Day At The Track

Tony Cheesecake gets the final stakes laugh

08:04 AM 13 Mar 2015 NZDT
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Junior Wilkinson
Junior Wilkinson

It took him 12 stabs and he waited until the last big dance, but Tony Cheesecake got his overdue stakes trophy last weekend with harness racing driver James Kennedy in the sulky behind the Junior Wilkinson trainee.

Coming into the final Sire Stakes for the 4-year-old pacing males, the Little Steven homebred had racked up a second, a third and nine fourth-place finishes while taking on the likes of Rikybrnthegaragdwn and King Of The Crop, but he showed revenge is a dish best served cold with last Saturdays score.

It was really a case of his not being quite as good as a few of those pacers up until this year, related Wilkinson, who co-owns Tony Cheesecake with Billie Schwartz and David Rachford.

Hed even been favored a couple of times in those stakes, which kind of surprised me, and he had to settle for minor awards on those nights. Hes a better horse now, and it certainly helped that he got a great trip.

Kennedy left into the garden spot behind odds-on King Of The Crop, was able to sit behind a spirited duel with that rival and Rickybrnthegaragdwn, then came a sizzling :26 3/5 final quarter to post the 10-1 upset and earn his initial stakes decision in the last scheduled added-money event for this division.

The one thing I told James was we couldnt be on the front end, Wilkinson explained. He was able to float out of there and drop into a perfect spot and got the trip. I have a lot of respect for the other horses, but it was his night.

Tony Cheesecake is an example of that old adage if you dont succeed at first, try, try again.

Sire Stakes, Open Pace and Trot featured

A $10,000 California Sire Stakes for sophomore pacing males that matches Uringoodhands and Hi Hos Little Rev; an Open Trot headed by El Azteca; and a contentious Open Pace are the main events on Saturdays 14-race Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo.

Uringoodhands is a homebred son of Kents On Nuke out the Surmo Hanover mare Sparks Will Fly who is owned by Mark Anderson, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and will once again have James Kennedy at the controls.

The dark-hued performer has accounted for three of the four stakes races decided for this group, the most recent coming in coast-to-coast fashion on February 28 as the 1-5 choice. He prevailed by a neck that night over the pocket-sitting Hi Hos Little Rev while equaling his mark with the 1:55 1/5 clocking.

Hi Hos Little Rev has a stakes trophy and has been runner-up in the other three big-money dances. Vanessa Gilliam owns the son of Hi Ho Silverheels with Bob Johnson the conditioner and Mooney Svendsen handling the lines. He held off Uringoodhands by a neck in the January 17 stakes clash.

Completing the field are Laissezmoipocouler, who leaves from the cozy rail slot with Williams Hernandez; Sounion, who has the services of Tim Maier; Lodi Machette Man for Pierre Girard; and Musician with Luke Plano.


Saturdays card features a $57,226 carryover in the Jackpot 6. The Jackpot 6 is a 10-cent minimum bet and is one of four wagers on the program with a reduced 16% takeout rate.

The other reduced takeout wagers are the Hi-5, which is conducted on the final race and like the Jackpot 6 is a 10-cent minimum; the 50-cent Pick 5; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which comes with a $25,000-guaranteed pool.

By Mark Ratzky, Publicity Cal Expo Harness

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