Day At The Track

Bettor Lady, Pancetta give team strong hand

06:22 AM 08 Mar 2019 NZDT
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Mark Ratzky
Mark Ratzky publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Owners Richard Morita and David Yamada and harness racing trainer Lino Pacheco certainly have major players at the top of the pacing ranks right now with Bettor Lady and Pancetta representing their interests at Cal Expo.

Bettor Lady has put together three straight big miles here, including a victory in the February 23 Filly and Mare Open and a fast-closing runner-up finish in last week's battle at the head of the class behind Capitol Hill.

Pancetta, who has $470,000 in his bank account and a 1:51 1/5 career standard, is still going strong at age 10 and is fresh from a second and a third-place finish in the last two Open Paces.

"We purchased Pancetta out of a sale in the fall of his 3-year-old year," co-owner Morita noted. "He showed a nice brush of speed racing in Pennsylvania, but seemed to want to overpace himself trying to hit top speed right away.

"Lino took some time to settle him down and he put in some nice miles at Cal Expo. At that point, Dave and I decided to take a shot and nominated him into the Sagamore late closer at Yonkers. He went on to race great and took the series final with Brian Sears driving and Brandon Todd doing the training.

"That almost $80,000 final was by far the largest purse we had run for. He continued to race at Yonkers, taking down a number of races at the top level. He is a superior horse on the small tracks.

"As for Bettor Lady, we bought this tiny filly about a year and a half ago. She's moved right up the ladder and has a huge heart, as she showed in the two nose victories. We think she has a great future racing and may give her a shot back east sometime later this year. What she lacks in size, she makes up for with grit."

King Of The Crop heads Open Pace

King Of The Crop, going in razor-sharp form at the moment, headlines Saturday night's featured $7,000 Open Pace.

A 12-race card is on tap under the banner of Watch and Wager LLC with first post at 6:10 p.m. and there will also be three California Sire Stakes for 3-year-olds going as non-betting events prior to the regular card.

King Of The Crop is having an outstanding year thus far, accounting for three of the last six Open Paces for owners Don and Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chambers and Kathie Plested with Plested training and Steve Wiseman at the controls.

The 8-year-old son of Little Steven is a multiple Sire Stakes winner with $170,000 in earnings and a 1:50 4/5 mark that was set two years ago. Sent off the 6-5 choice in the top dance two weeks ago, King Of The Crop came from well back to be up by a head over Pancetta in a 1:52 4/5 tour.

Eastender is an 8-year-old Cheyenne Rei gelding who is owned by Maryann Plano and Nikki Hudson and is reined and trained by Luke Plano. He comes into this contest having won back-to-back starts, including a 23-1 upset in last week's Open.

Plano was able to leave into a pocket journey with Eastender that night, tracked the leader to the drive and then came home smartly to prevail by a length over Blue Star Maverick in a 1:53 mile.

Completing the field are Bettor In The Bank, Pancetta, Why Ash Why, Blue Star Maverick and I'm An Athlete.

By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

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