Day At The Track

Curtain comes down at Cal Expo, Saturday

07:33 AM 15 Jun 2012 NZST
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Bob Johnson
Bob Johnson

Tax Relief, runner-up to the streaking Albion in last week's top dance; and Haggin Oaks, the classy mare who defeated that same harness racing rival two weeks ago, get the top billing in Saturday's (June 16) $6,000 closing-night feature at Cal Expo.

Tax Relief is a 6-year-old son of Blissfull Hall out of the Direct Scooter mare Flat Foot Fluzy who is owned by Raquel San Felipe, is trained by Matias Ruiz and will have Dave Siegel in the sulky. Since arriving from Fraser Downs in Canada, he has recorded two wins and two fourth-place finishes from his four trips to the post.

In last week’s assignment, the Ruiz trainee left into a stalking trip behind his stable-mate Albion, who was 30 cents on the dollar. Tax Relief put in a solid :27 final quarter to come within a length of the upset in a strong performance and will no doubt appreciate not having to face his barn-mate this time around.

Haggin Oaks lost all chance with an early break in that affair, but two back she did the track-and-attack to perfection and hung a nose decision on Albion. The Hi Ho Silverheels mare carries the banner of Shari Burns, Ferris Funk and Jerry Cimini with James Kennedy doing the driving and training.

A multiple stakes winner, the dark-hued 6-year-old comes into this weekend with five wins from her 17 starts on the season, has $107,000 in her bank account and recorded her 1:53.2 career standard over the Cal Expo layout last season.

Cowboy Hanover was third in last week’s Winners-Over for owner Debra McCarthy and driver/trainer Kevin Anderson. The 8-year-old old son of Western Ideal is the richest member of the cast with his $186,000 bankroll and sports a 1:51.2 mark from three seasons back.


Saturday’s (June 16) simulcast menu includes the full card from Mohawk Raceway, highlighted by the $1.5 million North America Cup for 3-year-old pacers.

Heading the cast are last week’s elimination winners Sweet Lou, who set a new track record with his sparkling 1:47.4 victory; and Dapper Dude, who posted a 9-1 upset when capturing his division.

Sweet Lou will be hard to deny if he can repeat last week’s mile for pilot Dave Palone. It was the son of Yankee Cruiser’s third win in as many starts on the year after coming off an outstanding 2-year-old campaign that saw him prevailing in 10 of 12 appearances.

Among those scores was his dominating tally in the Breeders Crown at Woodbine in late October by seven and a half-lengths, en route to earning divisional honors. Ron Burke trains and co-owns the sensational performer.

“I have so much confidence in him,” said Palone. “He’s a once in a lifetime horse. I just kind of stay out of his way and let him do his work.”

In the other elimination heat, Dapper Dude came from far back to post a head upset with John Campbell at the controls. Robert McIntosh trains, co-owns and co-bred this son of The Panderosa, who was recording his third win from four trips to the post this season.

Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Friday (June 15) & on closing night, Saturday (June 16) 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 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, while the Saturday Late Pick 4 (mandatory payoff) will be broadcast on TVG.

by Mark RATZKY

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