Day At The Track

Ruiz's Streaking Albion headlines race card

05:20 AM 01 Jun 2012 NZST
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Luke Plano
Luke Plano - is looking for his second straight driving title

Albion, who is going in razor-sharp form with 11 harness racing victories from his 18 appearances on the year, looks to add another win to the resume in Saturday night's (June 2) $6,800 Winners-Over Pace at Cal Expo.

A 6-year-old son of The Panderosa out of the Artsplace mare Arcatraz, Albion goes about his business for the partnership of Dan Tullio, James Mascola and trainer Matias Ruiz, and will as usual have Luke Plano handling the lines. Racing secretary Fred Kuebler has once again assigned the red-hot pacer the testing No. 10 post position.

The dark-hued performer comes into this contest riding a four-race winning streak and has been powerful on each of those occasions. He started the string back on April 21 when he did the stalk-and-pounce and drew off by three lengths in a 1:52.2 tour, then he came a sizzling :26.1 final quarter while getting the job two weeks later while once again leaving little doubt at the wire.

Albion proved a punctual 1-5 favorite in his May 12 outing as he took control at the half and completely dominated his rivals, then had the assigned No. 10 post position for his most recent start on May 18 and made what proved to be the winning move down the backside as he went on to a two-length decision. No matter how things shake out early, he is obviously going to be very tough to deny.

Tax Relief could be in line for his best effort now that he’s had two outings under his belt since coming in from Canada. The Blissfull Hall 6-year-old was fourth behind Albion in his first effort here and then checked in second behind Cycle Power in a conditioned race last weekend.

The Raquel M San Felipe color-bearer hails from the Matias Ruiz shedrow and will have David Siegel at the helm.

Split Ticket has gone his share of big miles over this layout and has to be respected. Richard Morita, David Yamada and David Ohara own the veteran, who has over $180,000 in his bank account and an excellent 1:50 career standard that was established two years ago. The Liberio Pacheco trainee will have Scott Cisco giving directions.

The field is completed by Haggin Oaks (James Kennedy), Cowboy Hanover (Kevin Anderson) and One And Only (Jim Lackey). A 14-race program is on tap, with the headliner set as the second event on the evening.


Saturday night’s (June 2) action includes a simulcast of the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational Pace from Hoosier Park, one of the highlights of the sulky season in Indiana. Post time for the race is 6:10 Pacific Time and a field of nine will go post ward in what may be the most competitive field ever assembled for the event.

Set to do battle from the rail out are Ok Commander, Drop Red, Freddyscooter, Ideal Choice, Golden Receiver, Nob Hill High, Special T Rocks, Atochia and Rockincam.

Headlining the list of entrants is the top rated, older pacer Golden Receiver, who has drawn post five. He sports wins in the Graduate, Spring Pacing Championship and Presidential finals this season and Dave Palone is enlisted to drive the 7- year-old son of Village Jove.

Golden Receiver debuted at No. 1 in the first Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Top 10 poll for 2012 and remained on top for the second week in a row. Trained by Mark Harder, the veteran pacer has bankrolled over $340,000 this season and over $1 million is his career.

Another main contender for the 2012 Dan Patch title is Nifty Norman’s Rockincam. The 5-year-old Cambest horse has won three of five outings this year and ended Golden Receiver’s five race win streak in the Graduate elimination, pacing in a lifetime best effort of 1:48.1. Rockincam heads to Indiana after pacing under the 1:50 mark in all three of his last performances.

Ideal Choice and Freddyscooter will play the role of local favorites in the field of nine. Ideal Choice, who ships to Indiana after posting back-to-back wins in the Open ranks at Woodbine, is trained by Brooke Nickells, a resident of Anderson, Indiana. Freddyscooter has numerous Hoosier Park Open titles to his credit and is trained by Steve Brannan, who also trains a stable of 10 horses on Hoosier Park’s backside.


Congratulations to Ra Ra Steven, Diva Las Vegas, Rite After Disbeer and Silverlode, who prevailed in last weekend’s fourth and final round of Sire Stakes action for the 3-year-old trotters and pacers at this current Cal Expo meet.

Things may have started out a bit shaky for the Jim Wilkinson Jr. trainee Ra Ra Steven, as the pacing colt was forced to scratch from the April 14 big-money gathering and then was disqualified from his April 28 score, but all’s well that ends well as he got the job done in the last two stakes with regular pilot Rich Wojcio.

It was likewise a rough start for his trotting counterpart Rite After Disbeer, who went off-stride in his March 10 debut, but followed up that unveiling by rattling off four straight added-money victories with his peers for owner/breeder Mary Harris, trainer Kennedy Lindsey and pilot Luke Plano.

Addressing the fact that Rite After Disbeer did not make his initial start until March of his sophomore campaigned, trainer Lindsey explained.

“He suffered an injury last year and we weren’t able to bring him to the races. He always showed us a lot of potential, but we wanted to give him all the time he needed.”

Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Friday (June 1) & Saturday (June 2) at 6:00 p.m. (PST). On every live card, Cal Expo offers free parking & free admission after 4:30 p.m. On Friday, Cal Expo offers Happy Hour from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on which Beer; Well Drinks & Wine are offered at $4 each, while a Burger with fries is offered at $5.

Cal Expo currently offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on all Pick 4’s. Additionally, all Late Pick 4’s now come with an increased $20,000-guaranteed gross pool. Also, the Friday Late Pick 4 will offer a 0% takeout on all winning wagers made on track or at, while the Saturday Late Pick 4 will be broadcast on TVG.

by Mark RATZKY

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