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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

Scary Harry, who has posted four straight impressive victories at this harness racing meet, looks to keep the momentum going as he leads the cast for Saturday night's featured $20,000 Alan Horowitz Memorial Pace at Cal Expo. A 12-race card will be presented by Watch and Wager LLC with things getting underway at 6:10. The card also features a $7,000 Open Pace and a $7,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace. A 6-year-old son of Sportswriter, Scary Harry is owned by Kenneth Seastrom and Chip Lackey doing the driving and training.The bay performer was winless in 27 starts on the year when he arrived here in November, but has been on a tear ever since and has not come to closing in his four trips to the post. Despite having the demanding No. 9 slot in a division of last week's Horowitz Eliminations, Scary Harry was sent off the 3-5 choice and made it look like a gift. Parked to the lead at the half, he took complete control from that point and waltzed home with six and three-quarter lengths to spare in a 1:54 4/5 mile. Brighten Your Life captured the other elimination heat last weekend at 6-1 for owner/trainer/driver Nathan Sobey. This Shark Gesture mare was a game first-over winner and is eyeing her third straight trip to the winner's circle. Completing the field are Mighty Fine Hi Ho, Magnifique, Art Genta, Cowboys Dirtyboots, Mint To Cruise, Smilys Amira, Fly Away and Smoke Rings. There will be no live racing here next week, with the trotters and pacers returning to action on Friday, December 28. There will be mandatory payoffs on all wagers Saturday night. Race honors memory of Alan Horowitz Saturday night's Alan Horowitz Memorial is named for 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 last year at age 72. Mr. 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, Mr. Horowitz 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. "It is impossible to overstate Alan's importance to the harness racing industry in California," said David Neumeister. "Simply put, if it were not for Alan, the sport would no longer exist in this state. "Between his time as executive director of Western Standardbred Association (now CHHA) and owner/ manager of our only yearling sale company when racing was flourishing in California, and his decision to retire from CHHA a few years ago, against all odds and some very powerful adversaries, "Alan almost single-handedly took us from the brink of extinction in the mid-90s and formed and led Capitol Racing in Sacramento to several very successful years of harness racing in that city. "Were it not for his quiet determination and tactical brilliance, we would not be racing here today." By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Harness racing trainer Nathan Sobey will have two looks at the outcome in Saturday night's Alan Horowitz Memorial Pace at Cal Expo, as he will be represented by the Canadian mares Brighten Your Life and Smilys Amira. Brighten Your Life was an eye-catching winner of the second division of the Horowitz Eliminations last week in her California debut, while Smilys Amira checked in fourth behind a very impressive Scary Harry in the first division. Sobey made the decision to bring a string of performers from Alberta around late October and is off to a good start at this session. "I've got 18 horses here right now and we're looking to stay until about April," he related. Nathan claimed Brighten Your Life two months ago at Northlands Park and it looks like she is enjoying her new surroundings, if her victory in the Horowitz Elimination is any indication. "I'd had my eye on her for some time, because she was a real nice 2-year-old and I didn't think she was racing to her abilities. We did some work on her and I'm very happy with the way she's come around. "I knew we were going into last week's race a little short, but I thought we at least had a good chance to make the final. I was a little shocked how strong she raced considering, but she is a very tough mare and loves these nice big turns." Smilys Amira will be making her second appearance at this meeting and also figures to benefit from the experience. "She's not the easiest mare to train or to drive, but she always gives you everything she has," Sobey said. Open Pace, Bill Conlin Prep share billing Friday night's Cal Expo harness action will include an Open Pace, with a well-matched field set to face the starter, and the Bill Conlin Prep. An 11-race program is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. The Open Pace goes as the third race, while the Conlin Prep will occupy the sixth-race slot on the evening. Looking ahead to Saturday night, the Alan Horowitz Memorial Pace will