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The featured event on the Saturday evening harness racing card at Running Aces was the $13,000 Minnesota-Sired Open Trot for 4 year olds and up, and it would prove to be an exciting contest right down to the wire.   Dougs Hobby Horse and driver Luke Plano flew off the gate wings from the far outside post 8 to secure the front-running position and control the fractions, while Whatevershesgot with veteran reinsman Mooney Svendsen left alertly from the center of the gate in post 5 to lay claim to the pocket seat behind the leader.   Plano and Dougs Hobby Horse commanded affairs through all three fractional panels of 28.3, 58.2 and 1:27.1, while facing a strong first-over bid from Al Mar Reba Babe (James Yoder) around the final turn and into the lane.   But as they straightened for home, it was Whatevershesgot ($20.00) and Svendsen who took to the inside lane and rallied right past the dueling trotters to the outside, getting up to win by a long neck in 1:57 over Dougs Hobby Horse, with Al Mar Reba Babe home in third.   Whatevershesgot is a 4 year old mare by Sos Lunar Eclipse, she now has won 14 of 48 career races and she is owned and trained by Jenni King.   Also on the Saturday card was the $13,000 Minnesota-Sired 3 year old pace, with Steve's Hot Rod providing an encore to his track record performance from last week. Steve's Hot Rod ($3.20) posted another sharp gate-to-wire victory from post one, stopping the clock in 1:53 tonight with trainer/driver Rick Magee in tow. The impressive winner is a gelding by Voracious Hanover, and has now won 5 races in 16 starts this season, bankrolling $35,852 for owner Kati Sokolowski.   Drivers Rick Magee and Steve Wiseman both picked up doubles on the Saturday program.   Steve Wiseman has a 13 race lead as the current Leading Driver over Nick Roland in second, and Kathleen Plested has a 5 race lead over Nick Roland as the current leading Trainer.   Live Racing continues at Running Aces with 3 more nights remaining in the 2017 season, Sunday September 10 at 6 pm CDT, Tuesday September 12 at 7 pm CDT and Saturday, September 16 at 6pm CDT is closing night of the season, and also Night of Champions, with all of the Minnesota-Sired divisional finals going for $250,000 (est.) in purses.   By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer

The Sunday night (August 27) harness racing program at Running Aces saw alot of amazing performances, but none more impressive than that of Driver Luke Plano, who picked up a total of 6 wins on the program, 5 as a driver and a total of 4 as a trainer (one of his winning trainees had a different driver up, as he had two in one race). Plano started the winning off early, picking up win number one in the first race on the card with La Madawna De Rosa ($5.40) in 1:55.2 for trainer John Rogers. He was second by less than a length in Race two with Dougs Hobby Horse for trainer Rick Bertrand, and he was back in the winner's circle after Race three with his own trainee Pa's Corn Squeezin to light up the board ($61.00), and take a new lifetime mark of 1:55.1 for Owner Dave Haness. In Race 4 Plano's trainees picked up 1st and 3rd, as Nick Roland guided Plano trainee Moon Is On Fire ($14.00) to victory in 1:56.4, again for owner Dave Haness. Luke was aboard Yeswellnomaybe and checked in third by two lengths. Luke took a short break for Race 5 but was right back at it in Race 6, and right back to the winner's circle with AllmyX'sliveNTexas ($4.40) in 1:55.1 for trainer Bob Johnson. Next, Luke picked up a third driving Rusty Carter in Race 7 for trainer George Reider, then he was 2nd in Race 8 with Al Mar Money Glide for trainer Brady Jenson. In the featured 9th Race, Plano guided 22-1 longshot Bettors Promise to a good 3rd place finish for trainer Timothy Brown. Then in Race 10 Luke Plano was back to winning, as he guided his own trainee Barbosa ($6.20) to a 1:54.4 score for two wins in a row. Race 11 belonged to Plano as well, as he posted a sharp victory with his trainee Dinneratartsplace ($3.80) in 1:56.3 for wife Nikki Hudson. Final score for Luke Plano on Sunday at Running Aces: started in 10 of 11 races, 5 driving wins, 4 training wins, 2 driving seconds, and 3 driving thirds. A fantastic and very impressive night. Plano is having his best year ever at Running Aces, and is currently 3rd in the drivers standings with 55 wins and a UDRS close to .300. He has been the leading driver at Cal Expo in California for the past several years. The Sunday night feature was the $11,000 Open Handicap Pace for Horses & Geldings and Bestinthebusiness ($5.00) made it 3 wins in a row, scoring in 1:51.4 with James Yoder in the bike for trainer Gene Miller and owners Brett Boyd Racing, while Firedrake (Nick Roland) was just a head back in second and Bettor's Promise (Luke Plano) was in home in third. The $13,000 Minnesota Sired 3 Year old Trot went to Its Stormin Money ($11.40) in 2:02 with Steve Wiseman driving for trainer Brady Jenson and owner Bryce Jenson. Live Racing at Running Aces continues every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday night through September 16. By Darin Gagné, Running Aces Track Announcer    

