It is said that trotters get better with age, which is backed by the 11 year-old Alpine Hawk who now has 10 wins on the year and 50 in his harness racing career.
Winners-Over trotters, racing for a purse of $6,800, were featured at Cal Expo on a hot Friday night (June 1), on which the well taken care of Alpine Hawk won his third in the last four.
Coming away sixth from post five in the field of seven, driver Rich Wojcio was by no means complaining when four of his opponents were across the track into the first-turn into a :28.4 opening quarter.
"I was happy that they were actually racing a little early because obviously that would help my chances later," stated Wojcio.
Remaining in sixth position as no one moved in the second-quarter, Wojcio still wasn't complaining at the half-mile pole.
"I was very happy with the :58 half because I thought it was a very fair half for the caliber of horses. As a result I thought my chances were still very good."
Moving first-over past the half-mile juncture and making a decent and rated final-turn gain, Wojcio and his charge were still four-lengths off the lead at the three-quarter mile station, timed in 1:27.4.
"At that point I obviously didn't know if I was going to win or not, but I still had horse and thought I still had a good chance of winning from there."
Brushing up late in the final turn and quickly moving to within 1-1/2 lengths of the lead of the pace-setting Putoneonnetformom (Jeff Cimini) with 3-16ths of a mile to go, the gelding soon moved fast to the lead with a little more than an eighth of a mile to trot.
"When he cleared Putoneonnetformom, he jumped right back up on the bit and felt real good, but I was concerned with Giles L S Hanover (Jim Lackey) because he had the better trip following me as I had done all the work. But, I had rated my horse from the time I pulled him and hadn't urged him yet."
In front by 1-1/2 lengths with the field approaching mid-stretch, Wojcio didn't have to resort to urging his trotter until late.
"He's a very honest hard trying horse who really likes to win and you have to fight him to beat him - - but he digs in late - - which is what he did tonight when I got after him late."
Owned by Jim Winske and trained by Gordie Graham, Alpine Hawk held on to win ($4.40) by a half of one-length, in 1:57.2, a seasonal best. Giles L S Hanover finished a clear second, and Broadway Victory (John Mc Keon Jr.) finished five lengths farther back, in third.
"I thought he put in an excellent effort and is an absolute pleasure to drive. I can't thank my girlfriend Meredith enough for the undying dedication of doing everything for this horse - - which is absolutely the reason that he tries so hard!
As far as getting his 50th win, I'm happy for him because he shows up every week and puts in his best effort win or lose. The 50 wins are well deserved,” concluded a proud Wojcio.
Live racing continues at Cal Expo on Saturday (June 2) at 6:00 p.m. (PDT). On Saturday, Cal Expo offers Happy Hour from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on which Beer; Well Drinks & Wine are offered at $4 each, while Hotdogs, Fries & Sodas are offered at $2 apiece.
Saturday night’s action includes a simulcast of the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational Pace from Hoosier Park, one of the highlights of the sulky season in Indiana.
Post time for the race is 6:10 Pacific Time and a field of nine will go post ward in what may be the most competitive field ever assembled for the event.
Cal Expo currently offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on all Pick 4’s. Additionally, all Late Pick 4’s now come with an increased $20,000-guaranteed gross pool. Also, the Friday Late Pick 4 will offer a 0% takeout on all winning wagers made on track or at Twinspires.com, while the Saturday Late Pick 4 will be broadcast on TVG.
by Scott EHRLICH