hold the spotlight with last week's Elimination winners Scary Harry and Brighten Your Life headlining that contest. Scary Harry has posted four straight impressive victories at this meet for owners Kenneth Seastrom and Chip Lackey, with Lackey doing the driving and training. The bay performer was winless in 27 starts on the year when he arrived here in November, but has been on a tear ever since and has not come to closing in his four trips to the post. Despite having the demanding No. 9 slot in a division of last week's Horowitz Eliminations, Scary Harry was sent off the 3-5 choice and made it look like a gift. Parked to the lead at the half, he took complete control from that point and waltzed home with six and three-quarter lengths to spare in a 1:54 4/5 mile. There will be no live racing here next week, with the trotters and pacers returning to action on Friday, December 28. There will be mandatory payoffs on all wagers Saturday night. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

The Cal Expo harness racing meet concludes Saturday evening with Hi Ho's Little Rev and Ragin's Flight among the major players in the featured Connie Matlock Memorial Pace. The headliner will go as the third on a nine-race program presented by Watch and Wager LLC and first post will be 6:40 p.m. This being closing night, there will be mandatory payouts in all wagers. Hi H's Little Rev is looking to close out the stand with a hat trick for owners Vanessa Gilliam and Audrey Clifton, trainer Bob Johnson and pilot Mooney Svendsen. The 6-year-old son of Hi Ho Silverheel's set a new lifetime mark of 1:52 25/ when he got the job done two weeks ago in a game performance, then made every pole a winning in his last tour in coast-to-coast fashion as the 3-2 favorite last Friday evening. Ragin's Flight should hit hard with this caliber after tackling tougher company of late. He was a 1:52 1/5 victor as the 2-5 choice back on March 30 and competes for Scott Ehrlich, George McCrystal and Kathie Plested with Plested the conditioner and Steve Wiseman in the sulky. Completing the field are Fire On The Water from the Steve Nichols barn; Fly Away, who gives the Plested shedrow two looks at the outcome; the Robin Clements-trained Lincoln; and He Grins Again, who takes his lessons from George Reider. The trotters and pacers are scheduled to return to Cal Expo in the fall and the CCHA and Watch and Wager have agreed to an 8 percent purse increase and an enhanced horse incentive program. Race pays tribute to Connie Matlock Saturday night's third race is named in honor of Connie Matlock, a longtime fixture with the California Harness Horse Breeders Association and CHHA who passed away on April 16 at the age of 85. Connie began working as secretary for the CHHBA in 1994 and was a staunch supporter of the Breeders and Sires Stakes. She then went to work for the CHHA in the early 90s, again as secretary. In 2005, Connie was awarded the Presidents Award by the CHHA for her meritorious service to the horsemen and the Sire Stakes program. "She was loved by many horsemen, who considered here a second mother," said Robin Clements. "She was warm, caring and a great lady." Said Vickie Desomer, "Connie was always there for the horsemen, all of them. Her kindness was boundless. Connie was beautiful inside and out. She has been greatly missed since her illness took her from us." Connie and Donald Matlock had five children and she is survived by son Charlie and daughters Kim and Cindy and 10 grandchildren. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Windsun Galaxie put his class and speed on display last week at Cal Expo when he proved a punctual favorite in a conditioned trotting event, giving young trainer Jessie Pacheco his second of three victories on the card. An 11-year-old son of Kadabra owned by Ronald Rettig-Zucchi, the win by Windsun Galaxie was third from his last six starts and put his career bank close to the $480,000 plateau with a 1:52 4/5 mark that was established six years ago. Windsun Galaxie has been unbeatable of late when getting away from the top trotters on the grounds and joining forces with veteran Chip Lackey. They waltzed home by 14 lengths on April 6, then got away from the razor-sharp Pridecrest for his most recent assignment and made every pole a winning one with five lengths to spare. As mentioned earlier, it the middle of a hat track for trainer Pacehco, who has really made a name for himself at this meet with a steady stream of visits to the local winner’s circle. Jessie is the 25-year-old son of conditioner Lino Pacheco and has apparently learned his lessons very well. “Everything I know about this sport I learned from my dad,” he said. “I also want to thank the owners, who have been very supportive.”   Delightfully Wild gets marquee treatment Delightfully Wild, fresh from a victory in last week’s Kirk Breed Pace, aims for her eighth win on the season in Friday night’s featured $5,500 Filly and Mare Open. A nine-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:40 p.m. There will also be six California Sire Stakes events decided as non-betting events prior to the regular card. Delightfully Wild is a 5-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight out of the Western Ideal mare Wild Ride Hanover who races for Richard Morita and David Yamada with Lino Pacheco training and James Kennedy at the helm. The bay mare set a new lifetime mark when he captured the March 16 Open, rattling off a 1:53 2/5 mile that evening en route to a length and a half score. Sent off the 3-5 choice in last week’s Kirk Breed Pace, Delightfully Wild did not disappoint her many backers as she came first-over to get the job done over Kiss On The Lips in another solid performance. Delightfully Wild will leave from the assigned outside slot and taking her on are the aforementioned Kiss On The Lips, Bettor Lady, Moonshinenmonkeys and Shark Festival. With Saturday being closing night of the meet, there will be mandatory payouts in all wagers. Going into the final weekend of racing here, Luke Plano will be the leading driver with Steve Wiseman completing the exacta, while Kathie Plested will be a comfortable winner of the trainer’s race.   Mark Ratzky Cal Expo Harness

Track record holder Pridecrest, who has won eight of his nine starts at the meet, looks to put an exclamation mark on his California invasion in Friday night's harness racing featured $10,000 Stan Bergstein Trot at Cal Expo. A 10-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:40 p.m. The co-feature is the $6,000 finale of the Watch and Wager Loyalty Pace and there will also be two California Sire Stakes for 3-year-olds decided as a non-betting events prior to the regular program. Pridecrest is a 6-year-old son of Angus Hall who races for Heather Matthews with Luke Plano driving and training. He made an immediate impact in his first start coming in from the Midwest on November 3, making every pole a winning one while setting a new course standard with his 1:53 2/5 clocking. The Matthews colorbearer followed that impressive mile with five more straight scores, the last four being registered from the demanding No. 10 post position. Pridecrest tasted defeat locally for the first time on March 3 when he was beaten a neck by Talkin Tootsie, but has returned to his winning ways in his last two appearances. Plano romped home with the sidewheeler on March 16 while leaving from the No. 5 slot, then had that 10 hole assignment last week and it proved to be no obstacle as he went wire-to-wire with a length and three-quarters to spare at the wire. Talkin Tootsie is the only trotter to have finished ahead of Pridecrest at this meet, hanging that neck decision on him in early March, and completed the exacta last week. The Cantab Hall mare is owned by Martin Garey and Henry Wieseneck with Bob Johnson training and Mooney Svendsen in his usual spot in the sulky. Completing the Bergstein field are Windsun Galaxe, Silverlode, Franky Provolone, Dougs Hobby Horse and Franks Best. Races honor memory of Bergstein, Arnold Lloyd Arnold and Stan Bergstein, two legendary figures in harness racing, have races named in their honor this weekend at Cal Expo. The Lloyd Arnold Pace will be decided on Saturday night, while the Stan Bergstein Trot headlines Friday's program. Lloyd Arnold was an owner and track operator of the highest caliber. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 83. Originally the owner of Arnold Cattle Co. in Iowa, Mr. Arnold raced hundreds of horses in Illinois and across the Midwest throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. During that era, Mr. Arnold raced horses like Warm Breeze, who earned more than $250,000 in two seasons of racing in the mid-1970s, and Dancing David, who earned more than $200,000 in the 1960s. Warm Breeze took Mr. Arnold to racing's pinnacle for the first time when he set the all-age world record over this track, then known as Golden Bear Raceway. His top horses in later years included the pacing mare Sanabelle Island, who earned $1.6 million lifetime and won 57 of 110 starts. Also of note was Bagel Beach Boy, who won the 2001 Messenger and Matron stakes. In August 2003, Mr. Arnold bought Chevie Duramax, who then went on to set world records for 2-year-old pacing geldings on both mile and half-mile tracks. The fastest 3-year-old pacer in North America in 2004 belonged to Mr. Arnold as Quik Pulse Mindale won in 1:48 at Balmoral. In addition to being a prominent Standardbred owner, Mr. Arnold operated this track during those Golden Bear Raceway years and also bought Los Alamitos in the late 1980s, eventually selling the track to his partner, Ed Allred. Mr. Arnold was inducted into the California Harness Hall of Fame in April of 2008. He also enjoyed personal honors in 2001 when he was feted by the Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters at their annual awards dinner and received the Owner of the Year Award from the U.S. Harness Writers' Association. Chris Bardis said, "Harness racing was one of Lloyd's great passions. He accomplished so much for the sport not only in California, but nationwide. He was 'Mr. Harness Racing.' "He conducted race meetings at Cal Expo, Bay Meadows, Golden Gate Fields, Del Mar, Pomona, Hollywood Park and Los Alamitos. I know of no one else who has had a greater impact on the harness world." Friday's Stan Bergstein Trot is named for the legendary figure in harness racing who passed away in 2011 at the age of 87. Mr. Bergstein was a harness racing titan who advocated for cooperation between the Standardbred and Thoroughbred industries to solve the sports' common problems. He stepped down in 2011 after many years as the executive vice president of Harness Tracks of America, the Standardbred industry's trade association. He was immediately appointed as the organization's first executive emeritus, and continued to advise the association and write guest columns for the Daily Racing Form until the weeks before his death. The only person to ever be inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame and its Communicators Hall of Fame, Mr. Bergstein worked in a wide variety of roles at racetracks, auction houses, announcer's booths, and racing publications, and he maintained extensive collections of harness-racing books and artwork. He was widely respected not only in the harness industry, but also in the Thoroughbred industry, and he served as a mentor to generations of young racing professionals through a close association with the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, located in Tucson, for the past 40 years. Mr. Bergstein was a forceful proponent of forging closer ties between the Standardbred and Thoroughbred industries, most notably in tackling medication abuse and problems with drug testing. In dozens of commentaries, Mr. Bergstein maintained that the Standardbred industry's problems were, or would be, those of the Thoroughbred industry, and that neglect of a problem in one sport would damage the other. Mr. Bergstein borrowed from the Thoroughbred industry early in his career, incorporating claiming races as a racing secretary while working at the Chicago tracks in the 1950s. At the time, the harness racing industry did not run claiming races, and they are now as commonplace in Standardbred racing as they are in Thoroughbred racing. Mr. Bergstein also spearheaded the creation of Standardbred Investigative Services, a security agency modeled after the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau. A native of Illinois, Mr. Bergstein attended harness races as a young man and received a journalism degree from Northwestern University. He was the former executive editor of Hoof Beats magazine, and the former vice president of publicity and public relations for the United States Trotting Association. Cal Expo trackman/program director Marty Bridges credits Stan Bergstein with bringing him into harness racing as a profession. "After college and two years in the Army, I was employed by the small business association. At night, after work, I was a regular patron at Sportsman's Park and Maywood in Chicago. "My supervisor, a former sportswriter for the Chicago Daily News, knew of my interest and called Stan to set up a meeting. Surprisingly, I was to meet him at Du Quoin on Hambletonian Day. Watching Stan call the races from a slightly elevated booth on the infield adjacent to the finish line was thrilling and between races we talked about racing, horses, drivers and trainers. "His knowledge of the sport was amazing and I had never met anyone like him, and still haven't. He introduced me to John Tinsley, the program director for all the Chicago tracks and John hired me on the spot. It's been a great ride, doing something I love." Gene Vallandingham first met Stan Bergstein in 1959 when he was working for the legendary Joe O'Brien. "Stan came to Joe's farm every spring for the annual Camptown racing weekend, when all of Shafter would be there for a day of racing. Stan was the true voice of harness racing, he was liked by all and I miss him." Chris Schick said, "Stan was foremost a kind and compassionate person. He was a true visionary in the harness racing industry. In 1979, well before simulcasting, he so rightly stated the future of the industry was in how well we brought the product to the public. He was also very vocal of the industry for being reluctant to embrace change. Our industry lost a giant when he passed." By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

After playing a supporting role in the first three stakes dances at Cal Expo for the sophomore pacing fillies, including breaks in the first pair, Glad to Meet Ya was the star of last Saturday night's harness racing get-together with a six and a half-length romp with Luke Plano. Sent off the 4-1 second choice behind the 1-5 Goturnumber, who had crushed her rivals in the previous two Sire Stakes, Glad to Meet Ya is a Disco Devil homebred who goes about her business Billie Schwartz and co-owner/trainer Junior Wilkinson. This group will get another chance to settle the score in a couple of weeks, with the four big clashes having seen three different winners, with Brigitte Bordeaux having accounted for the first one back on March 10. Last Saturday night was also a big one for owners Richard Morita and David Yamada and trainer Lino Pacheco as they made three trips to the winner's circle. They started off the hat trick with Bettor's Promise in the co-featured Open II Pace to kick off the program, then added victories with another Bettor's Delight offspring in Bettor Lady in the seventh stanza and also had Lincoln posing for snapshots following the evening's penultimate 10th affair. Speaking of landing in the charmed enclosure, the trotter Manley Stanley made it five wins from the last six appearances for owner/trainer Lisa Capioso and pilot Rene Goulet with a facile tally. Manley Stanley, who has been known to accompany Lisa to her day job as teacher, was on his best behavior for this go-around after making a rare early miscue in his previous start and missing by a nose. Trio of Opens get the marquee treatment Three Open races are featured on Saturday night's program at Cal Expo with Pridecrest, I'm An Athlete and Delightfully Wild heading the Open Trot, Open Pace and Distaff Open, respectively. There will be 10 races decided under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:40 p.m. Pridecrest is a 6-year-old son of Angus Hall who races for Heather Matthews with Luke Plano reining and training. He has won seven of his eight starts at this meet, with four of them coming from the demanding No. 10 post position. Pridecrest established a new track record in his first start at the meet on November 3, going coast-to-coast while posting a 1:53 2/5 clocking. He followed that with five more straight scores, the last four from the 10 slot. The Matthews colorbearer tasted defeat for the first time here on March 3, when he was beaten a neck by Talkin Tootsie, then got his revenge at most recent asking as he waltzed home by almost six lengths while making every pole a winning one from the outside slot in a field of five. He has the 10 post this weekend. I'm An Athlete, who has rattled off back-to-back victories at the head of the class, including a life-time best 1:51 mile at most recent asking, looks to keep the momentum going in the Open Pace. An 8-year-old son of Art Major out of the Cam's Card Shark mare Female Champs, I'm An Athlete carries the banner of Ronald Rettig-Zucchi with Jessie Pacheco doing the training and James Kennedy in his usual spot in the sulky. The hard-hitting veteran has posed for pictures following five of his 10 starts on the year after capturing 7 of his 30 trips to the post last season. He will do his work from the outside post in the field of seven. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

A $5,100 Carryover in the Pick 6 with a $10,000-guaranteed pool highlights Friday night's Cal Expo harness racing program. The Pick 6 will cover races 5 through 10 and first post for the Watch and Wager LLC program is 6:40 p.m. There are also two wagers offered each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 50-cent Pick 5 on the first five races and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 4 features a $50,000-guaranteed gross pool on Saturdays and $30,000 on Fridays. Looking ahead to the Saturday program there will be some important prep races for next week's Lloyd Arnold Pace and Stan Bergstein Trot. The Open Trot will find track record holder Pridecrest getting much of the attention, while I'm An Athlete and Allmyx'sliventexas have top billing in the Open Pace. There will also be a Filly and Mare Open which spotlights the razor-sharp Delightfully Wild squaring off against a solid cast. Remillard, Cruisin For You delight longshot players Richard Remillard lit up the toteboard last weekend with Cruisin For You, guiding the Lester Smith-trained pacer to a three-quarter length victory while rewarding his backers to a $67 payoff. The Juan Pacheco colobearer had actually won two back as the 4-5 favorite, but was