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Allmyx'sliventexas, fresh from a victory in the Lloyd Arnold Pace, looks to close out the Cal Expo harness racing meet with another score in the featured $7,000 Open Pace. Watch and Wager LLC will present 10 races to bring down the curtain with first post at 7:10 p.m. and the main event is scheduled as the seventh contest on the evening. A 6-year-old homebred son of Hi Ho Silverheel's out of the Distinguishedbaron mare Annie Get Your Gun, Allmyx'sliventexas carries the banner of Wayne and Rod Knittel, is conditioned by Bob Johnson and will as usual have Mooney Svendsen in the sulky. The hard-hitting performer comes into this assignment with 30 wins from his 87 lifetime trips to the post, a $168,00 bank account and a 1:50 flat mark that was established last year at Hoosier Park. Sent off the 1-5 favorite in last week's Arnold, Allmyx'sliventexas brushed to command on the backside, held a clear advantage to the drive and prevailed by a length and a half over I'm An Athlete. The latter will be looking to turn the tables for owner Ronald Rettig-Zucchi, trainer Jessie Pacheco and pilot Luke Plano. He recently went over the $200,000 earnings plateau with a 1:51 standard that was set over this track last year. Completing the field are King Of The Crop, Blue Star Maverick, Better In The Bank and Coz and Effect. Meet finale features mandatory payouts With this being closing night of the meet, there will be mandatory payouts for all wagers. A reminder that a reduced 16 percent takeout rate is offered on the 50-cent Pick 5, which covers the first five races of the evening; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which comes with a $40,000-guaranteed gross pool. Congratulations to Kathie Plested, who long ago locked up the training title here, while it looks like the driver's crown may come right down to the wire with James Kennedy holding a one-length advantage on Mooney Svendsen. Plested put the training race on ice long ago and comes into the final weekend of racing having made 77 trips to the charmed enclosure. While Gordie Graham is a distant second, it should be noted his 40 wins have come from just 138 starters. Kennedy had a clear advantage in the driver's race going into last weekend, but Svendsen is coming a fast last quarter and has really tightening things up going into the last two programs. *** Said Cal Expo general manager Chris Schick, "Despite some tough weather conditions, and the early on loss of a weekend due to smoke from the Paradise fire, the meet was very safe and successful. "The legislation enabling the International signal importation beginning January 1 has been a nice boost. Overnight purses were raised eight percent coming in to the meet, and we are happy to announce a further six percent increase beginning opening night of our next meet on November 9. "The industry has also come together on a monumental Stakes program beginning in 2021. This plan has been extremely well received by our owners, breeders and horseman. Our next big challenge is to make sure we have a seat at the table for the anticipated coming of sports wagering to California. We are excited about the industry's future." By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

A well-matched field of top-class pacing fillies and mares will take center stage Friday night at Cal Expo in the $10,000 Kirk Breed Pace. A 10-race program is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post at 7:10 p.m. and the main harness racing event will go as the sixth contest on the evening. Trainer Kathie Plested looks to have a strong hand in the race with Capitol Hill and Dancingonthesand representing the shedrow. The former is owned by the trainer and George McChrystal with Steve Wiseman guiding, while Dancingonthesand races for the trainer and Alan Cooper with Mooney Svendsen at the controls. As has often been the case at the head of the distaff pacing class, last week's Open saw an upset as Capitol Hill sat a pocket trip for Wiseman and came home smartly to get the job done by a length and a half as a 15-1 shot. Dancingonthesand has recorded six wins from her 10 trips to the post on the season and the long-fused mare looms large. Her most recent tally came on April 6, as she did the stalk-and-pounce to perfection to win going away. Legio X Equestris is going in very sharp form at the moment for owner David Shell and trainer Luke Plano with a win and two seconds from the last three clashes at the top rung here. Ryan Grundy guides the daughter of Roll With Joe and she was a 1:53 victress two back in a handy coast-to-coast decision. Completing the field are Lickcreek Speedway, Brighten Your Life, Delightfully Wild and Magnifique.   