Search Results
1 to 16 of 222
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

A $24,192 carryover in the Jackpot 6 and a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool for the Pick 4 are among the wagering highlights on Fridays harness racing program at Cal Expo. The Jackpot 6 and the Pick 4 are both offered with a reduced 16% takeout rate, along with the Pick 5 and the Hi-5. The Jackpot 6 and Hi-5 are 10-cent wagers; the Pick 5 is a 50-cent bet and the Pick 4 comes with a $30,000 guaranteed pool and can be purchased in 20-cent increments. Going into Fridays program, the carryover on the Jackpot 6 stands at just shy of $25,000. The 10-cent minimum wager pays out 70% of the net pool to the tickets with the most winners, with the remaining 30% designated for the carryover on those nights. When there is only one unique winning ticket selecting on all six winners, the entire net pool for that night and the carryover is paid to the holder of that ticket. There was a mandatory payout when the last meet completed on December 21, with a carryover of $22,655 going into that program. A total of $45,33 was wagered that evening and the payout was $2,106 for each 10-cent ticket. Racing will be conducted this week on Friday and Saturday nights, with no racing on Super Bowl Sunday, February 1. Next week, there will be Saturday and Sunday night programs, February 7 and 8. Following that, there will be back-to-back three-night weeks with cards on Friday through Sunday, February 13, 14, 15; and Friday through Sunday, February 20, 21, 22. Open Trot, Distaff Pace, Sire Stakes set An Open Trot headed by El Azteca and Its Not Over; a Distaff Open Pace and a trio of $10,000 California Sire Stakes are on tap Friday night at Cal Expo. First post for the 14-race card is 6:10 p.m. Looking at the 4-year-old Sire Stakes Trot, Placer, Ahh Panama and Bank Of Lodi are the major players after finishing in that order in the most recent stakes clash for this division two weeks ago. Placer is a homebred son of Panama Hanover out of the Website mare Charlottes Web who races for Desomer Stables Inc. with Vickie Desomer the conditioner and husband Steve in the sulky. He prevailed by a neck over Ahh Panama in that last added-money clash on January, adding another trophy to his display case. Ahh Panama is a daughter of Panama Hanover who races for Hank Wieseneck, Marty Garey and Bob Johnson with Johnson training and Steve Wiseman doing the honors. A stakes victress last season, she is looking for some revenge after just missing in that stakes two weeks ago. Bank Of Lodi has been a stakes winner at 3 and 4 for his owner/breeders Mary Harris and Pierre Girard, with Girard training and Luke Plano in his usual spot in the bike. The New Age Hanover mare accounted for the December 14 stakes clash in coast-to-coast fashion, and then carved out the fractions in that last stakes get-together and was no match for Placer and Ahh Panama in the stretch. The 3-year-old pacing filly stakes will be a rematch between Avila Beach and Smash, who were one-two in the initial big-money affair this division, while the Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old trotters goes as a non-betting affair prior to the regular program. The Open Trot is set as the third race on the evening and should provide another great battle between El Azteca and Its Not Over, who have dominated things at the head of the class during this meeting. James Kennedy guides the former for owner/breeder/trainer Marco Rios, while Chip Lackey will be in his usual spot behind Its Not Over for trainer Bob Johnson. By Mark Ratzky, publicity Cal Expo Harness

Out of 31 races last week, a grand total of three were won in coast-to-coast fashion, and one of those was turned in by China King and harness racing pilot Chip Lackey while capturing the Open Pace at juicy 19-1 odds. The East Coast invader, who races for Gary and Jennifer Sabot and trainer Gene Vallandingham, had suffered brutal beats at the hands of the streaking St Lads Lotto in his previous two efforts, but was able to turn the tables last weekend with his 1:52 1/5 tour. To be honest, I didnt go into that race with the same confidence I had the previous two starts when he was just nipped, Lackey explained. Hed missed a couple of starts, it looked like there was plenty of other speed in there and after a night and a half of racing to that point, there hadnt been a horse win on the front end. On top of that, Id been having some pretty bad luck with my drives. That said, I always try to be optimistic when I go out there and I will say that Jen (Sabot) and Gene were pretty confident about China Kings chances and did a terrific job to have him ready. Lackey was able to buzz the pacer right to the front and cut out fractions of :27 2/5, :54 4/5 and 1:22 3/5 en route to the three-quarters of a length upset over the 1-2 St Lads Lotto, who had his seven-race win streak snapped in the process. This is a very nice one, Chip noted. There are a lot of horses who like to roll away from there and then you have to wrestle with them, but hell pretty much do anything you want and is very ratable. Everything considered, I thought they might want me to take back with him last week, but they said to let him fire out and thats what we did. It was a tremendous effort when you remember he hadnt raced in three weeks, and it also did a lot to raise my spirits after some tough luck. High Bet Hanover eyes another snapshot Sundays distaff pacing feature goes in two divisions, with High Bet Hanover and Js Littlerockstar heading their respective races. A 10-race card is set with first post at 4:50 p.m. High Bet Hanover comes into her contest having posed for pictures following four of her last five starts, with her only setback coming two weeks ago when she took on some very tough male rivals. The Bettors Delight mare, who races for Kc C Carvalho, is conditioned by Tim Brown and will have Luke Plano guiding, rattled off three straight victories here between December 22 and January 2, then had her work cut out versus the likes of A Real Miracle at next asking. Returning to face fillies and mares last week, High Bet Hanover was hammered down to 1-2 and did not disappoint her many supporters. Plano left into a tracking trip with his charge, took aim on the leaders in the stretch and swept by when it counted for a length and a half score. Js Littlerockstar has been a gem of consistency and will be well backed in the co-feature. James Kennedy owns, trains, drives and bred the Little Steven mare, who has multiple Sire Stakes trophies on her mantle. The bay miss has accounted for the last two stakes engagements for her division, getting the January 4 score after the disqualification of arch-rival Brewski, then hung a head decision on that foe in last weeks Sire Stakes clash in another big mile. Next week will find the trotters and pacers in action under the Watch and Wager LLC banner on Friday and Saturday nights, with no racing on Super Bowl Sunday, February 1. By Mark Ratzky, publicty Cal Expo Harness                                          

