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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  

When racing against the pacing mare Surprisingly Sweet, her harness racing rivals would be well served to heed the advice of Satchel Paige, who said, "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you." Surprisingly Sweet, an 11-year-old Indiana-bred daughter of Dontgetinmyway, carries the banner of Scott Ehrlich with Kathie Plested training and Mooney Svendsen at the controls and has used her powerful closing kick to capture four of her last five starts at Cal Expo. The dark-hued performer, who sports a 1:52 3/5 mark from four years ago, has now pushed her bank account to the $190,000 plateau and is going in razor-sharp form at the moment over this mile layout. "Surprisingly Sweet spent the summer at Al Sleva's farm instead of going to Running Aces or Hoosier," Ehrlich noted. "Kathie and Steve (Wiseman) would tell you how much giving her that time off helped her be as good as she is right now. That's also the plan again this summer. "Kathie just loves this mare to pieces and they train her differently to make sure she doesn't tie up." Svendsen has been guiding the long-fused mare with the expertise of a concert violinist as they have proven to be one of the most formidable horse/driver combinations on the grounds. "Mooney jogs her most of the time and usually sits behind her in training miles," Scott explained. "She basically trains herself to almost the same exact time each time she trains - so much so that he rarely needs a stopwatch." Open Trot brings out Its a Horse Its a Horse, who has rattled off four straight wins including the last three dances at the head of the class, looks to keep the momentum going in Friday night's featured $6,500 Open Trot. First post for the 11-race program under the banner of Watch and Wager LLC will be 6:10 p.m. For the second straight appearance, Its a Horse will be asked to do his work from the demanding No. 10 post position as he goes about his business for owner Alan Miller, trainer Marco Rios and pilot Gerry Longo. The Ohio-bred trotter made his local debut on December 28 and posted a facile five and a quarter length score at odds of 9-1 in an Open II affair, then moved up to the top level and did an encore from well off the pace while again motoring away in the final stages. Its A Horse cut it much closer in the January 11 clash at the head of the trotting class, coming from far back at the top of the lane to collar pace-setting Silverhill Volo by a half-length. In his most recent outing two weeks ago, the streaking performer left from the tough No. 10 post and prevailed as the 6-5 favorite, once again coming from well back to win going away by a length and three-quarters. Completing the field are Silverlode, who captured last week's Open II Trot; the hard-hitting Silverhill Volo, Windsun Galaxe, One Chief and Franks Best. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

The streaking Urgointohearmeroar looms an overwhelming favorite in Saturday night's $9,800 Robert Gordon Final for the harness racing pacers at Cal Expo. An 11-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. There will also be an Open Pace headed by the razor-sharp Icy Blue Scooter and a Filly and Mare Open Pace featuring Misspanderosajones. Urgointohearmeroar has accounted for five of his last six trips to the post here, including the December 29 Bill Conlin Final and last week's Robert Gordon Prep as the 1-9 favorite. A 4-year-old son of Mystery Chase out of the Dragon Again mare Its Unconditional, the bay performer goes about his business for owner Mark Anderson, trainer Gordie Graham and will once again be guided by Mooney Svendsen. In last week's Gordon Prep, Urgointohearmeroar was parked to the lead by the quarter, then took complete control of things from that point and came home with two and a half-lengths to spare. Just B Talking turned in a solid runner-up finish in that affair as a 25-1 shot for owner/trainer/driver Gerry Longo. They left into what became a pocket trip, tracked the heavy favorite to the lane and kept to the task while easily holding for the place spot. Completing the field are Hay Hay Alright, Fox Valley Hoss, In For The Chase, Wizard Of Odds and Lickcreek Speedway. Race honors memory of Robert Gordon Saturday night's main event is named for Robert Gordon, the noted driver/trainer and track executive who passed away at the age of 65 in 2006. Said Ben Kenny, Cal Expo/Watch and Wager LLC Asst. General Manager and Chief Financial Officer, "Bob was my unofficial campaign manager when I first ran for the CHHA board. He was a mentor on the board, a great horseman and I remember him always having a funny joke to tell." Said trainer George Reider, "Bobby Gordon was a good friend off the track, but on the track he was all business and could train a horse as hard as anybody in the country and be successful at it. The Bobby Gordon I choose to remember is when we played water volleyball and had those great barbecues." Robert 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 1/5 career standard and banked $254,381 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. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness    

Harness racing trainer Marissa Kleinsasser is one of the new faces here from Canada this season, and she won't soon forget Cal Expo as it was here last month that she recorded the first training victory of her career with Camita B and E. Sent off at 39-1 in that December 7 contest, the 6-year-old pacer rode live cover to the lane for Nathan Sobey and won going away by a length and a half while rewarding his backers at 39-1 that evening. He races for Kleinsasser and Marlys Muller and has added another victory in the interim. While it may have been first win for Marissa on her own, the 23-year-old native of Alberta has made plenty of winner's circle appearances. "I'm fourth-generation in the game, and I guess you could say I knew I wanted to be involved from the time I was old enough to walk and talk," Kleinsasser related. "I've worked for last 10 years for my uncle Glenn Lutz." Marissa was encouraged to come down and give California a try by several of her fellow Alberta horsemen, who touted her on Cal Expo and all that comes with the racing here. "I absolutely love this mile track, especially the surface, and obviously the weather is much nicer than home right now. Add to that the people are the nicest I've ever been around and then winning my first race, it's been great so far." Kleinsasser plans to stay here until April and then will return to the Great White North, where she's looking forward to racing at the new mile track in Edmonton later in the year. Silverhill Volo, Silverlode set to battle Silverhill Volo and Silverlode, who chased home the red-hot Its a Horse in last week's top dance, get away from that rival and loom large in Friday night's featured Open II Trot. First post for the 12-race program is 6:10 p.m. Silverhill Volo is a 6-year-old son of Muscle Hill who is owned, trained and driven by Chip Lackey. He comes into this assignment with $137,000 on his card and a 1:55 1/5 mark that was set four years ago. He accounted for the December15 Open for his most recent tally, but has had to settle for three straight runner-up finishes behind Its a Horse since that score. On each occasion he has shown the way to the stretch, but could not contain the powerful finish of the Marco Rios trainee. Silverlode also figures to get plenty of support in Friday's headliner, as not only does she get away from Its a Horse but has a race over the track.She had been away from the wars since December 8 when she suited up in last week's Open. Owned by Medinah Racing and trained by Kathie Plested, the 10-year-old daughter of British Sterling put in a big effort with Mooney Svendsen, coming first over into Silverhill Volo and only weakening late in the needed outing. Silverlode sports a 1:54 3/5 career standard with $228,000 in the bank and has gone several huge miles over this Cal Expo strip. Her versatility and class make her very dangerous in this spot. Looking ahead to Saturday, there will be an outstanding card with the $9,800 Robert Gordon Final, an Open Pace headed by the streaking Icy Blue Scooter and a Filly and Mare Open Pace that finds Misspanderosajones eyeing an encore. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

The hard-hitting 12-year-old trotter Franky Provolone is making his final start in Friday night's fourth race and it's sure to be a bittersweet experience for his harness racing owner/trainer Robin Clements. "Franky has been a fan favorite here at Cal Expo and Running Aces for many years, but he's starting to tell me that it's time to retire," Robin noted at entry time. "After this last race he'll be sent to a friend of mine, Janet Scott and her two kids Carol and Cody in Wilton, where he will retire with another standardbred named Continental for company. "Franky has been good to me and he owes me nothing. It's my position that he deserves to be retired to a home where he will be safe and forever loved." For the record, Franky Provolone comes into this weekend's assignment with 297 starts on his card, sporting 53 wins, 68 seconds and 62 thirds, with $254,000 in his bank account and a 1:55 4/5 mark that was established five years ago. By Armbro Scribe out of the Donerail mare Simply Royal, he was bred on the Desomer Farm in Wilton and was originally owned and raced by Rick Plano. "I acquired Franky at the age of 5 in April of 2012 out of a claimer for $3,750," Clements said. "I raced him one more time here at Cal Expo and then sent him to Running Aces in Minnesota with Steve Wiseman and Kathie Plested." After racing once in a $4,500 claimer at Running Aces, Wiseman was approached about selling the trotter, but Robin didn't want to do that at the time. "We then put him in a $6,000 claimer that didn't fill," the story continued. "The only other class was the Open Trot in which he finished a strong third, and from that point on we knew we had an Open trotter." Franky Provolone went on to win 15 races that year while earning over $55,000 and was voted CHHA 2012 Horse of the Year for his accomplishments. "In 2017 and 2018, Franky was enrolled in the Summer Fling Racing League at Running Aces where fans can purchase a piece of a horse for the summer meet," she added. And how does Robin Clements sum up this popular performer who will attending his last dance this weekend? "He is a very sweet horse with a kind soul who gave 110 percent on the track every time he raced." You can't ask for more than that. Au Revoir, Open Trot command spotlight The Au Revoir Invite, which will be the final start for the popular trotter Franky Provolone; and an Open Trot featuring Its a Horse are the main events on Friday night's Cal Expo program. There will be 12 contests on the card, which is presented by Watch and Wager LLC, and things get underway at 6:10 p.m. The Au Revoir, in addition to being Franky Provolone's final start, is unique in that it will match a pair of trotters against four pacers, with Franks Best being the other trotter going up against pacers Nevermissabeat, McCedes, Bos So Hot and Whatchamacallum. The co-featured Open Trot will find Its a Horse gunning for this fourth straight victory while leaving from the assigned No. 10 post position in the field of seven. He is a 6-year-old son of Full Count who is owned by Ray Alan Miller, is trained by Marco Rios and will once again be handled by Gerry Longo. The Ohio-bred trotter made his local debut on December 28 and posted a facile five and a quarter length score at odds of 9-1 in an Open II affair, then moved up to the top level and did an encore from well off the pace while again motoring away in the final stages. Its A Horse cut it much closer in the most recent clash at the head of the trotting class, coming from far back at the top of the lane to collar pace-setting Silverhill Volo by a half-length. The latter performer has been runner-up in the last two top dances and accounted for the December 15 Open while rewarding his many backers as the 1-2 choice. Chip Lackey owns, trains and drives the 8-year-old son of Muscle Hill. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