Kirk Breed, Tony Miller remembered with races Friday's Kirk Breed Pace is named for the man who served as executive director of the California Horse Racing Board from 2008 until his death at the age of 73 in 2013; while the Tony Miller Memorial is in honor of the harness valet here at Cal Expo who passed away recently at age 56. Mr. Breed was appointed as general manager at Cal Expo during the first term of Gov. Jerry Brown in 1979, and was credited with turning around the event's financial fortune during lean times. He later became a lobbyist on behalf of the racing industry and also served for eight years on the Cal Expo board of directors. The Oklahoma native loved horses and worked tirelessly to reduce equine fatalities and improve track safety for horses, jockeys and drivers. Tony Miller was a third-generation horsemen who was an owner, thoroughbred valet and most recently harness valet here at Cal Expo for the past 12 years. He passed away after a battle with colon cancer. *** The 14-year-old pacing mare Blue Note will be making the final start of her career Friday evening when she suits up in the evening's fifth race and there will be a special ceremony prior to that start in the winner's circle to honor this popular performer. Rick Cisco owns and trains the daughter of Little Steven, who is out of the Denali mare Romantic Music. She comes into her final assignment with 37 wins from her 321 appearances, $155,000 in her bank account and a 1:54 1/5 mark that was set here two years ago "She's a gem, and always tries her heart out," Cisco said. "I want to be sure to credit Luke Plano, because he's had a lot of success driving her over the years. The plan is to send her to Minnesota, where she'll be bred to Wind Me Up."     By Mark Ratzky publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Allmyxsliventexas, who made his seasonal debut last week, could hold the aces this time around in a strong renewal of the $10,000 Lloyd Arnold Pace that headlines Saturday night's Cal Expo harness racing card. Watch and Wager LLC will present 10 races with things getting underway at 6:10 p.m. and the main event is scheduled as the seventh event on the program. Allmyx'slivntexas was making his first start of the year as the 4-5 favorite in last week's Open and found himself with too much work to do in the stretch from last, settling for the fourth-place check. He closed out 2018 with four straight victories, including the Dave Goldschmidt, and competes for his owner/breeder Wayne and Rod Knittel with Bob Johnson training and Mooney Svendsen at the controls. He was a 1:50 victor at Hoosier Park last season. Coz and Effect was runner-up in last week's open at 25-1 after capturing a conditioned contest in his previous tour. James Kennedy reins and trains the son of Mystery Chase for Jose Castillo and he was a 1:54 winner here earlier in the season. Bettor In The Bank has accounted for seven of his 13 appearances on the year and the long-fused 9-year-old has to be given plenty of respect. Chip Lackey handles the dark-hued performer for owner Debra McCarthy and conditioner Gordie Graham. Rounding out the field are I'm An Athlete, King Of The Crop, To The Limit, Bettor's Promise and Gorgeous For Real. Kennedy has sights on driving title We don't want to jinx James Kennedy, but he comes into these last two weeks of the Cal Expo meet leading the driver standings while holding a seven-length advantage. While James has done well with the two pacers in his shedrow - the mare Lickcreek Speedway and this week's Lloyd Arnold participant Coz and Effect - he has recorded the majority of his victories as a catch driver. "It's been a fantastic meet," Kennedy related. "I really want to thank all the drivers and trainers who have given me some great opportunities. "Coming into the meet, I was pretty confident I would be in the top five, but I never really saw being the leading driver," he noted. "It's really been awesome." One of the highlights of the session for Kennedy has been handling the 9-year-old pacer Bettor In The Bank for Gordie Graham, recording seven Open victories behind the hard-knocking veteran. "He's been spectacular," his pilot related. "He always gives you everything he has and there's that big punch in the stretch you can always count on." Because they are both suiting up in the aforementioned Arnold on Saturday evening, for the second straight week James will be racing against Bettor In The Bank with his trainee Coz and Effect. "His last two races have been super," his mentor added, hoping for an upset this weekend. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

There was a harness racing rarity at Cal Expo Friday evening as 14-year-old pacers Allamerican Solo and Blue Note accounted for the late double on the 11-race program. Allamerican Solo is a son of Western Hanover who goes about his business for Edward Del Ponte Jr., takes his lessons from Earl Kennedy and was guided by James Kennedy. He came first over at the half and responded when it counted to prevail by a neck as the public choice. Blue Note is a Little Steven mare who is owned and trained by Rick Cisco, was handled by Luke Plano and pushed her career bankroll over the $155,000 plateau with a coast-to-coast score while earning her fourth snapshot from 15 trips to the post on the season. Racing continues at Cal Expo with Friday and Saturday night action through April 27.   By Mark Ratzky

This meet has been a homecoming of sorts for David Shell's California-bred Legio X Equestris and she has turned in some big efforts while racing with the top distaff pacers on the grounds. The 5-year-old harness racing daughter of Roll With Joe, who was a 1:52 flat victress at Pocono last year, dominated conditioned rivals here in 1:53 2/5 last month for Luke Plano, and is coming off back-to-back solid tries in the Filly and Mare Open. "She'd been racing in Indiana, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and David wanted to bring her home for the winter," said Plano. "Even though I was racing her for the first time at this meet, I trained her a bit as a 2-year-old before she made her first start." Plano admits it's been a bit of a rollercoaster return to California for Legio X Equestris, she has shown her ability more often than not. "When she came out, she shipped from New York to Indiana, then on to here, and I don't think we realized how much it had taken out of here. There were also a few health issues along the way, but now everything seems to be fine." In last week's top dance for the distaff set, Legio X Equestris brushed to the lead at half for Luke, putting up solid fractions of :55 3/5 and 1:23 4/5 before being overpowered in the late stages by Dancingonthesand. "I'll tell you one thing about this mare - she loves to play the hard way," Plano added.   