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Sunshine Pro-Am Challenge Announced - Cal-Expo vs Pompano Park
February 24, 2012 - Contact: John Yinger (John.Yinger@islecorp.com)

In a very unique format, Pompano Park has set the dates of its “Sunshine Pro-Am Challenge”.  A series of at least six races will be conducted over two race nights, Monday and Tuesday, March 12th and 13th at the Florida oval.  Two amateurs and two professional reinsmen each from Cal-Expo and Pompano Park will do battle vying for the Sunshine title.  While drivers race individually to win, team points are awarded using a standard amateur race series scoring system.
 
Pompano Park fields a team of true Floridian mainstays.  Bruce Ranger and Wally Hennessey each have amassed over 8000 wins in their careers dwarfing their left coast counterparts Luke Plano (2000 wins) and Steve Wiseman (1700 wins).  On the amateur side of the equation, experience is slightly tilted in Cal-Expos direction.  Drivers Dave Siegel and Rick Bertrand have over 200 wins between them where Floridians Jamie Marra and Joe Campagnuolo have about 50.
 
The playing field will be leveled a little bit in this random draw series with the amateurs drawing for the four inside post positions, and the pros doing battle from the outer posts.
 
The series is designed to bring some variety to the host’s program.  “We are so happy to have Cal-Expo’s top two professionals fly across the nation for this unique event”, Pompano Park’s Director of Racing John Yinger said.  “Both have Pompano connections making things a little homier for our visitors.  Luke’s dad Rick Plano has been one of our top drivers since coming here this past fall.  Another addition to our recent training ranks is Frank Petrelli and Steve was Franks ‘first call’ in California.  Dave Siegel and Rick Bertrand can hold their own with the best of them and I was thrilled when this group of four accepted our invitation to come race here.”  John added, “I have watched the California Amateur Club host the East-West Challenge over the last several years and taking a page from that book, I see this type of innovative exchange really enhancing our program.”
 
California amateur David Siegel echoed John’s sentiments.  “When I think of Florida harness racing, Ranger and Hennessey are the first two names that come to mind.  Doing battle with guys like that sure get the juices flowing.  As experienced as they are, I think they will have their hands full as Steve and Luke are skilled, aggressive drivers.  I think it will be a great show.”  Dave added, “All of us have connections of one kind or another in the area.  There are seven former California-based barns racing at Pompano now, and both Luke and I have family there, so the trip will double as a reunion of sorts.”
 
Cal-Expo General Manager Dave Elliott commented, “We are excited about our guys heading to Pompano to compete.  Our hats are off to the management at Pompano for making this event become a reality. We are hopeful a return engagement of this event can happen at Cal Expo in the very near future.  These types of series races help create further interest in our sport and hopefully they will provide great viewing and wagering opportunities for the fans.”
 
To help promote the event, TrackMaster, provider of harness racing information to the wagering public and USTA partner, will be offering free handicapping products for the race days of the Challenge.