The featured event of the Sunday night (July 30) harness racing card at Running Aces was the $11,000 Horses & Geldings Open Handicap Pace, and it was loaded with a field of 8 talented contenders. None in the field had ever displayed more talent or heart than the race headliner and favorite Roland N Rock, who reminded and doubters of exactly who is king of the Running Aces pacing department.   Roland N Rock ($3.60) floated away in sixth from post seven with Driver Luke Plano aboard, and got rolling first-over well before the half, sweeping quickly to the lead just at the midway point in the affair. Shortly after settling on top, the outer flow of horses came raging on the outside, and SF Donttellonme (Joe Casagranda) swept right by "Rocky" for the lead, opening up almost 4 full lengths around the final turn.   Rocky was down but not out. As they straightened away for home Rocky decided it was his race and nobody was beating him tonight, he stepped on the gas one more time and accelerated right past SF Donttellonme to score his 11th win in 23 starts this year, and his 49th lifetime win by 1 length in a sparkling 1:51.3 with a final quarter in 27.3.   The local superstar pacer and 5 year old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover has now earned $489,857 for Owners Duane and Connie Roland, and Duane Roland does the training while Rocky is home. He is expected to be heading back to his winter stomping grounds at Yonkers Raceway in a few months.   The $13,000 Minnesota-Sired 3 year old Trot went to Liquor'skwikker tonight, who posted a career mile with a gutsy first-over grinding win in 2:01.3 with Driver James (J.D.) Yoder in the sulky for Owners Ulf and Susan Holm-Johansen , they are also the breeders of this gelding by Matchstick Man. Tonight's victory was the first win of the season for "Liqour", who had 5 wins as a 2 year old last season and was a state champion 2 year old gelding.   Driver James (J.D.) Yoder completed a Hat-Trick on the Sunday card, and Dean Magee and Luke Plano both picked up driving doubles as well.   Live Racing returns on Tuesday night, August 2 with a first post of 7:00 pm CDT and a carryover in the .20 cent Jackpot Pick-5 wager of $21,817.41.   By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer  

Stable Eyes ($4.00) took the $11,000 Mares Open Handicap Pace on the Tuesday night harness racing card at Running Aces, delivering as the even-money public choice for her first local win. Trainer/Driver Luke Plano was aggressive with Stable Eyes, sending her right to the lead from post seven in the eight horse field, and they set fractions of 28.1, 57.2, 1:25.0 and completed the victory by stopping the clock at 1:52.3, 1¾ lengths ahead of her closest rival. This impressive 9 year old mare is by Million Dollar Cam and is owned by Tim Clevenger, she has now won 37 races and bankrolled $207,661 lifetime.   Firedrake ($3.20) was fantastic again while posting his sixth consecutive victory in a $6,500 conditioned pacing event tonight with Trainer/Driver Nick Roland in the bike. Firedrake dominated again with a gate-to-wire score in 1:54.1 to make it 7 wins in 8 starts this season. He has actually crossed the wire first in each and every race this year, but suffered a disqualification earlier in the meet. The ultra-impressive 4 year old gelding by Dragon Again is owned by Jessica Johnson and has now won 13 of 23 lifetime races.   The $13,000 Minnesota-Sired 2 year old Trotting event went to Bragginade ($3.60) a gelding by Braggart, for Owners Set The Pace Racing. Trainer/Driver Nick Roland sent his charge first over past the 3/8 marker and took the lead just after the half mile post before holding off a late challenge from the early race leader SB Fine And Dandy (James Yoder). Bragginade held gamely to the wire, establishing a lifetime mark of 2:03.3 in his first lifetime win.   The $13,000 Minnesota-Sired 2 year old Pacing event went to Giggle Monster ($2.20) in 1:56.1, who remains perfect in 3 lifetime races for owners Alan & Cheryl Sandbulte, trainer Denise Maier and Driver Dean Magee. The impressive youngster is a gelding by Wind Me Up.   The $10,000 Open Pace went to SF Donttellonme ($3.80) for his second local win and 3rd overall win of the season, as he posted a new lifetime mark of 1:52.1 this evening for Owner/Trainer/Driver Joe Casagranda. This sharp 7 year old gelding is by Cam Terrific and has now earned $162,070 lifetime.   Leading Driver Nick Roland added another Grand Slam to his resume on Tuesday, with Luke Plano and Joe Casagranda both accomplishing doubles on the card.   The .20 cent Jackpot Pick 5 carryover now sits at $9,384.91 and will highlight the wagering menu for Saturday Night, July 15 with first post at 6:00 PM CT.   By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer

Barbosa posted another sharp gate-to-wire victory, for two in a row and his fourth local win of the season on the Sunday Harness Racing card at Running Aces. Barbosa ($3.60) is a 6 year old pacing gelding by General Aidid and he stopped the timer tonight in 1:54.1 in a $7,000 Claiming-Conditioned event with Trainer/Driver Luke Plano aboard for Owner Heather Mathews. Plano sent his pacer right to the lead from post 5 in the 7 horse affair, and set reasonable fractions of 28.1, 57.4 and 1:26.1 before posting a strong final quarter of 28.0 to seal the deal and register career win number 26.   The $13,000 Minnesota-Sired 3 year old Filly Trot went to Silent Dreams tonight, who picked up her first win of the year in a lifetime best 2:02.2 with Dean Magee in the Sulky for Trainer Rick Bertrand and Owners Glen and Jody Wilson. Silent Dreams ($7.40) was the 2 year old Minnesota champion filly last year, and has now earned $64,690 in 13 lifetime races.   11 year old gelding Pacer Mighty Fine Hi Ho ($5.00) posted his fastest lifetime win (1:54.3) this evening in his 40th trip to the winner's circle from 266 career starts. The sharp campaigner is Owned and Trained by Edwin Quevedo and was driven to victory by Dean Magee, with an impressive rally from well off the pace and a winning 3-wide move around the final turn. Tonight's win also pushed his bankroll over the century mark to $100,543.   Steve Wiseman, James Yoder, and Dean Magee all completed driving doubles on the Sunday program.   The next card of live Harness Racing at Running Aces Casino & Racetrack will go to post on Tuesday night, July 11 at 7:00 pm CT, with a carryover in the .20 cent Jackpot Pick-5 wager of $7,631.79.   By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer  

One of the most impressive performances on the Tuesday evening harness racing program at Running Aces came in the $10,000 Open Handicap Trot, and it was Banker Volo ($3.20) who once again dominated the proceedings with a dazzling gate-to-wire performance, and another new all-age track record for trotters. Driver Luke Plano sent the superstar trotter right to the front from the outside 6 post, and they never looked back from there, widening the lead at every marker, and registering a 6½ length romp in 1:54.2, for the fastest trotting mile in the history of the track, a feat he also accomplished just 2 weeks ago. The ultra-sharp 8 year old stallion is by Yankee Glide, and is trained by Jenni King for owner Dan Roland, who again invited any interested fans to join in the winner’s circle celebration after the record mile, it made for a fantastic photo and it put a big smile on so many faces. Also featured on the night was the $11,000 Mares Open Pace, and Best of Jenna ($3.00) did not disappoint her fans as she posted another brilliant gate-to-wire Tally for her fifth straight victory at the top mares level at Running Aces. Tonight, Best of Jenna and Rick Magee brushed immediately to the lead from post 7 as usual, and controlled the affair, but faced a furious late charge from Shark Festival (Mooney Svendsen) in the homestretch, Best of Jenna responded gamely and fought to the wire to hold on by a neck in 1:53.3. The winner is trained by Rick Magee and is owned by Dr. Ken and Jana Lee Rucker, she remains a perfect 5-for-5 this season. The Minnesota-Sired 2 year old pacers made their debut this evening as well, and it was Aint No Uppy Girl (by Wind Me Up) who took the $8,000 Filly pace in 2:01.1 with Joe Casagranda driving for The Van Oterloo Stables and trainer David Flinn, the winning filly paid $6.00. The $8,000 colts & geldings pace went to Giggle Monster (by Wind Me Up), with a very sharp gate-to-wire showing in 1:58 with Dean Magee aboard for Alan & Cheryl Sandbulte and trainer Denise Maier, and Giggle Monster paid $7.60. Firedrake, the 4 year old pacing gelding by Dragon Again, also turned in another razor-sharp dominating win in a very nice $6,500 conditioned pacing event as he turned in another new lifetime best mile in 1:52.2 for owner Jessica Johnson. Trainer/Driver Nick Roland waited for no one and sent the razor sharp pacer right to the lead, and they turned back a strong challenge from Fire On The Water (James Yoder) through the middle portions of the mile, forcing that rival to settle for second. Firedrake has now won 4 races in a row, and 5 of 6 starts this season. Nick Roland led all drivers this evening with another Grand Slam (4 wins) on the 12 race program, he has won 13 races over the last 3 nights of racing. James Yoder also had a big night, with 3 wins on the card. The next card of live Harness Racing at Running Aces Casino & Racetrack will go to post on Saturday night, July 1 at 6:00 pm CDT, with a carryover in the .20 cent Jackpot Pick-5 wager of $2,367.20. By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer

Arguably the most impressive performance on the Tuesday evening harness racing program at Running Aces came in The $10,000 Open Trot, when Banker Volo ($3.60) re-bounded tonight off of his 3rd place finish last week to post his 3rd win in his last 4 starts, this one a sharp gate-to-wire romp from post six. Driver Luke Plano sent the superstar trotter fast off the gate and they never looked back, and even if they had, there was no one in sight. Banker Volo was home first by 6 ¼ lengths in 1:55.4, his Owner Dan Roland of DanJer Farms invited any fans interested in joining his trotting star in the winner’s circle for the photo, and many excited race-goers both young and old marveled at the chance to do so, making for a fun winner’s circle with Banker Volo tonight. The $10,000 Mares Open Pace also went to post tonight, and another Superstar did not disappoint her many fans in tonight’s top pace as Best Of Jenna ($2.80) also posted a great gate-to-wire display of horsepower, stopping the clock tonight in 1:52.4 with Trainer/Driver Rick Magee aboard. Best of Jenna is owned by Dr. Ken and Jana Lee Rucker and this was her fourth straight win. Firedrake ($8.00) was ultra-sharp again tonight, in a nice $6,000 conditioned pace, Trainer/Driver Nick Roland got him away quickly from post 7, and they were second in the pocket at the quarter, where they remained before finding room in the homestretch and firing past the field to post a ¾ length tally in a lifetime best 1:52.4, for his third straight tally. He is owned by Jessica Johnson. Fancy Creek Link ($3.00) also delivered another sharp performance, as she found her way to the front early in her $6,400 conditioned pacing event, and drew away from her rivals to pick up her fourth consecutive win for her owner Jim Ballinger and Trainer Brett Ballinger, and she was driven tonight by Nick Roland in the 1:54.3 victory. Nick Roland led all drivers this evening with 5 big wins on the program, the first driver to complete the 5-bagger so far this season. His other scores came with Rockin Jimmy ($12.80) for Trainer Justin Anfinson, The Lehigh Legend ($14.20) for Trainer Kathie Plested, and Jabas Luck ($11.40) again for Anfinson.  The next card of live Harness Racing at Running Aces Casino & Racetrack will go to post on Saturday night, June 24 at 6:00 pm CDT, with a carryover in the .20 cent Jackpot Pick-5 wager of $17,314.65. By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer

Banker Volo went to the gate for just the third time in 2017 on the Saturday night Harness Racing program at Running Aces , headlining the $10,000 Open Handicap , and he put together a dazzling performance to lower both his own previous track mark for older trotting stallions (1:55.2 last July) and the overall track standard of 1:54.4 (by Celebrity Hercules in 2013) as he hi-stepped the Minnesota oval in a swift 1:54.3 this evening. Starting from his assigned outside post in the talented six pack, he bolted to the front of the field and from there, frankly the rest of the field could only watch him do his thing. Driver Luke Plano had him fired up for the quarter (27.4) and was able to throttle the speed through the second panel (57.1) before turning on the afterburners and posting 1:24.4 at three quarters, then coasting home to easily post the new track mark. Banker Volo paid just $2.80 as the public’s overwhelming choice no doubt based on his current form and his 23 lifetime wins and $298,013 career bankroll. He is by Yankee Glide, and is owned by Daniel Roland and trained by Jenni King. Also on the program, the $8,000 3 year old open trot was contested, and Tap My Feet ($7.80) took the bow in the winner’s circle after posting his 2nd win in a row, and lowering his mark by over 4 seconds to 2:00 in the process. Tap My Feet is by Broadway Hall, and is owned by Mikaela Delgiudice. Trainer/Driver Rick Magee sent him quickly off the gate from post 8 in the 9 horse affair, where they secured the pocket position before sweeping to the lead just past the ¼ pole. From there Tap My Feet was never in doubt and is now a perfect 2-for-2 on the season. The Charlie Hare Trotting Series also got underway , with two divisions going to post in the first leg. In the first division it was odds-on favorite Lettinthenightroll ($3.00) with Luke Plano aboard for Jenni King in an eye-opening 1:56.2, and then Americas Game ($10.20) topped the field in the second division with Dean Magee driving for trainer Rick Bertrand owner Glen Wilson, with a new lifetime record of 1:57.3 The next card of Live Harness Racing at running Aces goes to post on Sunday, June 4th at 6:00 pm CT. By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer

Pompano Beach, FL…May 5, 2017…When Rick Plano won the third race at Hoosier Park on Thursday night (May 4), it marked a harness racing milestone for the Plano family as Rick and son, Luke, now have a combined 10,000 career wins. The 65 year-old Plano has 6,836 of those wins (along with 3,728 career training wins) while Luke, who recently turned 37, has amassed 3,165 wins in his career dating back to 2000. Ironically, Plano reached the milestone 10,000th win by driving the three year-old Well Said filly, Flirtswell, to her maiden win over a sloppy oval in 1:56.2. Flirtswell is a homebred filly bred and owned by Lawrence Keethe and John Darrah. Immediately after the race, Plano said, “Well, now that we have achieved 10,000, it’s time to start on the next 10,000.” Two races later, he did exactly that. Driving Secretsoftheknight, owned by wife Maryann along with Michael Guest, the classy eight year-old son of Mach Three scored in 1:53.4 over the rainy oval. Plano reflected on the milestone win by saying, “I have been blessed to be able to compete successfully for over 40 years. This sport has been great to our family and, as a breeder, owner, trainer and driver, we have been blessed. “I am very proud of Luke and his accomplishments and, with his help and a little more longevity, maybe we’ll add a few thousand more. “This is a great sport and our breed of horse, in my eyes, is the greatest in the world.”

After having to settle for minor awards in the first four Sire Stakes races for the harness racing 3-year-old pacing colts this season at Cal Expo, Western Devil got his chance to shine last weekend and picked up his initial added-money score. Able to work out a perfect trip behind the aforementioned Army Of One, Western Devil ignited when the question was asked by Luke Plano to overpower that rival by a length and a half while shaving four ticks off his career standard with the 1:55 3/5 final clocking A homebred son of Power Of Art out of the Incredible Finale mare Credible Preciosa, Western Devil races for Frank Nevarez and is put through his paces by Edwin Quevedo. Plano has been his pilot for the last three appearances. "I started training for Mr. Nevarez at this meet and I've got six horses for him right now," Edwin noted after Western Devil's victory. "It was nice to get a stakes win with this colt for him. "Luke knows him now and they make a good team. He gave him a great drive to get a pocket trip and then he had a nice kick in the stretch." Quevedo noted that Western Ideal is wise beyond his years and that's part of what makes him such a solid performer. "He's the smartest baby I've ever had and acts like an older horse. On top of that, he tries hard and gives his best." You can't ask for more than that. Pace lures Eastender, Why Ask Why Why Ask Why, who has been doing all his recent work at the Open level; and Eastender, coming off a smashing victory, figure to get much of the attention in the headline Pace at Cal Expo on Saturday night. There will be 12 races presented by Watch and Wager LLC with post time set for 6:15 p.m. The feature will be decided as the third contest on the evening. Why Ask Why is a 7-year-old son of No Pan Intended who carries the banner of Windy City Farm with Chip Lackey reining and training. He has spent the majority of this season at the top level, taking on the likes of Barbarian and Anderlecht, and should appreciate the class relief this weekend. He has registered two victories here this season and comes into Saturday's assignment with a 1:52 2/5 lifetime mark that was established as a 5-year-old. Eastender suits up after posting a lifetime-best 1:53 2/5 score in his most recent trip to the post two weeks ago. The 6-year-old races for Maryann Plano and Nikki Hudson with Luke Plano driving and training. In that March 31 tally, Eastender was sent off the 9-5 choice and did not disappoint his backers. He made a powerful move to command at the half, then continued on strongly to prevail by two and a quarter lengths while coming a sharp :27 flat final quarter in the process. Taking them on are Bettor's Promise and One And Only, who both hail from the Lino Pacheco barn; and Manhattan Benny, who will be sent out by George Reider. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Ray's Rayzer has been the darling of the longshot players of late, getting the job done at 29-1 two weeks ago and 9-1 at most recent asking for trainer Edwin Quevedo. Considering that leading driver Luke Plano has been in the sulky for both those scores, it becomes even more interesting that this 13-year-old pacer has been allowed to go off at such long odds. "I bought him about four years ago in Minnesota," Quevedo related. "If you saw him around the barn, you would say he acts more like a 4 or 5-year-old. He loves to pony, he loves to train and he loves to race." The long odds on Ray's Rayzer were a result of his three starts between February 4 and February 25, where he was beaten double digits on each occasion and appeared to be off his game. Joining forces with Plano on March 3, he rode a second-over trip to the a neck score and the $60 mutuel, then came right back last weekend with a deja-vu mile while rewarding his backers to the tune of $21 with Plano once again doing the honors. "He had some problems behind that we had to take care of," his trainer noted. "I also think the warmer weather and faster track helps him. I've had a lot of success with Luke, and with a horse like this who likes to come from off the pace, the trip is always important." Silverlode puts winning streak on the line Silverlode, who has been the dominant player in the trotting ranks this year, once again will be asked to overcome the demanding assigned 10 post as she heads the field for Saturday evening's Open Trot. The main event will go as the second event on a 12-race program presented by Watch and Wager LLC. First post is set for 6:10 p.m. Silverlode is an 8-year-old homebred daughter of British Sterling out of the Website mare Charlotte's Web who is owned by Desomer Stables Inc, trained by Vickie Desomer and will have Luke Plano handling the lines. Silverlode comes into this assignment with $152,000 in her bank account and a 1:55 1/5 mark that was established over this track last season. She is perfect in three starts on the year, putting her versatility and class on display in the process. The Desomer colorbearer left into a pocket journey in the January 13 Open and overpowered favored arch-rival Flameon that evening. She has been 1-5 in her last two outings without that foe in the line-up and has not disappointed her many backers. Silverlode looped the field to prevail by four and a half-lengths on February 11, then captured the most recent Open clash on February 24 while doing her work from this same assigned No. 10 post position in game fashion. Completing the cast are My Little Susie with Mooney Svendsen; Kickitinwithkohler, James Kennedy; Lodi Dorian Blues with Steve Wiseman; Silverhill Volo, Chip Lackey and Blue Spark, who will leave from the rail with Sean Smithpeters in the sulky. By Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness

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

Delta Breezeoflodi owned the Jim Grundy Trot, narrowly capturing the Grundy Prep over a sloppy harness racing track and then scoring a definitive victory in last weekend's Final while once again catching an off track that she obviously enjoys. A 4-year-old daughter of Little Steven out of the multiple stakes-winning Spicy Charlie mare Magna Kay, Delta Breezeoflodi is actually bred to be a pacer. She is owned by Mary Harris and Pierre Girard with Girard the conditioner and Luke Plano has been handling the driving duties. Last year was a frustrating one for mare, as she had to settle for just one victory from her 26 starts with 13 place and show finishes, but this season she's already made four trips to the winner's circle from her eight appearances, including the two Grundy scores and a tally in the Gary Budahn Prep. "She was a 2-year-old when we switched her over to trotting," Girard explained. "We couldn't get her to pace at all, but when we took off the hopples it was a different story. "As far as last year goes, I wasn't disappointing because trotters often need more time, and even though she wasn't winning very much, she was developing with every race and putting in a real good finish almost every time. "Luke Plano has been very important to her success this year, because he does a great job with her. I knew she would like the off tracks, because we get a lot of them at the farm and she always trains well in the mud. "The plan now is to give her a week off and then come back for the next Sire Stakes. Hopefully she can continue to race well with those horses." Contentious cast set for Filly-Mare Open A well-matched field of distaffers in the $6,600 Filly and Mare Open Pace and a pair of California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacers and trotters are the highlights on Saturday night's Cal Expo program. Watch and Wager LLC will present 13 races and the action is set to get underway at 6:15 p.m. The Distaff Open goes as the ninth race on the evening, while the two Sire Stakes will be decided as non-betting events prior to the regular card. Trainer Kathleen Plested is strongly represented in the Filly and Mare Open with Party Hangover Two and Shark Festival giving the barn two solid looks at the outcome in the field of seven. Party Hangover Two is owned by the trainer, Arnstine and Chambers and will have Steve Wiseman once again doing the honors. The Party At Artsplace mare captured the most recent clash at this level two weeks ago, surging when it counted to prevail by a length at the 3-2 favorite. Shark Festival is a 6-year-old Shadow Play mare who carries the banner of Medinah Racing and Scott Ehrlich and will have Mooney Svendsen in his usual spot in the sulky. The long-fused performer has a pair of Open victories to her credit this season, the most recent coming on January 28 in a very game mile. McFoolery is going in sharp form for owner John Obert and trainer Jennifer Sabot and looms a major player with Chip Lackey handling the lines. She parlayed a conditioned victory to an Open win on February 3 and finished strongly when runner-up to Party Hangover Two at most recent asking. Completing the field are Window Wiper with David Siegel; Magnifique, who will have the services of Luke Plano; Directing Traffic with James Kennedy; and Blue Gem, who leaves from the cozy inside slot with William Hernandez. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness          

After a string of runner-up finishes, the classy One And Only captured last week's harness racing Open Pace at Cal Expo in coast-to-coast fashion with Luke Plano, polishing off a 1:53 1/5 mile in the process. The 9-year-old son of Bettor's Delight, who is owned by Richard Morita and David Yamada and takes his lessons from Lino Pacheco, pushed his career bankroll over the $245,000 mark with the score. "It was great to see One get his win after so many second place finishes in 2016," Morita related. "We've been so spoiled with his many wins over the years. After shipping back from Pennsylvania, Lino asked us if he could race him a few times before we gave him a rest after his tough campaign back East. "One has a special place in our stable since he has made every one of his lifetime starts for us and Lino has a great time with him. After one of his recent training trips, Lino came off smiling and said 'You know what a Cadillac feels like? That's him!' He also says he can tell that One and Only knows he's home, because he just acts so happy around the barn. "He is a one of a kind horse for Dave and me, racing good horses all over the country. Lino has said you don't see many like him, such a fast racehorse with little in the way of physical problems and he's never raced on Lasix. He just races with hopples and an open bridle. We're also very fortunate that Luke drives him for us. They also have a special relationship as Luke knows him so well and gets the most out of him." There was a time a couple of years ago when One And Only went through a very trying period, but the veteran recovered and is back winning races. "He got very sick after shipping east in 2015," Morita explained. "We have to thank Lou Pena, who helped us connect with our east coast trainers, Jennifer Sabot and Matias Ruiz. Lou called us right away, got him shipped to the clinic, and made sure he got aggressive treatment immediately. As you know, respiratory infections can end a horse's racing career." Distaff Open, Grundy Prep atop marquee A Filly and Mare Open Pace headed by Shark Festival; the Jim Grundy Trot Prep and a California Sire Stakes for 4-year-old trotters headline the Friday night action at Cal Expo. Watch and Wager LLC will present a 13-race card with first post set for 5:55 p.m. The Distaff Open will be the third race; the Grundy Prep goes as the fourth event and the Sire Stakes will be a non-betting affair prior to the regular program. Shark Festival is a 6-year-old daughter of Shadow Play who is owned by Medinah Racing and Scot Ehrlich, hails from the Kathleen Plested barn and will have Mooney Svendsen at the controls. She has a powerful stretch kick and is gunning for her third straight victory. Looking at the Grundy, Delta Breezeoflodi is a 4-year-old daughter of Little Steven and the Spicy Charlie mare Magna Kay who is owned by Mary Harris and Pierre Girard, is conditioned by Girard and will have Luke Plano in the sulky. The bay miss has two wins and two seconds from her last four trips to the post, including a victory in the opening leg of the Gary Budahn Trot two weeks ago. She made the winning move at the half in that affair and went on to a length and a half-score over a "good" track. Wheeled back in last week's Budahn Final, Delta Breezeoflodi was sent off the 5-2 second choice. She made a powerful brush to command down the backside, showed the way to the stretch with a clear advantage but was unable to hold safe over a hard-charging Talkin Tootsie and had to settle for the place money. Completing the field for the Grundy Prep are Helen Noel, JK Journey, Broadway Jose, Every Day Hanover, Swift Cougar, Hatfield and McCoy and Manley Stanley. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