The California Harness Horsemen's Association is proud to announce that Robin Burns and the late pacer Hi Ho Silverheels will be inducted into the California Harness Racing Hall of Fame on Sunday. "What a terrific honor," said Burns. "To be mentioned in the same breath as Joe O'Brien, Pres Jenuine, Jim Dennis and the other members is really beyond comprehension. "I can't thank enough the members of the selection committee for their unanimous vote." A native of Niagara Falls, NY, Robin attended the University of Miami (Fla.) and The Columbia School of Broadcasting. Burns first came to the attention of California fans as the announcer at Hollywood Park and also handled those duties at Los Alamitos and here at Cal Expo. He has also been the voice at harness tracks The Meadowlands, Freestate Raceway, Rosecroft Raceway, Louisville Downs, The Red Mile and Midwest Harness. His thoroughbred announcing has seen him calling the races at Laurel Park, Pimlico and currently Presque Isle. Burns estimates he has called over 80,000 races, including several broadcast on ESPN and CBS, including the Breeder's Crown, Maryland Million and Washington D.C. International. Robin's extensive resume has seen him serve as director of racing, director of simulcasting, consultant to the Macau Trotting Club, steward, starter, morning line maker and simulcast host. He helped launch the TVG Network while serving as director of traffic and simulcasting and as on-air host and analyst. His other television credits include hosting Racing from The Meadowlands on the Madison Square Garden Network; Winning at Rosecroft on Home Team Sports in Washington, D.C. and Harness Hoofbeats on Channel 9 in Los Angeles. In addition, Robin has lent his voice to the Hollywood movies "On the Right Track" and "Little Miss Marker". Robin Burns Also being inducted this year into the Hall of Fame this week is the late pacer Hi Ho Silverheels. Hi Ho Silverheels was a brilliant racehorse, earning just shy of $1.2 million with a 1:49 4/5 mark, and also proved to be one of the more influential harness racing stallions in the history of California breeding. A member of the class of 1991, Hi Ho Silverheels was by Walton Hanover out of the Abercrombie mare Armbro Caprice. "He wasn't bred in California, but he was foaled here and he's the best we've ever produced," said Wayne Knittel, who stood the stallion. In his racing days, Hi Ho Silverheels was scintillating to watch. Rick Kuebler drove him in all his California starts and was also at the controls when he competed in the Dan Patch at Indiana Downs. "He was the most gifted equine athlete I ever sat behind," Kuebler stated. "He had the unique combination of high speed and the capability to carry it. He routinely paced miles in 1:51 and change at Los Alamitos and I felt that on a good day he would break the 1:50 barrier. "There was a period in his career where you could have matched him up against the nine other best horses in the world and he would have been the odds-on favorite. He was that impressive." Robert Staats Final, Open Pace headline Lickcreek Speedway looms the overwhelming favorite in Saturday night's $9,600 Robert Staats Final, while Icy Blue Scooter gets top billing in the in the co-featured $7,000 Open Pace. Watch and Wager LLC will present 12 races and the action gets underway at 6:10 p.m with the Staats going as the sixth event and Open Pace occupying the eighth race slot on the evening. Lickcreek Speedway was sent off the 3-5 chalk in last week's Robert Staats Prep and made it look like a belated Xmas gift as she romped home by four and a half-lengths over the sloppy track. A 4-year-old daughter of Sand Shooter, the bay mare goes about her business for owner Jennifer Scarberry with James Kennedy reining and training. Her other victory at the meeting came in the Annette Funicello Prep in late November. Taking her on Saturday, from the rail out: Dancer's Fancy with Dean Magee; Glad to Meet Ya, Luke Plano; Lookslikewemadeit, Steve Wiseman; Damoricdalesno, Nathan Sobey; and Brigitte Bordeaux, who will be guided by Mooney Svendsen. Icy Blue Scooter is coming off a pair of dominating Open Pace scores for driver/trainer Nathan Sobey, who also co-owns the 6-year-old son of Blue Burner with Diane Bertrand and Robert Gilhespy. Sent off the 8-5 chalk in last week's top dance, Icy Blue Scooter came first over at the half, engaged the leader into the lane and then came home smartly in :27 1/5 to seal the deal by two and a quarter-lengths with Sobey at the helm. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