coming off a poor effort and just wasn't getting any love at the windows this time around. Remillard is a 62-year-old native of Winnipget Manitoba is about to complete his first season of competition at Cal Expo, noting "It's been nice to get away from the cold." Richard fell in love with the trotters and pacers when introduced to harness racing by his brother-in-law as a teenager. He has spent most of his time over the last 40 years dividing his time between his day job as a meat cutter and market manager while maintaining a ranch in Winnipeg. "It was only two years ago that I decided to concentrate solely on the horses," he explained. "My partner Val recently retired and after talking to Quentin Schneider, we decided to come down to California and give it a try before we get too old." By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Luke Plano and Steve Wiseman continued their domination at head of the driver standings last week, with each harness racing pilot registering a four-bagger on the Friday Cal Expo program, while James Kennedy was the driving star of the show last Saturday with four wins of his own. Wiseman started things off capturing the Friday opener with Chilma, then Plano countered by taking the second with Winsom Kelly and the fourth with Hi Fidelity. Not to be outdone, Steve recorded back-to-back tallies with Ragin's Flight and Totally Racy in the fifth and sixth contests, with Luke and Oh Yeah evening the score in the seventh. To complete their respective four-win nights, Wiseman clicked with Kiss On The Lips and Plano ended up in the winner's circle with Eastender in the feature. On Saturday's program, Wiseman registered a double and Plano has one winning drive while retaining his margin in the standings over his arch-rival at this meet. It was Kennedy who had the starring role on this program, as his four wins included a victory with I'm An Athlete in the Open Pace and Delightfully Wild in the Filly and Mare Open. Sire Stakes, Open II Pace atop marquee A $6,500 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacing fillies featuring Goturnumber and an Open II Pace headed by Bettor's Promise are the main events on Saturday night's Cal Expo program. The 11-race card is set to get underway at 6:10 p.m. Goturnumber is a homebred daughter of Kent's On Nuke out of the Ira mare Kb's Midnight who is owned by Mark Anderson, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and will once again have James Kennedy in the sulky. The dark-hued filly has proven clearly best in the last two stakes dances for the division, going coast-to-coast on both occasions while never looking like a loser. In the March 17 clash, Goturnumber waltzed home with nearly 10 lengths on Brigitte Bordeaux in a lifetime-best 1:57 mile, then showed the way home by two and three-quarter lengths over that same rival at most recent asking. Taking her on this weekend are Brigitte Bordeaux with Mooney Svendsen; Glad To Meet Ya, Luke Plano; Rhythm, to be guided by William Hernandez; and Lucky Seven Oflodi, who has the outside slot with Tony Succarotte in the bike. Looking at the co-featured Open II Pace, Bettor's Promise is coming off a solid runner-up effort to the razor-sharp I'm An Athlete in last week's Open Pace and should get plenty of respect at the windows while getting away from that rival. Richard Morita and David Yamada are the owners, Lino Pacheco trains and James Kennedy has the assignment. There are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 50-cent Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 4 comes with a $50,000-guaranteed gross pool on Saturdays and a $30,000 guarantee on Fridays. By Mark Ratzky, publicity- Cal Expo Harness

An Open Pace featuring I'm An Athlete and Allmyx'sliventexas and a Filly and Mare Open Pace that brings out Delightfully Wild and Directing Traffic that head the harness racing marquee on Saturday night at Cal Expo. I'm An Athlete and Allymx'sliventexas put on quite a show at the head of the class last week and get another chance to settle the score in the co-feature while leaving from the No. 6 and 7 outside post positions, respectively. I'm An Athlete is an 8-year-old son of Art Major who carries the banner of Ronald Rettig-Zucchi, is trained by Jessie Pacheco and will once again have James Kennedy giving directions. He has four wins from nine starts on the year with a 1:51 1/5 lifetime standard. After some tough trips from difficult posts in his previous two miles, I'm An Athlete returned to his winning ways last week. He was able to leave into a pocket trip behind the odds-on Allymx'sliventexas, tracked that one to the drive and was up by a nose in a 1:52 mile. Allymx'sliventexas is a 5-year-old homebred who competes for Wayne and Rod Knittel, takes his lessons from Bob