A contentious field headed by last week's upset winner Delta Breezeoflodi, Franky Provolone and Big Baller is set for Friday night's $8,500 harness racing Gary Budahn Final. Watch and Wager LLC will be presenting 13 races on Friday with first post set for 5:55 p.m. The co-feature is a $6,600 Open Pace headed by I'm An Athlete, who leaves from the assigned outside slot in the field of seven. Last week's Budahn Prep winner Delta Breezeoflodi will likely get more respect at the windows after posting a 9-1 surprise in that contest. A 4-year-old daughter of Little Steven, she is owned by Mary Harris and Pierre Girard, is conditioned by Girard and will once again have Luke Plano giving direction. The bay miss left from the cozy rail slot last week and used a big move past the half to take command. She held a two-length advantage to the stretch and hit the wire with a length and a half to spare over a good racetrack. The popular veteran Franky Provolone put in a solid effort to complete the exacta that evening from the No. 9 post and looms large again. Robin Clements owns and trains the $208,000 earner and Steve Wiseman has the return assignment. Big Baller had to settle for third as the 4-5 favorite in the Budahn Prep and will be gunning for some revenge. The Panama Hanover offspring, who sports a 1:56 1/5 mark, is closing in on a $290,000 bankroll and goes about his business for the partnership of Siegel, Robinson, Thronson and Reider with George Reider training and David Siegel in the sulky. Completing the field are Katie Mouse, Swift Cougar, Tour Guide, Lodi Bank Robber and Talkin Tootsie. Race honors memory of Gary Budahn Friday's Gary Budahn Trot is named for a mainstay of California harness racing for more than 30 years, who passed away in April 2009. Dr. Budahn served on the Board of Directors of the California Harness Horsemen's Association for more than 12 years, including President of the CHHA for three terms. He was a strong voice in California harness racing for many years and was always there for the horsemen, helping them in any way he could. Dr. Budahn was well known in harness racing for being one of the best veterinarians to grace the backside and was well respected throughout the country. Along with his wife Debbi, Dr. Budahn started The Gusty Stable, sending out some of the best horses to ever race in California, including Doodlin and Claude's Last Lady. Each represented The Gusty Stable in Breeders Crown events and were two of the best mares to ever campaign in the Golden State on the pacing and trotting side. Along with those two outstanding mares, The Gusty Stable raced many more top performers such as Wilder Echo, Alfa Star, Amazing Glide and Claudius Augustus and was the breeder and developer of Direct Flight. "Gary Budahn was a man of integrity and probably the best horseman I ever met," said former driver Rick Kuebler, who guided many top performers for The Gusty Stable over the years. "When it came to diagnosing the problem of a horse, he had no equal. He had an intimate knowledge of the Standardbred and harness racing in that he was a top trainer and even spent time in the sulky. He is very much missed." By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness  

It's been some time since we've seen as heated a Cal Expo rivalry as the one at the top of the trotting ranks between Silverlode and Flameon, with the pair splitting the six Open Trots decided at this harness racing meeting. Silverlode got the best of the battle when the pair met last week, leaving into a pocket journey for Luke Plano and overpowering the pace-setting Flameon when push came to shove. Silverlode is an 8-year-old daughter by British Serling out of the multiple stakes-winning Website mare Charlotte's Web who was bred and is raced by Steve and Vickie Desomer. She is working her way toward the $150,000 earnings mark with a 1:55 1/5 mark that was set last year over this strip. "I think the rivalry stands out because the field is usually short and a top-class event," Vickie noted after Silverlode's most recent photo session. "Steve and I don't remember ever being involved in such a rivalry in the past. "I don't think the post position is too important in this case, because both Silverlode and Flameon can each benefit from the other if not used too hard early. "I guess the most surprising thing to us is that Silverlode, like Steve, seems to be defying her age!" Well stated, Vickie. *** There are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5, which is decided on the first five races; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which covers the penultimate four races on the program. Marvin Shapiro Final heads the marquee The $8,800 Marvin Shapiro Final for fillies and mares holds the spotlight Saturday night, with last week's elimination winners Dickies Motel and A Wish for Wings getting the top billing. First post is 6:15 p.m. The feature is named for Marvin Shapiro, who was the son of L.K. Shapiro, who owned the Hall of Fame thoroughbred and California-bred champion Native Diver. He was the president of Western Harness Racing Inc. in the 1960s and spearheaded legislation that sanctioned night racing in California. He died in 2003 at the age of 83. Dickies Motel is a 9-year-old daughter of Camystic who is owned and trained by Richard Schneider and will have Luke Plano in the sulky. She will do her work from the No. 5 post in the field of 10. Sent off the mild 5-2 favorite in his elimination heat, the bay miss left into a stalking trip for Plano, ignited when the question was asked in the stretch and drew off to a three and a half-length victory in a lifetime best 1:55 3/5 clocking. A Wish For Wings is a 5-year-old Roayl Mattjesty offspring who is owned and trained by Stephen Crump with James Kennedy at the controls. She is perfect in two starts on the year, on both occasions tracking the leaders to the lane and then doing her best work when things got serious. The even-money choice in her elimination, the Crump colorbearer left little doubt as she inhaled the leader into the stretch and waltzed home with four lengths to spare while lowering her career standard to 1:56 2/5 in the process. Completing the field are Soul Diva, Moonshinenmonkeys, Duet, Blue Gem, Perfect Pitch, Blue Note, Speak English and Mystery Affair. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

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