An Open Trot featuring Its a Horse and Silverhill Volo and a Filly and Mare Open Pace headed by Delightfully Wild hold the harness racing spotlight at Cal Expo Friday evening. A 12-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. The main events are scheduled as the second and third races on the program. Its A Horse is a 6-year-old son of Full Count who is owned by Ray Alan Miller, takes his lessons from Marco Rios and will once again have the services of Gerry Longo. The Ohio-bred trotter made his local debut on December 28 and posted a facile five and a quarter length score at odds of 9-1 in an Open II affair, then moved up to the top level for his most recent appearance and did an encore from well off the pace while again motoring away in the final stages. Silverhill Volo was runner-up in that contest after setting some of the fractions and accounted for the December 15 Open while rewarding his many backers as the 1-2 choice. Chip Lackey owns, trains and drives the 8-year-old son of Muscle Hill. Delightfully Wild is a 6-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight who competes for Richard Morita and David Yamada with Jessie Pacheco training and has James Kennedy in the sulky. After a needed effort in the December 29 Open after returning from Pennsylvania, the bay miss was ready to rock and roll in last week's clash at the head of the class and made every pole a winning one as the 6-5 favorite over a sloppy track. 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 spice the action here at Cal Expo. Legislation that took effect January 1 allows a full card of international harness simulcasting to our California patrons. The new law is applicable on nights of live racing only and California fans can now look forward to harness action from Woodbine Mohawk Park every Friday and Saturday evening. The two wagers offered here 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 Pick 4 guaranteed pools have now been raised, with a $30,000 guarantee on Fridays and a $40,000 guarantee on Saturdays. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Legislation that took effect January 1 allows a full card of international harness racing simulcasting to our California patrons. The new law is applicable on nights of live racing only and California fans can now look forward to harness action from Woodbine Mohawk Park every Friday and Saturday evening. "We are very pleased to offer the world class Woodbine Mohawk Park product to our California patrons," said Cal Expo General Manager Chris Schick. "This quality product with large pools and low minimums will nicely compliment our nightly Meadowlands imports. "We are also pleased to have talented Toronto handicapper Garnet Barnsdale aboard each week to follow trends and horses to watch." Garnet's nightly analysis of Woodbine Mohawk Park is available at //DRF.com/harness. ........................................................................... There are two wagers offered here nightly with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5, which begins on the first race; and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 4 guaranteed pools have now been raised, with a $30,000 guarantee on Fridays and a $40,000 guarantee on Saturdays. Distaff Open Pace, Staats Prep atop bill A very contentious $7,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace, which finds stablemates Outrageousdelightn and Capitol Hill doing battle once again, and the Robert Staats Prep headline the Cal Expo action on Saturday night. First post for the 12-race card, which is presented by Watch and Wager LLC, will be 6:10 p.m. The Staats Prep is scheduled as the sixth event and will be immediately followed by the Distaff Open. Outrageousdelightn made an impressive California debut in last week's top dance as she tracked to the lane, then exploded with a :27 flat final quarter to be up by a neck over Brighten Your Life in a 1:52 mile, shaving four ticks off her career standard. The now 10-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight is owned by Don and Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chambers and Tyler Wiseman with Kathie Plested training and Mooney Svendsen was in the sulky for that score. Brighten Your Life has turned in three solid efforts since coming in from Canada for her owner/trainer/driver Nathan Sobey. She won the Alan Horowitz Prep in her local debut on December 6, just missed in a game try in the Horowitz Memorial at next asking and was just nailed on the line in last week's Open. Capitol Hill gives the Plested shedrow two big looks at the outcome. The Badlands Hanover mare races for Plested and George McChrystal and had her work cut out last week leaving from the assigned No. 10 post position after rattling off three straight wins here at the head of the class. Rounding out the field, from the rail out: Directing Traffic, Bettor Lady, Misspanderosajones, Legio X Equestris, Delightfully Wild and Magnifique. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

