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 SUNDAY, APRIL 7, 2013 - David Siegel (

Karen IsbellOne veteran and relative newcomer to the amateur driving ranks will draw swords (actually whips) against eastern combatants in next week’s East-West challenge. Karen Isbell and Sue Boyce were named to Team West’s roster by track management to join forces with Dave Siegel and Rick Bertrand seeking the squad’s sixth win in the 8th annual Challenge.
Karen Isbell is a story in and of herself. Jockey turned amateur driver, she was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana and now lives in Lincoln, California with her husband Allen Aldrich. They have two children and two grandchildren. She was a jock for 23 years and rode her first Thoroughbred to victory on September 3, 1979 at Cal Expo. Karen also won races aboard Quarter Horses, Arabians and Mules. After retiring as a jockey in 2001, Karen's competitive spirit kept her active, riding hunters and jumpers. At the age of 54, exactly 31 years after her first victory aboard a Thoroughbred, Karen drove in a harness race at Cal Expo on September 3, 2010.Two months later, she won her first race. More recently, she has jumped onto the equine stars racing Standardbreds “under saddle” at the Meadowlands and other eastern venues.
Sue BoyceSue Boyce was born and raised in northern California. At five years old she was caught riding a neighbor’s quarter horse bareback with only a halter and lead rope, she was hooked! During high school Sue competed snow skiing and also showed successfully in equitation and pleasure classes as well as gymkhanas. After high school, Sue went to work for AT&T but continued showing registered Paints thru out California. After getting a taste of the rural life, Sue left “Ma Bell” and never looked back. Sue has been a groom since 1974 and later a driver and trainer. She also co-owned a horse shipping business for 14 years as well as a managed a horse ranch for a similar period of time. Sue now is a representative for Primerica Financial Services and continues part-time handling young horses, which is her passion.
The 8-race series random-draw series hosted by Cal-Expo’s Watch and Wager management team will be held on Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14. One key component of the series is charity. A $3000 check will be presented to the Sacramento Horsemen’s Association, a local organization that provides a facility and riding space on a non-profit basis for local horse enthusiasts.
When asked to comment about her involvement in the series, Karen Isbell said” "I am so happy to be participating in this event. I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of driving here against the professionals and am honored to participate against fellow amateurs. This is another great highlight of my career."
Her teammate Sue Boyce echoed Karen’s sentiments. “I am so happy to be back racing in the “Challenge” again this year after a few years away from it. I love getting together with other amateur enthusiasts who share my passion. I am so grateful that the horsemen and management support this very special event. It helps vary the program, brings in some extra handle, and gives me a chance to drive a little more.”
TrackMaster will be providing Racing Fans free programs and selections for the two-day event at beginning on Wednesday, April 10.