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International Amateur Series Dashes Set

Published: March 10, 2016 1:24 pm ET

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Amateur 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.

(Pompano Park)


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