Day At The Track

K D Nicol gives Willey winning effort

05:36 PM 28 Mar 2015 NZDT
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Tim Maier
Tim Maier

It had been some time between drinks for the trotter K D Nicol when he suited up for owner/trainer Keith Willey and harness racing pilot Tim Maier last weekend, but the 9-year-old came through with his first victory of the year at Cal Expo and lowered his mark to 1:58 2/5 in the process.

K D Nicol was named in honor of our good friend Nicol Trembaly, who passed away the same year this horse was born, related Willey. Earlier in his career, he came with throat problems, so we had surgery done.

The first time did not do the job, so we did it again and that time it was successful. Next came the problem of getting him to finish down the stretch, as he had gotten into the habit of giving up due to his breathing problems.

While he hadnt reached the winners circle in nine starts on the year, K D Nicol had been dropping some hints and a class drop and cozy rail draw put him over the top last Saturday night.

This year, Patrick Galbraith did a good job of getting him to finish and he started picking up some checks, Keith continued. When Patrick left to take care of some family matters, we turned to Tim, who has been giving him some very aggressive drives.

In that last assignment, K D Nicol made a strong brush at the quarter to take command past the half, showed the way to the lane with a clear advantage and didnt give an inch while returning $16 to his backers.

We felt that he had been racing well and with the right post and trip, he would be able to pull it off. Tim gave him the perfect drive and he was able to hang on down the stretch. I always felt he was better than what he was showing and heres hoping he can continue.

Program features Sire Stakes, Distaff Open Pace

A pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes, including a very contentious event for the sophomore pacing fillies; and a Distaff Open Pace will be the highlights on Sunday evenings program at Cal Expo under the Watch and Wager LLC banner.

There are 11 races scheduled with a first post of 4:55 p.m. The Distaff Open is the 3rd event on the card, while the Sire Stakes for pacing fillies is the 5th event on the evening and the Sire Stakes for the trotters will be a non-betting affair prior to the regular program.

The five Sire Stakes events for the sophomore pacing fillies have resulted in four different winners, with Smash being the one with two trophies on her mantle. The Little Steven homebred races for Junior Wilkinson and Billie Schwartz with Wilkinson the conditioner and Luke Plano in his usual spot in the bike.

After finishing second in the first stakes clash back on January 18 and missing the next one due to a sick scratch, Smash accounted for the February 15 and March 1 big-money clashes in sharp style, setting her 1:56 1/5 mark in the latter event. She had to settle for third as the 3-5 choice in the most recent stakes gathering two weeks ago.

It was Speak English who got the job done that evening at 15-1 while making her debut for owner/breeder Frank Nevarez, trainer Gordie Graham and driver Tim Maier. She rallied from last to win going away by two and three-quarter lengths in an impressive unveiling. Rounding out the line-up are Little Cher Amio, Pips Valentina, Avila Beach and Hold For Gold.

Sandys Song has made a clean sweep of the Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old trotters, dominating her rivals on each occasion. Henry Wieseneck owns, Bob Johnson trains and Steve Wiseman has guided the bay miss to all her victories. Taking her on are Zoeys Delight, Jk Journey and Cadet.


Next week will find the trotters and pacers in action on Friday and Saturday night, April 3 and 4, with no racing Easter Sunday. The following week racing returns to the Saturday and Sunday schedule.

By Mark Ratzky, Publicity Cal Expo Harness

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