The water gets a quite a bit deeper for the 5-year-old this weekend, as he steps up to the Invitational ranks. Looking to deny the sharp pacer are such heavyweights as It's Getting Hairy and One And Only and well-regarded invaders Pancetta and Somethinginthewind.
Stueben Jumpinjack is owned in partnership by Smith and Maureen Pittaro and has been money in the bank when competing for a claiming tag at this session. He used his patented track-and-attack method to prove a punctual favorite last weekend and has earned a ticket to the rarified air of the Invite for this week's go-around.
"Stueben is an awesome animal," Smith related. "We bought him at a sale last November He had two starts for us, one being a win, before he tore a suspensory. We turned him out and gave him almost six months to heal. We brought him back slowly and it has paid off."
Smith makes it clear that co-owner Pittaro is the secret weapon in this winning equation. "Maureen has been a partner with me on a few horses over the past several years. She comes to the barn every single day and feeds Stu carrots and swears that is the secret to his success. It's all in the carrots and love.
"She truly loves her horses and coming to visit them. Stueben has to be one of the easiest horses to work with I have ever had in my barn, from the stall all the way to track. He's just a pleasure to be around."It's Getting Hairy faces solid invaders in headliner
Saturday's Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo finds the razor-sharp It's Getting Hairy taking on a couple of classy invaders in Pancetta and Somethinginthewind in the featured Invitational Pace. A 14-race program is on tap and first post is 5:35 Pacific Time.
Since running into serious traffic problems and losing all chance in his local debut, It's Getting Hairy has posted three straight impressive victories for Tim and Denise Maier. The 4-year-old son of Relentless Yankee was haltered from a $6,000 claimer in August at Running Aces and set his 1:52 3/5 mark 10 days later over that track. He is looking for his 10th win on the year from 22 appearances.
It's Getting Hairy came from last to prove a powerful winner in a conditioned affair on November 2, was scratched from his next scheduled outing and then got to the job done at the top rung two weeks ago. Sitting next-to-last until the final bend, he swung out to take aim on the leaders turning for home and rolled by for the two and a quarter-length score.
Leaving from the outside slot in a field of six for his most recent appearance, the dark-hued performer sat last early, made a big move to the stretch and won going away by a length and a half while stopping the timer in 1:53 3/5 that evening. He is obviously very sharp at the moment.
One And Only took advantage of the absence of It's Getting Hairy last weekend and picked up his first win of the meeting for owners Richard Morita and David Yamada, trainer Lino Pacheco.. He was runner-up behind his main rival in his previous two appearances and the 5-year-old son ofhas a number of big miles over this layout on his resume. takes over the lines.
Pancetta and Somethinginthewind are the new faces in the cast and should be given plenty of respect. Pancetta has posed for snapshots following 15 of 51 outings with a 1:51 2/5 mark and over $190,000 in earnings, while Somethinginthewind has clicked in 10 of his 51 starts, including a lifetime-best 1:51 1/5 tour.
will drive Pancetta, while Gene Vallandingham will guide his trainee Somethinginthewind. Rounding out the cast are Stueben Jumpinjack with and Giant Sculpture, to be guided by .
By Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness