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An Open Pace and three eliminations for the Alan Horowitz Pace share the harness racing spotlight at Cal Expo on Friday night. The trotters and pacers are now in action every Friday and Saturday evening for a 44-day session, with 11 races this Friday and a first post of 4:55 p.m. The Open brings out the popular Allmyx'sliventexas, who has gone many sensational miles over this layout in his career for his owner/breeders Wayne and Rod Knittel and trainer Bob Johnson. He will be handled by Nick Roland. A 7-year-old son of Hi Hi Silverheel's out of the Distinguishedbaron mare Annie Get Your Gun, he has a lifetime mark of 1:50 that was established two years ago over the seven-eighths Hoosier Park oval. Allmyx'sliventexas got nice and tight for Friday's assignment with a sharp qualifier last weekend with Roland handling the lines. He blasted right to the front, carved out all the fractions and then came home in style by nearly five lengths in 1:56 3/5. Taking him on Friday are Dependlebury, Bngs Express, Ponda's Prospect, Super Pac Hanover and Gorgeous For Real. The Open goes as the fourth race on the card, while the Alan Horowitz eliminations occupy the first, eighth and tenth-race slots on the program. There is also an Open III Trot going as the third that features invading Mshindi for driver/trainer Tim Clevenger. $63,764 Single 6 carryover, reduced takeout wagers featured A $63,764 carryover in the Single 6 and a reduced 16% takeout rate on three of the most popular wagers on the card help spice up the action on Friday night. The 20-cent early Pick 4 and 20-cent Pick 5 as usual will feature the lower takeout, and this season Cal Expo has added the reduced 16 percent takeout rate to the 20-cent Pick 4 as well. Meanwhile, this weekend will find Alan Horowitz and Bill Conlin remembered with series events named in their honor. Alan Horowitz was a major force in California harness racing over the last several decades and a member of the California Harness Horsemen's Association (CHHA) Hall of Fame who passed away in 2017 at age 72. A $63,764 carryover in the Single 6 and a reduced 16% takeout rate on three of the most popular wagers on the card help spice up the action on Friday night. The 20-cent early Pick 4 and 20-cent Pick 5 as usual will feature the lower takeout, and this season Cal Expo has added the reduced 16 percent takeout rate to the 20-cent Pick 4 as well. Horowitz, who wore many hats in the business, started out as a partner with longtime friends Donald and Barbara Arnstine and Steve Desomer with a $25,000 claimer named Quaker Byrd. Quaker Byrd won his first race for the partners and Alan was hooked. Moving on, Alan would eventually become a board member and president of CHHA. In 1994, Alan was instrumental in bringing harness racing back to Cal Expo in the form of Capitol Racing and was also its successful general manager. He was serving as the Executive Secretary of the CHHA at the time of his retirement in 2013 and continued to stay in touch with the sport that he loved so much. Bill Conlin was the longtime sportswriter, editor and columnist for the Sacramento Bee who passed away in 1997 at the age of 84. With great wit, he covered sports (and more) for six decades, first at the Sacramento Union and then at the Sacramento Bee. He was a daily presence in the Bee's sports section until his retirement in 1985 By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness  

Sacramento, CA — Watch and Wager LLC, operator of Cal Expo harness, and the California Harness Horsemen’s Association would like to publicly thank Running Aces for their generous support during the COVID-19 crisis. Running Aces, through its charitable foundation, has contributed $30,000 to help defray Cal Expo backstretch operating expenses for the past two months. “This is exactly the reason we created the North Metro Racetrack and Community Foundation,” said Running Aces President and CEO Taro Ito. “To help our horsemen when needed. We are glad to fulfill our charter and that we made a difference.” The Cal Expo backstretch area is set to close on May 31 as the vast majority of these horsemen head to Running Aces Racetrack and Casino. The barn area at Running Aces opens June 1, with the first day of live racing Saturday (June 20). by Mark Ratzky, publicity, Cal Expo Harness

The California Horse Racing Board conducted two separate meetings on Thursday, March 26, by teleconference. The public participated by dialing into the teleconference and/or listening through the audio webcast link on the CHRB website. Both meetings were chaired by Dr. Gregory Ferraro, joined for the first meeting by Vice Chair Oscar Gonzales and Commissioners Dennis Alfieri, Damascus Castellanos, Wendy Mitchell, and Alex Solis. Commissioner Mitchell did not participate in the second meeting. The audios of these two meetings are available on the CHRB Website (www.chrb.ca.gov) under the Webcast link. In brief, during the first, regular meeting: Chairman Ferraro opened the meeting by welcoming Commissioner Castellanos to his initial meeting as a member of the Board. Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Commissioner Castellanos on March 10. In two separate but related actions involving both emergency and permanent rules, the Board voted to re-establish the 48-hour restriction on the administration of medications or other substances to horses entered to race unless otherwise authorized by regulation. The change to the emergency regulation went into effect immediately, while the permanent rule was approved for 15-day public notice. The Board approved a regulatory amendment prohibiting the administration of the anti-bleeder medication furosemide to 2-year-olds. The amendment also reduces by half the level that can be administered to horses permitted to race with furosemide. The Board put over to the April 22 meeting further discussion of a regulatory amendment clarifying that racing veterinarians are under the direction of Official Veterinarians, allowing racing associations input, as requested by The Stronach Group. The Board approved for public notice an amendment to the rule governing penalties that makes veterinarians and other licensees who violate shock wave therapy regulations subject to the same penalties as trainers. The Board approved a regulatory amendment requiring individuals to hold an assistant trainer's license in good standing for one year as a qualification for a trainer's license. The Board approved a requirement for practicing veterinarians to use an electronic on-line form prescribed by the Board when submitting their required veterinarian reports to the Official Veterinarian. The Board approved a regulatory amendment requiring trainers to maintain treatment records of all medications they administer to horses in their care at facilities within the CHRB's jurisdiction. The Board authorized the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club to distribute $90,839 in race day charity proceeds to nine beneficiaries and another $13,744 to four beneficiaries. The Board designated the 2020 fair racing sessions in Pleasanton, Sacramento, Ferndale, and Fresno as a combined meet for pari-mutuel purposes. The Board approved an industry agreement.to use a designated portion of Advance Deposit Wagering revenue that would ordinarily go to horsemen's purses and racetrack commissions to be used to fund a California co-op marketing program. After the conclusion of the first, regular meeting, the Board reconvened the teleconference to hold a special meeting to address a single agenda item. The Board approved a change to the license application of Watch & Wager LLC, allowing harness racing at Cal Expo to switch race days from Fridays and Saturdays to Tuesdays and Wednesdays.   Reprinted with permission of The Paulick Report

Capitol Hill and Virgin Eyes, two hard-knocking performers, get top billing in Saturday night's $5,400 filly and mare harness racing pacing feature. Watch and Wager LLC will present 10 races with first post set for 6:10 p.m. Capitol Hill is a 9-year-old daughter of Badlands Hanover who goes about her business for George McChrystal and Kathie Plested with Steve Wiseman training and Jacob Cutting in the sulky. A lifetime winner of $143,000 with 25 wins from her 164 starts and a 1:53 2/5 mark that was set here three years ago, Capitol Hill is coming off a solid runner-up finish where she ignited late but was unable to catch upsetter Surprisingly Sweet under these conditions. Virgin Eyes has been doing all her work in the Open ranks and should appreciate the class relief in the headliner. Her most recent trip to the charmed enclosure came on February 29 at the top level. The Always A Virgin mare carries the banner of Aleksandra Karl, is conditioned by Robert Corbin and will once again be guided by Dean Magee while departed from the No. 5 slot in the cast of six. Rounding out the field are Along Came Jane, Relentless Dancer, Brian's Magic Girl and Place At The Beach. Heza Real Diamond continues to shine Heza Real Diamond recorded his fourth straight victory at the head of the class last weekend, with all of those victories coming from the demanding No. 10 post position. The 4-year-old son of All American, who is owned by Orlando Nevarez and conditioned by Edwin Quevedo, has been sensational with Nick Roland giving directions with all of those victories coming in handy fashion. In last week's score, he was parked to the lead by the quarter, took complete control of things from that point and came to the line with two and three-quarrter lengths to spare. His 1:51 1/5 clocking in his previous tally equaled his lifetime standard. *** There are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 20-cebnt Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 5 starts with the opening race, while the Pick 4 is decided over the final four races on Saturday's program. The Pick 4 features a $40,000-guaranteed gross pool on Saturday and a $30,000 guarantee on Friday. To give an example of the value added with the lower takeout, last Friday night's Pick 4 returned $988 for each correct 20-cent investment. That would have been $895 using the regular rate, a difference of $93 for each winning ticket. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness  

As legalized ways of gambling have almost come to a stop, horse racing remains the only sport still open for business. Despite that unique position, it hasn’t led to a surge in popularity or revenue to the few tracks still operating. The tracks that are still running -- Santa Anita and Los Alamitos are among the four in California -- are closed to the general public and open only to the most essential people. In fact, conducting a race card requires far fewer people than when horses have to get out of their stalls every morning if to do no more than jog or gallop. Santa Anita gets about a third of its pari-mutuel business either on-track or through state inter-track wagering, sometimes called OTBs. However, the lack of other tracks running or no team sports to bet has shifted only about 10% to 20% of new revenue back to the mutuel handle. This past Saturday and Sunday, Santa Anita had $13.2 million bet on its races. In a comparable weekend in February, there was $18 million bet, $6.4 million of that either on-track or through state inter-track wagering. Other date comparisons this year showed the same trends, although figures vary day to day based on the number of races and horses that are entered. Last year around this time, Santa Anita was closed because of an increase in horse fatalities. “No one really thought this would be a great windfall,” said Craig Fravel, chief executive for racing at the Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields. “I think anybody who is looking at it from that standpoint is missing the big picture. What we’re trying to do is sustain the ecosystem in a responsible manner. … We want to make sure people are following all the protocols while giving them an opportunity to pay their bills.” The Stronach Group is donating 100% of its profits during this time to people impacted by COVID-19. If racing in California were to stop, the owners, trainers and jockeys would have to look to a jurisdiction that is running. Moving between tracks on the East Coast is easier because of geography. If people were to leave California they might never come back and the industry could collapse in the state. The territories running are getting fewer. Racing is currently halted at Aqueduct in New York, Laurel in Maryland and Fair Grounds in Louisiana. However, racing continues at Gulfstream and Tampa Bay in Florida, Oaklawn in Arkansas and two Northern California tracks, Golden Gate Fields and Cal Expo, the latter of which is only harness racing track running in the country. “I haven’t seen any evidence that there is an amazing explosion of sports betting going to horse racing as of now,” said Alex Waldrop, chief executive of the National Thoroughbred Racing Assn. “But if we can continue to be responsible and race, we may start to draw some of those players who had been betting other sports.” Racing has continued at Santa Anita without fans on hand. (David McNew / Getty Images) As for the sport’s economic fuel, wagering, it’s estimated that as much as 90% is done online through advance-deposit wagering (ADWs). Money bet through an ADW while at the track counts as on-track handle, which explains why the math doesn’t always add up. And with at least 20 states having stay-at-home orders, it’s why so much money can still be bet. “Horse racing is better off than other forms of gaming,” said Kip Levin, president of FanDuel and chief executive of TVG, the horse racing television channel. “Our new customers [to TVG’s online betting service] are up substantially. I don’t know if they are people who were betting retail at the tracks or OTBs or new overall. It’s too early to tell.” The same is true at NYRA Bets, the ADW that is run out of the New York Racing Assn. “We have seen an increase in new bettors, but we’re positive they are not big bettors,” said Tony Allevato, president of NYRA Bets. “A significant number are $2 bettors.” There is also an increase of horse racing on television. Fox Sports partnered with NYRA to put on 15 hours of live race programming last weekend. NBC has an agreement with TVG to also provide programming. Both of those shows would contain racing from California. The racing calendar remains a moving target. This is currently the time the last major prep races for the Kentucky Derby would be run. Last Saturday, Fair Grounds ran the Louisiana Derby and then canceled the rest of its meeting. Saturday will be the Florida Derby at Gulfstream, and the following Saturday the Santa Anita Derby is scheduled to be run. Next Saturday would normally have the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, but both have been postponed. The Arkansas Derby has moved to the first Saturday in May — a date reserved for the Kentucky Derby, which had to be moved to the first Saturday in September.   By John Cherwa - Special Contributor   Reprinted with permission of The Los Angeles Times

Royal Mistress figures to get plenty of support in Friday night's harness racing feature at Cal Expo, a $5,400 conditioned event for pacing fillies and mares. Watch and Wager LLC will present 10-race cards on both Friday and Saturday this week with first post set for 6:10 p.m. Royal Mistress is the 9-5 favorite on Trackman Marty Bridges' morning line. A 6-year-old daughter of Jk Royal Flush, the bay miss is owned by Kevin Anderson, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and will have the services of James Kennedy while leaving from No. 6 slot in a field of seven. Royal Mistress has four wins from her 10 starts on the season, with the most recent coming in a February 7 Distaff Open where she sat the pocket journey for Kennedy and ignited when it counted to be up by a neck. Sing Along is listed as the 7-2 second choice and her best effort will certainly make her dangerous. Edwin Quevedo owns and trains and Luke Plano pilots the Rock N Roll Hanover mare, who is coming off back-to-back sharp efforts. Taking them on will be Lookslikewemadeit with Mooney Svendsen; Velocity Layla, Jacob Cutting; Hi Fidelity, Braxten Boyd; Getter Queen Flush, John Roberts; and Kiss On The Lips with Nick Roland at the controls. Single 6 carryover, low takeout bets featured There will be a $40,644 carryover in the 10-cent Single 6 wager on Friday night at Cal Expo. The sequence begins with the fifth race on the program. A single (unique) winner in the wager receives 100 percent of the net pool plus the carryover. Otherwise the pool is divided equally into the minor share and the carryover. In addition, there is a reduced 16 percent takeout rate in both the 20-cent Pick 5 and 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 5 starts with the opening race, while the Pick 4 is decided over the final four races on Friday's program. The Pick 4 features a $40,000-guaranteed gross pool on Saturday and a $30,000 guarantee on Friday. To give an example of the value added with the lower takeout, last Friday night's Pick 4 returned $988 for each correct 20-cent investment. That would have been $895 using the regular rate, a difference of $93 for each winning ticket.   By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

As Yogi Berra so eloquently put it, "Irony can be pretty ironic at times." Take horseracing, for example. It was only a few months ago it would have been voted #1 most likely sport to vanish from America, and right now it's pretty much the only one standing. In other twist, California (the epicenter of shut down racing movement) has four of those courses still putting on a show. Even among this small group of tracks, Cal Expo is unique as it is the only harness racing currently operating in North America. If you are the least bit familiar with the history of harness racing in California, their survival since the knockout blow they suffered in the early 90's is nothing short of miraculous. In Spanish, I believe, the word is cucaracha. Now this virus of possible biblical proportions hits and Sacramento has harness racing scheduled for this Friday and Saturday night. Of course, this is a day-to-day situation as everything is pretty much that way in this Twilight Zone-like world we currently inhabit. Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and Auntie Em will tell me I got struck in the head by something and this was all just a bad dream. Come to think of it, I'll be happy just to wake up tomorrow and bet on some Fonner Park.   Mark Ratzky

Harness racing will be conducted this Friday and Saturday at Cal Expo, with first post at 6:10 p.m. and 10-race cards presented each night. There is a $40,644 carryover in the 10-cent Single 6 on Friday, and there are two wagers offered with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 20-cent Pick 5 and 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 4 features a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool on Friday and $40,000 on Saturday. The California Horse Racing Board denied Watch and Wager LLC's request to run cards on Tuesday and Wednesday with a 3:30 p.m. post and those programs were switched to the usual Friday and Saturday evening slots. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

The California Horse Racing Board has denied Watch and Wager LLC's request to alter this week's schedule and the planned Tuesday and Wednesday programs have been cancelled. More details to come.        

CAL EXPO HARNESS, SACRAMENTO... Watch and Wager LLC operator of Cal Expo Harness Racing has received conditional approval from the California Horse Racing Board to move to a Tuesday and Wednesday schedule effective this Tuesday March 24th. The condition is a legal review from the Board that will be issued on Monday. The racing office is double drawing today with 158 entries. Post time for the Tuesday and Wednesday cards is scheduled for 3:05 Pacific. The Racetrack will remain closed to the public. The Simulcast center is closed. More details will be announced as soon as available.      

After five closure announcements in the past 48 hours, a track in Sacramento, California, is the last with plans to remain open of the 18 in the United States that had harness racing prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Chris Schick, the general manager of Cal Expo harness racing, told ESPN three hours before its 6 p.m. Pacific post time Friday that its plan was to have racing without fans in attendance. Earlier in the day, thoroughbred racing continued with no spectators at California's Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields. Schick said Saturday that Cal Expo plans, subject to California Horse Racing Board legal review, to shift from holding races Friday and Saturday nights to Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 3:05 p.m. Pacific, effective March 24. The meet is scheduled to run through late April. The reason? "There are no tracks running in the 6-10 p.m. Eastern time zone on those days," Schick said, as it leaves Cal Expo that simulcast window on TVG to itself. Tracks in Saratoga, New York, and Northfield, Ohio, suspended harness racing Friday. Saratoga's suspension is to begin after Sunday's racing card, with Saturday's schedule canceled. John Matarazzo, Saratoga's director of racing operations, said Saturday the restrictions it had placed on shipping horses in to race necessitated picking one day to run this weekend instead of two, in order to put together a card with an acceptable number of races with full fields. "I hate to see the closures -- they will hurt a lot of people -- but the nation's priority has to be containing and stopping the spread of the virus," Mike Tanner, CEO of the U.S. Trotting Association, told ESPN. "Our sport knows that firsthand and in a very painful way," Tanner said, adding, "We'll work to help be part of the solution." Harness racing trainers and brothers Carmine and Vincent Fusco and former trainer John Brennan all died in the past two weeks after contracting the virus. The Fuscos' mother and sister also died after contracting the virus and other siblings remain hospitalized. By William Weinbaum Reprinted with permission of ESPN

Pridecrest, Mandeville and Its a Horse, who have each had victories at the top rung at this harness racing meet at Cal Expo, square off in Saturday night's featured $6,700 Open Trot. The headliner will go as the fifth contest on an 11-race Watch and Wager LLC program and things will underway at 6:10 p.m. Pridecrest scored three straight Open victories between January 24 and February 15, then had to settle for third after a first-over trip while leaving from the demanding No. 10 slot in last week's get-together at the head of the class. An 8-year-old son of Angus Hall, Pridecrest is owned by Heather Mathews, is conditioned by Steve Wiseman and has Mooney Svendsen guiding from the outside post in the field of seven. He comes into this assignment with 38 wins from his 150 lifetime trips to the post, with $318,000 in his bank account and a 1:53 2/5 standard that was established here three years ago. Mandeville got the job done with these last week in coast-to-coast fashion with Gerry Longo in what marked his third start back since a slight vacation. Longo owns and trains and Nick Roland will drive the Majestic Son gelding this weekend. Its a Horse packs a big punch in the stretch and deserves plenty of respect for owner Ray Alan Miller, trainer Marco Rios and pilot Dean Magee. His most recent victory came in the Joe Lighthill Trot on December 13 over a sloppy track. Dougs Hobby Horse, Majestic Lady Jo, Windsun Galaxie and Big Hero complete the field. Veteran Mandeville back in the spotlight After a couple of runner-up finishes following some time off, Mandeville returned to his winning ways last week in the Open Trot. With his owner/trainer Gerry Longo in the sulky, Mandeville went right to the top, withstood a strong challenge from Pridecrest turning for home and went on to a length victory over the sloppy track. He will be guided by Nick Roland for this weekend's assignment. It was the 24th lifetime tally for the Majestic Son gelding and pushed his career earnings over $226,000. He set his 1:54 2/5 lifetime mark last season at Saratoga. "I bought him in Kentucky late last year after he won back-to-back Opens at that new track," Longo explained. "When I first got him, his feet were in pretty bad shape and he was racing with glue-on shoes. Between myself, the blacksmith Louie and my groom Oscar, we did lots of work with him and his foot finally grew out." In addition to Its a Horse, who was runner-up in last week's Open, Mandeville will have to deal with Pridecrest. That one peeled off three straight victories at this level going into last week's tour, where he left from the challenging No. 10 post and did his work in first-over fashion. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Heza Real Diamond, who has rattled off an impressive hat trick at the head of the class, looks to add another score to the harness racing streak as heads the field for Friday night's $6,700 Open Pace at Cal Expo. There will also be a $6,700 Filly and Mare Open Pace that finds a rematch between Alwaysalittlemore and the mare who upset her last week in Bertha Vanation. There will be 11 races contested under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. Heza Real Diamond is a 4-year-old son of Allamerican Native who is owned by Orlando Nevarez, takes his lessons from Edwin Quevedo and will once again have the services of Nick Roland while leaving from the assigned No. 10 post position. The hard-knocking performer has posed for pictures following five of his last six outings, with the only setback being a nose defeat at the hands of Allmyx'sliventexas, who will be among his rivals on Friday. In his most recent appearance two weeks ago, Heza Real Diamond also did his work from that demanding No. 10 slot and proved a punctual 2-5 favorite as he made two moves to the lead at the half and took complete control of things from that point. The Nevarez colorbearer had three and three quarter lengths on runner-up Bestinthebusiness that night and equaled his lifetime standard with the 1:51 1/5 clocking. In addition to Allmyx'sliventexas and Bestinthebusiness, Heza Real Diamond will line up against Queenace Blue Chip, Almost Cut My Hair and Bettor's Promise. $31,188 Single 6 carryover spices the Friday action There is a $31,188 carryover going into Friday night's 10-cent Single 6 wager, with the sequence getting underway in the fifth race. There are also two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 20-cent Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 4 comes with a $40,000-guaranteed gross pool on Saturdays and a $30,000 guarantee on Fridays. To show the added value of the low takeout bets, two weeks ago there was a Pick 4 sequence that returned $1,008 for each correct 20-cent ticket. Using the old takeout, it would have returned $907, a difference of $101 for each winning prognostication. *** In addition to the 11-race program on Friday, there will be a pair of California Sire Stakes for 3-year-olds going as non-betting affairs prior to the regular card. Both Its Pointless among the males and Prom Queen with the fillies have swept their respective divisions to this point and will look to continue their dominance for trainers Gordie Graham and Robin Clements, respectively. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness                

With no winning tickets last Saturday night, there will be a carryover of $6,146 in Friday night's harness racing 20-cent Hi-Five with a $20,000-guaranteed gross pool. In addition, a reminder that both the 20-cent Pick 4 and 20-cent Pick 5 come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate each night. On Saturdays there is a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool, with a $40,000 guarantee on Fridays. There are 12 races on tap Friday night under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. The main event is the $8,100 Open Trot headed by Mandeville and Its a Horse. Mandeville is an 8-year-old son of Majestic Son who is owned, trained and driven by Gerry Longo. He comes into this assignment with 23 wins from his 120 lifetime appearances with $219,000 in the bank and a 1:54 2/5 standard. After encountering tough journeys in his previous three outings, including the Joe Lighthill Trot, Mandeville had smoother sailing in the most recent mile and one-half clash at the top rung as he prevailed by a length over favored Its A Horse, who was doing his work from the demanding No. 10 slot. Its A Horse is having an outstanding meet for owner Ray Alan Miller, trainer Marco Rios and pilot Dean Magee. He recorded a three-bagger between November 23 and December 13, including a convincing victory in the Lighthill and is always reliable for a strong finish. Horsemen remember Shelly Goudreau Saturday evening's Shelly Goudreau Pace is named for one of the most talented drivers to ever ply the trade. He passed away in a racing accident at Hollywood Park in 1982 at the age of 34. Steve Desomer drove with Goudreau during the six years that he raced in California and was competing with him in that fateful race at Hollywood Park. "I had the utmost respect for Shelly as both a great driver and a kind and personable man," Desomer said. "His brilliant career was cut way too short." Trainer George Reider will send out likely favorite Bunkerhill Bill in Saturday's headliner and recalls being impressed with Shelly Goudreau. "I was just a groom back then, but Shelly was a true gentleman and treated me as an equal. "He drove one horse I was taking care of by the name of Dalmead who was trained by Chip Lackey, and he beat the best horses on the grounds by open lengths." George also has another story to tell that still brings tears to his eyes all these years later. "The night before that terrible race, I had a horse racing named Kiwi Jane and I borrowed a piece of equipment from Joe Anderson called a jawbreaker, which goes through the bridle to help control the horse. "After the race, I gave it back to Joe. It turns out (trainer) Frank Ferrante borrowed the same bit the next night and used it for Reagan's Lad, which is the horse Shelly was driving. It broke and he fell off the back of the cart. It was so sad for everybody." By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness  