‚ÄčLuke Plano relates that the pacing mare Magnifique, who proved clearly best in last week's Distaff Open II event, has been a pleasant surprise at this harness racing meeting. The now 8-year-old daughter of Tell All carries the banner of Nikki Hudson with Luke reining and training and has turned in a series of solid efforts at this meeting, including a close third in the Alan Horowitz Memorial two weeks ago. "I've had her since September," Plano explained. "Nick Roland claimed her at Running Aces for $6,000 toward the end of the meet and then I took her over. "We thought she would do well here with her conditions, and she's exceeded what we hoped for to this point." Magnifique proved a liking for an off track when she prevailed in a conditioned contest on opening week, then went a powerful mile two back when missing by only a half-length to heavily-favored Scary Harry in the aforementioned Horowitz. In her most recent appearance, she looked every part the even-money favorite as she brushed to the lead at the half and took complete control of the race from there, coming to the wire with a two and a half-length advantage. "She can a little quirky when she jogs, but when it's time to race she's all business out there and has a touch of class," her mentor added. "Now she'll have to step back up to the Open, so we'll see how that goes." Opens bring out quality trotters, pacers A $7,000 Open Pace headed by Icy Blue Scooter, Gorgeous For Real and I'm An Athlete and a $7,000 Open Trot that finds Silverhill Volo in the spotlight are the main attractions on Friday night's Cal Expo program. Watch and Wager LLC will present 12 races with first post set for 6:10 p.m. Icy Blue Scooter is coming off a dominating front-end victory in last week's Open Pace for driver/trainer Nathan Sobey, who also co-owns the 6-year-old son of Blue Burner with Diane Bertrand and Robert Gilhespy. He was runner-up in his first two outings here after coming in from Canada, including a nose setback on November 14, then got his revenge in the most recent clash at the top rung with his two-length score in a lifetime-best 1:52 1/5 clocking. Gorgeous For Real completed the exacta in that contest while going off the mild 5-2 favorite He was a 1:51 victor at Hoosier Park last summer and goes about his business for the partnership of Schwartz, Wilkinson, Axelrod and O'Neill with Junior Wilkinson the conditioner and Dean Magee handling the lines. I'm An Athlete accounted for the December 14 Open when hanging that nose decision on Icy Blue Scooter and was third in that last clash at the head of the class. The 9-year-old son of Art Major is approaching the $200,000 earnings plateau for owner Ronald Rettig-Zucchi, trainer Jessie Pacheco and pilot James Kennedy with a 1:51 mark that was established over this track. Completing the field are King Of The Crop, Bettor's Promise, Almost Cut My Hair, Jazzmanian Devil, Why Ask Why and Prodigal. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

A $6,000 Open II Distaff Pace headed by Magnifique and a $5,500 Open II Trot featuring Dougs Hobby Horse and Windsun Galaxie are the main attractions on Friday night's harness racing program at Cal Expo. There will be 12 races presented by Watch and Wager LLC with first post set for 6:10 p.m. Looking at the Filly and Mare Open II event, Magnifique figures to have her share of backers leaving from the cozy rail slot for Luke Plano, who reins and trains the 7-year-old mare for Nikki Hudson. Magnifique started the meet with a victory in a conditioned contest, was third in a blanket finish in the November 30 Open and at most recent asking was beaten only a half-length while picking up the show money behind the streaking Scary Harry in the Alan Horowitz Memorial. Several of the performers in the co-featured Open II Trot have the credentials to get the picture taken, including a pair from the Rick Bertrand barn in Dougs Hobby Horse and Majestic Lady Jo. The latter, who carries the banner of Bertrand and Amy Grunwald, was a 29-1 upset winner of the December 7 Open, while Dougs Hobby Horse races for Bertrand and Doug Flores and sports an Open victory from last month. Windsun Galaxie is coming off a solid runner-up effort behind Silverhill Volo in the most recent clash at the head of the division two weeks ago and has been assigned the outside post in the field of six. Dean Magee handles the lines for owner Ronald Rettig-Zucchi and conditioner Jessie Pacheco. Low takeout wagers offer true value There are two wagers offered here nightly that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate, giving players extra incentive to participate in these horizontal bets. The wagers are the 50-cent Pick 5, which begins on the first race; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which comes with a $20,000-guaranteed pool on Fridays and $30,000 on Saturdays. In addition, Cal Expo offers 20-cent Trifectas and 10-cent Superfectas, affording players the opportunity to spread deep in these vertical wagers. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

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