Cowboy Hanover prepares for shootout

05:17 AM 03 May 2012 NZST
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Bob Johnson
Bob Johnson

Cowboy Hanover, a classy 8-year-old pacer with $185,000 in the bank and a 1:51.2 mark, is set to make his seasonal debut for harness racing trainer Mark Anderson in Saturday night's (May 5) featured Winners-Over Pace at Cal Expo.

The son of Western Ideal has won 30 of his 145 appearances, including several huge miles over the Cal Expo layout, and was last seen doing his work at Running Aces in Minnesota last August. Lemoyne Svendsen will handle the lines.

There will be no shortage of serious rivals for Cowboy Hanover this weekend, as Racing Secretary Fred Kuebler has brought together an extremely talented cast for this clash at the head of the pacing class.

Joining Cowboy Hanover at the gate will be the likes of the razor-sharp Albion; the classy mare Haggin Oaks; the always-dangerous Split Ticket and the returning Ivegotwhatuneed. One And Only, Stanza and Cycle Power will round out this powerful cast.

Tuning up for his return, Cowboy Hanover made a mockery of a qualifier here last weekend, going coast-to-coast with Svendsen in the sulky and apparently setting himself up perfectly for his official 2012 debut. He opened up 10 lengths at the head of the lane and cruised home with five and a half to spare in the 1:56.2 mile.

“I had no intention of doing that, but he had ideas of his own,” Svendsen related. “He was fired up and wanted to go and I was a passenger. It was a real nice tightener for him.”

Cowboy Hanover had some pretty nice pacers in his wake, with Split Ticket finishing willingly for the runner-up spot as he looks to suit up again after capturing several top dances here earlier this season. This race promises to be a good one.

FRIDAY TROT BRINGS OUT SOLID STIDHAM DUO AT CAL EXPO

Rocky Stidham holds the aces at Cal Expo in Friday night’s (May 4) $5,600 Winners-over Trot as he sends out Shelby County for owner/breeder Ben Kenney and the homebred Putoneonnetformom for Jeff, Gerald and Diana Cimini.

Stidham will handle Shelby County, who is fresh from a victory last weekend, while James Kennedy has the return assignment behind Putoneonnetformom, who scratched last week, but posted a romping decision at most recent asking on April 13.

Shelby County is a 5-year-old Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Chip Chip Hooray who has clicked in five of her 13 trips to the post this season with a 1:57.1 lifetime standard that was established at Cal Expo earlier this year. In last week’s tally, she made every pole a winning one with Stidham and came to the line with a length and three-quarters on Giles L S Hanover.

Putoneonnetformom is an 8-year-old son of Trot For Joy who is just shy of the $140,000 earnings plateau and set his 1:57.2 mark over the Cal Expo layout last season. After chasing home the now Eastern-departed Franks Best in four straight outings, the dark-hued trotter crushed his rivals two weeks ago in a nine and a quarter-length front-end decision.

Shelby County has been assigned the No. 6 post for this go-around, while Putoneonnetformom does his work from the outside seven-slot. Both figure to be out and moving early and it will interesting to see how things shake out into that first turn.

Taking on the Stidham pair from the rail out are Broadway Victory for John McKeon Jr.; Meringue from the Kennedy Lindsey barn; the Larry Alterman-trained Winsom Kelly; and the Bob Johnson trainees Giles L S Hanover and Dudis Angel. A 14-race program is on tap Friday, with the feature set as the fifth contest on the evening.

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Beginning this week, Cal Expo is increasing purses by 25 percent. The increases will remain in effect through the end of the current meeting in June.

Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Friday (May 4) & Saturday (May 5) at 6:00 p.m. (PST). 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 Mark RATZKY

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