If pedigree means anything, Smash is going to be a tough customer in the first Sire Stakes clash for the 3-year-old pacing fillies on Sunday. Junior Wilkinson conditions and co-owns the daughter of Little Steven with Billie Schwartz. The dark-hued filly is out of the Givemewhatineed mare I Need A Miracle, who was herself a multiple Sire Stakes victress. “This is the third foal from I Need A Miracle,” Wilkinson informed. “The other two are Tony Cheesecake and A Real Miracle, who both won in 1:53 last Saturday. She’s a big, good looking filly and we’ve liked her from the very start.” Even without the impressive lineage, Smash looks imposing on paper as the first added-money event for the division approaches. The dark-hued filly proved a punctual even-money favorite in her December 21 debut, had tough trips in her next two outings and then returned to her winning ways at most recent asking with a solid 1:57 2/5 score. Her second start saw Smash far back early from a tough post and she did well to get a share that night, then in her next outing she made a break at the start to spot her opposition some 20 lengths and turned in an outstanding mile thereafter to lose by less than three lengths. “The night she made the break, she was trying to leave and the hopples were probably a bit too long,” Wilkinson explained. “The effort she turned in after losing all that ground at the start was pretty amazing.” There were no such mistakes in last week’s tour, as Plano left into a tracking position with Smash, took aim on the leader at the head of the lane and motored by smartly to set her up perfectly for this weekend’s trophy quest. Sunday program spotlights Sire Stakes performers Two California Sire Stakes for the 4-year-olds and the first added-money gathering for the 3-year-old pacing fillies top Sunday’s card at Cal Expo. There will be 10 races on the evening and the action gets underway at 4:40 p.m. A reminder that through the month of January, there is a $30,000-guaranteed pool on the 16% Pick 4, one of four wagers on the card with that reduced takeout rate. The others are the Pick 5; the Jackpot 6 and the Hi-5 on the nightcap. In the two Sire Stakes for pacing distaffers, J’s Littlerockstar and Brewski have the top billing in the contest for the 4-year-olds while Smash and Avila Beach are among the major players in the race for the sophomores.  Bank Of Lodi, a convincing winner of the first stakes for her division at the meeting, looks to keep the momentum going in the 4-year-old trotting event. Bank Of Lodi is a homebred daughter of New Age Hanover out of the Armbro Rotary mare Bankers Babe who is owned by Mary Harris and Pierre Girard, takes her lessons from Girard and will have Luke Plano back at the controls. The bay mare was sent off at 40 cents on the dollar in the most recent added-money event for this division on December 14 and did not disappoint her many backers. Plano buzzed her right to the front that evening, withstood a strong bid at the head of the lane to prevail by three lengths. Bank Of Lodi established a new career standard with the 1:59 1/5 clocking and has been facing solid competition in her subsequent three appearances. She will definitely appreciate getting back with her peers this weekend with another trophy on the line. Placer is a multiple stakes winning son of Panama Hanover who races for Team Desomer with Steve Desomer at the controls. He was making a bold move at Bank Of Lodi in that last stakes clash when he jumped offstride, but came back to mind his manners and checked in a good second in the Dr. Gary Budahn Trot behind Jailer and then looked sharp winning a conditioned contest last week. by Mike Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

Bubs Desire made it two wins from his last four appearances with an impressive conditioned score last weekend and he appears to have found a nice winter home for trainer Ray Burt. “I’ve got 11 horses out here for Matias Ruiz,” Burt related when asked about Bubs Desire. The 6-year-old son of Real Desire carries the banner of Roslyn Delgaudio and has been guided in all his Cal Expo outings by Luke Plano. “Matias claimed him for $25,000 and he’s gone :49 and a piece a few times,” Burt said. “He told me that he can have kind of a funny attitude, but if I keep him happy he’s a real good one. I give him a lot of time outside in the pen, and he really seems to like that.” Bubs Desire, who sports a 1:50 2/5 mark at Pocono Downs, has made five starts since switching his base to California and seems to be getting the hang of things. “He needed his first start here, then in the second one he raced on the lead and tired and Luke told me he just wanted no part of the front end,” Ray explained. The pacer put it all together in his third local outing, rattling off a 1:52 3/5 score, had some issues at next asking and then returned to his winning ways at most recent asking after doing the track and attack to perfection for Plano. “Luke said he was vicious in the pocket and absolutely loved being on the helmet in that first win,” his trainer noted. “Let’s just say that he had some dietary issues in his next start and draw a line through the race, and then last time he showed what he can really do. “The plan with these horses is to find the best spots for them and win as many races as possible before they go back East in the spring.” Hoboken Hanover, Pick 4 guarantee increase highlighted Hoboken Hanover, a sharp first-over victor last week for Tim Maier, gets the top billing in Friday night’s featured pace. He will do his work from the outside post in the field of nine.  A 10-race card is on tap with first post at 6:40 p.m. and racing is now being conducted under the Watch and Wager LLC banner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. A reminder that through the month of January, the guarantee on the low-takeout Pick 4 has been raised to $30,000. The Pick 4 is one of four wagers offered each night with the reduced 16% takeout rate, the others being the Pick 5; Jackpot 6 and Hi 5 on the nitecap. Hoboken Hanover is an 8-year-old son of Cam’s Card Shark who comes into Friday’s headliner with $282,000 in his bank account and a 1:50 4/5 mark. He was reserved early in last week’s score, made a bold first-over move to the stretch and won going away by a length and three-quarters. Looking ahead to Saturday and Sunday, Sire Stakes action will dominate the programs. On Saturday, the 4-year-old pacing males will do battle with Laissez Moi Passer, Rikybrnthegaragdown and King Of The Crop getting a rematch after coming to the wire noses apart in that order in the most recent big-money clash two weeks ago. Saturday evening will also find the 3-year-old pacing colts and 3-year-old trotters getting their initial chance at added-money and it will be interesting to see how those divisions will be shaping up this season. On Sunday, the 4-year-old pacing mares and 4-year-old trotters square off in Sire Stakes events. J’s Littlerockstar and Brewski are among the major players in the pacing contest, while Bank Of Lodi and Placer figure to get their share of attention in the trotting event. Sunday’s card will also find the initial added-money races for the 3-year-old By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

Im Fasterthanyu, who celebrated her 10th birthday this week, has lived up to her name in five of her last eight trips to the post while carrying the banner of Fabiola Quevedo with Edwin Quevedo the conditioner and Luke Plano at the controls. Interestingly, two of the three setbacks for the daughter of Cammibest came in starts where Plano was unable to sit in the sulky behind the veteran mare. She registered her most recent score two weeks ago when being re-united with Luke for the first time since recording a four-race winning streak during the month of November. Leaving from the tough No. 9 slot in that assignment, Im Fasterthanu  was hard used early to the pocket, tracked to the lane then had the right answer when the question was asked and prevailed by three-quarters of a length while lowering her mark to 1:54 4/5 in the process. She was third in last week’s assignment after being hard-used on the front end. “I bought her this fall from Canada because I thought she would fit here,” Edwin related. “She’s every easy to train and most of the time she acts more like she’s 4 or 5 than a mare who is turning 10. She’s feeling very good right now.” The trainer was asked about the success his mare has had when she joins forces with Plano. “He does seem to have the right touch with her. He told me when he drives her, she seems to give her best.” Im Fasterthanu will suit up once again on Friday while doing her work from the cozy rail post in the 11th and final event on the program. It will be interesting to see if she can start off 2015 with a bang. There are four wagers here each night that come with the reduced 16% takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5; the Jackpot 6; the 20-cent Pick 4 and the 10-cent Hi-Five on the nitecap. Cenalta Power has top billing in feature Cenetla Power, an Open winner at the meet for Ryan Grundy, gets some class relief and heads the field for Friday’s main event at Cal Expo. First post for the 11-race card is 6:40 p.m. and the headliner is set as the seventh event on the evening. A reminder that racing is now being conducted under the Watch and Wager LLC banner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Cenalta Power is a 6-year-old Alberta-bred son of Brandon’s Cowboy who is owned, trained and driven by Grundy. He has two victories from five appearances since coming down from Canada, including an 11-1 upset in the November 15 Open. The bay gelding sat a tracking trip in that contest, ignited when the question was asked and was up by a half-length. He added a conditioned victory two starts later on December 13, lowering his lifetime mark to 1:52 4/5 with that nose decision. Cenalta Power has returned to the Open ranks for his last two outings, checking in fifth and fourth behind the streaking St Lads Lotto in those appearances. He figures to appreciate getting away from that rival and looms large in his cast as he leaves from the No. 5 slot. Taking him on are Stable Eyes, Country Jewel, Cowboy Cold, Rusty Skipp, Bubs Desire, Always Wanna, Alligator Falls, Allamerican Solo and Phantom Dan. The first two mentioned pacers are entered under filly-mare Open II conditions and were assigned the inside slots. Looking ahead to Saturday’s card, a $10,000 California Sire Stakes headed by King Of The Crop and an Open Pace that brings out the aforementioned St Lads Lotto are the featured attractions.

The Toucam Sam story got even better last week as the veteran pacer captured the Alan Kirchenbaum Series consolation in impressive fashion for Michael and Patricia Minnella with Luke Plano doing the honors. An 11-year-old son of Cams Card Shark out of the Western Hanover mare Arizona Yankee, Toucam Sam has just shy of $600,000 in his bank account and sports a sparkling 1:49 2/5 mark that was established six years ago. "We purchased him in August of 2013 after we found him on the Ongait.com website," Michael Minnella said. "We felt if we could not get him back to the races and compete at a high level, we would register him as a stallion in California. "Training down we were very optimistic. We got down to miles in 2:20 and Toucam was having major breathing problems. We consulted with Dr. Audrey Clifton and she suggested we have UC Davis come out and do a dynascope on him while training. We then gave the video of the dynascope to Dr. Mueller and Dr. Yarborough of Los Caballos Equine. "We consulted with the doctors and let them know that Toucam still wanted to compete. Dr. Muller felt he could help, so Dr. Yarborough did the tie back surgery on Toucam in the spring of last year. We gave him the time off he needed and started him back at Keith Wileys Farm in July." Minnella noted that Emilio Cisneros takes care of Toucam Sams day-to-day needs and has been a vital part of his return to the races, while Luke Plano has been very helpful with training and equipment adjustments. "The beginning of this meet has been a dream come true to my wife and I," Michael noted. "Toucam gives us all that he has every race. He leaves nothing in the tank." County Jewel gets top billing in Distaff Pace An Open II Distaff Pace headed by Country Jewel and Ladys Art and an Open II Trot featuring Hillcrest Romeo and Franks Best headline the Saturday night program at Cal Expo. A 13-race card is set with first post at 6:15 p.m. The featured trot is going as the fifth event on the evening, while the featured pace occupies the eighth-race slot on the program. Racing is now being conducted on Saturdays and Sundays, expanding to three nights a week at the end of the month with Friday racing being added to the mix beginning December 26. Country Jewel is a 6-year-old daughter of Pacific Missile out of the Towners Big Guy mare Country Fences who races for Brev Creech, David Siegel, Gregg Robinson and Bob Thronson, is conditioned by George Reider and will be guided by co-owner Siegel from the outside slot in the field of seven. The bay mare comes into this assignment with eight wins and 11 seconds on the year from 34 trips to the post, sports a 1:53 mark that was established this season at Running Aces and is looking to add to a $116,000 bank account. After facing the boys in her previous starts at the meet, Country Jewel surfaced with fillies and mares for last weeks assignment and proved a punctual 4-5 choice with Siegel at the controls. She made what proved to be the winning move past the half, opening up on her rivals turning for home and coming to the wire with four and three-quarters lengths to spare in a 1:54 tour of the good track. Taking her on Saturday, from the rail out: Starry Skys for Gerry Longo; Stable Eyes, who will be guided by Tim Clevenger; Free Girl, Luke Plano; Internal Check, Daniel Maier; Love Live Laugh, Tim Maier; and Ladys Art with Chip Lackey in the bike. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

One of the best races of the meet could be for the driving crown, with Luke Plano, Steve Wiseman and James Kennedy staking a claim for the title through the first six weeks of this stand. Plano came into this week atop the standings with 20 trips to the charmed enclosure, bringing his lifetime total to 2,644 with $9.5 million in earnings. Luke is following in the footsteps of his father Rick, who was a leading driver and trainer in California for many years. There are some new horsemen here and that adds to the competitiveness of the racing, Plano said. Ill have a few horses in my barn, but I prefer to concentrate on the driving. Steve Wiseman is currently second with 18 victories to his credit at the meet, while leading the trainer stands with 15 of his representatives returning to have their picture taken. His total driving wins now stands at 2,136 with $8.2 million in earnings. Being the leading driver and trainer was the goal coming into the meet, Steve explained. Ive never won a training title before, so that would be nice, and Ive got a great crew to help me. James Kennedy is also off to a good start here with 13 snapshots and figures to be right in the hunt through the close of business in early May. Kennedy, who recorded a number of driving and training victories with the popular mare Haggin Oaks, currently sits with 866 sulky scores on his resume. (use as a reverse box) A reminder there are four wagers offered here every night with a reduced 16% takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5; the Jackpot 6; the Pick 4 and the Hi-5 on the nitecap. Featured Pace brings out A Real Miracle A Real Miracle, victorious in three of his five appearances at the meet, looks to keep the momentum going when he heads the cast for Saturday nights $6,000 Open Pace at Cal Expo. A 12-race card is on tap with first post set for 6:10 p.m. There is now Saturday and Sunday racing under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post on Sunday at 4:40 p.m. Beginning December 26, Friday action will be added to the mix. A Real Miracle is a 4-year-old son of Real Desire who is owned by Junior Wilkinson, Billie Schwartz and Ivan Axelrod, is conditioned by Wilkinson and is guided by Luke Plano. He established his 1:52 1/5 career standard this summer over the seven-eighths Hoosier Park oval. The Wilkinson trainee has clicked three times from five stats at this meet, including a dominating victory in the main event on opening week. After tiring in his next two tries, he returned to his winning ways last week as he made what proved to be the winning move for Plano on the backside and went on to a length score. In the most recent clash at the top of the class, A Real Miracle was dispatched as the 3-5 favorite and did not disappoint the chalkplayers. Plano buzzed the bay performer right to the front, moderated the pace and then held safe by a neck over the pocket-sitting longshot Mar Dream. The latter put a score into the favorite last week, as he sat the pocket journey and missed by only a neck while two and a half-lengths clear of the rest of the field A 6-year-old son of Cambest, Mar Dream is owned by David Neumeister, is trained by Bob John and will again have Mooney Svendsen at the controls. He has a 1:50 2/5 mark and over $171,000 in his account. Rounding out the field from the rail out are Cenalta Power for Ryan Grundy; Lifetime Louie with Dave Siegel; Ideal Smile, Steve Wiseman; and Pointsman, who will have the services of Chip Lackey. The headliner goes as the fourth race on the program. A reminder that there are four wagers offered here every night with a reduced 16% takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5; the Jackpot 6; the Pick 4 and the Hi-5 on the nitecap By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness    