Dancingonthesand, Silverlode among top players An Open Trot that sees the return of Silverlode and an extremely contentious Filly and Mare Open Pace are the main attractions on Cal Expo's Saturday night program. Watch and Wager LLC presents 11 races with first post at 6:15 p.m. Silverlode is a 10-year-old daughter of British Sterling out of the Website mare Charlotte's Web who comes into this assignment with $243,000 in earnings and a 1:54 3/5 mark that was established last season. The hard-hitting mare, who is owned by Medinah Racing and Kathie Plested, with Plested training and Steve Wiseman in the sulky, has posed for pictures following four of her seven trips to the post in 2019. She suits up this weekend riding a three-race winning streak while making her first start since March 16, when she crushed her rivals by four a half-lengths as the prohibitive 2-5 favorite while doing her work from the No. 10 slot, which will again be the case this time around. Looking at the Distaff Open, Dancingonthesand is a 4-year-old daughter of A Rocknroll Dance who goes about her business for Alan Cooper and Kathie Plested with Plested training and Mooney Svendsen handling the lines. The bay miss has returned to greet her connections in the winner's circle following six of eight appearances this season and shaved a second and two fifths off her lifetime record with last week's sparkling 1:53 score. Sent off at 9-2 from her outside post in the field of seven, Dancingonthesand was unhurried in the early stages following strong fractions, swung off cover into the drive and went on to the length and a half decision.   By Mark Ratzky Cal Expo Harness

Things we're going pretty much according to form in the first four harness races of last Saturday night's Pick 5, but then Hot Dandy came along and blew up the toteboard with a $95 score for owner Emilio Cisneros, trainer Rick Bertrand and pilot Mooney Svendsen. As a result, the 50-cent Pick 5 went from a modest payoff to a $1,850 return for every winning ticket. The Pick 5 is one of two value bets offered here at Cal Expo on a nightly basis, featuring a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. The 50-cent Pick 5 is conducted on the first five races, while the 20-cent Pick 4 comes attached with a $30,000-guaranteed pool on Fridays and $40,000 on Saturdays. To give you some idea of the value added, using the old takeout rate, last Saturday night's Hot Dandy-infused Pick 5 payout would have been $1,652 instead of $1,850, a difference of $198 per ticket. Getting to back to Hot Dandy, the 5-year-old son of Hot Pans was a little hard to find on paper in the conditioned pacing event, having just a show finish from his half-dozen trips to the post on the year while racing at or about this same level. He turned things around nicely with a sweet stalking trip under Svendsen's guidance, getting up by a head over Cenalta Dragster for the initial snapshot of 2019.   Open Pace brings out solid line-up Bettor In The Bank has his sights on a hat trick in Friday evening's featured $7,000 Open Pace at Cal Expo as he faces a strong cast in the headliner. Watch and Wager LLC will present 11 races with things getting underway at 6:15 p.m. and the main event will go as fifth event on the program. There are also three California Sire Stakes going as non-betting events prior to the regular card. Bettor In The Bank is a 9-year-old son of Better Tuwin who races for Debra McCarthy, is conditioned by Gordie Graham and will once again have James Kennedy doing the honors. He has $230,000 in his account and a 1:51 3/5 mark that was set her last year. The dark-hued performer comes into this assignment have landed in the charmed enclosure following seven of his 12 trips to the post on the season, including back-to-back scores at the head of the class. In both of those tallies, Kennedy has kept Bettor In The Bank in reserve through the early stages, then flew home in the late stages to prevail by three-quarters of a length and a head, respectively. After rattling off three straight wins between March 8 and 12, Icy Blue Scooter has had narrow misses in his last two tries, including last week's clash at this top rung where Bettor In The Bank nailed him on the money. A 6-year-old son of Blue Burner, Icy Blue Scooter is reined and trained by Nate Sobey, who also co-owns the hard-hitting pacer with Diane Bertrand. He recently went over the $100,000 earnings plateau with a 1:52 standard that was established over this layout.   By Mark Ratzky Cal Expo Harness

Among the harness racing warriors suiting up here Friday evening are the 9-year-old pacer I'm An Athlete, who competes in the ninth race; and the 12-year-old trotting stalwart Franks Best, who will doing his thing in the featured second event on the card. I'm An Athlete is a son of Art Major who goes about his business for Ronald Rettig-Zucchi and takes his lessons from Jessie Pacheco. He recently went over the $200,000 earnings plateau with a 1:51 career standard that was established last season. Off the class drop in last week's start, the hard-hitting pacer was hammed down to 30 cents on the dollar and did not disappoint his many backers, making every pole a winning one with James Kennedy at the helm. "He's just so-so on the smaller tracks around the tight turns, but he really likes it here at Cal Expo," Pacheco noted. "He's just a pro. You can jog him with two fingers and he doesn't need hopples to train." Franks Best is also a real pro, slowly but surely closing in on a $300,000 bank account for his owner/trainer/breeder Bob Johnson. "There's no question, he's one of my all-time favorites," related Johnson. "He just loves to go out there and race." For the record, Franks Best will be making his 261st trip to the post and has recorded 48 wins, 47 seconds and 37 thirds, with his 1:55 4/5 mark coming three years ago. Good luck to both these veteran performers as they look to close out the final month of the current meeting in style.   One Chief eyes encore in featured Trot One Chief, fresh from back-to-back solid efforts, looks to be the one to beat in Friday night's featured $5,500 Trot at Cal Expo. Watch and Wager LLC will present an 11-race card with the action set to get underway at 6:10 p.m. The main event will go as the second event of the evening. One Chief is a 6-year-old son of Lucky Chucky out of the Credit Winner mare Chippewa who competes for Don and Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chamber and Tyler Wiseman with Kathie Plested training and Luke Plano back at the controls. Sent off the even-money choice in last week's assignment, One Chief was unhurried early before coming first over at the half to engage the leader. He opened a clear advantage once straightened for home and went on to a three and three-quarter length score for his first snapshot of the season. Franks Best was up for the exacta completion in that affair and always has to be respected for the team of owner/trainer/breeder Bob Johnson and regular pilot Mooney Svendsen. The 12-year-old son of Armbro Scribe comes into Friday night's assignment with $283,000 in his account and a 1:55 4/5 mark that was established three years ago. He is looking for his second win from 12 appearances on the season. Completing the field are Majestic Lady Jo, who leaves from the rail with Nate Sobey; Dougs Hobby Horse, who will have James Kennedy at the controls; and Windun Galaxe, departing from the outside slot with Chip Lacey in the sulky.   By Mark Ratzky publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Getter Queen Flush came calling when it counted last week to capture the Alan Kirschnbaum Pace with James Kennedy joining forces with the 7-year-old harness racing mare. Getter Queen Flush was shuffled at the midway point, but ignited when the question was asked by Kennedy to prevail by a half-length while proving a punctual 2-1 favorite. The bay miss carries the banner of Richard Thomas, Dave and Rick Haness and trainer George Reider, with the victory being a special one for all concerned as the race was named after the longtime owner and breeder and past president of the CHHA who died in 2012. "Getter Queen Flush has been a gem of consistency ever since I claimed her in Minnesota for $6,000," said Reider. "I was so happy for the connections. "She was a little nervous when she didn't have too much room in the stretch, but James did a nice job shaking free and getting up in time. "It was very gratifying to win the Alan Kirschenbaum, since he was a good friend of mine. We played golf every chance we got when he came up to Sacramento and he was a great guy - funny and smart, not to mention a pretty good golfer "I like to think he was smiling down at us during the race."   Capitol Hill heads cast in Distaff Pace Capitol Hill, coming off back-to-back victories at the head of the class, looks to keep the momentum going in Saturday night's featured $6,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace. Watch and Wager LLC will present an 11-race program on Saturday with things getting underway at 6:10. The headliner goes as the third contest on the evening. An 8-year-old daughter of Badlands Hanover from the No Pan Intended mare Champale Blue Chip, Capitol Hill races for George McChrystal and Kathie Plested with Plested training and Steve Wiseman at the controls. For her recent success, the bay miss has been assigned the No. 10 post position in the field of five, which should make things a bit more interesting. On March 1, Capitol Hill made every pole a winning one in the clash at this level, holding a clear advantage from the outset and then holding safe by three-quarters of a length over Bettor Lady. In her most recent appearance on March 9, the hard-knocking performer played cat-and-mouse with Bettor Lady on the front end and proved best by a half-length with Mooney Svendsen at the controls. Completing the field are Dancingonthesand, who gives the Plested barn two looks at the outcome and has Svendsen guiding; a pair from the Luke Plano barn in Magnifique with his trainer at the helm and Legio X Equestris with Ryan Grundy; and last week's Alan Kirschenbaum victress Getter Queen Flush, to be handled by James Kennedy.   Mark Ratzky Cal Expo Harness

Following start No. 244 in Friday night's fourth race, Nutmegs Desire will begin a new career as a broodmare, but not before Cal Expo gives her a special sendoff. The 11-year-old daughter of Real Desire comes into Friday's final harness racing assignment with 55 wins, 42 seconds and 30 thirds, $241,614 in her bank account and a 1:53 1/5 career standard that was set six years ago. Nutmegs Desire goes about her business for Don and Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chambers and Tyler Wiseman with Kathie Plested conditioning and Steve Wiseman back at the controls. In last week's tour, the hard-knocking pacer sat the pocket early for Wiseman, responded when the question was asked in the stretch and proved clearly best for her fifth snapshot from 11 starts on the season. Nutmegs Desire is scheduled to be make her special appearance on Friday following the running of the second race and everyone is invited to come down and join in the ceremony. "We like the idea of bringing Nutmeg down to the Winner's Circle before her race," said co-owner Chambers. "Mostly we're doing it this way because after she races, she's pretty full of herself and will not be very interested in standing still for a picture with a group. "We intend to make the ceremony short and sweet, so Nutmeg can get back to the paddock and get dressed for her final race." Nutmegs Desire will be presented with a new blanket and her owners will also be giving a check to the California Standardbred Rescue Fund representing last week's earnings from her victory. Said Barbara Arnstine, "As much as we love and appreciate Nutmeg, this isn't just about her. It's a small chance to educate the public about harness horses - their sociability, their love for their 'jobs' and their longevity, which leads to another career in many cases." Plans call for Nutmegs Desire to join Ricky Schneider's broodmare band in Alberta following Friday night's curtain call and she will be bred to Vertical Horizon. An 11-race card is on tap Friday evening under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. Low takeout wagers offer great value   There are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 50-cent Pick 5 on the first five races of the evening and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 4 comes with a $30,000-guaratnteed gross pool on Fridays and a $40,000 guarantee on Saturdays. To give you some idea of how sweet the reduced takeout can be, last Saturday night's 50-cent Pick 5 returned $2,381 for each winning ticket. Using the old takeout, the payoff would have been $2,126, a difference of $255 for each ducket.   By Mark Ratzky Cal Expo Harness  

It was apparently worth the wait with the 4-year-old pacer This Dog Wont Hunt, who made his belated debut last weekend and came from out of the clouds to win going away as the even-money choice. A 4-year-old son of Voracious Hanover who is owned by Mark Anderson and hails from the Gordie Graham harness racing barn, This Dog Wont Hunt was some double digits off the early pace for James Kennedy, then circled rivals with a rush turning for home to post the two and a quarter-length decision to the delight of the chalkplayers. The dark-hued performer showed signs of having ability here last spring, turning in a pair of sharp qualifiers with Kennedy at the controls, then was scratched from a race in late May at Running Aces and didn’t surface again officially until a February 1 qualifier here that he won going away without urging. After being scratched from a February 9 race here, he finally got to the races last Saturday night and did not disappoint his many backers with the impressive come-from-behind score that saw him hit the wire in 1:57 3/5. This Dog Wont Hunt was scheduled to make his second trip to the post on Friday night, and it will be interesting to see just how much impact this pacer came make as he attempts to climb up the ladder A reminder there are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate – the 50-cent Pick 5 on the first five events and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 4 comes attached with a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool on Fridays and a $40,000 guarantee on Sundays.   Plano pair loom large in featured Pace The Luke Plano-trained duo of Magnifique and Legio X Equestris should have a big say in Saturday night’s main event, a $6,000 Open II contest for pacing fillies and mares. The headliner will go as the 10th contest on an 11-race program under the Watch and Wager LLC banner and things will get underway at 6:10 p.m. Plano will be guiding Magnifique, who is owned by Nikki Hudson and will leave from the outside post in the field of seven, while Legio X Equestris is campaigned by David Shell and will have the services of Ryan Grundy from the No. 2 slot. Magnifique is an 8-year-old daughter of Tell All who is coming off a runner-up effort behind favored Bettor Lady under these same conditions last week after making a strong move by the quarter and showing the way to deep stretch. She recorded her most recent victory in a conditioned affair on March 1, riding live to cover to a three and a quarter-length tally, and has come back with a third-place finish behind Capitol Hill in the March 9 Open and last week’s exacta completion. Legio X Equestris is a 5-year-old Roll With Joe mare who is coming off an eye-catching 1:53 3/5 score last week and looks ready to climb right back up the class ladder. She was a 1:52 victress at Pocono last season. Rounding out the field are Delightfully Wild from the Lino Pacheco barn; the Kathie Plested-trained pair of Totally Racy and Outragesoudelightn; Along Came Jane from the Jessie Pacheco shedrow; and the Gerry Longo reined-and-trained Rush And A Brush.   Mark Ratzky

