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Saturday night's Filly and Mare Open Pace is named for Larry and Eileen Brodbar, recipients of the harness racing 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award by the California Harness Horsemen's Association. "This is truly an honor for us," said Eileen Brodbar. Larry and Eileen were married in 1980 and it was Larry, who cut his teeth on the trotters and pacers at New York's Monticello Raceway, who introduced his wife to the game up close and personal. "In 1987, there was harness racing at Fairplex Park and there was ad in the program for a seminar for potential new owners," Eileen related. "Ann and Jonn McGregor were there as well as Andy Perez, and that along with some advice from Alan Horowitz led us to buying into our first horse." The Brodbars became partners with the McGregors in a newly-turned 3-year-old named Pasadena Phantom and they were off and running, or more accurately in this case, pacing. Pasadena Phantom worked his way up the ranks and eventually became an Invitational winner, one of many outstanding performers who have joined Larry and Eileen in the winner's circle not only in California, but across the country. The best they ever bred was Iwannawinbets, while Eileen estimates the best they've ever campaigned in partnership is Show Runner. In between, they have been represented by the likes of Solid Bet and the New Zealand trio of Jay Bees Risk, Gifted Lobell and Bobby's Dream. "Risky Broad, who is a daughter of Jay Bees Risk, is currently our broodmare," Brodbar noted. One of Eileen's major contributions to the sport came at Los Alamitos in the 80's and early 90's when she was responsible for Clocker's Corner, which educated people about harness racing with drivers, trainers and handicappers on scene to make it a well-rounded and educational experience. "I'm very proud of the what we were able to accomplish with those seminars," she stated. Said CHHA Hall of Fame Committee Chairman Robin Clements, "The Brodbars have stuck with California through the good and the bad times and they still support and love the sport." Cal Expo congratulates Larry and Eileen Brodbar on this well-deserved recognition. Outrageousdelightn sets sights on another score Outrageousdelightn, who has accounted for two of the last three top dances at the meet, heads the cast for Saturday night's Larry and Eileen Brodbar Filly and Mare Open Pace. There are 11 races on tap, including the co-featured Robert Gordon Prep, with first post under the Watch and Wager LLC banner set for 6:10 p.m. Outrageousdelightn has captured two of the last three Distaff Opens since coming in from the East. The 10-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight races for Don and Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chambers and Tyler Wiseman with Kathie Plested conditioning. In last week's clash at the head of the class, driver Steve Wiseman was able to work out a pocket trip behind favored Delightfully Wild, eased out for the drive and got the job done by three-quarters of a length. Capitol Hill accounted for three straight Filly and Mare Opens between November 10 and December 15 and gives the Plested barn two big looks at the outcome. The 8-year-old Badlands Hanover mare is owned by of George McChrystal and Plested. Rounding out the cast are Magnifique, Misspanderosajones, Along Came Jane, Bettor Lady, Burn My Villa and Getter Queen Flush. The Robert Gordon Prep will match a field of eight as they get ready for next week's Final. Urgointohearmeroar has won four of this five starts at the meet and looms large for owner Mark Anderson, trainer Gordie Graham and regular pilot Mooney Svendsen. 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

Sacramento, CA — The California Harness Horsemen’s Association is accepting harness racing nominations for its class of 2018 Hall of Fame until Nov. 20th, 2018 Nominations fall into one of two groups — people and horse. People that have contributed significantly to California harness racing as a breeder, owner, trainer, or driver and/or through organizational leadership, or people who have achieved national prominence in one of the foregoing categories and have significant California attachments will be considered. Horses that have achieved prominence in racing or reproduction, and should have done so in California, or have been outstanding in racing or breeding and whose breeders, owners, or trainers are/or were residents of California will be given due consideration. Nominations can be accepted by going to the CHHA website at www.chhaonline.com. The inductees will be announced at the annual CHHA meeting in January People interested in sending in a nomination, please state the reason why, along with stats, as to why the nominee should be considered. By Robin Clements, Chairperson of Hall of Fame for CHHA  

