F&M Pace & Open Trot head Cal Expo weekend

05:00 AM 03 Apr 2014 NZDT
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A Filly and Mare Open Pace headed by Show Runner and Haggin Oaks and an Open Trot the brings out the likes of Franks Best, Fort Valley As and Hellogottagobuhbye share the spotlight at Cal Expo on Friday.

Show Runner comes into the Distaff Open have ended up in the winners circle following 22 of her last 37 trips to the post. The Little Steven mare, now racing under the banner of A Piece Of The Action LLC, is trained and driven by Tim Maier

The bay mare was a dominating winner of the January 31 Open, then did not see evening action again until last weekend. Sent off the 1-2 favorite in that affair, she went coast-to-coast in a sparkling 1:52 4/5 performance with Luke Plano at the controls. She has been assigned the No. 10 post by Racing Secretary Fred Kuebler for this go-around.

The Open Trot finds Franks Best, Hellogotagobuhbye and Fort Valley As vying for favoritism after chasing home Sharpshootennorris in last weekends top dance for the trotting set.

Franks Best is on the verge of reaching the $200,000 earnings mark for his owner/trainer/breeder Bob Johnson and will as usual have Mooney Svendsen giving directions. He is looking for his first snapshot on the season after finishing second in six of his nine trips to the post.

Hellogottagobuhbye has been victorious in three of his last six starts for owner/driver Daniel Maier and trainer Tim Maier and was fourth in his most recent attempt after doing his work in first-over fashion from the 10 slot over the slop. He made every pole a winning one on March 21 in impressive fashion.

Fort Valley As is looking to make amends after making little impact at even-money favorite in that last clash at the top rung in his first evening appearance since early December. Jennifer Sabot owns, George Reider trains and Chip Lackey pilots the son of Tom Ridge, who is looking to add to a $366,000 bankroll with a 1:55 mark in tow.

Pick 5 is hit for $8,773 payout!

There are three wagers offered here each night with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate, including the 50-cent Pick 5 that was hit by a single ticket last Saturday night to the tune of $8,773 with another 60 cents tossed in for good measure.

To put this in perspective, if the regular takeout had been in place, the payoff would have been $7,832, with $941 less going into the winning players pocket. The other bets with the 16 percent takeout here are the 20-cent Pick 4, which comes with a $20,000-guaranteed pool on Friday and a $25,000 guarantee on Saturday; and the 10-cent Hi-Five on the nightcap.

Taking a closer look at last Saturdays Pick 5 sequence, the handicapper did a pretty good job when you consider that favorites blanked in the sequence, which was decided over a sloppy racetrack.

Docs Zippy set the tone when he won the featured Open Pace for trainer George Anthrop and regular pilot Patrick Galbraith, upsetting the classy 1-5 Pancetta, who had the demanding No. 10 post in his first evening appearance of the year. Chalk it up as the Third Straight big effort from Docs Zippy and a solid return for Pancetta.

Most bettors probably felt the classy returnee Fort Valley As and the repeat-seeking Hellogottagobuybye were the way to go in the Open Trot that followed, but Sharpshootennorris had other ideas and parlayed a pocket trip into a 12-1 upset for Steve Wiseman.

Native Country and Tim Maier got the job done at 7-2 some 20 minutes later, while it was Wiseman again in the following as Lodi Nickolus made it look easy at $7.80 in a Trotting event.

While it had already been difficult to get to the final leg, making things even more complicated was the fact that this looked to be the most wide-open race of the sequence. When all was said and done, it was Wiseman posing for pictures once again with the aptly-named Quick On My Feet.

By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness
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