Day At The Track

Rick Bertrand looks to challenging schedule

12:24 AM 29 Mar 2013 NZDT
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Rick Bertrand has a couple of dates circled on his calendar, including Saturday night with his harness racing 3-year-old pacer Winonefordoug and April 12 and 13, when he will be among the quartet representing the locals in the popular East-West Challenge.

Winonefordoug is fresh from earning his first career score last weekend, lighting up the board at $76 in the process for owner Douglas Flores and driver/trainer Bertrand. Rick is well aware that he's in pretty deep Saturday night as he jumps back into Sire Stakes company, but feels the pacer deserves the chance.

"He's a nice little horse with a good bloodline," Bertrand related. "He has the potential to be a good one, but sometimes he doesn't want to put in the effort. I made some changes last week that seemed to agree with him and he responded well. I don't know if he's a 1:56 pacer yet like those other stakes horses, but we put him back in with them and we'll see how it goes."

As for the East-West Challenge, this will be the sixth year in which Bertrand has helped represent the local squad. This time he will be joined by Karen Isbell, Sue Boyce and the driving force behind this annual event, Dave Siegel.

"I've enjoyed it every time," Rick said. "In the past, I was able to compete with all the Eastern drivers when I was a member of the Billings. The Challenge is a really fun event and everybody wants to win and help their team. David does a great job putting this together every year and it's good to see the guys from back East take time out of their schedules to come out for the event."

This year's Eastern team will consist of Dean Spriggs and Michele Ruvola, who are making return trips, and a pair of newcomers. They are George Bonomo and Bob Krivelin, the latter being named 2012 Amateur Driver of the Year.


A $10,000 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacing colts that brings together a well-matched field and a $6,000 Open Pace that finds One And Only seeking an encore hold the spotlight at Cal Expo on Saturday night.

Hi Ho Disguise is looking for his third straight trophy in the Sire Stakes for the pacing males. A 3-year-old homebred son of Hi Ho Silverheel's from the Jenna's Beach Boy mare Jenna's Disguise, he carries the banner of James Mascola, Dan Tullio and Matias Ruiz with Ruiz training and Luke Plano in the sulky.

In the March 2 clash, he sat a pocket trip, ignited when the question was asked and was up by a neck over Bit Player. In the most recent get-together for this group two weeks ago, Hi Ho Disguise did his work in game, first-over fashion and prevailed by three-quarters of a length in a lifetime-best 1:56 clocking.

Bit Player was posing for snapshots following the first Sire Stakes of the season on March 16 and has been second and fourth in the last pair. The Desomer Stables homebred is conditioned by Vickie Desomer with Steve Wiseman at the helm and sports a 1:56 3/5 standard.

Taking on this pair are Bit Player's barnmate Daring Do with Steve Desomer at the controls; Me Tarzan, to be handled by Tim Maier; Lebo Jones with Scott Cisco; Winonefordoug for Rick Bertrand; and Kablooie, to be guided by Bruce Clarke.

In the Open Pace, One And Only will be looking for a repeat score after posting a $46 upset in last week's dance at the head of the class with James Kenned in the sulky. It was the third win on the year in eight appearances for the hard-hitting performer.

In that event, he was up in the final strides over P H Jackpot and Military Stratcom, who have both left for Eastern campaigns. The son of Bettor's Delight races for Richard Morita and David Yamada with Lino Pacheco training and Luke Plano will take over the driving duties with Kennedy guiding his own trainee Haggin Oaks for this go-around.

By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

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