Day At The Track

Action galore on Saturday night at Cal Expo

09:09 AM 06 Nov 2011 NZDT
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
Rich Wojcio
Rich Wojcio

The weather wasn't nice, but the week ending harness racing card (November 5) at Cal Expo was while highlighted by Sires Stakes, Series' Finals, and Winners-Over action.

Two $15,000 California Sires Stakes had center-stage for freshmen colts & geldings, on which Ra Ra Steven & El Azteca scored.

In the event for the pacers over a track listed as 'good,' Ra Ra Steven, leaving moderately from post-four in the field of five for Rich Wojcio, raced three-wide until two-wide into the first-turn before getting the lead after 3-16ths of a mile into a :30.1 opening quarter.

Pacing an easy :30.3 second-quarter into a 1:00.4 first-half, Wojcio kind of let a notch on his youngster at the 9-16ths mile marker, then started rating his pacer again at the five-eighths mile station, then gave him a tap of the whip midway through the final-turn when Bloom N Doom (Bruce Clarke) pocket pulled. Reaching the three-quarter mile pole, timed in 1:30.1, Wojcio knew the race was far from over.

"I knew it would be a fight to the wire because I knew both of Bob Johnson's horses, Bloom N Doom & Hollywood Star (Lemoyne Svendsen), were behind me," said Wojcio.

What the horses behind Ra Ra Steven didn't know was that when Wojcio showed his charge the whip at the three-quarters, the gelding would see it an accelerate. Bloom N Doom, however, stayed with him. Now in full gear at the head of the lane, Wojcio went to work and his pacer was holding firm - - at the time.

"I thought I had Bloom N Doom beat, but then I heard Hollywood Star coming late and I got very concerned, but my horse fought and gave me all he had."

Being asked for everything he had, Ra Ra Steven just lasted to win ($6.40) by a nose. Bred in part by Billie Schwartz in ownership partnership with David Rachford and trainer Jim Wilkinson Jr., the son of Little Steven stopped the timer at 2:00. Hollywood Star flew to the wire to just miss, and Bloom N Doom finished 1-1/2 lengths farther back, in third.

"I'm glad the wire came up when it did because there's no question if we go another step that Hollywood Star beats me. Still, I thought it was a very good effort especially with him being a baby and on an off track. My thanks to Junior (Jim Wilkinson) for a good job and allowing me to drive the horse," finished Wojcio.

In the event for the trotters, held prior the betting card in a non-wagering race over a fast track, Al Azteca made it three straight, all in Sires Stakes.

Getting the lead going into the first-turn from post-position four in the field of the same number for breeder/owner/trainer Marco Rios, the pair set a very slow first-half pace of :33.2 & 1:06.1. Choosing to let the before the gate breaking High Dollar (Steve Desomer) go after pushing him until yielding to the 9-16ths pole, Rios moved his colt back out just past the midway point of the final-turn into a 1:36.3 three-quarters.

Racing a bit wide just to the top of the stretch, but taking over the lead with under 3-16ths of a mile to go, El Azteca would only need three whip swishes with about a sixteenth of a mile to go to win by 2-1/2 lengths in a no doubter, timed in 2:07.1. Light Red (Lemoyne Svendsen) finished in second, and High Dollar finished 10-3/4 lengths father back, in third.

A pair of $10,000 Finals of the Bronte Epilepsy Research Amateur Series, sponsored by Lou Pena, were contested over a sloppy track.

In the Late Closer final for the ladies, Spanish Rosey and driver Marchand won ($11.20) by 3-1/2 lengths. Owned & trained by Robley Johnson, the eight year-old stopped the timer at 2:01.4, thus recording her 31st career win. Red Star Gilda (Karen Isbell) won a three-horse photo for second, and Incredible Gambler (Robert Stepien) finished just a nose back, in third.

In the boys division, Serious Art & pilot Dave Siegel scored ($3.80) by 2-1/4 lengths. Claimed back for this race by Williams Hernandez and Georgette Wenseslao, the Matias Ruiz trained five year-old gelding paced the mile in 1:58.2. Rude Awakening (Karen Isbell) recovered well from a break well before the start and from being far back early to rally for second, and Nightscreamer (Brian Marchand) finished 2-1/4 lengths farther back, in third.

The usual weekly feature, that being the $4,500 Winners-Over pace, was last but not least on the marquee, on which Myra's Hi Ho repeated for Jim Lackey. Owned by Hank Wieseneck & Marty Garey in partnership with trainer Bob Johnson, the five year-old gelding won ($17.60) in 1:56.2 over the sloppy going. Stable-mate Ivegotwhatuneed (Lemoyne Svendsen) finished in second, and Haggin Oaks (James Kennedy), the lone lady in the race, rallied nicely late to finish just a nose back, in third.

Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (November 10) at 5:30 p.m. (PST) and continues on Friday (November 11) & Saturday (November 12) at 6:00 p.m. On Thursday and every live card, Cal Expo offers free admission, as well as free preferred & general parking after 4:30 p.m. Also on Thursday night from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Cal Expo offers a complete Lasagna dinner, which includes salad and bread, for just $3.00. Additionally on Thursday, beer & wine can be purchased for $3.00 each as well.

Cal Expo, in partnership with the USTA Strategic Wagering Committee, will offer the Thursday Pick 4's with a 15% takeout and a $10,000 Guarantee on the Late Pick 4. Beginning this week, Cal Expo will offer a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on all Pick 4’s. In addition, all late Pick 4’s will come with a $10,000-guaranteed pool. On Saturday night, there will be a 0% takeout on successful Late Pick 4 tickets made on track or at

by Scott EHRLICH

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: