Facing much easier in his second start off a 4-1/2 month layoff, combined with a style of harness racing he likes, saw Doc's Zilla upset. Conditioned pacers, racing for a purse of $5,000, were co-featured at Cal Expo on Saturday night (May 19) in the Dennis Giles Memorial, on which Doc's Zilla made every call a winning one.
In advance of starting from post-three in the field of nine, driver Tim Maier knew one thing and was advised of another.
"When he raced last week against Albion in the Winners-Over, he needed that start," said Maier. "Off the (class) drop I thought he looked more than competitive in there. As far as strategy, my instructions were to get him off the gate because he hardly ever gets beaten on the front-end."
Accelerating into the first-turn to put Strikes N Charges (Darren Lupul) in the pocket, Doc's Zilla zipped the opening quarter in a rapid :27.3, and Maier wasn't letting up.
"I just kept the pedal down because I didn't want to give anybody any idea of pulling on the right-line."
Reaching the half-mile station, timed in a brisk :56.1, Maier kept to the plan.
"He felt good at that point and my thoughts from there were to keep him rolling."
Slowing down the tempo a bit, but still reaching the three-quarter mile marker, timed in 1:25.1, Maier had no reason to believe his charge couldn't keep going.
"At that point I was just going to look for the wire, but he still felt good."
With the field now in the lane, Maier pretty much only had to drive on his pacer.
"When we entered the stretch I urged him once or twice, but he just acted like if I got into him too much that he might not like it. So I just hand drove him the rest of the way and he was game to the wire."
Holding tough, the four year-old won ($17.80) by three-quarters of one-length. Owned by Toman Enterprises LTD and trained byKennedy, the gelding stopped the timer at 1:54.1, establishing a seasonal mark. Hi Fidelity (Scott Cisco) finished in second, and Strikes N Charges finished another three-quarters of one-length farther back, in third.
"He raced big and his connections were very happy,” finished Maier. The victory for Toman Enterprises was the first of three ownership victories. For trainerKennedy, the triumph also started the beginning of a conditioning triple.
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Friday (May 25) & Saturday (May 26) at 6:00 p.m. (PDT). On every live card, Cal Expo offers free parking & free admission after 4:30 p.m. On Friday, Cal Expo offers Happy Hour from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on which Beer; Well Drinks & Wine are offered at $4 each, while a Burger with fries is offered at $5.
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