While most harness racing fans at Cal Expo were conceding the Dave Goldschmidt Free-for-All Pace to heavily-favored Allmyx'sliventexas, apparently somebody forget to tell King Of The Crop. Sent off at 8-1 in that contest two weeks ago, the soon-to-be 9-year-old son of Little Steven stalked the 1-5 choice and gamely got the job done for owners Don and Barbara Arnstine and Steve Chambers, trainer Kathy Plested and pilot Steve Wiseman. "We were thrilled with King and his brave win," said Barbara Arnstine. "He's pretty special to us because he was so darn hard to get. "We've been following him ever since Wayne Short entered him in claimers, and when he finally got to the tracks in Pennsylvania and New York where we could make a claim, we kept losing the shake. "We tried three times, and each time we lost him to someone else. Then the next week he would be claimed for a higher price. By the time we got him at his highest price, we were the only ones left. If you would have seen him got off the truck after being in five different barns in two months, you would be wondering if we were crazy or just obsessed." Following a needed race here on November 30, King Of The Crop was ready to rock and roll in the Goldschmidt while recording his 28th lifetime score and pushing his career bankroll to the $207,000 mark. "After a couple of weeks with Kathy and Steve, you would have seen what we saw," Barbara noted. "A fine, big-hearted Cal-bred who needed to come home. And he thanks us every time he races." Open Pace gets the marquee treatment Allmyx'sliventexas, who had his local winning snapped in the Dave Goldschmidt Pace two weeks ago; and King Of The Crop, who provided the upset, get another chance to settle the score in Friday night's $7,200 Open Pace. There will be 12 races presented by Watch and Wager LLC with first post set for 6:10 p.m.. The program will also feature the Robert Gordon Prep for pacers. Allymx'sliventexas is a soon-to-be 7-year-old son of Hi Ho Silverheel's who is owned and was bred by Wayne and Rod Knittel, takes his lessons from Bob Johnson and will have Mooney Svendsen at the controls. A winner of 34 of 111 starts, the bay performer went over the $200,000 mark with his most recent appearance and sports a 1:50 lifetime mark. After starting the meet with three straight Open victories, Allymx'sliventexas was dispatched as the 1-5 favorite in the December 14 Dave Goldschmidt, but was unable to contain King Of The Crop when that rival came calling in the lane and was beaten a half-length over the track labelled good. King Of The Crop is an 8-year-old Little Steven offspring who carries the banner of Don and Barbara Arnstine and Steve Chambers with Kathy Plested conditioning and Steve Wiseman handling the lines. Sent off at 8-1 in the Goldschmidt, King Of The Crop tracked the favorite to the drive and then dug in gamely to pull off the upset. It was the 28th lifetime tally for the hard-hitting pacer and pushed his bank account to $207,000 mark with a 1:50 4/5 career standard. Taking on this pair are Bettor In The Bank, Part Time, Almost Cut My Hair, Senga Nitro, Marced Magic and Some Playa. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Watch and Wager LLC kicks off their 8th season of harness racing at Cal Expo with a strong 12-race card Saturday night. Beginning next week, the trotters and pacers will be in action on Friday and Saturday evenings with a 6:10 p.m. post time. The wagering menu includes the return of the low 16% takeout Pick-4 and Pick-5 wagers. Last season's Pick-4 pool averaged over $46,000 nightly. In addition to the Pick-4, fans will able to wager on the Pick-5 this season in 20-cent denominations. The strong on-air broadcast team returns intact. Hall of Fame announcer Gary Siebel will anchor the broadcast, while Jenn Bongiorno and Wendy Ross will do the popular Pick-4 analysis on Friday and Saturday, respectfully. Derick Giwner is back with his nightly insightful Pick-5 opinions and Garnet Barnsdale will return each Friday with his expertise on the Woodbine Mohawk circuit for our California simulcast patrons. On track fans will be treated to a special Family Value night this opening Saturday. Hot Dogs, Beer, Wine, and Soda are each $2 from 6 to 9. As always, parking and admission are free after 4:30.   By Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness

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