Mildred Williams Series action set for Pompano
February 18, 2010
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With the start of the 2010 Mildred Williams International Womens' Driving Series drawn for Saturday evening at the Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park, Gro Formia isn't shy about stating her intentions for the upcoming campaign.
I'd have to say I'm more determined than ever going into the Series this year," she says. "I'm in Florida in the winter and Ontario in the summer and I plan on making to as many events as I possibly can. I think the Series has been a great thing to encourage women to drive in more races and for more women to get involved with the standardbred horses. I'm overdue to do better in the Series. I won in Ontario at Hanover Raceway in July of 2008 with Callie Rankin's trotter Cons In Victory and I loved the feeling, the way the crowd there was so good to us" the career winner of 28 races in the bike says.
Originally from Norway, the 34 year old trainer and driver recently marked the occasion of her 50th career training win. She says the series has a built in rivalry situation when she goes onto the track to drive against Ann Larsen.
"Ann is a good friend except when we're on the track against each other in the Series," Gro explains. "Ann was also from Norway before she went to Canada with (trainer) Per Henriksen. Ann is an excellent driver and she's won the Series a couple of times. On Saturday night, I think I've drawn a good horse to give her a run for her money."
The Florida event will see the women drivers in action in both ends of the Saturday evening daily double commencing at 7:05 EST at the Isle.
The Series is named for the late Mildred Williams, a pioneer Canadian female trainer and driver credited with blazing the trail for women in the sport starting a half century ago.
"I'm really looking forward to the chance to sit behind Clark Hanover again on Saturday night since I know quite a bit about the horse" Gro says. "A couple years ago when I was spending the summer months in Canada at Mohawk Racetrack he was in the Bill Cass barn not far from where I was. I watched him a lot and I thought he was really talented although he was almost always battling soundness problems. Here in Florida, Norm Desserault recently bought him privately and he really likes him."
In addition to Formia and Larsen, the complete cast of Series drivers set to compete in the Florida leg is headlined by defending Series co-winners Kelly Case and Anita Valstad, along with Mary Birkhold, Megan Fortna, Jamie Rucker, Stacey McLenaghan, Brooke Nickells, Miriam Toland, and Anne Schlictig.
"My goal this year is to make it to the final leg in the Fall with a chance to win the Series but I know it won't be easy," Formia states. "Just look at Saturday night and the top quality of the competition, there are so many past champions of the Series coming here including Ann Larsen, Kelly Case, and Anita Valstad. It'll be great to see the other drivers again that don't spend the winter in Florida too. Right now, I'm just anxious and excited to get out on the racetrack against them on Saturday night." (Pompano Park)