The $10,000 Alan Kirshenbaum Pace for fillies and mares; a $6,500 California Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacing males and a $5,500 Open II Trot are the featured attractions on Friday night's Cal Expo harness racing program. Watch and Wager LLC will present 12 races with a first post of 6:10 p.m., and there will also be two other California Sire Stakes decided as non-betting events prior to the regular card. Blue Note figures to have her share of backers in the Kirschenbaum, as she exits Open and Open II company in her last three trips to the post for owner/trainer Rick Cisco. A 14-year-old daughter of Little Steven, a top performer and sire for Kirschenbaum, Blue Note recorded her most recent victory in a conditioned event on February 23 and has been mixing it up with the likes of Capitol Hill and Bettor Lady in her last few trips appearances. Taking her on this weekend are Wizzel Stix and La Madawna De Rosa from the Richard Bertrand barn; the Nate Sobey-trained Burn My Villa; The Richard Schneider-trained pair of Lookslikewemadeit and Nightraintovegas; the Kathie Plested-conditioned Fancy Little Girl; and Getter Queen Flush, who takes her lessons from George Reider. Looking at the Open II Trot, Its A Horse gets the call as he escapes the long shadow of the streaking Silverlode in this contest for owner Ray Alan Miller, trainer Marco Rios and regular pilot Gerry Longo. The 6-year-old son of Full Count has three victories to his credit this year at the Open level, including a lifetime-best 1:56 15/ score on January 18 while doing his work from the demanding No. 10 post position that night. Low takeout wagers; Single 6 carryover There are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 50-cent Pick 5 on the first five races of the evening and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 4 comes with a $30,000-guaratnteed gross pool on Fridays and a $40,000 guarantee on Saturdays. Coming into Friday, there is also a $13,467 carryover in the 10-cent Single 6, so there is plenty of value to be had on the card,   By Mark Ratzky, Cal Expo Harness

Its a Horse is having a solid meet for harness racing owner Ray Alan Miller, trainer Marco Rios and regular pilot Gerry Longo, including three straight wins in the Open Trot to start off the year. The 6-year-old was purchased late last season by Miller and sent to Rios, who has done a terrific job getting the trotter to settle early and save his best for last with Longo in the sulky. "Mr. Harris sent him to me at the start of the meet and my first impression was that he was a very nice horse," Rios informed. "He does everything right in the morning and has that real nice late kick in his races." Marco watched some of Its a Horse's races at Northfield Park to get acquainted with the performer prior to his first California start and noted that his best efforts seemed to come when he was allowed to relax early and then come home in a hurry. "That's what we've been working on with him in his training and Gerry has been doing a great job getting him to relax early in his races and finish strongly. "Of course, when you have a style like that sometimes the way the race shapes up is going work against you, but there is nothing you can do about that." Rios knows a thing or two about training a top trotter, having conditioned the outstanding sidewheeler El Azteca. "He's still at the top of my list, but Its a Horse is getting there quickly," he noted. Silverlode has top billing in Open Trot Silverlode, fresh from back-to-back victories at the head of the class, looks to keep the momentum going in Saturday night's featured $6,500 Open Trot. Watch and Wager LLC will present 11 races with things getting underway at 6:10 p.m. and the main event is scheduled as the fifth contest on the evening. As a result of her recent triumphs, Silverlode will be asked to do her work from the demanding No. 10 post position in the field of six with Steve Wiseman at the controls. Silverlode competes for owners Medinah Racing and Kathie Plested with Plested doing the training. She set a new North American record on a mile track two back in the Joe Lighthill Trot when she covered the extended distance of a mile and a half in 2:57 2/5. Sent off the even-money choice in the most recent top dance for the trotting set two weeks ago, Silverlode made what proved to be the winning move at the half and romped home by five and three-quarter lengths over a track labelled good. Taking her on this weekend, from the rail out; Majestic Lady Jo with Nate Sobey; Franks Best, Mooney Svendsen; One Chief with Luke Plano; Windsun Galaxe, Dean Magee; and Its a Horse, who will have the services of Gerry Longo. Bettor Lady should have a big say in the co-featured Open II Distaff Pace with James Kennedy guiding. She has turned in four straight strong miles here for owners Richard Morita and David Yamada and trainer Lino Pacheco, as she was up in the final stride to hang a nose decision on Capitol Hill in the February 23 Open, then has completed the exacta in the last two meetings at the top rung. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Los Angeles – This morning, PETA called on the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office to launch an immediate investigation into the deaths of 19 Thoroughbred horses used for racing in just the first eight weeks of the Santa Anita racetrack’s current season. The horses sustained broken bones while racing or training, and PETA believes that they likely had undisclosed injuries that were masked by medications given to keep lame and unfit horses competing—and that while the drugs may be legal, racing injured horses likely violates state anti-cruelty laws. PETA is also calling on the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) to investigate the trainers of all the horses who died in the last two months and review all veterinary records. In California, every horse who dies on the track is necropsied—and the results of thousands of these procedures show that the breaks usually occurred where there was already an injury. According to PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, these horses “were invariably doped up and literally run to death.” In a presentation to The Jockey Club, CHRB Equine Medical Director Dr. Rick Arthur stated that “90 percent of all horses suffering fatal musculoskeletal injuries racing or training have pre-existing pathology—a prior injury—at the site of their fatal injury.” “If 19 football players died during one season, there would be hell to pay—and it would be an understatement to say that the NFL would be under scrutiny,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “If trainers know that horses are sore or injured, and they’re giving them painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and sedatives to keep them running when they should be resting, the trainers are culpable in these deaths and should be charged with cruelty to animals.” One ugly fact is that most horses are injected with the powerful anti-inflammatory phenylbutazone (aka “bute”) 24 hours before racing—supposedly to prevent swelling. But the drug also masks pain and keeps a lame horse running to his or her detriment. For this reason, injuries that can cause a horse’s leg bones to snap or shatter on the track are missed during pre-race examinations because the horse isn’t feeling or showing the pain of an injury and the track veterinarian doesn’t examine trainers’ records. A lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey in March 2018 by a harness racing fan who lost a bet only to find out later that the winning horse had been illegally drugged is pending. Local residents will protest at Santa Anita on Sunday. PETA’s appeal for an investigation is available upon request. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a belief in human supremacy that allows animals to be exploited for human gain. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

Gee Gee Whiz, a popular performer here at Cal Expo in his racing days, passed away on February 15, just shy of celebrating his 20thbirthday. A California-bred son of Winning Night out of the Dignitarian mare Gee Gee Girl, Gee Gee Whiz won 38 of his 243 starts, banked $203,000 and had a 1:54 1/5 career standard. While Larry and Carol Parlin never raced Gee Gee Whiz, they were big fans of the pacer and bought him upon his retirement in 2008. He lived in the same barn at the Parlin home in Acampo until his death last month. “He was an awesome horse,” related Carol Parlin. “He was quiet, neat and a joy to have around.” Carol cares for seven to eight retired performers, and explained that Gee Gee Whiz is the only horse she has taken care of post-racing who didn’t carry the Parlin banner on the track. As far as the favorites who have raced for them, Carol said Hard Rocket Café would head the list and the mare Rag Doll, who is going to the breeding shed this year, also ranks as one with a special place in their hearts.   Silverlode has her sights on Open Trot Silverlode, fresh from setting a North American record in winning last week’s Joe Lighthill Trot at a mile and a half, looks to keep the momentum going in Saturday night’s featured Open Trot at Cal Expo. Watch and Wager LLC will present 11 races with a first post of 6:10 p.m. and the main event will go as the third contest on the evening. Silverlode is coming off a dominating victory in the Lighthill, which was contested at a mile and a half. The 10-year-old British Sterling mare made what proved to be the winning move to the lead by the half and took complete control of things from that point with Steve Wiseman at the helm. The final clocking of 2:57 2/5 shaved a tick off the North American record for the distance over a mile track, with the previous mark shared by three different trotters. The victory pushed Silverlode’s lifetime bankroll to $237,000 for Medinah Racing and co-owner/trainer Kathie Plested and she sports a 1:54 3/5 career standard that was set last season. Silverhill Volo completed the exacta in the Lighthill while being dispatched as the 6-5 favorite that evening. The 8-year-old son of Muscle Hill was coming off back-to-back decisions at the top rung for his owner/driver/trainer Chip Lackey, but was no match for Silverlode in that last clash at the elongated distance. Its a Horse had three straight Open victories between January 4 and 18, using his strong closing kick to get the job done on each occasion and overcame the demanding No. 10 slot to prevail in the last of those scores. The long-fused performer races for Ray Alan Miller with Marco Rios the conditioner and Gerry Longo in his usual spot in the sulky.   Mark Ratzky

