved the day as he scored a hard fought, photo finish victory in the final. After that event, Whittemore remarked, "Wow! Let me tell you that was the most thrilling victory I have ever had. "There are some very serious challenges driving over a turf course--especially a wet one on a half mile track. "I thought I'd have a go at it taking the lead early and that worked out very well. On the backside the final time, (Patrick (Morris) made that big move and he took a short lead but my horse had some fight left in him and we got to the wire first. "Unforgettable is the only way to describe it!" The event was organized by Britain's Lee Morris and Jaimie Davies, along with the U.S.A.'s Dein Spriggs and Jeff Schaefer. Schaefer, Spriggs and Whittemore were to joined by Tony Dinges and Ron Cusimano to complete Team Florida. Patrick Morris completed the roster of Brits competing. Both Schaefer and Spriggs had high praise for their hosts, echoing each other about the hospitality enjoyed during their stay in the United Kingdom. "The competition was fierce, yes," said Schaefer, "but we felt right at home with their warm and generous hospitality." Spriggs said, "We are hoping that this type of competition will expand throughout the world as it seems to be a great 'shot in the arm' for our grand sport." by John Berry for the Florida Amateur Driving Club        

Goshen, NY - The sport's greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Amateur Trotting Series, moved on to Goshen's Historic Track for two events on Saturday afternoon, July 2, and to no one's surprise "Hurricane Hannah" Miller and Dein "the Dream" Spriggs were each victorious in their respective divisions. Miller won with Jacks To Open in 2:00 while Spriggs was victorious behind Shanghai Jack in 2:01.3. Both trotters are trained by Nick Surick. Coming off her National Amateur Driver of the Year award last season where Ms. Miller won 32 races,she seems to be aiming for another national title and with her victory today she already has 15 winners.. Hannah did a masterful job with Jacks To Open who was a bit rank in the early going. She left the gate with a rush but Scott "the Driving Doctor" Woogen and Warrawee Preferred had inside position on Jacks To Open and as the headed for the first quarter "Hurricane Hannah" had to wrestle with her trotter to get him in behind Doc Woogen which she did before they passed the first quarter. Still with a snug hold on her charge once Miller settled him in behind Warrawee Preferred Jacks To Open relaxed a bit and was content to follow the leader. When John "Turk" Turok moved Buck ID out to challenge as the field passed the halfway point Miller angled 'Jack' off the pylons and they rushed up alongside Warrawee Preferred and the two trotters raced head to head past the three quarters and into the final turn. "My horse still had a lot left and we began to pass Doc Woogen," Miller related. "And in the lane "Jack" trotted to the front and we were easy winners." The margin of victory over Warrawee Preferred was three lengths. Bluebird Kidsqueen with Dave "The Rave" Offenberg aboard, some nine lengths behind the winner, was third best. As the Harness Horse Museum's Amateur Driver of the Year in 2015, Hannah Miller earned a berth in the Hall of Fame Trot slated tomorrow(July 3) at Historic Track. "I'm extremely proud to be able to race with, and against, the Hall of Fame drivers," Miller said. "I'm a bit nervous but really looking forward to it." In the other division Dein "the Dream" Spriggs displayed the talent that helped him win his 417th races thus far in his career. Up behind Shanghai Jack from the pole position Spriggs sent his horse to the lead and they were comfortably in front as they passed the first stanza in :29.. As they headed to the halfway point Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford came with a rush from far back with Starsavoveallerage and they actually were a head in front the outside as the trotted by the half. As a veteran of many campaigns and two time National Amateur Driver of the Year Spriggs used Oldford's trotter to help keep Tagmaster and driver "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli locked in behind Shanghai Jack. When Starsaboveallerage faded in the stretch Ciuffetelli moved off the pylons and made a strong rally which, unfortunately for him, fell short by a head as Spriggs' trotter was the first under wire.Third place went to Zorgwijk Impact who was driven by "Joltin' Joe" Pennacchio. "I knew for me to win it I had to keep Ciuffetelli's trotter locked in as long as possible," Spriggs said. "But when he got out he came on strong but my horse hung tough and we won it be a head." Spriggs was a happy man after his driving victory in the Cradle of the Trotter. "This was my first trip here and the first time I ever drove at Goshen", Spriggs added. "It's a wonderful place with a lot of harness racing history by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Trotting Series      

