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Billings opens Sat. at PPk

April 26, 2007

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The 26th season of the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Classic, often referred to as the “Grand Circuit of Amateur Racing,” commences Saturday night, April 28, at Pompano Park. On tap is a 10-horse field and the event, which will be presented as a non-wagering affair before the first race on the betting card, is slated to go to post at 7:05 p.m.

\"I’m sorry we had to put this race off the card but there were just too many stable entries to allow wagering,” Steve Wolf,  senior director of racing operations at the Isle Pompano Park, said almost apologetically.

Despite that fact the event is “off the card” it nevertheless appears to be a very competitive race, especially since some of the top amateurs are slated to drive that night.

Two-time Amateur Driver of the Year and three-time Midwest point champion, Dein “the Jupiter Gem” Spriggs, will handle his own Concetti and start from post position four. Spriggs has tapped “Tar Heel Tom” Williams to drive his other trotter, Horby Hunter, who will race away from post position seven.

Both horses are trained by Allen Saul, who also entered Astra HS in the contest. When the man says \"go,\" Astra HS will have former Billings Champ and Amateur Driver of the Year in 2001, Rob “Rapid Rail” Krivelin, at the controls.

On the rail in the contest will be Alan ”the Intimidator” Schwartz, Amateur Driver of the Year in 2000 and many times a Billings point champion. He will guide the fortunes of Budlightning, a four-time winner already this season. They’ll be joined by Miracle Sahbra, who will be driven by Diane “Mount Saint” Hellen and start from post position five. Both trotters are trained by Hellen.

And “Smokin’ Joe” Faraldo, Amateur Driver of the Year of 1997 and former Billings points champion, will also wing his way to south Florida just for the competition and will pilot Express Messenger, who has drawn post position 10.

Other talented amateurs in the contest include: Tony “the Capo” Verruso; Peter “the President” Gerry; Ned “the Hilliard Hot-Shot” Hodkinson; and making his amateur debut, “Tough Terry” Eichas.

Verruso will handle Swiss Laux from post position three; Gerry has the riens behind U Toe The Bike and will start from post five while Hodkinson will guide Source of Luck out of post position eight. Eichas will drive Tropical Bay and start from post position nine. Swiss Laux and Tropical Bay are also an entry, both trained by Tom Eichas.

After the Pompano Park contest, which is a wild-card event, the series continues in the Eastern Region  at Monticello Raceway on Thursday, May 3, and in the Midwest Region at Jackson Raceway on Friday, May 5. (CKG Billings)

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