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The California sires stakes is still accepting yearling nominations for harness racing foals of 2019. 2019 Foals from stallions in the DHA program from the states of California, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Alberta Canada may nominate until July 1st, 2020 for a payment of $150. Payments may be made up until Dec 31st 2020 for a late payment of $300. Also sustaining payments for foals of 2018 are due July 1st, 2020 for a payment of $250. There is no extended payment date for two year olds. All payments must be postmarked by July 1st, 2020 to be eligible. To submit a payment, forms may be downloaded at our CHHA website at www.chhaonline.com under the sires stakes tab.   By Robin Clements California Standardbred Sires Stakes Committee

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

Allmyx'sliventexas and Bestintehbusiness, who have been chasing home the razor-sharp Heza Real Diamond of late, get away from that rival and head the cast in Friday night's $5,100 Open II Pace at Cal Expo Harness. There will also be a pair of $7,000 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacers, with Prom Queen getting top billing in the filly division, while Its Pointless is strictly the one to beat in the male section, with the latter race going as a non-betting affair prior to the regular card. There are 11 races on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post at 6:10 p.m. Allmyx'sliventexas comes into the Friday assignment with some impressive credentials, as the 7-year-old son of Hi Ho Silverheel's has won 36 of his 119 starts, has $214,000 in his bank account and sports a 1:50 lifetime standard that was established two years ago at Hoosier Park. The hard-hitting veteran is owned and was bred by Wayne and Rod Knittel, he's conditioned by Bob Johnson and Mooney Svendsen will be in his usual position in the sulky. Allmyx'sliventexas recorded his most recent tally on January 25, when he sat the pocket behind the aforementioned Heza Real Diamond and nailed him right on the money in a 1:50 2/5 tour. Bestinthebusiness is in fine form at the moment with a conditioned victory and back-to-back runner-up finishes at the Open level. He campaigns for Brett Boyd Racing Inc., hails from the Leon Smith barn and has Braxten Boyd once again giving direction. Almost Cut My Hair, Part Time and Queenace Blue Chip complete the field. Prom Queen, Its Pointless look to continue dominance Prom Queen and Its Pointless cemented their positions at the head of their respective sophomore California Sire Stakes divisions with clear-cut victories in last week's second round of action and will be back seeking more trophies on Friday night. Prom Queen is a daughter of Little Steven who has captured both of her stakes dances in impressive come-from-behind style while not being favored on either occasion, while Its Pointless has dominated his male rivals while going off the solid choice in both appearances. Racing for owner/trainer Robin Clements and co-bred with Desomer Stables Inc, Prom Queen has shown a real affinity for coming home in a hurry with Nick Roland giving directions. She had four and a quarter lengths on favored Debit Or Credit in last weekend's tour while lowering her mark to 1:58 1/5 in the process. "I love this filly and she is fast," pilot Roland related after the score. "She is still green and learning to race," added Clements, "but she's getting there. She is a bit of a princess in that if you change her equipment and she doesn't like it, she will throw a tantrum." It seems the name Prom Queen fits this 3-year-old filly perfectly and it also appears as though many more winner's circle appearances are in her future. As for her male counterpart, Its Pointless just goes to the front and widens from there, with the Mark Anderson-owned, Gordie Graham-trained, James Kennedy-driven son of Kent's On Nuke currently too much for his rivals. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

A pair of $7,000 California Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacers and a $10,220 carryover in the 10-cent Single 6 are the highlights on Friday night's harness racing program at Cal Expo Harness, There will be 10 races presented under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:40 p.m. In addition to the Single 6 carryover, a reminder that there are two wagers offered each night with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 20-cent Pick 5 on the first five races and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 4 comes with a $40,000 guaranteed gross pool on Saturdays and a $30,000 guaranteed pool on Fridays. Friday's Sire Stakes will go as the first and fifth races on the evening and there will also be a pair of $4,800 pacing events going as the co-features and occupying the second and eighth race slots. The opener is for colts and geldings and will find the Gordie Graham barn represented by Its Pointless and Itsonlymakebelieve,, while Bob Johnson will send out White Knuckle Ride and Junior Wilkinson has Good To Be Glad in the line-up. The fifth race features the distaff set and Graham also has two in that contest with Debit Or Credit and Winhavetime in the cast. Robin Clements conditions Prom Queen; Bob Johnson trains Le Montrachet and Edwin Hernandez will send out Akanay.  Drivers prove age is just a number Part Time and Fly Away were bookend winners on last Saturday's program for trainer Steve Wiseman, with Scott Ehrlich owning Part Time while Fly Away races for Ehrlich and Kathie Plested. What makes it so interesting is the fact that Part Time was guided to victory by 74-year-old Gerry Longo in the opener, while 19-year-old Jacob Cutting did the honors behind Fly Away in the finale. Part Time is a 9-year-old Illinois-bred who has an Open victory to his credit at this meet and has proven to be an excellent claim by Ehrlich, has been trained to the minute by Wiseman and Plested and has had a perfect pilot in Longo. "I sure appreciate Steve and Scott putting me up on Part Time because he's a good horse who comes home good," Longo related. "He's my kind of horse, one that can be right there when he gets the trip, and he got there for us on Saturday." As far as still doing his thing at 74, Longo said, "As long as I'm competitive and doing well, this old guy is happy to stay driving." Meanwhile, Fly Away took care of business to the tune $21 in the Saturday nitecap and this 11-year-old showed once again that he loves to sit back and blast home as he made his second trip to the winner's circle from his last three appearances. "He's a solid horse who had plenty of go with a trip like that," winning pilot Cutting stated. "I couldn't ask for any better drives from either guy," Ehrlich added. "What cracks me up is that Cutting is 8 years older than Fly Away, and Gerry is 65 years older than Part Time." By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness  

The California Sires Stakes program is still accepting yearling nominations for foals of 2018. 2018 Foals from stallions in the DHA program from the states of California, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine and Alberta, Canada may still nominate until December 31st 2019 for $300. Payment must be postmarked by Dec 31st. To submit a payment, forms may be downloaded at our CHHA website at www.chhaonline.com under the sires stakes tab. by Robin Clements, for the California Sire Stakes

The California sires stakes nominations for foals of 2018 is due by July 1st with a payment of $150.00. Any 2018 foals of DHA stallions nominated to the harness racing program are eligible to nominate. DHA stallions from the states of California, Wisconsin, Iowa,  Minnesota, Michigan, Mine and Alberta Canada are eligible to the program. Also, California sired only foals of 2017 have a sustaining payment of $250.00 due by July 1st. Payments must be postmarked by July 1st 2019. Forms  for 2017 and 2018  foals can be downloaded from  chhaonline.com and mailed with payment to  : CSSSC   PO box 254509  Sacramento California 95865. The flyer can be seen with the schedule and conditions. By Robin Clements  

The 10-year-old trotting mare Silverlode and Steve Wiseman have made quite the pair over the last couple of months, teaming to win three of their last five starts at the head of the harness racing class. Included among those victories is romping score in the Joe Lighthill Trot on February 23, with the 2:57 2/5 clocking for the mile and a half journey resulting in a new North American record for the elongated distance over a mile track. Silverlode was bred by Steve and Vickie Desomer and earned a good chunk of her $242,000 bank account while racing for them. She now goes about her business for Medinah Racing and Kathie Plested with Kathie and Wiseman calling the shots since late last year when she returned from the Midwest. "This mare and Kathie and I have a lot of history, because we were working for Steve and Vickie when she was racing at 2 and 3," Wiseman noted. "The Desomers always thought she had a lot of talent, and she's matured with age and is a real professional." Silverlode has completely dominated her opposition in the last two top dances for the trotting set, following her score in the Lighthill with a nearly six-length romp in the most ecent Open Trot two weeks ago. On both occasions, she has settled early, made a brush to the lead midway and taken complete control of things from that point. "That's really her preferred style and it's worked out perfectly in the last two starts." Silverlode will be suiting up once again in Saturday night's featured fifth race."The plan is to race her a few more times and then take her back to Running Aces for the summer," Wiseman said. Jim Grundy Memorial, Open Pace head card A very contentious $6,500 Open Pace and the $4,500 Jim Grundy Memorial for pacing fillies and mares get the marquee treatment Friday evening at Cal Expo. There will be 12 races under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post at 6:10 p.m., and there will also be three California Sire Stakes to be decided as non-betting events prior to the regular program. A solid case can made for each of the half-dozen performers in the Open Pace. Blue Star Maverick is a 6-year-old son of As Promised who is owned by Lorne Duffield, takes his lessons from Kathie Plested and will have Mooney Svendsen giving directions. He accounted for the Shelly Goudreau Final on February 23, was runner-up in the Open Pace two weeks ago and then prevailed by a head in a blanket finish in the most recent top dance for the division last week. Eastender and Bettor In The Bank dead-heated for second in that affair. The former is owned by Maryann Plano and Nikki Hudson with Luke Plano reining and training, while Bettor In The Bank carries the banner of Debra McCarthy, hails from the Gordie Graham shedrow and has James Kennedy back at the controls. Eastender captured a conditioned race on February 22, then came right back to post a 23-1 upset in the Open Pace the following week. He sat a tracking trip for Plano to the stretch last week, took the lead at the midway point of the drive and just failed to last that evening. Bettor In The Bank came flying to be right in that tight finish last week and has used his strong closing kick to account for half of his 10 trips to the post this season. He won back-to-back Open Paces last month and has found himself with too much work to do in the stretch in his last two appearances. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

George Reider appears to have a nice prospect for the upcoming California Sire Stakes in the harness racing gelding Prideofthesierras, who put it all together last weekend in his fourth start with Steve Wiseman in the sulky. A son of Little Steven out of the Personal Power mare Brooklets Kia, Prideofthesierras was bred by Rick and Marlene Thomas and they co-own along with Reider and Dave and Rob Haness. George had tipped in a column back in December that he felt this was a promising youngster, and nothing this pacer has done in the interim has made him change his opinion. "He's the second offspring from the mare, who also had Feeling Fancy Free, and it really is two different tales," Reider noted. "She is very small and very high strung, but he's big and strong with a very nice demeanor. He trained down so nice we've had high hopes all along." Now it's time for Prideofthesierras to get serious, as the first round of Sire Stakes action for the class of 2015 is upon us. "We've got 12 weeks for the six stakes races, and I'm very excited for the connections," George said. "As far as plans for the summer go, we'll see how he progresses toward the end of the meet and go from there." As usual, Reider is quick to point out that a trainer is only as good as his help, with Juan and Chicky being singled out for their excellent work behind the scenes. Pacing fillies and mares command the spotlight An excellent $6,600 Distaff Open Pace serves as the main event at Cal Expo Saturday night with a very contentious cast of nine set to face the starter. There are 11 races on tap and the Watch and Wager LLC card gets under way at 6:10 p.m. The headliner will be the eighth event of the evening. Last week's Filly and Mare Open turned out to be a thriller, with Delightfully Wild getting home by a nose over Blue Note, with that pair a length and three-quarters ahead of Shesamysterytome at the wire. Delightfully Wild is a 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight who races for Richard Morita and David Yamada, is conditioned by Lino Pacheco and will have James Kennedy back at the controls while leaving from the No. 7 slot. In last week's clash, the bay miss relaxed early, came first over at the half, continued on gamely in the lane and wore down pace-setting Blue Note by a nose in a 1:54 4/5 tour. It was her third win from seven starts on the year. Blue Note is going in razor-sharp form for owner/trainer Rick Cisco and will have the services of Luke Plano. She has won three of her last seven starts, including a victory in the Alan Kirschenbaum Final on February 2. She has been runner-up in the other four efforts, including that narrow setback at most recent asking. Completing the field are Capitol Hill, Shark Festival, Poorlittlerichgirl, Sparkin Your Fire, Getter Queen Flush, Shesamysterytome and Melodies That Rock. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

A quartet of California Sire Stakes for the 3 and 4-year-old pacers and will be showcased on closing night of the Watch and Wager LLC harness meet Saturday, with first post for the 12-race harness racing card set for 6:15 p.m. The team of owner/breeders Wayne and Rod Knittel, trainer Bob Johnson and driver Mooney Svendsen should be tough in both the stakes for the males, with Army Of One heading the 3-year-old contest and Allymx'sliventexas strictly the one to beat in the event for the 4-year-olds. A Hi Ho Silverheels' homebred, Army Of One has accounted for five of the six added-money contests for this group. Allmyx'sliventexas has dominated his division all season, establishing his lifetime mark of 1:51 4/5 while romping home by double digits in the February 4 stakes clash. In last week's score, Army Of One changed his tactics from front-end performances to coming from last in the compact cast for Svendsen and prevailing in the final strides with the 1:56 3/5 clocking, a second off the career standard he set in the February 25 Sire Stakes. *** Final figures at this Watch and Wager LLC meet will be encouraging all the way around, including an average nightly handle of over $802,000, representing a 4.5 percent increase over the previous meet. Field size also went up from 7.6 starters per race to 7.9, while there will have been 666 races run here this season compared to 612 at the last session. *** This being closing night of the meet, there will be mandatory payouts in all wagers. Harness racing is scheduled to return to Cal Expo on Saturday, October 2 Wayne Oke retiring following Saturday card Best wishes to Wayne Oke, who will be retiring from the steward's stand following the final race here at Cal Expo on Saturday night. "I would like to thank the CHRB for the opportunity afforded me," said Oke. "Also to express my thanks to all those I have worked with the past 10 years. Most importantly, the many friends I have made over those same years, I will never forget you." Wayne recalls getting his first taste of harness racing at the age of 8 in his hometown of Port Perry, Ontario. "The town was, and still is, a hotbed for harness," he related. "As with all youngsters growing up in small communities in Canada, though, my attention turned to hockey and was the focus of my young life." That dream ended for Wayne at the age of 18, when he blew out his knee while playing in the Boston Bruins farm system, thus ending those aspirations. He turned back to harness racing and is happy he did. "I actually worked in the business world for 12 years before I got into harness racing on a full-time basis," Oke explained. "Over the last 30-plus years I've probably worked at every major racetrack in North America. When I settled in Kentucky, I met and became friends with Marc Guilfoil, who was then the presiding judge at all tracks in the state." It was at Guilfoil's suggestion that Wayne took the judge's exam and began working with Marc in various capacities. In addition to working as a steward (or judge as they are referred to in the Bluegrass State), he has also been a racing secretary and a starter. It was after attending an accreditation course at Los Alamitos that he was approached concerning an opening for state steward by the CHRB and took up residence in the stand at Cal Expo. "The difficulties of converting from a long-time participant in racing to an official can be many," Oke said. "I've found that as long as you treat everyone with respect and are consistent and use common sense in your application of the rules, everything will work out fine." Of course, being a steward for harness racing and holding the same job with Thoroughbreds can be very different. "We have to be conscious of the horse's gait, their position relative to the pylons, as well as obvious concerns over interference and the drivers' adherence to the rules. "The function of the stewards in harness racing also varies greatly relative to the interaction with the racing office and other racing officials. The staffs tend to be smaller, requiring a more hands-on approach from the stewards." By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness      

Army Of One and Western Devil, who have dominated the division this season, go at it once again in Saturday night's harness racing featured $6,500 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacing males. An 11-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post at 6:15 p.m. There will also be a California Sire Stakes for the sophomore fillies to be decided as a non-betting affair prior to the regular card. Army Of One is a homebred son of Hi Ho Silverheel's and the Artsplace mare Aftermatch who races for Wayne and Rod Knittel, takes his lessons from Bob Johnson and will as usual have Mooney Svendsen guiding. The Knittel performer accounted for the first four Sire Stakes of the season in impressive fashion on the frond end, but had to settle for second in the most recent big-money clash on April 8 as Western Devil overpowered him in the final stages that evening. The latter is a Power Of Art homebred who races for Frank Nevarez, is conditioned by Edwin Quevedo and has Luke Plano giving directions. After checking in second behind arch-rival Army Of One in the three of the first four stakes gathering, he was able to turn the table in that last one while coming home smartly. Taking them on are Muscle Beach, who also hails from the Johnson barn and will have Steve Wiseman in the sulky; and Firstdibbs, who will have the services of James Kennedy. Next week will feature the final two nights of the current meet, with programs slated for Friday and Saturday, May 5 and 6. Harness racing is scheduled to return to Cal Expo in late October Arnold, Bergstein lived up to the billing Last week's Stan Bergstein Trot and Lloyd Arnold Pace showcased some top performers, with Zoraze scoring a decisive win in the former while I'm An Athlete hung a nose decision on favored Barbarian in the Arnold. Despite not having seen evening action since January 13, Zoraze was certainly ready to rock and roll in the Bergstein off a pair of qualifiers for the team of owner Jamie Marra, trainer Sparky Clarke and pilot Luke Plano. Zoraze left into a perfect pocket trip from his No. 2 slot, took command on the final bend and then left the field in his dust once straightened for home in a 1:56 peformance. At the wire, it was some three and three-quarter lengths back to the hard-hitting mare My Little Susie, with favored Flameon checking in third. The Clarke/Plano team looked poised to pull off the Bergstein/Arnold double with Barbarian the following night, or at least that's what the public thought as they sent Robert Orr colorbearer off at 40 cents on the dollar. I'm An Athlete had other ideas, however, as the Lino Pacheco trainee proved ultra game on the front-end for James Kennedy and prevailed by a nose over Barbarian in a 1:53 2/5 tour. It was the fourth victory in the last five starts for the 7-year-old son of Art Major, who carries the banner of Ronald Rettig-Zucchi and pushed his career bankroll close to the $140,000 mark with that decision. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Friday's main event is the $10,000 Kirk Breed Pace for harness racing pacing fillies and mares with Hare To Eternity, Shark Festival and Mikeleh among the major players. First post for the 12-race Watch and Wager LLC card is 6:15 p.m. and there is a carryover in the 50-cent Pick 6 of $12,279, with the sequence covering races six through nine on the card. The supporting card includes an Open Handicap Pace that goes as the first race and a California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old trotters. The Kirk Breed Pace is named for the man who was the Executive Director of the California Horse Racing Board and previously served as a board member and general manager of the State Fair here at Cal Expo. Kirk Breed passed away in 2013 at the age of 73 after a battle with cancer. During Gov. Jerry Brown's first term in 1979, Mr. Breed was appointed general manager at Cal Expo and was credited with turning around the event's financial fortunes during lean times. He later became a lobbyist on behalf of the racing industry and also served eight years on the Cal Expo board of directors. Mr. Breed served as executive director of the California Horse Racing Board from 2008 until his death. During those five-plus years, he oversaw the regulatory agency's day-to-day business. He was involved in such high-profile issues as the restriction of the use of steroids; the reduction of permissible levels of bute; the transformation of the Santa Anita main track from a troubled synthetic to a dirt surface. "In his years as executive director, Kirk Breed provided invaluable guidance and counsel to everyone who served on the board," said former racing board chairman David Israel. "No one was more dedicated to assuring the welfare of the horse, the well-being of the participants and the integrity of the sport than Kirk." The Oklahoma native attended Oklahoma State on a football scholarship in the 1950s, while as the same time helping his father, who trained a stable of quarter horses. After graduating with a degree in zoology, Mr. Breed volunteered for the Peace Corps, spending time in Chile and Columbia and working at the State Department in Washington, D.C. Looking at the Breed field, Hare To Eternity is a 6-year-old daughter of Mister Big out of the Jenna's Beach Boy mare Hare Trigger who races for the partnership of Arnstine, Chambers and Wiseman with Kathleen Plested training. She went over the $100,000 mark in earnings when she sat a pocket trip and prevailed in a conditioned event on March 31, then stopped up to the Distaff Open two weeks ago and prevailed by a length over favored Mikeleh after being up close and personal during the mile. Mikeleh is a George Reider trainee who carries the banner of Little Bapa LLC. The Western Ideal mare made a big move to the lead in that aforementioned gathering at this level, showed the way to deep stretch and was unable to contain Hare To Eternity when push came to shove. The Plested barn will also be represented by Shark Festival, a Shadow Play mare owned by Medinah Racing and Scott Ehrlich. She will be looking for her fourth win on the year from 10 trips to the post. Rounding out the cast for the Kirk Breed are the Gerry Longo-conditioned pair of Sparkin Your Fire and Kiss On The Lips; Blue Note from the Rick Cisco barn; and the Lino Pacheco-trained Delightfully Wild. The field for the Sire Stakes, from the rail out: Gravel Girl with Mooney Svendsen; Bo Plenty, George Luster; Indio Azteca, who will be guided by Steve Wiseman; Never Onebadchange, Pierre Girard; Lodi Puppycat with Luke Plano; and Lodi Jazz Player, who will have the services of Chip Lackey. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Friday evening'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 50 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, 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. 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 1950's. 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 Bergstein also spearheaded the creation of Standardbred Investigative Services, a security agency modeled on the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau. A native of Illinois, 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 Sportsmans 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. Its been a great ride, doing something I love." Gene Vallandingham first met Stan Bergstein in 1959 when he was working for the legendary Joe OBrien. "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." Bergstein Trot, Sire Stakes, Pick 5 carryover The $10,000 Stan Bergstein Trot headed by Flameon; a California Sire Stakes and a $10,241 carryover in the Pick 5 are the highlights on Friday night's program at Cal Expo. There will be 12 races presented under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:15 p.m. The Sire Stakes features Lodi Puppycat and will go as the sixth race, while the Bergstein is slated as the ninth event on the card. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent wager that is conducted on the first five races and there will be a $40,000-guaranteed pool. The Pick 5 also comes with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate, which is also the case with the 20-cent Pick4, which has a $30,000-guaranteed pool on Fridays and $40,000 guarantee on Saturdays. Looking at the Bergstein, Flameon will be making his first evening appearance since January 13 but sports a couple of sharp qualifiers under his belt in the interim and looms large in this cast for owner Mark Anderson, trainer Gordie Graham and pilot James Kennedy. A 7-year-old son of Angus Hall out of the Valleymeister mare Benn's Fire, Flameon has captured 20 of his 44 career appearances with $95,000 in his bank account and a 1:55 3/5 mark that was established two years ago. The hard-hitting performer has won three of his starts at this meet at the Open level, with the most recent coming on December 16. In his last start, he was second to Silverlode after carving out all the fractions that evening. Taking him on are Franky Provolone, Zoraze, Swift Cougar, My Little Susie, Cadet, Kickinitwithkohler, Shez So Sassy and Silverhill Volo. In the Sire Stakes, Lodi Puppycat will be challenged by Ldo Jazz Player, Gravel Girl, Indio Azteca, Bo Plenty and Never Onebadchange. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

After a brief hiatus, the 10-year-old trotter Franky Provolone entered the winner's circle last weekend while returning $25 to his harness racing backers in the process. The veteran sidewheeler is owned and trained by Robin Clements and was given a perfect trip by Mooney Svendsen from the cozy rail start, igniting when it counted to post a two-length score over the sloppy going. "I figured Franky would run well, but I wasn't expecting to beat (4-5) Cadet as we were going up in class," Clements related after the win. "The race fell his way and Mooney gave him the perfect drive." The win pushed the son of Armbro Scribe over the $212,000 earnings plateau and he established his lifetime standard of 1:55 4/5 three years ago. "He's my all-time favorite horse