Day At The Track

Open Trot and Pace at Cal Expo

11:58 AM 14 Mar 2020 NZDT
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A pair of harness racing Opens headline the Saturday night action at Cal Expo, with Pridecrest leaving from the assigned No. 10 slot in the $7,000 Open Trot and Alwaysalittlemore doing her work from the same challenging post in the $6,700 Distaff Open.

Watch and Wager LLC will present 11 races with a first post of 6:10 p.m., with the Filly and Mare Open as the second race and the Open Trot occupying the third-race spot on the evening.

Alwaysalittlemore has posed for pictures following four of her last six trips to the post and is now being asked to keep the momentum going while leaving from the extreme outside post in the Distaff Open.

A 6-year-old daughter of Always A Virgin, Alwaysalittle more carries the banner of Maria Alvarez and Terrence Smith, hails from the Edward Hernandez shedrow and will once again have the services of Luke Plano.

The bay miss has actually crossed the finish line first in five of her last six starts, but was set back to second by the stewards on February 29 after racing inside two pylons.

Alwaysalittlemore rebounded last week with a victory as the 7-5 choice, opening a large lead turning for home and then holding safe by a head over a hard-charging Bertha Vanation that evening.

The latter is a Voracious Hanover mare who is coming off back-to-back big efforts for owner Cathy Dessert and driver/trainer Nick Roland. Bertha Vanation flew home to handle a conditioned crew two weeks ago, then came home smartly once again in last week's Open to just fall short.

Low takeout wagers, Single 6 featured

There are two wagers offered here each night with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate in the 20-cent Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4.

In addition, the Pick 4 comes with a $40,000-guaranteed gross pool on Saturdays and a $30,000 guarantee on Fridays.

There was a Single 6 carryover of nearly $24,000 going into Friday's program, so if that went unhit, it would be a worthwhile stab on Saturday at only 10 cents a ticket for the shot at a nice prize.

To show the value in the lower takeout, last Saturday night's 20-cent Pick 4 returned $1,008 for each correct 20-cent ticket. Using the regular takeout rate, it would have paid $907, a difference of $101 for each winning prognostication.

The only favorite in the aforementioned sequence was the victory by Blue Star Maverick at 7-5 odds. The Lorne Duffield-owned, Steve Wiseman-trained and Luke Plano-driven son of As Promised obviously enjoyed the class relief as he responded with a clear-cut score in coast-to-coast fashion.

Things got off to an auspicious start in that Pick 4 when the Gerry Longo owned/trained/driven Key Word posted a $30 upset, with Free Radical ($9) rounding out the sequence.

By the way, the victory behind Blue Star Maverick was the fourth on Saturday's card for Plano, who had a triple on Friday and padded his lead in the driver standings.

by Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

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