Bruce Clarke has returned for another winter stay in California, bringing along his top trotter I Love New York and a dozen other assorted performers. You can say that Im hoping to rebuild, said Clarke, an accomplished driver/trainer who has driven over 2,900 winners in his career and recently went over the $12 million mark as a chauffeur. I Love New York is owned by Clarke along with longtime clients Jack Coffey and Patricia Waldeck and the 6-year-old Broadway Hall homebred is nearing $250,000 in earnings while sporting a 1:54 3/5 career standard that was established here last season. His most recent victory came in late August over the five-eighths Tioga Downs oval in the state hes named after and the dark-hued trotter has gone some big miles for Clarke since his introduction to the game. Im out here for the winter and its nice to get away from the cold, Bruce related. This wasnt the best of summers for the barn, because we had a lot of bad luck, but Ive got some young ones here that Ill be getting ready. The one thing missing from his arsenal this year would be some Sire Stakes performers, which has been a mainstay of the shedrow over the years, but Clarke still figures to make his presence felt during the course of this meeting. A reminder that there are now four wagers here that feature a reduced 16% takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5; the Jackpot 6; the Pick 4 and the Hi-5 on the nitecap.    High Bet Hanover High Bet Hanover, who has fired nothing but bullets at this meet in five appearances, heads the cast for Sunday evenings featured Open III Pace for fillies and mares. An 11-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with a first post of 4:45 Pacific. The headliner will go as the second race on the evening with a field of six set to face the starter. High Bet Hanover has recorded two victories and three seconds from her five starts at the stand for owner Kc C Cavalho, trainer Tim Brown and driver Luke Plano. Overall, she is going for her eighth snapshot on the season from 41 trips to the post. The 6-year-old Bettors Delight established a new lifetime mark three starts back when she captured the finale of the Annette Funicello Series on October 18 in 1:53 4/5. She came back to be the runner-up in a conditioned affair and then returned to her winning ways in her most recent tour. Sent off the even-money choice in that contest, High Bet Hanover sat a tracking trip for a half, then attacked to the final bend and went on to a two and three-quarter length score with Plano This time around, Director of Racing Robin Schadt has assigned the mare the outside post. Dont Hurry Love completed the exacta behind High Bet Hanover last week and will be looking to turn the tables. The 5-year-old daughter of Dontgetinmyway races for Ed Actkinson, takes her lessons from Bob Johnson and will be guided by Mooney Svendsen. She boasts $135,000 in earnings and a 1:54 1/5 career standard. Completing the cast are Free Girl, who gives the Brown barn two looks at the outcome; the Steve Wiseman-trained duo of Surprisingly Sweet and Razzle Be Dazzled; and Rag Doll, who hails from the Lino Pacheco barn and leaves from the inside slot. Mike Ratzky - Cal Expo Harness

Last Saturday night was a good one for harness racing pilot and co-owner Dave Siegel, as he guided Lifetime Louie to victory in the Open III Pace and finished second with the mare Country Jewel in the Open II Pace. Both horses are conditioned by George Reider. Siegel partners with Brev Creech, Greg Robinson and Bob Thronson on Country Jewel and with Reider and Dave and Rob Haness with Lifetime Louie. Country Jewel is a diamond,no pun intended, that I found for the Reider barn while scouring the country for a horse that I thought would fit in Minnesota and California and that would fare well in George's barn. Her being Minnesota sired is preferable given the Running Aces allowance program and our DHA program. That said, I expected her to be a mid-level claimer and George and her day-to-day groom Kim Hines have done wonders with her as she has become an open-level mare. They both have a way of getting sometimes difficult horses to relax and not that she was that way, but they did that with Axle last year, and Silence Son this year. I wanted to help George get some nice horses that I could drive, and Jewel has become just that, the Jewel of the barn. Lifetime Louie did the stalk-and-pounce to perfection last weekend to pick up his first score of the meeting. Lifetime Louie was a horse we claimed last year that we knew had some feet problems, which is another area of George's strengths. We correctly thought he could improve the horse and he is another that has surpassed expectations. Kim does an exceptional job with Louie too, which I have come to expect from all of the horses in her care. He is a delight to drive and very handy. He has a huge heart and he is one I get along with very well. Co-features honor Joe Lighthill, Robert Staats The Joe Lighthill Trot, the Robert Staats Pace and an Open II Pace share the spotlight on Saturday nights 13-race program at Cal Expo. Racing is now being conducted under the Watch and Wager LLC banner on Saturday and Sunday nights, expanding to three nights a week on December 26 when Friday racing is added to the mix. First post Saturday is 5:40 p.m. with a 4:45 p.m. start on Sunday. The Joe Lighthill and Robert Staats are named for the late driver/trainer and late owner/breeder who were so important to California harness racing. The Lighthill goes as the sixth event on the card, the Open II Pace occupies the 11th-race slot and the Staats has been designated as the penultimate race of the evening. The Open II Pace is headed by A Real Miracle, a 4-year-old son of Real Desire who is owned by Junior Wlkinson, Billie Schwartz and Ivan Axelrod, is conditioned by Wilkinson and is guided by Luke Plano. He established his 1:52 1/5 career standard this summer over the seven-eighths Hoosier Park oval. The Wilkinson trainee has clicked twice from four stats at this meet, including a dominating victory in the main event on opening week. After tiring in his next two tries, he returned to his winning ways last week as he made what proved to be the winning move for Plano on the backside and went on to a length score over favored Country Jewel. Lining up against A Real Miracle are Del Rio Seelster, who hails from the Gordie Graham barn; the George Reider-trained Lifetime Louie; Mar Dream from the Bob Johnson shedrow; and Cowboy Cold, who calls the Tim Brown barn home and leaves from the cozy rail slot. By Mark Ratzky, publicity Cal Expo Harness                    

