Day At The Track

Marvin Shapiro Prep Saturday at Cal Expo

06:12 AM 02 Feb 2019 NZDT
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Kathie Plested, harness racing
Kathie Plested trains and co-owns King Of The Crop

An Open Pace that rematches Icy Blue Scooter and King Of The Crop; a Distaff Open Pace headed by Brighten Your Life and the Marvin Shapiro Prep are the main attractions on Saturday evening's 11-race program. First post is 6:10 p.m.

Last week's Open Pace saw an upset, as King Of The Crop got the job done by a half-length over favored Icy Blue Scooter, who was doing his work from the demanding No. 10 post.

Saturday's assignment finds King Of The Crop leaving from the No. 4 position in the field of five, while Icy Blue Scooter has the outside post while moving in five slots from last week's appearance.

King Of The Crop is an 8-year-old son of Little Steven who carries the banner of Don and Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chambers and Kathie Plested with Plested training and Steve Wiseman at the controls. After a pair of needed outings after returning from Pennsylvania, the hard-hitting gelding put it all together last week and was up in time.

King Of The Crop, who has multiple Sire Stakes trophies on his mantle, pushed his career bankroll to the $162,000 plateau and sports a 1:50 4/5 mark that was established two years ago.

Icy Blue Scooter had a three-race win skein snapped when runner-up last week, but did have the marooned post position and turned in another strong mile. Nathan Sobey drives, trains and co-owns the 6-year-old with Diane Bertrand.

Icy Blue Scooter was spectacular in his hat trick at the top rung between December 29 and January 12, getting the job from a close-up spot in the first of those scores and then finishing strongly to seal the deal in the last pair.

Low takeout wagers, added simulcasts featured

A pair of wagers that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate and added simulcast action from Woodbine Mohawk Park in Canada help spice the action here each night at Cal Expo.

Legislation that took effect January 1 allows a full card of international harness simulcasting to California patrons. The new law is applicable on nights of live racing only and California fans can now look forward to action from Woodbine Mohawk Park every Friday and Saturday evening.

The two wagers offered here each night with the reduced 16 percent takeout rate are the 50-cent Pick 5, which begins on the first race; and the 20-cent Pick 4.

The guaranteed pools for the Pick 4 were recently raised, with a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool on Fridays and a $40,000 guarantee on Saturdays.

In last Saturday night's Pick 4, despite Fancy Little Girl winning the second leg at 4-5, the return was a healthy $568 per winning ticket.

To give you some idea of the added value, with the regular takeout the payoff would have been $507, a difference of $61 for each 20-cent investment.

Saturday evening's Marvin Shapiro Prep is named for the son of L.K. Shapiro, who owned the Hall of Fame thoroughbred and California-bred champion Native Diver. Marvin Shapiro was president of Western Harness Racing Inc. in the 1960s and spearheaded legislation that sanctioned night racing. He died in 2003 at the age of 83.

By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

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