Cal Expo Pacing Series honors Bob Gordon

08:22 AM 28 Dec 2013 NZDT
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Gene Vallandingham, harness racing
Gene Vallandingham has five entered in Bob Gordon Series Finale
Crystal View Photography

Saturday nights finale of the Bob Gordon Pacing series is named for the noted driver/trainer and track executive who passed away at the age of 65 in 2006.

Bob Gordon started his 40-year career in Ohio and learned his lessons under the outstanding horseman Bob Farrington. He eventually settled in California and was a mainstay at the top of the trainer standings from the late 70s through the early 90s, conditioning such stars as Stand By N, Theora Hanover and Pack Leader.

Stand By N raced under the banner of Bob and Loretta Staats stable and she was his all-time favorite. The Down Under import had a 1:52 career standard and banked $255,000 in a brilliant career on the racetrack, then went on to be an equally outstanding broodmare. She was inducted in the California Hall of Fame in 2010.

Bob Gordon was a past president of the Western Harness Standardbred Association and the California Harness Horse Breeders Association, while in the early 90s he served as a director of the USTA. He was president of Premier Harness Racing, which raced at Los Alamitos, and was instrumental in keeping the sport alive in California in the mid 90s at a time when harness racing was definitely on the ropes.

Bob Gordon was also director of backstretch operations for the Sacramento Harness Association and helped in starting the not-for-profit corporation, which was operating at Cal Expo at the time of his death.

Steve and Vickie Desomer have fond memories of their many years side-by-side with Gordon. When Steve broke his leg in a racing accident, we turned the horses over to Bob, she recalled. It was the most fun we have had in the business no stress and great results!

By the way, in addition to be an excellent horseman, Bob was always extremely good to his help. He always looked out for them and helped in any way he could.

Bob Gordon Series finale commands the spotlight

The $10,600 finale of the Bob Gordon Pacing Series is the main event at Cal Expo Saturday night, featuring five performers from the Gene Vallandingham barn including Party Cove and Cocomara.

Gene will guide Party Cove while Cocomara will have the services of Steve Wiseman. The other Vallandingham trainees in the cast are Gonna Rock N Roll, Scarboro Hanover and After Alimony, with the cast completed by Rag Doll, Orlandos Express, Bettermeboy and Kablooie.

Party Cove has had to settle for second money in the first two legs, but will definitely have his share of backers in the finale. The 3-year-old Party At Artsplace gelding races for A Piece Of The Action LLC and registered back-to-back scores over this layout last month prior to his two near-misses in this series.

Cocomara is a 3-year-old son of Lis Mara who also carries the banner of A Piece Of The Action LLC and is looking for his fourth victory from heis last five appearances here. He faltered after carving out all the fractions in the opening leg, then came back last week to come from off the pace to win going away.

Kablooie denied Party Cove last week as a 9-1 shot and figures to get more respect this time around after posting that lifetime-best 1:54 3/5 decision. The son of Hi Ho Silverheels races for Harold Actkinson, takes his lessons from Bob Johnson and will once again be handled by Mooney Svendsen.

The co-feature is a filly/mare Invitational Pace headed by Show Runner. She is a 3-year-old daughter of Little Steven who is seeking her sixth straight victory for owners Denise Maier and Eileen Brodbar and driver/trainer Tim Maier. She has been putting her class and versatility on display during the course of this winning streak, including two Sire Stakes scores and a pair of Invitational victories.

By Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness

 

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