NAPLES, Italy - The second day of the competition in the USA vs Italy Friendship Challenge proved nearly fruitless for the visitors but with Hannah Miller's third place finish in the race saved face somewhat for the visitors. With incredibly sunny Italian sky's overhead, the USA-Italy Amateur Friendship Challenge concluded on Sunday (May 1) and though uneventfully on the racetrack, at least for the visitors, every moment was cherished and will forever be remembered by all the participants.. With all the events contested in the four race competition the Italians prevailed with three wins to the American's one, which came from a heads-up drive by Dein Spriggs, USA Team Captain Joe Pennacchio said of the Friendship Competition, "We couldn't be happier with the races and hospitality shown to us and we expressed special thanks to track, (Ippodromo di Agnano) owner Pier Luigi D'Angelo, who went overboard making us welcome." Hannah Miller led the Americans with a third place finish with 31.5 points and received a trophy to mark that occasion. The competition point leader was Italy's Ciro Ciccarelli who finished with 60.5 points. "You really have to drive the horse. They need lots of help at the start and in the turns and if your horse breaks (stride) you are disqualified. So I was careful," Ms. Miller explained. "The Italians drove like a team and did a lot of blocking to clear their better horses," added USA team member Steve Oldford. "Ciro had the best showing by winning two races. "We had a great lunch after the competition with all the drivers and our new friends and enjoyed the 67th edition of the Gran Premio Lotteria Di Agnano which was won by Oasis Bi, who was driven to victory by Johnny Takter, Jimmy's brother." by John Manzi for Team USA Amateur Drivers

The Italian Amateur Friendship Challenge officially kicked off with a gala dinner hosted by the mayor of Naples Italy, Luigi de Magistris on Thursday. Pier Luigi De Angelo principle owner of Agnano race track in Naples, guided the invited American amateur drivers to this event held at the elegant Belvedere Carafa Museum in downtown Naples, Italy. "The people and the food are over the top and the majesty and history of this area goes back thousands of years," team correspondent Steve Oldford said. Festivities will continue when team America will dine with their Italian counterparts prior to the racing action which begins Friday afternoon and continues through Sunday when track hosts the world class $500,000 trot, the Grand Premio Lotteria. "There's no doubt that amateur racing is moving to a new level and we hope the events here in Naples will continue to promote amateur racing at a world-wide level, " noted team USA team captain Joe Pennacchio. When the races get underway Friday at Agnano, Pennacchio and Oldford will be joined by Mike Mitchell, Dein Spriggs and Hannah Miller. The five outstanding American amateur drivers will compete against the best that the Naples area has to offer. Two events are slated for Friday with a race on Saturday and one on Sunday, the day of the Gran Premio Lotteria where the attending crowds will be in the tens of thousands. by John Manzi and Steve Oldford

Look out Italy, the Americans are coming. A contingent of American amateur drivers, that is. Amateur racing is coming out of the shadows and now is an integral part of the harness racing scene, not only in the United States but in Europe, Australia and New Zealand too. International driving competitions among the sportsmen are growing exponentially. Recently the Florida Amateur Club hosted an international driving competition and as a result of those races earlier this year at Pompano Park an invitation was extended to a group of American amateurs to compete against their Italian counterparts in Naples, Italy on April 29, 30 and May 1. "Pierre Luigi D'Angelo, the owner of Angano, the racetrack in Naples, extended the invitation during the Isle of Capri International (amateur) Championship at Pompano," noted "Joltin' Joe Pennacchio, who has known D'Angelo for many years and has previously driven at Angano. "He (D'Angelo) said we should get a team of five drivers to compete against our (Italian) amateurs in a Friendship Competition on the weekend of April 29, 30 and May 1. D'Angelo told me that those dates hinge around Italy's greatest race, the $600,000 Gran Premio Lotteria, which will be contested on May 1. He promised us (the U. S. amateurs) that we will have one race on the card that day when the attending crowds will be monstrous." In all, the Friendship Competition will include four races with two contests on Friday, April 29 and one on Saturday, April 30. Even with a short advance notice, Pennacchio, a longtime sportsman and avid amateur reinsman, searched for available drivers and has come up with a very respectful team. Joining "Joltin' Joe" will be Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford, Dein "the Dream" Spriggs, Mike "the Mortgage Man" Mitchell and "Hurricane Hannah" Miller; all members of the C.K.G. Billings Series as well as members of other amateur driving clubs. For the record, Oldford (2013), and Ms. Miller (2015), are previous U.S. National Amateur Driver of the Year Award winners while Spriggs is a two-time recipient (2004 & 2005) .The members of the American team will wing their way to Italy early this week and prior to the competition they will be hosted and shown the wonder and the history of Naples and the surrounding area. "We're very excited about the upcoming Friendship Competition and a chance to enjoy greater Naples," said Steve Oldford, who has driven winners in previous European amateur competitions. "And maybe, just maybe, we, our team, will be able to win a race or two." Oldford promises to relay the happenings and the daily race results during the Friendship Competition. by John Manzi for the USA Amateur Drivers

