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Dead Heat In Drivers Challenge

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Published: March 12, 2012 10:45 pm ET

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The visitors from Cal-Expo in California came roaring out to an early lead only to see it dissipate as the driving crew from Florida came battling back stoutly and the opening night ended in a dead heat for the 2012 Sunshine Pro-Am Drivers' Challenge at Pompano Park.

David Siegel gave the Cal-Expo team a head start on the proceedings in the first race of the competition as he steered Lucky Hit to a comfortable decision with a strong final half move. Jamie Marra, an amateur competitor on the Pompano side brought his mare K M Sweet Dreams up for second from a long way back and All Joy in rein to California's Luke Plano was third.

Owner and trainer Clayton Faurot got a round trip to the winner's circle in the second race of the event when Cal-Expo's Steve Wiseman reined in claiming pace mare Mias Star for an off the pace win. Wally Hennessey moved up the standings in a runner-up finish with Indianridge Sophia and Misdori, partnered by Luke Plano was third.

In Monday evening's third event of the challenge, the Pompano drivers roared back by dominating the trifecta positions. Bruce Ranger executed a pocket trip to win with claiming trotter Yankee Kodiak for Pompano Beach owner-trainer Tony Coglianese over Perfect Bubbles driven by Wally Hennessey, and the home side's John Campagnuolo brought Roman Holiday through traffic for third.

After the first night of the competition the two teams are tied with 63 points apiece. The scoring system for the six race tournament is 13-8-6-5-4-3-2-1, and the final three races will be staged in the fifth through seventh races of the Tuesday, March 13 program.

"This competition against Cal-Expo really got me pumped up and I didn't think it would," said driver Bruce Ranger. "I always look forward to coming to work at night but tonight there was definitely a different feeling and an added level of excitement for all of us."

Following Monday evening's Sunshine Pro-Am Drivers' Challenge first leg, there was a race carded for the Legends Of Harness Racing involving ten drivers with over 64,000 combined lifetime wins for over $400 million in purse earnings from more than half a million starts.

Joe Pavia, Jr. moved his career win total up to 4,998 in the bike by piloting Lucky Asset to victory for owner Owen Eiler, Jr. of Philadelphia, PA and trainer Frank Petrelli over Single Best with Mickey McNichol and Stretch Artist driven by Dale Hiteman. Another Legends Of Harness Racing event is set for Tuesday evening after the California-Florida drivers' contest races are concluded.

(Pompano Park)

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