and a pleasure to be around and work with," Robin noted. "He's got a great personality and is such a happy horse. Yet he does have a little playful side to him when he takes a nip at you and then looks the other way, as if to say I didn't do that." It's horses like Franky Provolone that make harness racing so much fun to follow, as they go out there each and every week and give everything they have. Here's hoping this guy makes a lot more trips to the winner's circle before he calls it a career. By the way, his upset last Friday night sparked some pretty nice payoffs in addition to this $25 win mutuel. The exacta paid $123 for a buck, the trifecta came back $85 for a mere 20-cent investment and the superfecta payout was $120 for each winning 10-cent ticket. Sire Stakes, Open II Pace headline card A California Sire Stakes for 4-year-old trotters featuring My Little Susie and an Open II Pace that brings out Jazzmanian Devil and Why Ask Why are the highlights on Friday night's program at Cal Expo. There will be 12 races presented by Watch and Wager LLC, with first post set for xxx. The Sire Stales goes as the third event, while the Open II Pace occupies the eighth-race slot. My Little Susie is clearly the one to beat in the Sire Stakes as this mare has dominated both big-money events for the division decided this year. The 4-year-old daughter of Claudius Augustus is owned by A Piece Of The Action LLC, is conditioned by Gene Vallandingham and will have Mooney Svendsen at the controls. The bay miss was a seven and a half-length victress in the initial Sire Stakes for his group on May 3, then played the role of stalker in the most recent clash on March 3 and drew off in the stretch by three and three-quarter lengths. No matter how things shake out early, she figures to be tough once again. Taking her on are Lodi Bank Robber for Pierre Girard; Breezani, Chip Lackey; Yes She Will, who will have the services of William Hernandez; and Delta Breezeoflodi with Luke Plano at the helm. In the co-featured Open II Pace, Why Ask Why is a 7-year-old son of No Pan Intended who carries the banner of Windy City Farm with Chip Lackey doing the driving and training. He was a sharp runner-up to Barbarian in the March 17 Open and will be looking for his third win on the year from a dozen trips to the post. Completing the field are Jazzmanian Devil, Bettormeboy, Anderlecht, Buddy's Hope and Rusty Carter. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Barbarian, in razor-sharp form with a harness racing hat trick in tow, will now be asked to do his work from the assigned No. 10 post position in Saturday night's Open Pace at Cal Expo. There will be 12 races decided under the Watch and Wager LLC banner and things will get underway at 6:15 p.m. The Open Pace occupies the eighth-race slot on the card and there will also be a pair of California Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacers going as non-betting contests before the regular card. Barbarian is a 6-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the Western Ideal mare Rightous Renee who carries the banner of Robert Orr, is conditioned by Sparky Clarke and will once again have Luke Plano at the controls. The hard-hitting performer was 7-2 when he made every pole a winning one in the February 24 Open as Plano was able to carve out the fractions without challenge and came to the line with four and a half-lengths on his nearest rival in a sparkling 1:52 4/5 mile. In his March 10 tally, Barbarian left from the outside slot in a field of seven and was dispatched as the 6-5 favorite. Once again they were able to set the tune up front, this time with fairly modest splits, and held safe by a neck over a fast-finishing Doc's Deal that evening. In his most recent appearance, the Clarke colorbearer was dispatched as the even-money choice and once again did no disappoint as he made every pole a winning one in a 1:53 2/5 mile. It will be interesting to see how things shake out now that he has the testing No. 10 slot. Taking him on this weekend are Allymx'sliventexas from the Bob Johnson barn, the Chip Lackey-trained pair of Why Ask Why and Doc's Deal; Lodi Machette Man from the Kathleen Plested barn; and the Lino Pacheco-conditioned Bettormeboy. Reduced takeout wagers offer great value There are two bets here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 50-cent Pick 5 on the first five events and the 20-cent Pick 4 on the penultimate four races on the program. The latter also features a $40,000 guaranteed gross pool. Last Friday night, despite the Pick 4 kicking off with Barbarian proving a punctual even-money favorite in the Open Pace, three nice-priced winners followed and the 20-cent ticket returned a whopping $32,756. To put things in perspective, using the normal takeout rate, the Pick 4 would have returned $29,246, a difference of a cool $3,510. Now that's value. Driver Chip Lackey had a lot to do with that healthy payoff, as he piloted Cenalta Diesel ($29) and Cantholdmebackmack ($17) for trainers Edwin Quevedo and Lino Pacheco, respectively in the two middle races. The icing on the cake came when David Siegel guided V Mack to a $46 upset for trainer George Reider in the final leg, also triggering a large exacta, trifecta and superfecta in the process. Whether favorites, longshots or a mix of those complete the Pick 4 and Pick 5, you are assured of getting maximum value with that reduced takeout in place. Jump right in, the pool is fine. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

With a recent legislative bill passed, The California Sires Stakes harness racing committee has approved pacing stallion owners from Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Maine and Alberta, Canada to register their stallions to the Calif. Stakes program, starting with the 2017 breeding season. To be eligible for the 2017 breeding season, Pacing stallions must be nominated to the California Sires Stakes program by the extended date of 4/1/17. To obtain a registration form, you can go to chhaonline.com , csssc@chhaonline.com or contact Donna Newman at  916-919-7469. Again, this is for pacing stallions only from the states of Minnesota, Michigan, Maine, Iowa, Wisconsin and Alberta,Canada. By Robin Clements  

Harness racing driver Luke Plano was posing for pictures after both Opens at Cal Expo last week, guiding Barbarian to victory in the Open Pace for Sparky Clarke and prevailing in the Open Trot with Silverlode for Team Desomer. Barbarian went coast-to-coast in the Open Pace as the 7-2 third choice, leaving his nearest rival four and a quarter lengths in his wake while polishing off a 1:52 4/5 mile. "It was actually the first time I've ever driven him," Luke related. "Sparky told me he was a Cadillac, which you hear quite a bit when you're a catch driver, but in this case it was true because he has great manners. "He left it up to me as far as strategy is concerned and he was push button away from there and just cruising up front. They gave him a lot of respect and he came home great." Silverlode was capturing her third straight Open Trot, this time doing her work from the demanding No. 10 post position. It didn't matter, as she sat last early, made a steady move to the leaders by the half and got the job done by a length to go over the $150,000 mark for Steve and Vickie Desomer. "She was real relaxed behind the gate and I saw a couple of them being aggressive, so I just let her drift back at the start," Plano explained. "The previous mile she had raced so strong from behind, it gave me a lot of confidence. "She was coming from what would seem to be an impossible start, bit I actually think the slower fractions helped her because she was able to advance quickly when I swung her out and she even picked up a little unexpected cover on the turn. She's a real nice mare." Pair of Sire Stakes atop the marquee A pair of California Sire Stakes for 4-year-olds headline the Saturday night Cal Expo card, with Allyx'sliventexas getting top billing into the male division and Kissed The Boys seeking another added-money score in the distaff end. There will be 12 races presented under the Watch and Wager LLC banner and the action gets under way at 6:15 p.m. The Sire Stakes will go as the first and third races on the evening. Allymyx'sliventexas is strictly the one to beat in the Sire Stakes for the boys. The homebred son of Hi Ho Silverheel's and the Distinguishedbaron mare Annie Get Your Gun races for Wayne and Rod Knittel with Bob Johnson and the conditioner and Mooney Svendsen in the sulky. In the first stakes dance of the year on February 4, Allymx'sliventexas was sent off the 1-9 favorite and looked every bit the part, as he romped home by 11 lengths over stablemate Mathachusetts while lowering his lifetime mark to 1:51 4/5 in the process. Taking him on this weekend are stablemate Mathachusetts; Midnight Adventure from the Gordie Graham barn; the Edwin Quevado-trained West For Gold; and Rock Of Ages from the Sal Wensceslao shedrow. Looking at the Sire Stakes for the mares, Kissed The Boys is a converted trotter who is owned and bred by Desomer Stables with Vickie Desomer training and husband Steve handling the lines. A stakes winner on the trot, Kissed The Boys made her first start as a pacer in the February 4 Sire Stakes and got the job done, albeit with some trouble behind her in the stretch. Set to line up against her Saturday are Plain Awesome, Be My Lucky Lady, Little Emma and Feeling Fancy Free. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

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