Amateur harness racing driver Dein Spriggs is looking forward to this weekend's Isle International Amateur competition at Pompano Park this weekend. "This competition will be highly competitive--yet friendly--with eyes throughout the world on our sport in this highly anticipated event." Indeed. The seven race competition--four races on Saturday and three on Sunday--will feature the best amateur drivers from nine European countries, New Zealand and the United States with charities throughout the world the beneficiaries from the generosity of The Florida Amateur Driving Club and further contributions of driver's fees earned from the event. Spriggs, whose "full time" profession is in real estate investment, has been a harness racing participant for some four decades and has driven well over 400 winners. The Florida Amateur Driving Club has donated over $150,000 to worthwhile charitable causes since its inception. A few of the charities to benefit from this competition are New Zealand's Kidz Kartz North Island, Norway's Children's Cancer Association and Russia's The Red Cross, as well as Germany's SOS Kinderdorfer and Austria's Kinderhilfe, among others. Pompano Park's Director of Racing, Brett Revington echoed Spriggs' comments by saying, "We are so pleased to host this event as it will put our sport in the limelight worldwide. "It's great to reach out beyond our borders and showcase the world's top amateur drivers." The draw for the seven International seven races event was held Wednesday with Finland's Tapio Hoikka and Denmark's Michael Holmer officiating at the draw. The first of four Saturday events has a field of seven and track morning line maker John Berry has made Mr Wizard, to be driven by Jaime Bassa, the 5 to 2 morning line favorite. Said Berry, "I made him the favorite for a number of reasons. First, this five year-old seems to be in a little bit softer than his recent events, second, he has the rail and, third, Jaime Bassa is familiar with Pompano Park as he won a race here last year." Princess Crown, having competed in 10,000 claiming events recently, is the 7 to 2 second choice and will have Ms. Andrea Fazekas, the only female in the competition, in the sulky. Ms. Fazekas has 135 lifetime wins in her homeland of Hungary and is highly regarded as a superior horsewoman. Princess Crown is 7 to 2 in the morning line. New Zealand's Danny Blakemore is listed at 4 to 1 with Witty's Winner, who has been hampered by poor positions in hus last two outings but has drawn post two for the opener. This trio will be joined by Baby Boy Grin (Dein Spriggs), Super Duke (Nils-Olav Holm from Norway), Vacation Day (Johann Preining, Jr. from Austria) and Berkshire (Tapio Hoikka from Finland). The second race, a pace, has Blakemore listed at the 3 to 1 morning line favorite with Head First, an eight year-old mare who is coming off a win in 1:54.4. She has drawn post three for the race. Internal Check (post 1), to be driven by Johann Preining, Jr., is listed as the second choice at 7 to 2. Ms. Fazekas, driving Country Fresh (post 7), is third choice at 4 to 1. MIghty NIce, trained by 90 year-old Lou Rapone, will have Germany's Michael Gutsche in the sulky and is listed at 9 to 2 in this very competitive field of seven. Rock Groupie (Michael Holmer from Denmark driving), Lily Rei (Tapio Hoikka) and Ruths Shadylady (Bassa) complete the roster of mares. The next event, carded as the fifth race on the Saturday card, has Play Fair (Michael Gutsche) listed at 3 to 1 with Holm's Gimme The Loot the second choice at 7 to 2. Russia's Ivan Serik has the 4 to 1 choice Out Of The Hat (post 8), a very rugged mare with 43 lifetime wins and early speed. Spriggs' own Zeitgeist is next morning line choice at 9 to 2 and begins from Pompano Park's most coveted post--5. Insider Access (Blakemore), the $474,000 winner Good Feeling (Fazekas), Chaplin Hall (Holmer) and Teezer Bree, with Italy's Enrico Colombino listed to drive, complete the field. Colombino has 345 lifetime wins and won the World Italian Championship in 1999. The final event on Saturday sports a very evenly matched octet with Rel Cash Clown (Jaime Bassa) listed as the 3 to 1 morning line choice. Sorrento Hall (Michael Gutsche) has drawn the rail and is listed at the 7 to 2 second choice while the $506,000 winner Guilford will have New Zealander Danny Blakemore handling the lines with a morning line tag of 4 to 1. Bad Angel (Ivan Selik), Echos Funky Claude (Tapio Hoikka), Jailhouse Lawyer (Johann Preinling, Jr.), Ladainian (Michael Holmer) and What About Brian (Enrico Colombino) complete the lineup. The competition will feature race calls by Roger Huston, Pompano Park announcer from 1967 to 1975, who has since gone on to call over 160,000 races in several foreign countries. The Communicators Corner Hall of Famer, never at a loss for words, summed up the highly anticipated weekend in three words, "I can't wait!" The competition winds up Sunday night with that trio of International events determining the winner. Post time for the Saturday night festivities is 7:30 p.m. with a Super Hi-5 carryover of $67,438.82 awaiting on the Super Hi-5 finale. by John Berry for Pompano Park and the Florida Amateur Driving Club

