Day At The Track

Brighten Your Life no longer a bridesmaid

05:58 AM 15 Feb 2019 NZDT
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It was beginning to look like always the bridesmaid and never the bride for the 6-year-old harness racing pacing mare Brighten Your Life, but Nate Sobey's protege remedied that in a big way in last week's Distaff Open with a smashing victory.

Sent off the 9-5 second choice in that affair over a sloppy Cal Expo Harness track, Sobey motored Brighten Your Life to the lead at the half and she went on to a four and a half-length romp while snapping a string of six straight runner-up efforts.

It certainly wasn't for lack of trying that Brighten Your Life had been just missing, including an amazing mile on January 11 where an early miscue had her double digits behind the field at the start to only lose by three quarters of a length that evening.

For the record, the last five Filly and Mare Open Paces have seen five different winners, with Brighten Your Life adding her name to the most recent renewal with that scintillating mile in the rain.

Sobey claimed the mare back in October at Northlands Park with her previous victory here coming in the Alan Horowitz Eliminations back in December.

"I'd had my eye on her for some time," her mentor noted. "She was a real nice 2-year-old and I didn't think she was racing to her abilities. I'm very happy with the way she's come around."

Sobey, who brought in a string of 18 performers from Alberta and plans to stay until April, has made quite an impression in his first California invasion with solid numbers in both the driver and trainer standings.

Open Pace getting the marquee treatment

The $6,500 Open Pace has top billing Friday night at Cal Expo, and to give you an idea just how contentious this highest level has been, the last four top dances for the division have seen three different winners.

First post for the 11-race card presented by Watch and Wager LLC is 6:10 p.m.

Icy Blue Scooter completed a hat trick in the January 12 Open; King Of The Crop rattled off back-to-back wins on January 26 and February 2, then last week saw Bettor In The Bank taking bows after the get-together at the top rung.

A 9-year-old son of Bettor Tuwin, Bettor In The Bank is owned by Debra McCarthy, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and will have James Kennedy at the controls.

Bettor In The Bank has been steadily climbing his way up the ladder, working out a perfect pocket journey at most recent asking to get the job done over a sloppy track.

King Of The Crop looms large and will be looking to make amends after checking in fourth last week as the 9-5 choice. He was very sharp winning his previous two outings for owners Don and Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chambers and Kathie Plested with Plested the conditioner and Steve Wiseman at the controls.

Icy Blue Scooter has gone some huge miles at this meet for driver/trainer Nate Sobey, who co-owns the 6-year-old with Diane Bertrand and Robert Gilhespy. He was razor-sharp taking down three straight Opens last month and was saddled with the demanding No. 10 post in his January 26 appearance. He will be dangerous no matter how things shake out early.

Almost Cut My Hair (Mooney Svendsen), Why Ask Why Ryan Grundy) and Mr Varsity (Luke Plano) complete the field.

By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

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