With her 2:57 2/5 final clocking in winning last weekend's mile and one-half Joe Lighthill Trot, Silverlode has established a new North American harness racing record for the distance on a mile track. The 10-year-old California-bred British Sterling mare, who is owned by Medinah Racing and Kathie Plested, is trained by Plested and was handled by Steve Wiseman, captured the Lighthill by three and one-quarter lengths in a sensational performance. Silverlode, who has a slew of Sire Stakes trophies on her mantle, pushed her career bank account to $237,000 with the victory and has a 1:54 3/5 mark for a mile that was established last year over the Running Aces oval. For the record, the previous standard for a mile and a half victory on a mile layout of 2:57 3/5 was jointly held by three trotters - Meadow Road (1985), Victors Pursuit (2006) Rev It Up (2012). In addition to the record-breaking score by Silverlode, the Plested shedrow also sent out the winner of the Open Pace last Saturday night as King Of The Crop flew home to get the nod over Pancetta in a 1:52 4/5 performance. Another Cal-bred, King Of The Crop carries the banner of Don and Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chambers and Plested and was also excellently handled by Wiseman. It was the third tally at the head of the class from the last five trips to the post for this 8-year-old son of Little Steven. Speaking of Little Steven offspring, a tip of the cap to Rick Cisco's 14-year-old pacing mare Blue Note, who has now won three of her last seven starts with Nate Sobey, James Kennedy and most recently Luke Plano doing the honors while pushing her earnings over the $150,000 plateau. Stablemates Pancetta, Bettor Lady in spotlight A pair of Open Paces head the action Friday night at Cal Expo, and barnmates Bettor Lady and Pancetta loom large in their respective events for owners Richard Morita and David Yamada and trainer Lino Pacheco. A 12-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post at 6:10 p.m. and there will also be trio of California Sire Stakes for the 4-year-olds going as non-betting events prior to the regular program. Bettor Lady is coming off back-to-back 6-1 upset scores, the most recent coming in last week's Filly and Mare Open. In that contest, James Kennedy was able to work out a pocket trip with the daughter of Bettor's Delight, she responded when the question was asked and was up by a nose. Meanwhile, Pancetta just missed to favored King Of The Crop in last week's Open Pace and will not have that rival to deal with this time around. The 10-year-old son of No Pan Intended will once again have Dean Magee doing the honors. Bettor In The Bank rattled off four straight wins between January 25 and February 15, including two Open Pace scores, before checking in a close third in the most recent clash at the head of the class and deserves plenty of respect. The long-fused 9-year-old goes about his business for Debra McCarthy with Gordie Graham training and James Kennedy in the sulky. He is looking to add to a $221,000 bank account with 1:51 3/5 standard that was established over this layout. Icy Blue Scooter has gone some outstanding miles at this meet while racing at the highest level and helps make things very interesting from the outside post for driver/trainer Nate Sobey, who co-owns the son of Blue Burner with Diane Bertrand and Robert Gilhespy. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

A pair of contentious Open Paces; the $8,600 Shelly Goudreau Final and the $8,000 Joe Lighthill Trot at an extended mile and one-half headline an excellent program at Cal Expo on Saturday night An 11-race harness racing card is set to kick off at 6:10 p.m., with the Lighthill going as the fourth event; the Filly and Mare Open follows in the next spot; the Open Pace occupies the seventh-race slot and the Goudreau Final will be the ninth event on the evening. Urgointohearmeroar will be looking to account for his third series final at the meet in the Goudreau. A 4-year-old son of Mystery Chase, Urgointohearmeroar has already captured the Bill Conlin and Robert Gordon Finals at this stand and looms a very heavy favorite once again. Owned by Mark Anderson, trained by Gordie Graham and with Mooney Svendsen in the sulky, he has been unbeatable this season while going off the prohibitive choice on each occasion. Urgointohearmeroar faced his biggest challenge in last week's outing in the Goudreau Prep, leaving from the second tier in the overflow cast. He was parked first-over at the half, then dug in determinedly to prevail by a neck that evening. It was certainly a blanket finish, with the first four across the wire separated by only three-quarters of a length in that 1:54 flat mile, but the others figure to have their work cut out Saturday with Urgointohearmeroar having the rail draw this time around. The two Opens are both very contentious events with Bettor In The Bank assigned the outside post in the male division and stablemates Capitol Hill and Outrageousdelightn getting the outside slots in the Distaff end. Low takeout wagers offer true value There are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16% takeout rate - the 50-cent Pick 5, which begins on the first race; and the 20-cent Pick 4. There are guaranteed pools for the Pick 4, with a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool on Fridays and a $40,000 guarantee on Saturdays. To give you some idea of the added value, last Saturday night's Pick 5 returned a very nice $4,562 for each winning 50-cent ticket. Using normal takeout, the payoff would have been $4,073 a difference of $489 per ducket.   By Mark Ratzky Cal Expo Harness  

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