A contentious Open III event for pacing fillies and mares headlines the first Sunday program of the Cal Expo meeting. Racing is now being conducted here under the Watch and Wager LLC banner on Saturday and Sunday nights with a first post of 4:45 Pacific on Sundays. Plans call for an expansion to a three-night-a-week schedule on December 26 with Friday action being added to the mix. Looking at the feature, High Bet Hanover is a 6-year-old daughter of Bettors Delight out of the Artsplace mare Highland Dexter who is owned by Kc C Carvalho, conditioned by Tim Brown and will once again have the services of Luke Plano. The bay miss was a close second in the first two legs of the aforementioned Funicello Series, then rode a second-over journey to victory in the October 18 finale of the event as she showed the way home by a length and a quarter over Wild About Eagle in that event while lowering her mark to 1:53 4/5 in the process. Wheeled back in a conditioned contest last weekend, High Bet Hanover was sent off the 4-5 favorite. She found herself well back early and with too much to do, but did come calling late to finish second while missing by three-quarters of a length in another big mile. Wild About Eagle will be looking to avenge her loss to High Bet Hanover in the Funicello final. The 7-year-old daughter of The Panderosa is owned by Kathy Plested and Mark Benvenga with Steve Wiseman doing the driving and training. In last weeks tour she drew the tough 9 slot, but was able to leave strong and eventually settled into the two-hole by the quarter. Once straightened for home, she took aim on favored pace-setter Windsun T Bird and overhauled that one by a neck while recording a 1:55 flat mile. High Bet Hanover goes for solid trio High Bet Hanover figures to have her share of backers in Sundays filly-mare main event as she goes postward for the productive team of owner Kc C Carvalho, trainer Tim Brown and pilot Luke Plano. The 6-year-old Bettors Delight mare captured the finale of the Annette Funicello Series two starts back while lowering her lifetime mark to 1:53 4/5 in the process, then finished gamely be second while taking on males in last weeks assignment. "We bought her privately last year to fill a spot we needed with our Minnesota barn," Brown related. "She had a good meet, but then she started hitting herself and there were some shoeing issues that had to be worked out." High Bet Hanover lost tough decisions in the first two legs of the Funicello, but got the job done in the finale while changing tactics to ride a second-over journey to the stretch. "Luke used to have her, so he knows her real well and drives her great," Tim said. "I actually think shes better when she can sit near the pace, but she got a perfect trip in the final and it all worked out." Sundays headliner is a chance for High Bet Hanover to renew acquaintances with Wild Wild About Eagle, who hung a nose decision on her earlier in the meet before completing the exacta behind her in the Funicello finale. Tim Brown and Kc C Carvalho have formed one of the more lucrative owner/trainer relationships on the Cal Expo backside in recent memory. Ive trained for him for three years now, and hes more like a brother to me than an owner. Hes very much involved in everything to do with the horses. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness                           

Harness racing returns to Cal Expo Saturday night under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with a 14-race program on tap and a first post of 6:15 p.m. Racing will be conducted on Saturday nights in October, expanding to Saturday and Sunday programs in November. Plans then call for a three-night a week schedule beginning on December 26 with Friday racing added to the mix. Heading the opening-night card are two divisions each of the opening legs of the Bill Conlin and Annette Funicello Pacing series; an Open II event for the pacers and an Open II contest for the trotters. Robin Schadt is the new Director of Racing. My goal is to produce a racing program where every horseman gets their horses raced on a regular basis for decent money and to provide the betting public with competitive fields on which to wager, she said. Saturdays program features four wagers at a reduced 16 percent takeout, including the new 10-cent Cal Expo Jackpot Pick 6 that starts on the third race. The wager requires a single winning Pick 6 ticket, or there is a carryover. The other low-takeout wagers are the 50-cent Pick 5 that begins on the first race; the 20-cent Pick 4 that covers races 10 through 13 and comes with a $20,000-guaranteed pool; and the 10-cent Super Hi-Five on the nitecap. Taking a closer look at the Open II Trot, multiple stakes-winning I Love New York returns to California for Bruce Clarke, while the Open II Pace finds A Real Miracle heading an interesting cast as he makes his way back from Indiana for Junior Wilkinson. Luke Plano back to defend driving title Luke Plano, fresh from capturing the driving title at the winter/spring Watch and Wager LLC meeting here at Cal Expo, is back to defend the crown. At that last meet, Luke made 160 trips to the winners circle, with his nearest competitor being James Kennedy, who had 121 winning tours at that session. Both will be in action on Saturdays 14-race program. Its exciting to be back, said Plano, who has been plying his trade in Indiana this summer. I know there are going to be some new horsemen here, and that should certainly add to the competitiveness of the racing. As far as switching from the seven-eighths track at Hoosier Park to the one mile here, there are a lot of similarities. The one difference would be that even though you can win from the back at Hooiser, there is more of a speed bias and you want to be close if you can. Here are Cal Expo, its a much fairer track in that regard and you have more options. As has been the case in the past, Plano will have a very small stable of his own while normally driving in just about every race on the card. Ill have anywhere from three to six horses in my barn, but I prefer to concentrate on the driving, he explained. Its worked out real well that way. Luke will be looking to get off to a quick start on opening night with several very live performers set to go to the post under his direction. Its a good bet hell be posing for more his share of pictures. By Mark Ratzky                      