Pompano Beach, FL - The Isle Casino and Racing at Pompano Park and the Florida Amateur Drivers Club (FADC) ( are hosting an exciting International Drivers Contest on March 12-13. Ten countries and representing drivers plan to participate in the two racing night endeavor. The FADC has been active at Pompano Park for many years and, through the donations of its members' driving fees, has contributed over $150,000 to local charities. FADC's efforts bring positive attention to harness racing and support worthwhile charitable organizations. Real estate executive Dein Spriggs, from Jupiter, Florida, heads the FADC and has spearheaded the upcoming international races, while also posting 412 lifetime victories and 2005-2006 Billings Gold Cup wins. Spriggs' best years were 1978-1979 when he posted a combined 121 wins. Through the efforts of FADC, Pompano Park and FEGAT (Federation of European Amateur Trotting Drivers) ten participants are on their way to South Florida: International Amateur Driving Participants: Austria - Johann Preining Jr. Finland - Tapio Hoikka Germany - Michael Gutsche Hungary - Andrea Fazekas Italy - Enrico Columbo New Zealand - Paul Daniel Blakemore Norway - Nils Holm Russia - Ivan Serik Spain - Jaume Bassa (Riera) USA - Dein Spriggs Founded in 1954 FEGAT by six nations, the current country membership numbers 15. The organization conducts annual championships for its gentlemen and women drivers and a world championship weekend. In 2016 the women will battle in Finland from June 29-July 2; the world championship will be September 2-3 at Budapest and the men will compete September 16-19 at Wolvega and Alkmaer, Belgium. Agusti Mascaro Pou of Spain is FEGAT's executive secretary and Claes L. Ljung is its President. One interesting amateur driver on-hand this weekend is Hungary's Andrea Fazekas. With 136 career victories she regularly drives in both amateur and open races at Kincsem Park (Budapest) and often is at the lines of trainer/driver Imre Fazekas' stable star, Ollyan Nincs (by the US-bred Pickaflick), a former winner of the Hungaria DIJ (greatest international race at Kincsem Park) and a host of other aged classic races. Andrea's parents are also very accomplished drivers/trainers of trotters. Andrea's husband, Gyorgy Horvath, is a professional driver that teamed Chevallier SR to a third place finish in last Saturday's classic Tavaszi Handicap. Of particular note is Andrea's expertise as a videographer and film producer for her country's trotting association ( and the racetrack Kincsem Park ( Her fine professional work highlights the trotting sport and adaptability of standardbreds for show, recreation, education and children's therapy. An example link follows: Andrea's work regularly is shown on the 24-hour racing channel of Kincsem Park and through the Equidia Pro network. Be there at Pompano Park this weekend to watch many of the world's best amateur drivers compete and hear legendary Hall of Famer Roger Huston call the action. By Thomas H. Hicks    

Dein Spriggs has, literally, won the right to represent the Florida Amateur Driving Club and the U.S.A. as Pompano Park gets set to host the harness racing Isle International Amateur Series on March 12 and 13 at the South Florida five-eighths mile oval. Spriggs will join Johann Preining, Jr. (Austria), Ivan Serik (Russia), Nils Olav Holm (Norway), Andrea Fazekas (Hungary), Enrico Columbo (Italy), Jauma Bassa (Spain), Tapio Hoikka (Finland), Michael Holmer (Denmark), Michael Gutsche (Germany) and Danny Blakemore (New Zealand) in the extravaganza with a trio of races each night featuring 11 horse fields. Spriggs, who has 412 career driving victories, has been involved in harness racing for some 40 years and enjoyed his best year ever as a driver in 2015, earning a career high $94,480 in purses on the strength of 27 wins in 82 starts and a "batting average" of .469. He earned the right to represent the Florida Amateur Driving Club during a lengthy competition among members of the F.A.D.C. Upon learning of his selection, Spriggs said, "This is one of the greatest honors of my life in this sport, representing our club. "I am sure the competition will be spirited and the great thing about this is that many charities will benefit as we get to showcase our great sport throughout the world." Indeed, the Florida Amateur Driving Club will be donating over $7,000 to charities on behalf of the visiting drivers. Since their inception, the Club has donated over $150,000 to worthwhile charities and causes. Adding spice to the International event is the news that the voice of harness racing, Roger Huston, will be providing the race calls for the two day extravaganza. Huston, who was Pompano Park's track announcer from 1967 to 1975, has called races at 134 venues, including tracks in Australia, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Wales. by John Berry          

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