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Jersey lawmakers to drive

June 03, 2004
HOME PRINT

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The New Jersey Legislative Challenge Race, in which state lawmakers drive harness horses to benefit charities, will be expanded this year to two separate races with a total of eight competitors at the Meadowlands on June 12.



For the first time, one race will feature all women while the other will be all men. Both races will be non-wagering events prior to the night’s pari-mutuel program.



This year’s races represent the largest contingent of state lawmakers ever to compete in the annual charity event that has taken place over the past 10 years. The Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey will contribute a total of $3,000 to charities selected by the legislators.



In the all female race, first-time competitor State Senator Nia Gill of Montclair will drive against three state assemblywomen who have competed in previous years, Nellie Pou of Paterson, Linda Stender of Fanwood and Charlotte Vandervalk of Hillsdale. Vandervalk is a Republican while Gill, Pou and Stender are Democrats.



In the all-male race, two are first-time starters: State Senator Paul Sarlo of Wood Ridge and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson of Englewood. The two who have competed in the past are Assemblymen Anthony Impreveduto of Secaucus and John Wisniewski of Sayreville. Impreveduto is the only one to have won a previous race. All four are Democrats.



Each exhibition race will carry a $1,500 purse donated by the SBOA of New Jersey. The winner will be able to donate $600 to his or her charity, with $300 to each charity of the runners-up.



The lawmakers are working with Standardbred trainers and practicing driving at The Meadowlands or a farm track in preparation for the races. Trainers assisting the lawmakers are George Anthony, Bruce Saunders, Robbie Siegelman, Kelly Stackowicz and Art Unger at the Meadowlands and Mike Fagliarone at Gaitway Farm.
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