COLUMBUS, OH. - Harness racing driver Lemoyne 'Moonie' Svendsen reached the coveted 3,000 wins plateau at Running Aces on Sunday night.   The 55-year-old Minnesota native (born in Albert Lea) drove his first winner at an Iowa county fair at age 16 in 1975 and has won races each of the 39 years since then. The likeable green and yellow-clad reinsman is also approaching the coveted $10 million earnings mark with horses he has steered in his career.   Svendsen's best year was 2011 when he guided 266 winners and just lost the dash title at Cal Expo (to Luke Plano) in the waning weeks of the meet. Lemoyne has been a mainstay in California harness racing circles for the past 15 years and has been making his summer home at Running Aces for the past five years.   He also won 206 races in 2009 and over 100 times in ten other seasons. Earlier in his career Svendsen won dash titles at both Quad City Downs and Thunder Ridge.   The milestone triumph came with Meritage Hanover, fittingly owned and trained by fellow native Minnesotan Mark Anderson, for whom Svendsen has driven regularly over the past couple years.   An adept passing lane move allowed Svendsen to gain a thrilling half-length 1:54.3 victory over Gencor's Z Tam (Jason Ryan) and Nancy's Skyscape (Gerry Longo) in a bottom claiming class event. Off at 7-1 odds, Meritage Hanover rewarded $2 backers with a $16.40 win mutuel.   The elated newest member of the 3,000 Wins Club was joined in the winner's circle by his immediate family--wife Jodi, son Sonny and daughter Kaitlyn.   "My dad got me started in this business as a kid and its all I've ever done," chuckled Svendsen after the race. "I'll never forget the thrill that my first win with a horse called Miss Lasko forty years ago gave me. For that matter, this one was pretty darned thrilling, too. I must say every win between those two has been exciting as well. Winning never gets old!"   Gregg Keidel        

ANDERSON, Ind.-June 26, 2014 -  Hoosier Park played host to a stakes filled card on Thursday, June 26 with five divisions of three-year-old trotting colts and six divisions of two-year-old pacing fillies battling in Indiana Sires Stakes action. It was the second round of stakes action for the three-year-old trotting colts and the opening round for the freshman fillies. After the dust settled on the evening's 14-race card, the track record for three-year-old trotting geldings was equaled and a national season's mark for two-year-old pacers had been established. Can't Touch Her and Tyler Smith stole the show after they recorded the fastest mile of the season for two-year-old pacers, regardless of gender or track size, with a 1:53.3 triumph in their $20,000 division of the stakes action. In near gate-to-wire fashion, Can't Touch Her recorded her third win of the year and a national season's mark in just her fourth career start. Leaving from post two, Smith sent Can't Touch Her away from the gate firing but Image of Felicia and Luke Plano also left alertly to get the first call in :27.4. Opting out of a pocket trip, the Steve Carter trainee took control at the half and dictated fractions of :57.0 and 1:26.1. As the field turned for home, Image of Felicia tipped from the pocket but Can't Touch Her wasn't done. Using a :27.2 final quarter, the daughter of Rockin Image-Can't Quit Smiling paced on to the wire to finish a length in front of Image of Felicia. Rockin Bikini closed well in the late stages of the mile to round out the trifecta for driver Trace Tetrick. As the heavy betting favorite, Can't Touch Her returned $4.40 at the windows. "She always had talent training down this winter but could get a little rough gaited at times," Carter noted after the victory. "We made some adjustments and she trained really well this week so I knew she would be sharp, just not that sharp. Hopefully she can stay good all season." Owned by Steve and Tammy Carter, Can't Touch Her is from the first crop of Rockin Image and the second foal from her dam, Can't Quit Smiling. Can't Touch Her has now won three of four seasonal starts while earning $13,750. On the trotting side of the stakes action, Rose Run Parker continued his winning ways and extended his win streak to 10 after he scored in 1:54.1 in his division of the $20,000 Indiana Sires Stakes for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Rose Run Parker remains undefeated in his sophomore season and the 1:54.1 victory equaled the track record for three-year-old trotting geldings at Hoosier Park. Driver Ricky Macomber Jr. left no room for error as he sent Rose Run Parker, heavily favored at 1-9, to the front from post three. Justice Jet and Ed Hensley would make the publics' choice work for position but Rose Run Parker pressed on and secured the lead at the half in :58.1. As the field turned for home, Rose Run Parker put his talent on display and began to trot away from the rest of the field. The son of Jailhouse Jesse-Centergy was under wraps at the wire and finished six lengths in front of Gloire Dream and Lewayne Miller. Justice Jet trotted evenly to earn third place honors. Heavily favored at the betting windows, Rose Run Parker returned $2.10 for the victory. The 14-time career winner has now amassed $403,500 for his connections of Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, and W. Haas Jr. Rose Run Parker's ten race win streak includes wins in the first $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final for three-year-old trotting colts and the $45,250 Madison County Stakes last season. With the win, Rose Run Parker has earned his spot in the second of five $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings slated for July 5 at Hoosier Park. Indiana Sires Stakes action continues at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, June 27 with eight divisions of $20,000 Indiana Sires Stakes for two-year-old pacing colts and four divisions of $20,000 Indiana Sires Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies. The live racing schedule at Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule with a daily post time of 5:15 p.m. by Emily Gaskin, for Hoosier Park  

The winter/spring Watch and Wager LLC harness meeting at Cal Expo concluded Saturday night with Luke Plano capturing the driving title, while Tim Maier ended up the leading trainer. Plano reached the winners circle with 160 times, with James Kennedy finishing second in the standings with 121 winning tours. Tim Maier rounded out the top three with 90 victories in the sulky. In the trainer standings, Maier edged out Bob Johnson by four wins as 79 of his stable representatives got the job done, while 75 Johnson trainees were victorious. Gene Vallandingham was third with 70 visits to the charmed enclosure. The trotters and pacers are set to return to action here in October. General Manager Chris Schick is looking to add some new twists, including the addition of the popular Jackpot Pick Six to the wagering menu. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