Alan Horowitz, a major force in California harness racing over the last several decades and a member of the California Harness Horsemen's Association Hall of Fame, passed away peacefully at his home on Saturday at age 73. 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, Horowitz was instrumental in bringing harness racing back to Cal Expo in the form of Capitol Racing and was also its successful general manager. Alan 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. Mr. Horowitz is survived by his son Michael; his daughter Jessica Rhoades; and two grandchildren, Emerson and Campbell Rhoades. A memorial race and special ceremony will take when harness racing returns here to Cal Expo in the fall. "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. In addition, as my wife said the other night when she heard of his passing, 'Alan Horowitz was probably the nicest man I have ever known'." By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Tricky Deal N , the little harness racing mare who changed so many lives passed away last Friday night at the age of 26. Sired by Tricky Dick N, out of the Lumber Dream mare, Rainbow Dream, Tricky Deal went on to race taking a mark of 1:58.1f and earning $15,430. After her racing career she then went to the breeding shed where she foaled 5 foals all who made it to the races including Wastin Time p 1:55.2m $179,948 a divisional sires stakes champion and Cordealia p 1:55.4m $51,270 a multiple stakes winner. After Tricky had her last foal she developed mastitis and it was agreed to retire her from the broodmare life. Tricky Deal N was then given to Jeannie Womack and Tiffany Broun of Harmon Haven Theraputic riding and horse rescue, where Tricky showed her incredible talent as a therapy horse for special needs people. A little mare with a love of people, Tricky helped many people with special needs and changed their lives forever. One such case, a non verbal autistic boy who after working and riding Tricky learned to say his only words “ Walk On”. Another notable achievement was when Skyla, Tiffany’s 5 yr old daughter wanted to help raise money for the rescue center in a ride a thon, where she asked people to donate $2.02 for each ride where Tricky participated. Another case where an elderly lady who came to ride Tricky to help rehab after a stroke. Little did anyone know when Tricky was imported to America how she would change the lives of so many people and special needs people one ride at a time. Tricky passed away while sleeping under her favorite oak tree. By Robin Clements California Harness Horsemens Association.

The California Harness Horsemen’s association held their annual meeting Sunday April 3rd at Cal Expo where divisional sires stakes champions were crowned and the husband and wife team, Tim and Denise Maier were inducted into the harness racing California Hall of Fame. Jim Perez, executive director for CHHA emceed the event and announced that current board directors, Bob Johnson, Robin Clements and Steve Wiseman would retain their seats on the board. CHHA president David Neumeister also spoke about the current changes to the workman’s comp, increased purses of 20 % for the current meet, increase in handle and the positive outlook for racing in our state. Tim and Denise Maier were inducted into the hall of fame for their contribution to the sport spanning over 35 years. Tim a native of Michigan moved to California in the early 80’s while Denise comes from a family spanning 5 generations of harness horsemen. Team Maier has collected several driver and trainer honors while either training, breeding and conditioning many sires stakes champions over the years. Partnered with the late Alan Kirschenbaum, Team Maier conditioned horses like Little Steven p,5, 1:49.4m $579,833  British Sterling T,7, 1:56.2m $232,714 and Show Runner p,4, 1:50.3f $319,705 . Sires stakes divisional champions were also announced with personalized halters awarded to: Cadet: 3 year old trotting colt, owned by Desomer Stables Sandy’s Song: 3 year old trotting filly, owned by Henry Weisneck and Bob Johnson Speak English: 3 year old pacing filly, owned by Frank Neverez Uringoodhands: 3 year old pacing colt, owned by Mark Anderson The CHHA horse of the year was awarded to Sandy’s Song out of the stakes champion mare Ahh Saundra by Claudius Augustus. Owned by Robert Johnson and Henry Weisneck. California stallion awards were given to the stallions who’s progeny achieved the best in the sires stakes. Pacing Stallion: Little Steven, owned by Shari Burns Trotting stallion: Claudius Augustus, owned by Debra Budahn Leading stakes trainer went to Bob Johnson while Mooney Svendsen received the leading stakes driver award. By Robin Clements: CHHA  

Billie Schwartz, who lost her husband Michael after his untimely death in 1999 after 35 years of marriage, has continued to carry on as a proud California harness racing owner and breeder and also recently returned to a seat on the California Harness Horsemen's Association board. "Michael and I met at Monticello Raceway in upstate New York," Billie related. "We both had a love for harness racing even then, but only as fans." The couple eventually moved to California, and as Michael became more successful in his professional life, they decided to become more involved in harness racing. They chose Ross Croghan to be their trainer, which right there was a very good move. "We attended our first yearling auction in 1981 and purchased our first yearling, Best of Dani, for $3,500," Billie recalled. "He was a late foal, a big strapping beautiful horse, and didn't race until he was a 3-year-old." Best of Dani went on to become the California Horse of the Year in 1983 under Croghan's direction, banking a then very cool $110,000. "I remember thinking "My, how easy is this?' We should have lots of horses. That's when the love affair with the horses really was born. "I can't tell you the excitement that occurred whenever Dani raced. He came from behind and could go first over, like no other horse I have ever owned. In those days, there was really tough competition, which made his wins even more exciting. "The winner's circle was thrilling, filled with friends and well wishers. Even today, Dani holds the world record for winning a mile and five-eighths marathon over some highly competitive peers." Best of Dani's groom was Nicole Kraft, who would go on to become editor of Hoofbeats magazine. When the horse was retired, Michael and Billie gave the pacer to his faithful and loving groom. "Every time the magazine needed a generic picture of a horse, she used a picture of Dani, because he was such a beautiful looking animal," Billie noted. Over the years, the Schwartz stable campaigned hundreds of horses. When Croghan decided to go East, Michael chose James Wilkinson Jr. to be their trainer. "It was a wise choice," Billie said. Due to Michael Schwartz' success in business, he was able to retire at a young age. This gave him time to become involved in the California Harness Horse Association, where he dedicated himself to helping horsemen and furthering the promotion of the sport in California. He served as President of the CHHA for a number of years, and during that time mastered the art of the deal, including several positive interactions with Los Alamitos owner Ed Allred," Billie noted. "Michael negotiated the harness lease at Los Alamitos and the game was thriving in the state." Billie's passion for the sport has continued after Michael's untimely passing, having bred and raced numerous California Horses of the Year in partnership with Wilkinson. "Jim and I have weathered the many challenges that California harness racing has incurred and continues to face," she noted. "We continue to try to keep our ship afloat over these very turbulent waters. We have remained loyal to California and cannot understand why this state, the richest in the nation, cannot support harness racing, a sport that has been woven into its very fabric for over 100 years. "We have bought horses at auctions and at times have had to import semen to impregnate our mares because of the diminishing returns from the California Sire Stakes program. California must remain competitive with other states as well as being innovative in delivering its product to a new generation. "We need to look at successful venues and see what works and implement these policies here in California. We need to be aggressive in promoting the excitement of the sport." Billie recalled two decades ago when she used to assist fellow California owner Eileen Brodbar in running the "Clocker's Corner" program at Los Alamitos. Fans were invited to hear owners, trainers, drivers and handicappers and were given free programs along with free donuts and coffee. "I recall that the most valuable freebie was when we had a drawing for a ride that evening in the starting car and a picture in the winner's circle. It created excitement and from that we had people who wanted the experience of owning their own horse. "We need to bring that magic back again," Billie said. Sire Stakes, pair of Open Paces spotlighted Uringoodhands, who dominated his peers last season, looks to pick up another added-money score in Saturday night's $10,000 California Sire Stakes for the 4-year-old pacing males. There will also be a pair of co-featured $6,000 Open Paces, with Bettormeboy and Party Hangover Two getting top billing in those events, respectively. The Sire Stakes will be the opener on the 13-race program with first post set for 6:15 p.m. There will be no live racing Super Bowl Sunday, with a return to the regular Saturday/Sunday schedule next week. Uringoodhands is a son of Kent's On Nuke out of the Surmo Hanover mare Sparks Will Fly who is owned and was co-bred by Mark Anderson, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and as usual has James Kennedy in the sulky. The dark-hued performer comes into this assignment having posed for pictures following eight of his 11 lifetime trips to the post. He closed out his 2015 campaign with a facile Sire Stakes score back in April and has continued his winning ways in a pair of conditioned victories this season. Uringoodhands has made every pole a winning one in both of those scores with Kennedy at the controls, including a sizzling 1:53 1/5 tour last week over a track labeled "good" He is strictly the one to beat this weekend. Taking him on are Musician, Laissezmopicoler, Hi Ho Houdini, Sounion, Ladi Machette Man, Hi Ho's Little Rev. *********** And a reminder there are two wagers that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5, which this season features a 25 percent minor pool payout; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which on Saturday comes with an increased $40,000-guaranteed gross pool. By Mark Ratzky  

Sunday nights Alan Kirschenbaum Series is named for the longtime owner and breeder and past president of the California Harness Horsemens Association, who passed away in 2012. Kirschenbaum was a major factor in California as an owner, breeder and amateur driver for many years. With his stallions Little Steven and British Sterling standing at Cherry Tree Farm in Wilton, he helped support the industry in California. In past years, he even waived his stallion fees to help the California horsemen breed their mares to help the horse population survive in the Golden State. He was also a huge supporter of the California Sire Stakes and amateur races. Cal Expo track announcer and simulcast host Gary Seibel was a longtime friend of Alan Kirschenbaum. I met Alan in the early '80s at Pompano Park in Florida, when I was the track announcer and publicity director there and Alan was working for trainer George Berkner. He'd come into the publicity office to use one of the desks that had a typewriter to work on his projects, which, at the time, I think included some writing for Mad Magazine. I liked him from the start. He was a great guy with a great sense of humor, and we had a lot in common, since we were both native New Yorkers who loved harness racing. He was easy to like. From time to time, when we would get into a long conversation about anything and everything, he would say to me, "this (Hollywood) is my job, harness racing is my passion." That was so evident in what he did in and for the sport, both nationally and, unquestionably, here in California. His contributions to the sport he loved are with us today in so many different ways. I think of him every night when I open the Cal Expo program because his name appears in the program every racing night, through the horses he has raced, bred and owned in the Golden State. I remember when we lived in Los Angeles, Alan invited us to a taping of his CBS sitcom, Yes, Dear. My wife and I were sitting in the front row of the audience, and before the taping began, Alan came out and introduced himself to the crowd and told everyone what to expect during the live taping of the show. When he saw us, he paused, came over to us, and gave us both a big hug and a kiss. It really touched us both. After the taping, he brought us down to the stage, where we met the cast and production crew and got to hang out for a while. He was a great friend and a special person. Alan Kirschenbaum Series matches sophomore trotters Trotters are front and center on Sunday evening at Cal Expo, with the opening leg of the Alan Kirschenbaum Series and a conditioned event that brings out the popular veterans Franky Provolone and Franks Best. There are 12 races on tap Sunday with first post set for 4:55 p.m. The Kirschenbaum is early on the program as the second event, while Franky Provolone and Franks Best will strut their stuff in the 10th race. The Alan Kirschenbaum Series is designed for 3-year-old trotters who are California Sire Stakes eligible and a field of six will go to the post. Pierre Girard will send out a trio with Delta Breezeflodi, Sixstringsandapick and Lodi Bank Robber representing the shedrow, while Gene Vallandingham has a pair in CW Raisenette and My Little Susie. The Vickie Desomer-trained Kissed The Boys rounds out the cast. Meanwhile, Franky Provolone will shoot for his third win from his last four trips to the post in the 10th race. A 9-year-old son of Armbro Scribe, he is owned and trained by Robin Clements and will have a new pilot with Tim Clevenger handling the lines. Franky Provolone has been guided in his last three starts by Luke Plano, who has his own trainee Winsome Kelly in the line-up. In last weeks appearance, Franky Provolone was parked to command past the quarter, took complete control of things from that point and prevailed by a three and a quarter lengths as the 2-1 second choice. The hard-hitting sidewheeler is closing in on the $200,000 earnings plateau with a 1:55 4/5 standard that was established two years ago. Leaving from an inside slot is certainly going to help the cause. Franks Best was the 4-5 choice in that affair but was bothered early and lost his chance. He is owned, trained and was bred by Bob Johnson and comes into this assignment with $234,000 in his account and a 1:56 2/5 mark. He started the year with a game win on January 3 with regular pilot Mooney Svendsen in the sulky. By Mark Ratzky

The California Harness Horsemen's Association (CHHA) is accepting harness racing nominations for it's class of 2015 Hall of Fame until January 25th 2016. Nominations fall into one of two groups - people and horse. People that have contributed significantly to California harness racing as a breeder, an owner, a trainer, or a driver, and/or through organizational leadership, or people who have achieved national prominence in one of the foregoing categories and have significant California attachments will be considered. Horses that have achieved prominence in racing or reproduction, and should have done so in California, or have been outstanding in racing or breeding and whose breeders, owners, or trainers are or were residents of California will be given due consideration. Nominations will be accepted electronically at this link.  In the alternative, interested parties can print out the form at the above address and mail it to the CHHA at the address on the web site www.chhaonline.com. Nominations will be accepted through Jan. 25th, 2016, and the winners will be announced at the annual CHHA meeting in the spring. People interested in sending in a nomination, Please state the reason why along with stats as to why the nominee should be considered. Robin Clements California Harness Horsemens Association

The California Harness Horsemans Association and Watch and Wager LLC have agreed to a 10 percent across the board purse increase effective this Saturday April 18th. The trotters and pacers are in action at Cal Expo on Saturday and Sunday nights, with Saturdays post now changing to 6:55 p.m. and Sunday racing getting underway at 5 p.m. Closing night of the current meeting is Sunday May 3rd. We want to thank all our horseman who put on a great show and made the meet successful this season" said Chris Schick General Manager of Watch and Wager LLC. " We recognize that horseman have plenty of options this time of year, and want to reward those that remain to meets end".   Watch and Wager LLC has recently exercised two option years with Cal Expo. Current plans call for the fall meeting to begin in late October.   By Mark Ratzky, Publicity Cal Expo Harness

It was a warm and sunny day as the California Harness Horsemen’s Association held it’s annual harness racing awards in the clubhouse at Cal Expo on Sunday March 29th. Inducted into the CHHA hall of fame were Alan Horowitz and Gene and Bill Vallandingham. Alan 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 then hooked. Moving on Alan would eventually become a board member and president of CHHA. In 1994 Alan was instrumental in bringing in Steve Berry to purchase Capital Racing from the horsemen and turned racing around in California. As General Manager Alan ran a very successful meet until changing hats to become the Executive secretary for CHHA until his retirement in 2013. Also inducted into the hall of farm were brothers Gene and Bill Vallandingham. Gene also known as Mr. California of harness racing grew up in the business in Kentucky, eventually moving to Illinois where he took driving titles at Washington Park and Aurora Downs. In 1971, Gene then made the move to California where he established himself as a top driver/ trainer. Known for his long blond locks Gene was then nicknamed Golden rod or Go Rod. With his red white and blue colors and famous white boots Gene went on to become a fan favorite . Bill Vallandingham was also a dedicated horseman to the California circuit in his own right. Wearing many hats as a groom, paddock judge, horse identifier, horse tattooer and eventual starting gate judge. Bill was and still is the horseman’s friend and big supporter of California racing. While you may have seen him on the golf course or playing softball of a horsemans team his license plate said it all, Billy V 4 u. If horsemen needed to school their horses Billy would on his own time make sure he had the gate out there so the young horses could get gate time or if a farm needed their foals tattooed, Bill was there when you needed him. Divisional 3 yr old winners were also announced along with the 2014 horse of the year. Placer 3, t 2:00.1m, $30,552 took top male trotter, owned by Desomer Stables Ahh Panama 3, t 2:01.2m $28,569  was awarded the top filly trotter, owned by Henry Wieseneck, Martin Garey and Bob Johnson. J’s Littlerockstar 3,p 1:55.2m $28,569 took top filly pacer honors owned by James Kennedy. King of the Crop 3,p 1:54.3m $40,470 was awarded the top male pacer owned by Frank Naveraz. El Azteca owned by Marco Rios was voted 2014 horse of the year. James Kennedy picked up his first award for being the top driver/trainer in the sires stakes. And lastly top stallion awards were given to the trotter and pacing stallions for their offspring’s performance in the sires stakes. Panama Hanover owned by Debra Budahn took the trotting stallion award and Little Steven owned by Shari Burns took top pacing stallion honors. The CHHA members also voted for 3 directors to the board with David Neumeister and Steve Wiseman retaining their seats on the board and David Siegel now joining the board replacing Renee Mancino. March 30th, 2015 Robin Clements with the CHHA  

Sundays program at Cal Expo features the Alan Kirschenbaum Series consolation and a $10,000 California Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies. A 12-race card is on tap with first post set for 4:40 p.m. The Alan Kirschenbaum is the fifth event on the evening, while the Sire Stakes occupies the eighth-race slot on the program. The Alan Kirschenbaum Series is named for the longtime owner and breeder and past president of the California Harness Horsemens Association. He died in October of 2012. Kirschenbaum was a major factor in California as an owner, breeder and amateur driver for many years. With his stallions Little Steven and British Sterling standing at Cherry Tree Farm in Wilton, he helped support the industry in California. For several years, he even waived his stallion fees to help the California horsemen breed their mares to help the horse population survive in the Golden State. He was also a huge supporter of the California Sire Stakes and amateur races. Looking at the Series consolation, Im Fasterthanu comes into this assignment riding a four-race winning streak for owner Fabiola Quevado, trainer Edwin Quevedo and pilot Luke Plano. Her most recent score came last week while doing her work over a sloppy track. The field for the Sire Stakes will line up this way from the rail out: Duet with Steve Wiseman; Perfect Pitch, Mooney Svendsen; Brewski, who will have the services of Luke Plano; Js Littlerockstar for James Kennedy; De Valeria with Dave Siegel; La Diva De Rosa, Bruce Clarke; and Clara Bea, who leaves from the outside with Chip Lackey in the sulky. Strings proves victorious in Golden State return Strings put her class on display here last week when she proved a punctual 1-9 favorite in a conditioned event, but now its time for the 4-year-old mare to get a little R and R according to trainer Gene Vallandingham. The California-bred daughter of Hi Ho Silverheels, who races for Little Bapa LLC, has multiple Sire Stakes trophies on her mantle with over $170,000 in the bank and a 1:50 3/5 mark that was established this year at Pocono Downs. Prior to her last start here, Strings had been doing her work over the half-mile Yonkers track in New York and plans call for the distaffer to return to points East next spring after spending the chilly months in the moderate California climate. She came in from Yonkers about a week before her race here, Vallandingham noted. I wasnt too concerned about the traveling and missing a start, considering the field she was facing. She went her usual good race. The plan all along was to give her the one race, then send her to the farm for about six weeks. I want her to pick up 80 pounds and then come back and get ready around the end of January. Shes up at Rick Kueblers place in El Dorado County where they have some nice big paddocks. Strings is being pointed for a number of late-closing events on the East Coast next spring and a few comeback starts over this layout in March and April will get her nice and tight for the return invasion. Gene tips that shes not the only big gun under his care who is spending the winter in California and will be seen in action here later in the session. The likes of Smooth Criminal and American Venture are also taking it easy at the farm right now and will at some point show up at Cal Expo to seriously stretch their legs. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness      

The California Harness Horsemen's Association (CHHA) is accepting harness racing nominations for it's class of 2014 Hall of Fame until December 31st 2014. Nominations fall into one of two groups - people and horse. People that have contributed significantly to California harness racing as a breeder, an owner, a trainer, or a driver, and/or through organizational leadership, or people who have achieved national prominence in one of the foregoing categories and have significant California attachments will be considered. Horses that have achieved prominence in racing or reproduction, and should have done so in California, or have been outstanding in racing or breeding and whose breeders, owners, or trainers are or were residents of California will be given due consideration. Nominations will be accepted electronically at :  http://www.chhaonline.com/hall_ of_fame/nominationform2.html.  In the alternative, interested parties can print out the form at the above address and mail it to the CHHA at the address on the web site www.chhaonline.com. Nominations will be accepted through Dec. 31, 2014, and the winners will be announced at the annual CHHA meeting in the spring. People interested in sending in a nomination, Please state the reason why along with stats as to why the nominee should be considered. By Robin Clements, for the CHHA Hall of Fame

This past Sunday the California Harness Horsemen’s Association (CHHA) held its annual awards meeting at the Hilton in Sacramento to honor divisional stakes winners, horse of the year and the induction of a horse into the CHHA’s hall of fame. Cut It Out, by Levity out of the Jenuine Hanover mare, Jenuine Frost was inducted into the hall of fame for California this year. Owned by Mark Holden and trained and driven by Bob Rosen, Cut it Out was a sensational mare, taking a mark of 1:55.1f and earned $436,594 lifetime. Winning 19 out of 22 races and earning over $212,000 in her 3 yr. old year, she won every sire’s stakes race either on the front end or coming from behind while setting the 3 yr. old filly track record at Los Alamitos.  Cut it Out was voted California horse of the year in 1985 and 1986. Show Runner by Little Steven out of Peace Runner was voted 2013 California horse of the year. Bred by the late Alan Kirschenbaum and owned by Denise Maier and Eileen Brodbar , Show Runner dominated the 3 yr. old filly stakes races, while winning 19 out of 33 starts for the year. Awards were also handed out to divisional stakes Champions who were, Show Runner 3 yr. old pacing filly owned by Denise Maier and Eileen Brodbar. Bit Player 3 yr. old pacing colt, owned by Desomer Stables More Tequila 3 yr. old trotting filly owned by Frank Neverez Freedombird 3 yr. old trotting colt owned by Melissa Erzene. 2013 Stallion awards were handed out to top breeding stallions, Hi Ho Silverheels, pacer owned by Wayne Knittle Panama Hanover, trotter owned by Debbie Budahn . The CHHA also welcomed new board of directors Steve Wiseman and Luke Plano. by Robin Clements, for the CHHA

This weekends three series finales at Cal Expo honor the memory and contributions of Alan Kirschenbaum, Richard Staley and Marvin Shapiro. The Alan Kirschenbaum Series is named for the longtime owner and breeder and past president of the California Harness Horsemens Association, who died in October 2012. Kirschenbaum was a major factor in California as an owner, breeder and amateur driver for many years. With his stallions Little Steven and British Sterling standing at Cherry Tree Farm in Wilton, he helped support the industry in California. In the past, he had even waived his stallion fees to help the California horsemen breed their mares to help the horse population survive in the Golden State. He was also a huge supporter of the California Sire Stakes and amateur races. Richard Staley, who passed away in 1997 at the age of 66, was one of the top owners to ever campaign trotters and pacers in California. He was involved in the sport for more than 25 years and during that entire period had only one trainer, Hall of Famer Doug Ackerman. Over the years Staley and Ackerman would regularly go to the major sales to select and purchase the regally-bred years that became the bulwark of the Staley Stable and provided California harness racing with many of his classiest performers. Marvin Shapiro was the son of L.K. Shapiro, who owned the Hall of Fame thoroughbred and California-bred champion Native Diver. He was the president of Western Harness Racing Inc. in the 1960s and spearheaded legislation that sanctioned night racing in California. He died in 2003 at the age of 83. Marvin Shapiro Finale, Open Pace in spotlight A contentious $7,350 finale of the Marvin Shapiro Pacing Series and an Open Pace headed by One And Only are the main events on Saturday nights Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo. Itsabouttonight and Plum Crazy Baby captured the two divisions of the first leg of the Shapiro, while last week saw one division and it was Majestic Lass who come rolling late to post a $47 upset. An 8-year-old daughter of Art Major, Majestic Lass is owned by Kimberly Andres, is conditioned by Salvador Wenceslao and will have Mooney Svendsen in the sulky. No threat in the first leg of the Shapiro, she came back last week to be up by a head over another longshot in Pips Jenny G., with the $1 exacta returning a cool $515 in that affair. Itsabouttonight will represent owner/trainer Gretchen Smith with Tim Maier at the helm. The Illinois-bred mare dominated her division of the opening leg over a sloppy track, then was a close third last weekend after opening up a large lead at the head of the stretch that evening. Plum Crazy Baby is a 6-year-old Relentless Yankee mare who carries the banner of Derick Takahashi with Dario Solares training and Dave Siegel doing the honors. She was a very convincing victress in the first leg, then was first over in her most recent appearance and had to settle for the fourth as the 8-5 favorite behind Majestic Lass. Completing the field are Red Star Gilda with Williams Hernandez; No Mo Parking for Mike Jarvis; Curvacious with Luke Plano in the sulky; Pips Jeeny G, Patrick Galbraith; and Little Schoolgirl, who leaves from the outside slot with James Kennedy at the helm. One And Only gets top billing in the Open Pace for owners Richard Morita and David Yamada, trainer Lino Pacheco and driver Luke Plano. The son of Bettors Delight rattled off five straight wins between December 21 and February 1 before having the streak broken at most recent asking after doing his work from the demanding No. 10 post position. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness    

Steve Desomer will be guiding his mare Silverlode in Friday nights finale of the Dr. Gary Budhan Trotting Series, hoping to pick up another nice check with the 5-year-old homebred daughter of the late British Sterling. Silverlode, who has some Sires Stakes trophies on her mantle, is attempting to win her second series finale at this meet having captured the Joe Lighthill final in late November. She was second and third in the first two legs of the Budahn behind Donna Letsgo and Hooray Katie. For the 77-year-old Desomer, he will be making sulky appearance No. 12,701 in a career that has seen him land in the winners circle on 2,609 occasions while banking nearly $11 million in the process. The veteran, who runs the barn along with his wife Vickie, was asked how things have changed since the days of Western Harness Racing at the soon to be demolished Hollywood Park. The racing has changed dramatically since the days of Hollywood Park, Steve related. Back in the 70s, most of the drivers were also trainers. The horsemen were more complete in that they had knowledge of shoeing, soundness, driving, rigging and training and entering. Today many of the drivers specialize in just driving. Driving against the likes of Tyler Smith and other young drivers puts the older drivers at a distinct disadvantage in that they do not react as quickly as needed. Most know the drivers and horses they race against, but making that split second decision becomes more difficult with the passing of time. GUARANTEES INCREASED PICK 5- $10,000 BOTH NIGHTS PICK 4 - $20,000 FRIDAY PICK 4 - $25,000 SATURDAY Dr. Gary Budahn Trotting Series finale in spotlight The $13,750 final of the Dr. Gary Budahn Trotting Series, with first and second leg winners and stablemates Hooray Katie and Donna Letsgo figuring to get the majority of the attention, is the main event on Friday nights Cal Expo program. A 14-race card is on tap Friday evening, with the Budahn final set as the seventh event on the program. First post is 5:20 p.m. The Dr. Gary Budahn Series honors the memory of a mainstay of California harness racing for over 30 years who passed away in 2009. Dr. Budahn served on the board of directors of the California Harness Horsemens Association (CHHA) for over 12 years, including President of the organization for three years. He was a strong voice for harness racing in the state and was always there for the horsemen, helping them in any way he could. Looking at the field, Hooray Katie is a 5-year-old daughter of Chip Chip Hooray who is owned by William Neumeister, takes her lessons from Bob Johnson and will once again be guided by Tyler Smith. She proved best in her divisions of the first two legs of this event, last week showing the way home by a half-length over Silverlode. Donna Letsgo gives the Johnson barn two solid looks at the outcome in the headliner. The Keystone Blitz mare is owned by the trainer, Marty Garey and Henry Wiesenstock with Luke Plano doing the honors. In last weeks penultimate leg, the bay miss made every pole a winning one and came home with two and a quarter lengths to spare. Completing the field are High Dollar for Tim Maier; Bar Back, who has the services of Steve Wiseman; Lodi Dorian Blues, Chip Lackey; Silverlode with Steve Desomer; Sky Keeper for James Kennedy; Ali De Vie, to be handled by Gene Vallandingham; and Southwind Kean, who leaves from the outside with Marc Mosher at the controls. By Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness            

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