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Pavia Pumped For Drivers' Championship

Published: March 8, 2011 9:52 pm ET

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Joe Pavia, Jr. is hoping the saying is true that history repeats itself when the 2011 Isle of Capri Drivers' Championship is staged next week at Pompano Park.

"I've been in a few of these drivers' championships in my career but the one I remember best was right here at Pompano close to twenty years ago," said Pavia. "The format was a ten-man round robin competition staged on Tuesday evenings over the course of several weeks. The final came down to me and Ron Waples. Back then, I was only a kid at the time and I was fortunate to beat him. Ron was one of the best in his day, a horseman I consider a true legend and the top prize was $2,500.ā€

Next week, three races of the Championship will be carded on each of the Monday, March 14 and Tuesday, March 15 programs. The ten-race competition concludes with the final four races comprising the Pick-4 wager with a guaranteed $5,000 pool on the Wednesday, March 16 program. The races used in the Championship will carry increased purses.

The scoring system awards 10 points for a win, 7 points for second, 5 points for third, 3 points for fourth, and 1 point for fifth place finishes. In the event of a scratch, the driver affected receives 3 points. From the $17,500 prize money on the line, the winning driver takes home $8,000. The runner-up wins $4,000, third place is $2,000 and fourth place is $1,000. The other five participants each receive $500 in addition to the usual 5% driving commissions.

Pavia, a career winner of over 4,800 races in the bike for almost $30 million in purses also explains that taking part in the contest at his Winter base does not affect the annual Spring shipment of his stable to Pocono Downs. He plans this year's move north for March 19th and 20th. The fact that the Isle of Capri Drivers' Championship concludes on March 16 also raises the possibility of a very happy coincidence for Pavia. That's the date of his 51st birthday.

"No doubt your ego plays a part when you go into a competition of this kind," Pavia added. "For as many years as you're in this game you always get pumped up for a special event like this. To some extent you're at the mercy of the horses and post positions you draw, but it's always a challenge and very exciting. Everyone wants the best showing they can get because you're out there against the best. Definitely, I respect the other eight drivers in this Championship and I think this top nine Pompano drivers could be competitive at any track anywhere. To me it's the same feeling as earning the chance to play in all-star game.ā€

Im Just Special Romps Again

Although she was ordered to the outside in the field of nine starters, Im Just Special romped again in Tuesday eveningā€™s $14,000 feature event for pacing mares.

The six-year-old daughter of Camluck-Ladys Special Girl dashed to the front in :27.1, and set the pace in :55.1 and 1:24 in rein to George Napolitano, Jr. When the wire arrived in 1:52.2, Im Just Special was under urging but had almost a full length to spare over the pocket sitter Another Judy, driven by Anthony Napolitano. The Janice Connor-trained entry of Pinnacle Portia and Oceans Motion closed well for the third and fourth cheques.

Susan and Ted Colby of Bronxville, NY are the owners of Im Just Special. The graduate of the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series racked up her 24th career win and she's earned over $613,000 lifetime.

(Pompano Park)

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