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Frank's Best is the type of trotter that has everybody in the race looking over their shoulders when the racing gets serious, having used his long-fused tactics to put nearly $180,000 in the bank for his owner/trainer/breeder Bob Johnson. "That's his cup of tea," driver Mooney Svendsen explained when asked about the 6-year-old son of Armbro Scribe. "You give him any kind of trip to the stretch and he'll give you a :27 and change final quarter. He loves to race and he absolutely loves this track." While Franks Best had raced strictly to that wait until the stretch style in his first three starts at this meet, Svendsen decided to take a little different tact and moved much earlier with his charge in last week's clash in the Open Trot. The result was his second win at the stand, albeit in unusual fashion. "Opening week here everything worked out nicely and he looped the field and won," Mooney explained. "But then the next race we were stuck behind poor cover that only went about 10 feet and then the start after that we were forced to zig and zag and he came home in :27 2/5, but had too much to do. "The plan last week was to be aggressive if they tried to go too slow up front, and that's exactly the way it was setting up to the half. I moved him out, he hooked up with his stablemate (Inside Broadway) on the last turn and then was able to open up into the stretch and he held. He gave me a real nice burst when I popped his earplugs." Frank's Best will suit up once again with Svendsen giving directions in Saturday night's co-featured tenth race. Racing secretary Fred Kuebler has assigned the hard-hitting sidewheler the outside post in the field of eight, which familiar rivals as last week's tough luck runner-up Axle and barnmate Inside Broadway, both of whom have posed for snapshots at the top run at this meeting. A REMINDER THERE ARE THREE WAGERS EACH NIGHT WITH A REDUCED 16 PERCENT TAKEOUT RATE. THEY ARE THE 50-CENT PICK FIVE THAT BEGINS ON THE THIRD RACE; THE 20-CENT PICK 4 ON THE FINAL FOUR RACES; AND THE 10-CENT HI-FIVE ON THE NIGHTCAP. Phantom Dan, Frank's Best headline co-features Saturday's 12-race program at the Watch and Wager LLC meet at Cal Expo spotlights some of the top performers on the grounds as Phantom Dan has top billing in the Open Pace and Franks Best looms the one to beat in the Open Trot. Phantom Dan is a 5-year-old son of Little Steven out of the Precious Bunny mare Yankee Siloh who is owned by James Kennedy and Jennifer Burns and is reined and trained by Kennedy. He established his mark of 1:53 1/5 here earlier in the season and is looking to pull off a hat trick. Phantom Dan took the measure of conditioned rivals on October 26 and posted an easier-than-looks victory with Kennedy that evening. Moving up to the Open ranks while assigned the outside post proved no problem for the bay gelding at most recent asking, as he once again zipped right top and prevailed by a length and a quarter as the 3-5 favorite in that affair. One And Only was making his first appearance since a summer campaign at Vernon Downs and was a solid runner-up last week. The Bettor's Delight offspring has gone a number of big miles over this layout and will be looking to turn the tables for owners Richard Morita and David Yamada, conditioner Lino Pacheco and driver Luke Plano. Franks Best is a multiple stakes winner who comes into this assignment with nearly $180,000 on his card and a 1:56 2/5 mark. He is owned, trained and was bred by Bob Johnson and Mooney Svendsen will once again handle the lines behind the 6-year-old son of Armbro Scribe. The Johnson colorbearer got the job done at the head of the class on opening week, looping the field turning for home to win going away by a length and a half, then had to settle for a second and a third in his next two outings. Franks Best returned to his winning ways in the last clash among the best trotters on the grounds, making a big move by the half to the lead, opening up straightening for home and then just holding over a fast-closing Axle. The latter is a 4-year-old who was claimed for $5,000 in August at Running Aces and has recorded two sharp wins and two seconds in the interim for owners Dave Siegel, Bob Thronson, Greg Robinson and George Reider. Reider is the conditioner and co-owner Siegel will once again be at the controls. By Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness  

James Kennedy had never driven the 4-year-old trotter Inside Broadway prior to opening night here at Cal Expo, but in the ensuing three weeks they have formed a solid partnership that resulted in a win at the head of the class last weekend. Inside Broadway, who is owned, trained and was bred by Bob Johnson, checked in fourth in his first start at this stand after making an extended first-over move at the half, then was hard-used early in his next appearance and garnered the show money. In last week's tour, the trotter flexed his muscles with Kennedy's guidance and motored away to an impressive two and a half-length score. "Bob really didn't give me any instructions for that first start," James related when asked about the October 5 outing. "I came first-over with him out of last, he gave it a good try to deep stretch and then I got the impression he was a little short. "I played it by ear for the second start and decided to leave with him. He had to be used pretty hard in that opening quarter and I was happy with the effort. It set him up nicely for last time." Sent off at 9-2 from the No. 5 post for his most recent appearance, Inside Broadway was able to take a three-hole tuck around the first turn while tracking Running Aces invader Rich Dessert. He was out to engage the leader turning for home, took a clear advantage soon after straightening for home and left little doubt in a powerful mile. "I though it would be in our best interest to leave strong and make the top, at least for a little while," Kennedy noted. "That didn't happen, but fortunately I was able to duck in and drop third. He felt really strong when I pulled him and he made the lead into the stretch. To be honest, I was surprised he won that easily. Surprised, but very happy." Will James Kennedy be pleasantly surprised again? We'll find out after Saturday night's second race where Inside Broadway leaves from the No. 4 slot in the field of six. Hoping to spoil a curtain call are Axle and Franks Best to this outside and Alpine Hawk, Rich Dessert and Sharpshootennorris to his inside. Top pacers, top trotters sharing the spotlight Inside Broadway was a game first-over winner in last week's clash at the head of the division and eyes an encore in the Open 2 Trot, while Phantom Dan and One And Only are among the leading players in the co-featured Open 2 Pace at Cal Expo Saturday night. A 13-race card is on tap with first post set at 6:10 p.m. A 4-year-old son of Broadway Hall out of the American Winner mare Inside Edition, Inside Broadway is owned, trained and was bred by Bob Johnson and will once again have James Kennedy giving directions. It had been a rather lean season for the trotter coming into last week's action, with just one victory to show from 22 trips to the post on the year, but the Johnson representative made 9-2 look like a gift. He left for third-place tuck for Kennedy, was first-over going into the final bend to put away the leader and drew off by two and a half-lengths in a 1:58 3/5 tour. Axle was a solid runner-up at 9-1 that evening and is coming off back-to-back big tries here, having taken the measure of a softer group in his previous outing. George Reider trains and co-owns the son of Hard Rock N Roll, who was claimed for $5,000 at Running Aces in August. David Siegel will be at the controls once again and he co-owns the trotter with Reider, Bob Thronson and Greg Robinson. Alpine Hawk is a fan favorite with many victories over this layout and has to be respected with Rich Wojcio in the sulky. He is on the verge of going over the $200,000 earnings mark and was an easier-than-looks winner at this level two weeks ago. Jim Winske owns and he hails from the Gordie Graham barn. Franks Best gives the Bob Johnson barn another solid look at the outcome. A multiple stakes winner at this layout with $176,000 in the bank, he is looking to make amends after checking in third last weekend as the 9-5 choice. The son of Armbro Scribe can really roll home in the lane and always makes it interesting. The Open Pace looms a contentious affair and they will line up as follows from the rail: Thedeadliestcast for trainer Gordie Graham; In Confident for the Bob Johnson barn; Giant Sculpture for driver/trainer Gene Vallandingham; the Lino Pacheco-conditioned One And Only and Phantom Dan for pilot/conditioner James Kennedy. by Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness  

One of the many four-legged new faces here this season is Axle, a 4-year-old trotter who is making himself very much at home since relocating from Minnesota and is fresh from getting his picture taken last weekend. Axle was claimed for $5,000 at Running Aces in August and has since won two of his four starts while carrying the banner of Dave Siegel, Bob Thronson, Greg Robinson and George Reider, with the latter handling training duties. Axle clicked in his first start for the new connections at Running Aces while equaling his lifetime mark of 1:57 4/5 in the process. He met some tough types in his initial two outings at this meet and then got some class relief last weekend and prevailed with some aggressive handling by owner/driver Siegel. "Dave Siegel picked this horse out and I've always wanted to go in partnership with him and the opportunity finally opened up," Reider related when asked about the son of Hard Rock N Roll. "I was actually at Hoosier Park, but I did have three horses at Running Aces with my assistant trainer Kim Hines and we wired her the money and she put in the claim. "He got a great drive from Mooney (Svendsen) and won in his first start for us back there, and he's turned in three good efforts since coming here. I thought he was real game the other night for Dave and he certainly has the chance to get better. He was kind of a nervous type when he first got here, but he's settled down the last couple of weeks and that's very important with a trotter." Axle suits up Saturday night in the Open 2 Handicap Trot, where the water gets deeper as he takes on the likes of Alpine Hawk and Franks Best while leaving from the No. 3 slot with Siegel back at the helm. He'll definitely get a good test in that spot. Series finales, Open Trot headline program Four California Harness Legends late-closing pacing series finals and an Open 2 Trot headed by Alpine Hawk and Franks Best are the main attractions on the 14-race program at the Watch and Wager LLC meet at Cal Expo on Saturday night. A reminder that beginning next week, the schedule here will switch to Friday and Saturday action. The first series finale is the Mike Corley, which should find one of the heaviest favorites of the evening in I O One. The 4-year-old son of Cambest races for Fabian and Edwin Alberto Quevedo with Raul Escobedo the trainer and Luke Plano at the helm. I O One has rewarded the chalkplayers at 6-5 and 1-2 through the first two legs while leaving little doubt on either occasion. The Bill Conlin final has Serious Art and Live A Little once again figuring to command most of the tote attention after finishing one-two in the first two legs. Live A Little went coast-to-coast for owner/trainer Bob Johnson and driver Mooney Svendsen opening night, while Series Art was taking bows after their most recent meeting in a game performance for owner/trainer Nathalie Tremblay and Luke Plano. The Annette Funicello for fillies and mares goes as race No. 11 on the evening. Windy City Paige is looking to make a sweep of the three legs for owner Pamela Dunneback-Quirie, trainer Richad Dunneback and pilot James Kennedy. The 8-year-old daughter of Cole Muffler has made every pole a winning one in the opening two legs, most recently holding safe by a head over a game Mystically Mine. The Jim Dennis is headed by Lust, who put on a furious finish from last in the second leg after leaving from the demanding No. 10 post last weekend and won going away by three and a half lengths. Wiseman guides the Williams Hernandez/Georgette Wenceslao colorbearer, who just missed on opening week while also finishing powerfully. The Open 2 Trot is a handicap event that finds Racing Secretary Fred Kuebler assigning the outside two positions to the hard-hitting Franks Best and Alpine Hawk. The latter leaves from the extreme in the field of seven with Rich Wojcio at the controls, while Franks Best does his work from the No. 6 post with Mooney Svendsen giving directions. Franks Best got the job done at the head of the trotting division on opening week as the Bob Johnson owned, trained and bred performer looped the field to score. Alpine Hawk had some traffic troubles that evening, but had no such issues in their most recent meeting and was able to turn the tables with Wojcio. By Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness \  

When Terror Time crossed the wire first in last Saturday night's opener, it was another snapshot for the Robin Clements colorbearer and also marked a milestone for pilot Steve Wiseman as he reached the 2,000-win plateau. "Any time you win is great, but it was especially nice because it was Steve's 2,000th," Clements related after all the picture taking had been completed. A good-looking 6-year-old son of Western Terror with 145 starts on his resume and $145,000 in his bank account, Terror Time is one of those blue-collar workers who knows his job and comes to play week-in and week-out. "He's a stunning horse to look at and has a personality you've got to love," Robin noted. "He has his issues, though, one being that he sees ghosts! "When you train or jog him, you need to stay on your toes because you just never know when he's going to jump sideways. He wears a fly mask to help drown out the track monsters and shadows on the track." Clements claimed Terror Time for $4,000 here last November, and didn't do particularly well with the performer before he was taken back by his original connections. "I was searching for another horse to claim and looked at about 15, but I kept coming back to him because I had this feeling I was missing the boat. "I made a few changes when I got him the second time and he started doing well. I sent him to Minnesota this summer with Tim and Denise (Maier) as they had a spot for him and he had a good meet there. He came back in great shape, I gave him a few weeks off for some pasture rest and he's been strong. He's all heart and I wish I had four more like him." Terror Time will seek victory No. 21 when he suits up in Saturday night's 11th race from the outside slot, with Wiseman giving directions as he starts his long march to the joining the 3,000 club California Harness Legends Series continues The  second leg of the Bill Conlin, Annette Funicello, Jim Dennis and Mike Corley Pacing series and a simulcast of the complete Breeders Crown card from Pocono Downs head the bill at the Watch and Wager LLC Meet at Cal Expo on Saturday. The Breeders Crown simulcast set to begin at 2 p.m. Pacific Time, with such trotting superstars as Captaintreacherous and Bee A Magician in action at Pocono in what promises to be an outstanding card with championships on the line. First post for the live racing here at Cal Expo is 5:55 p.m. Looking at the second legs of the local series with the finales set for next week, Live A Little and Serious Art have established themselves as the big guns in the Bill Conlin after finishing one-two as the favorites last weekend. Live A Little made every pole a winning one from the No. 9 post for Mooney Svendsen, while Serious Art had a long, first-over trip from the second tier with Luke Plano and was a solid runner-up. The Jim Dennis is shaping up as another contest dominated by two performers as Emmasphere and Lust combined for a popular exact in the opening salvo. The former opened a daylight advantage turning for home, but needed the wire to come up just in time while holding safe over a long-fused Lust as that pair paced to their public support. Windy City Paige was well prepared by owner/trainer Richard Dunneback and captured the first leg of the Annette Funicello while making her first evening appearance since March. James Kennedy gunned the 8-year-old Cole Muffler mare into the stretch to open up five lengths, then just survived over another returnee in Poorlittlerichgirl as that one flew home when she got the chance to pace in the lane. The start of the Mike Corley series proved easy pickings for I O One, who was up close and personal throughout as the 6-5 chalk for Luke Plano and bid adios at the head of the stretch to post a three and a half-length decision. Fork In The Road put in a solid first-over try with James Kennedy and is certainly going to have a say in this event over the next two weeks. The second contest on the 14-race program is a $4,500 Open 2 Handicap for the pacing fillies and mares. Wild About Eagle, a 13-1 upsetter last week at this level for Steve Wiseman, has been assigned the outside post in the field of seven by Racing Secretary Fred Kuebler.   by Mark Ratzky for  Cal Expo Harness  

