The 2013 installment of the East-West Amateur Driving Challenge, the brainchild of former Californian harness racing secretary, Dave Goldschmidt, is now going into its eighth year. This year's edition will take place on April 12-13 at Cal-Expo in Sacramento, California.
The California contingent has won five of the first seven annual events, but the Easterners have assembled one of their most competitive team ever and looking for retribution from last year's defeat. Two of the four Eastern drivers are making a return trip to the left coast and two newbies go west.
Team East, including one of the winningest amateur drivers competing in North America, will be treated to spring in The Golden State, and four races on each of two weekend nights. Local horsemen will enjoy increased purses for the events and fans will be treated to seeing a variation to the professional drivers they see night in and night out at the track. In addition, the Sacramento Horsemen's Association will be thrilled as they will receive a charitable donation to help them continue servicing the needs of the local horse community.
Dein Spriggs, with 368 lifetime wins, leads the Eastern Team. Las Vegas oddsmakers have made the Easterners the favorites to win the spoils. First timer to the event, 2012 Amateur Driver of the Year Bob Krivelin has notched 142 wins and hopes to leave his mark on the Cal-Expo oval. Rounding out the squad are George Bonomo and returning East-West combatant Michelle Ruvola with over 60 wins between them.
Team West has quite a different look to it. Overall, the Californians pale in years of driving experience, but hope their home track advantage will allow them to continue their dominance over their Eastern Brethren. Dave Siegel (268 wins) will do his best to keep the winner's trophy in California. Sue Boyce and Rick Bertrand, with about 100 wins between them have been on the California scene for many years join Dave with relative newcomer Karen Isbell, who have each been driving for less than three years.
Chris Schick is the GM for Watch and Wager's, the Cal-Expo track's operator. He remarked, "We are very happy to continue to support the Challenge as our predecessors have done for the last several years. Watch and Wager LLC is also proud to partner with the Billings and California amateurs to support a needy local horse related charity. I am keenly aware of how much diversity amateur driving brings to our program out here and all over North America. We are particularly appreciative of the Billings group traveling such a long distance to support this unique series.”
TrackMaster will be providing Racing Fans free programs and selections for the two-day event on their web site.
For information about the California Amateur Driving Club, the Challenge or Amateur Driving in general, please visit http://www.thecadc.com/.