Day At The Track

Cal Expo war horse back to winning ways

05:46 AM 22 Feb 2019 NZDT
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Lemoyne Svendsen, harness racing
Lemoyne Svendsen - guides Franks Best

Franks Best hasn't been around forever, it just seems that way.

The 12-year-old son of Armbro Scribe got his first snapshot of the season in last weekend's Open III Trot with Mooney Svendsen at the controls for owner/trainer/breeder Bob Johnson.

"There's no question, he's one of my all-time favorites," said Johnson. "He just loves to go out there and race."

For the record, Franks Best was making his 256th harness racing trip to the post and has now recorded 48 wins, 47 seconds and 37 thirds while putting $280,475 in his bank account. He recorded his 1:55 4/5 lifetime mark three years ago.

Franks Best, who has a number of Sire Stakes trophies on his mantle, was cut out to be a nice performer. His sire won 40 of his 226 starts while earning $433,000, while his dam Inside Edition was a top racemare who captured 22 of her 69 starts before going to the breeding shed.

Meanwhile, Bob Johnson is set to celebrate his 76th birthday in April and continues to send out a steady stream of winners. He was second in the trainer standings here last year and is currently third in the race at this meet.

Johnson comes into this week having sent out 15,683 starters and 2,574 have come back to greet him in the charmed enclosure, including those 47 wins by Franks Best. Both are looking to add to their impressive totals in the near future.

Eastender gets top billing in main event

Eastender, third behind the hard-knocking pair of I'm An Athlete and Pancetta at most recent asking, lands a cozy spot in Friday night's conditioned pacing feature at Cal Expo.

A 12-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post is 6:10 p.m. and there will also be three California Sire Stakes going as non-betting events prior to the regular program.

An 8-year-old son of Cheyenne Rei, Eastender is owned by Maryann Plano and Nikki Hudson with Luke Plano reigning and training. He will be looking for his second win on the year from seven trips to the post.

The bay gelding recorded that victory as the odds-on choice in a January 19 contest and is coming off a second and a third in his last two tries. While no match for the top pair in that last tour after making a first-over bid, he should be very much at home in Friday's line-up.

Taking him on are One And Only, Justabitcrazy, Last Dragon, Laissez Moi Passer, Contemporary Legend, China King, Prodigal and Wet Shark.

Looking ahead to Saturday's outstanding card, there will be a pair of Open events, the Shelly Goudreau Final and the Joe Lighthill Trot.

Both Opens look like very contentious events, while Urgointohearmeroar looms an overwhelming favorite in the Goudreau Final and the Lighthill should prove to be a very interesting contest with the trotters going an extended mile and one-half journey.

By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

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