Hayworth Blue Chip and Jim Meittinis came into Friday night's $16,000 fillies and mares open pace with two straight second place finishes at Tioga Downs, and a third at Saratoga. She left on Friday night with her fifth victory of the 2013 harness racing season and shaved two seconds off of her lifetime mark with a 1:51.4 score.

The $10,000 Lloyd Arnold Pace is the main harness racing event Saturday night at Cal Expo, with the long-fused Cycle Power and the hard-hitting mare Haggin Oaks among the leading lights.

The second leg of the Richard Staley Trotting Series; the Rebecca Floyd Memorial and a pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes for 4-year-old harness racing mares hold the spotlight at Cal Expo on Friday evening.

The $7,950 finale of the Joe O'Brien Pacing series headlines Saturday night's harness racing program at the Watch and Wager LLC meeting at Cal Expo.

James Kennedy certainly had a way with the ladies last weekend, guiding his classy mare Haggin Oaks to a minor upset over One And Only and coming back a couple of hours later to account for a division of the opening leg of the Joe O'Brien series with his homebred Littlehannahsue.

His harness racing owners had to be deliriously happy when their beloved Los Angeles Kings met up with Lord Stanley on Monday night (June 11), so why not end the week with their Putoneonnetformom having his "Cup" runneth over as well.

Still fighting the good fight at age 12, Elegant Emma ended up in the Cal Expo winner's circle last week for owners Rick and Marlene Thomas, harness racing trainer George Reider and pilot James Kennedy.

Getting the lead in easier fashion than his last three harness racing outings easily was the key to Putoneonnetformom winning for the 23rd time in his career.

For the third straight start at Cal Expo, Albion will be leaving from the assigned No. 10 post position in Saturday night's (June 9) main harness racing event with Luke Plano in his usual position in the sulky. A winner of 11 of his 19 starts this season, the Matias Ruiz-trained pacer had no trouble with the demanding slot on May 18, as he ducked early and then brushed to the lead at the half en route to a two-length score.

Her post-position advantage turned out to make the difference, but no matter how you look at it, Haggin Oaks is one tough harness racing cookie. Winners-Over pacers, racing for a purse of $6,800, were featured at Cal Expo on Saturday night (June 2), on which Haggin Oaks, the lone lady in the race, won for the 25th time in her fine career.

Rite After Disbeer has certainly raised his profile among the 3-year-old trotting colts by virtue of back-to-back Sire Stakes decisions at Cal Expo, and he'll try to make it a hat trick when he suits up against his harness racing peers this weekend.

George Reider reports that the 3-year-old pacer Looks Don't Count didn't get that name by accident, but appearances aside he can now officially be called a harness racing stakes winner after capturing the first added-money contest of the season for his division last weekend.

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