With Gary Seibel taking a week off for a family obligation, Cal Expo is pleased to have Frank Mirahmadi handling the announcing duties on Friday and Saturday. Mirahmadi, who began his career at Hollywood Park in 1992, just wrapped up another season as the voice of the prestigious Oaklawn Park meeting in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and will once again be calling the action on the Northern California fair circuit this summer. Frank is also well known as a TVG racing analyst, for his appearances in several racing movies and his spot-on impressions of personalities both in and out of racing. "I started going to harness races at Hollywood Park and Los Alamitos in the 80's when I was in high school." he noted. "We had a blast and I still remember many of the horses. "My favorite was Courageous Red. He was so talented and very consistent. I always bet on him and was frequently rewarded." It may surprise some people that Mirahmadi will actually be calling his first harness race Friday evening. "I attempted to call one harness race, at a fair in Michigan," Mirahmadi said, "from the infield in the voice of Marv Albert back in 1999. This will be my debut as I can't really even consider that an official call. "It's definitely going to be a challenge. My top priority is to never use the words run or running in my calls. Im really looking forward to it and was very happy to get the call from management." Sophomore Sire Stakes get marquee treatment A pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes featuring Brewski in the pacing event and Placer in the trotting affair headline the Friday night Cal Expo program that gets under way at 6:15 p.m. Brewski is a homebred daughter of Little Steven and the Tulane mare Wooski who races for Billie Schwartz and trainer Junior Wilkinson with Chip Lackey at the controls. She picked up her first stakes trophy two weeks ago when she made every pole a winning one while equalling her mark with the 1:57 3/5 clocking. De Valeria was runner-up in that affair is another offspring of Little Steven and is a multiple stakes victress for owner Eugene Afentoulis and driver/trainer Steve Wiseman. Her most recent added-money decision came on February 28 over a sloppy track with former trainer Luke Plano in the sulky. Js Littlerockstar rattled off back-to-back Sire Stakes tallies in March, but made a break as the 3-5 choice in that last gathering on April 11. James Kennedy owns, trains, drives and bred the bay filly. She will be looking to return to her best form while back with her peers. Placer is a homebred son of Panama Hanover who carries the banner of Desomer Racing Stables Inc. with Steve Desomer in his usual place in the bike. He has accounted for four of the last six Sire Stakes for the division, including two weeks ago when he hung a neck decision on Snuff N Bear as the even-money favorite. The latter is a New Age Hanover colt who is owned and was bred by Mary Harris, takes his lessons from Kennedy Lindsey and will be guided by James Kennedy. He was a dominating winner of the February 28 get-together for this group and has just missed in the last two stakes clashes behind Ahh Panama and Placer. The racing continues Saturday evening with a Sire Stakes contest for the 3-year-old pacing colts that rematches the most recent trophy earner Laissez Moi Passer with previous stakes victors King Of The Crop and Rikybrnthegaragdwn. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

One of the recent additions to the Cal Expo drivers room is Sean Smithpeters, a 31-year-old native of Illinois who drove two winners last weekend for his mother, owner/trainer Gretchen Smith. "I first got involved with harness racing at the same time my mom did", Sean explained. "She took over a boarding facility at the Champaign County fair grounds back home in Illinois when I was in high school. "At the time, we only had riding horses, but on the grounds was a half mile limestone track and several Standardbreds were training there. We decided to try our hand and I began driving on the fair circuit the few horses we had. In 2008 we had enough horses that I was able to get the qualifying drives to obtain my "P" license. I actually made my first starts here in 2009 while out on vacation." As can happen, Smithpeters explained that soon after events in his life conspired to keep him from perusing this driving ambition, but now things have come full circle and he is back in California and the sulky. "Recently my family and I decided it was time for a change of scenery and made the move out here from Illinois," Smithpeters said. " A few weeks back, after a couple weeks here jogging and qualifying a few, I made my first starts since 2009. "Everyone here has been very helpful and kind while I'm trying to shake off the rust and hit my stride driving," Smithpeters said. "Hopefully everything keeps moving forward well and I'll be driving here for quite some time." And so far for Gretchen, shes happy to be joining forces on the racetrack once again with her son. "Its exciting for me to see him back in the bike and watch him develop his skills," Gretchen Smith said. "Being able to see him everyday again is great. I'm very happy he and his family have come to California." Sire Stakes, Open Trot, Open Pace on tap A $10,000 California Sire Stakes for pacing males headed by Rikybrnthegaragdwn and King Of The Crop; an Open Trot featuring Hellogottagobuhbye and Sharpshootennorris and an Open Pace share the spotlight at Cal Expo Saturday night. A 12-race card is on tap with first post set for 6:15 p.m. The Sire Stakes will go as the second event, with the Open Pace the third race and the Open Trot the fourth on the evening. Rikybrnthegaragdwn is a 3-year-old son of Livin It Up out of the Sportsmaster mare Sports Bra who has accounted for three of the stakes events decided for the division with King Of The Crop capturing the other three. He is owned by Maryann Plano and is now conditioned by Tim Brown with Rich Wojcio handling the lines. In the most recent big-money clash two weeks ago, Rikybrnthegaragdwn took advantage of a mid-race break by his arch-rival over a sloppy track and made every pole a winning one. With former driver/trainer Luke Plano at the controls, he waltzed home by five and a half lengths that evening. His 1:55 standard was established in a February 22 conditioned affair. King Of The Crop is son of Little Steven who is owned, trained and driven by James Kennedy. He comes into this assignment having posed for pictures following five of his 10 trips to the post. He has been alternating stakes scores with his main rival, picking up his most recent trophy on March 15 and then losing his chance in that last get-together two weeks ago with the break over the off going. He established his lifetime mark of 1:55 1/5 with his February 1 score. Completing the field are Laissez Moi Passer, who leaves from the rail with Williams Hernandez; Holme Base with Steve Desomer at the controls; and Tony Cheesecake, who will have the services of Chip Lackey. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness        

1 to 16 of 222
1 2 3 4 5 Next »