Johnson and has main man Mooney Svendsen back at the controls. The hard-hitting performer had three straight victories going into last week's Open, including a head-heat in the Glen Holt Memorial and a career-best 1:50 4/5 mile in his next outing despite being parked the mile that evening. In last week's clash, the Knittel colorbearer shot right to the front for Svendsen, opened a lengthy lead at midstretch but could not quite hold off the pocket-sitting I'm An Athlete in another strong outing. Veteran mare Silverlode continues good fight Silverlode added another victory to her resume last weekend as she dead-heated with Silverhill Volo in an Open II Trot, pushing her lifetime bankroll near the $175,000 mark. A 9-year-old homebred daughter of British Sterling who races for Steve and Vickie Desomer and has been handled of late by Steve Wiseman, Silverlode is out of the top racemare and producer Charlotte's Web. The latter has had a very impressive group of performers on the racetrack. In addition to divisional leader Silverlode, she has had divisional leaders in Placer and Cadet; the takes-winning Kiss The Girls and a promising pair in Pay Dirt and Shudabinaclaudius. Charlotte's Web, who celebrated her 16th birthday this year, is a daughter of Website who was a multiple stakes winner as a 2-year-old and was retired in the midst of her sophomore campaign. There are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 50-cent Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 4 comes with a $50,000-guaranteed gross pool on Saturdays and a $30,000 guarantee on Fridays. Last Saturday night's Pick 4 returned a nifty $1,922 for each correct 20-cent ticket and would have paid $1,716 using the regular takeout. That's $206 bonus for each ducket. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Getter Queen Flush is coming off back-to-back solid efforts while joining forces with harness racing pilot Steve Wiseman for the first time, the most recent resulting in a head victory last weekend. The 6-year-old pacing daughter of Jk Royal Flush is owned by Geoge Reider, Dave and Rob Haness and Richard Thomas with Reider doing the training. She set her lifetime mark of 1:53 1/5 here in February with Mooney Svendsen in the bike. Two starts back, Getter Queen Flush ended up in a tough spot at the back of the pack early and found herself with too much to do in the lane while eventually finishing second, then had clear sailing in last week's tour and prevailed as the 3-5 favorite. "I was driving her for the first time two weeks ago and I outthought myself and got her locked in," Wiseman related. "This last mile we got a good trip and she dug in after that horse got past her nearing the wire." As for Reider, he's became a real fan of this hard-knocking performer. "There isn't anything I don't like about this mare," he noted. "She's a pleasure to be around and she tries hard every time." George also noted that Getter Queen Flush didn't know what a carrot or an apple was when she came to his barn, "But now she's a carrot and apple eating machine." She's also turned into quite a machine over the Cal Expo layout, posing for snapshots following four of her 12 races on the year. Will she add to that total in the coming weeks? Stay tuned. Eastender has top billing in featured Pace Eastender, who has been knocking heads with the top pacers on the grounds, gets some class relief and heads the field for Friday night's main event. Watch and Wager LLC will present 12 races with first post set for 6:10 p.m. There will also be a trio of California Sire Stakes for the 4-year-old pacers and trotters decided as non-betting events prior to the regular card. A 7-year-old son of Cheyenne Rei out of the Abercrombie mare Eastside Becky, Eastender is owned by Maryann Plano and Nikki Hudson and is reined and trained by Luke Plano. Eastender will be looking for his first win on the year in his seventh trip to the post, but has been doing the majority of his work at the Open level while taking on the likes of division leaders Allymx'sliventexas and I'm An Athlete. He made nine trips to the winner's circle last season, including a lifetime-best 1:52 2/5 score over this layout and should hit very hard in Friday's softer spot. He will do his work from the No. 6 post in the field of seven. Gordie Graham will send out a solid pair in Bettor in the Bank and Prodigal and they will both have a serious say in the outcome with their top miles. Rounding out the cast are Dontdoubthelakers, who takes his lessons from Lester Smith; the Lino Pacheco-conditioned Pancetta; Julerica from the Richard Remillard shedrow; and the Rene Goulet trained-and-driven Blue Star Maverick. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

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