Silverlode left little doubt in last week's opening leg of the Joe Lighthill Trotting Series, making 6-5 look like an early Christmas gift as the Desomer Stable homebred romped by seven lengths in a lifetime-best 1:58 clocking.
The victory put the 4-year-old daughter of British Sterling over the $71,000 earnings plateau and she is likely to attract plenty of attention at the windows once again with veteran Steve Desomer back in the sulky as the series continues Friday night.
"She's out of a divisional champion in Charlottes Web, who in turn is out of a great producing mare One To Top," trainer Vickie Desomer related. "That makes her and High Dollar, who raced in the other division last week, uncle and niece. This time they get to race against each other."
What would make winning this series even sweeter for the Desomers is the fact that it is named for the legendary Joe Lighthill, who passed away in 2006. He was a mainstay in California for decades and was associated as a driver and/or trainer with such outstanding performers as Kerry Way, Countess Adios, Tender Loving Care, Hickory Pride, Peter Lobell, Try Scotch and BC Count.
"Joe was the consummate horseman and a good friend," Vickie said. "Time and time again Steve and I relied on him to get our young green horses safely around the track and he always did just that. He was truly one of the greats, not just in California, but across the nation."
For the record, Steve Desomer turned 77 years young in July and is still guiding winners into the charmed enclosure. He comes into this week's action with 2,607 victories from his 12,686 career trips to the post with over $10.8 million in earnings.
"By the way, we're trying to be retired people," Vickie noted. "It's just not working out very well!" It's definitely performers like Silverlode that keep Vickie and Steve coming back for more, and it's easy to understand.
Bob Staats final, Lighthill Series command spotlight
The $10,000 finale of the Bob Staats Pacing Series for fillies and mares featuring last week's winner Rag Doll and a solid Gene Vallandingham-trained contingent; the second leg of the Joe Lighthill Trotting Series headed by Silverlode and an Open Distaff Pace that brings out Haggin Oaks share the marquee Friday night at Cal Expo.
Rag Doll is a 3-year-old daughter of who is owned by Larry and Carol Parlin, takes her lessons from Lino Pacheco and will once again have at the controls. She has been a gem of consistency at this meet, with two victories and three runner-up finishes from her five trips to the post.
Sent off at 8-1 in last week's second leg of the Staats, the bay miss proved clearly best as she was used early and then again at the half en route to a dominating three and a half-length score. The 1:55 2/5 clocking shaved three and one-fifth seconds off her mark, which was established earlier this season over the half-mile Freehold oval.
Gene Vallandingham will send out four distaffers in hopes of bringing down the top prize, including first leg divisional winners After Alimony, to be guided by her conditioner; and R Journey Together with in the sulky. The barn will also send out Corona With Lime and Cypress Hill Suds while Blue Gem, Little Anna Mae and Love Live Laugh complete the field.
Silverlode looks to hold the aces her division of the second leg of the Lighthill after a posting a seven-length romp as the 6-5 second choice last week. The Desomer Stable homebred daughter of British Sterling lowered her career standard to 1:58 flat in the process and will once again have Steve Desomer giving directions.
Loose Cannon heads the other section and will be looking to make amends after checking in third as the odds-on favorite last week. Another British Sterling offspring, the Bob Bacon-owned gelding is reined and trained by and should be in prime stalking mode.
Haggin Oaks has gone a series of big miles over this layout in the last few seasons en route to putting nearly $150,000 in her bank account for owners Shari Burns, Ferris Funk and Gerald Cimini. reins and trains the 7-year-old Hi Ho Silverheel's offspring who has returned from a freshening to rattle off a pair of solid victories as the odds-on favorite and will be asked to do her work from the demanding No. 10 post this weekend.
By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness