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Silverhill Volo is feeling awfully good these days, coming off back-to-back scores in the Open Trot over something other than a firm surface. The 8-year-old son of Muscle Hill is owned, trained and driven by Chip Lackey and has accounted for the last two clashes at the head of the class for the trotting set, one over a sloppy track and the other over a course labelled good. "I've had him a little over two years," Lackey noted. "He's bred to be a good one. He's by Muscle Hill, his dam won the Hambletonian Oaks and he brought $170,000 as a yearling." Things didn't get off to the smoothest of starts when Chip bought the gelding back in November of 2016, but he's been a solid performer in the interim. "When I first brought him to Cal Expo from the Midwest, he had a real bad fever, but eventually he recovered and he's been a solid trotter for us. "One of the things that used to make my stomach churn is when we would turn to come to the gate and he would switch from the pace to the trot," Lackey informed. "It wasn't always smooth, but eventually it wasn't a problem. "Because of that, I was able to lighten him up front, which has allowed me to leave with him and gives us more options in the early part of the race." And what about his prowess on off tracks? "He's a strong horse. I think when the track gets tiring, it takes less of a toll on him and that's why he does so well." Lackey also related that Silverhill Volo has a secret weapon, something you won't see in the pedigree or past performances. "That would be his caretaker Fern Wald. She deserves a ton of credit for what this horse has been able to do here." Duly noted, Chip. Distaff Open Pace, Goudreau Prep featured A $6,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace that brings out Brighten Your Life and the Shelly Goudreau Prep are the main events on Saturday evening's Cal Expo program. Watch and Wager LLC will present 11 races, with the Open going as the third race and the Goudreau Prep occupying the seventh-race slot, and things get under way at 6:10 p.m. Brighten Your Life is a 6-year-old daughter of Shark Gesture out of the Falcon Seelster mare Our Inheritance who is owned, trained and driven by Nate Sobey. She came into last week's top dance for the pacing fillies and mares having finished second in six straight outings, including the Alan Horowitz Final, but returned to her winning ways with a huge effort over the sloppy going. Leaving from the outside post, Brighten Your Life brushed to command for Sobey with a big move before the half, took complete control of things from that point and came home with four and half-lengths to spare. The Kathie Plested shedrow will be strongly represented with Outrageiousdelightn and Dancingonthesand in the line-up. Steve Wiseman will chauffeur the former and Mooney Svendsen has the assignment behind Dancingonthesand. Rounding out the cast for the Open are Misspanderosajones, who will have the services of Dean Magee; and Lookslikewemadeit, who leaves from the cozy rail slot with James Kennedy guiding. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

It was beginning to look like always the bridesmaid and never the bride for the 6-year-old harness racing pacing mare Brighten Your Life, but Nate Sobey's protege remedied that in a big way in last week's Distaff Open with a smashing victory. Sent off the 9-5 second choice in that affair over a sloppy Cal Expo Harness track, Sobey motored Brighten Your Life to the lead at the half and she went on to a four and a half-length romp while snapping a string of six straight runner-up efforts. It certainly wasn't for lack of trying that Brighten Your Life had been just missing, including an amazing mile on January 11 where an early miscue had her double digits behind the field at the start to only lose by three quarters of a length that evening. For the record, the last five Filly and Mare Open Paces have seen five different winners, with Brighten Your Life adding her name to the most recent renewal with that scintillating mile in the rain. Sobey claimed the mare back in October at Northlands Park with her previous victory here coming in the Alan Horowitz Eliminations back in December. "I'd had my eye on her for some time," her mentor noted. "She was a real nice 2-year-old and I didn't think she was racing to her abilities. I'm very happy with the way she's come around." Sobey, who brought in a string of 18 performers from Alberta and plans to stay until April, has made quite an impression in his first California invasion with solid numbers in both the driver and trainer standings. Open Pace getting the marquee treatment The $6,500 Open Pace has top billing Friday night at Cal Expo, and to give you an idea just how contentious this highest level has been, the last four top dances for the division have seen three different winners. First post for the 11-race card presented by Watch and Wager LLC is 6:10 p.m. Icy Blue Scooter completed a hat trick in the January 12 Open; King Of The Crop rattled off back-to-back wins on January 26 and February 2, then last week saw Bettor In The Bank taking bows after the get-together at the top rung. A 9-year-old son of Bettor Tuwin, Bettor In The Bank is owned by Debra McCarthy, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and will have James Kennedy at the controls. Bettor In The Bank has been steadily climbing his way up the ladder, working out a perfect pocket journey at most recent asking to get the job done over a sloppy track. King Of The Crop looms large and will be looking to make amends after checking in fourth last week as the 9-5 choice. He was very sharp winning his previous two outings for owners Don and Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chambers and Kathie Plested with Plested the conditioner and Steve Wiseman at the controls. Icy Blue Scooter has gone some huge miles at this meet for driver/trainer Nate Sobey, who co-owns the 6-year-old with Diane Bertrand and Robert Gilhespy. He was razor-sharp taking down three straight Opens last month and was saddled with the demanding No. 10 post in his January 26 appearance. He will be dangerous no matter how things shake out early. Almost Cut My Hair (Mooney Svendsen), Why Ask Why Ryan Grundy) and Mr Varsity (Luke Plano) complete the field. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

Walker Meister has been a steady performer over the last few seasons, making his share of winner's circle appearances for trainer George Reider, who co-owns the 7-year-old pacer with Dave, Rob and Kim Haness. A 1:52 2/5 victor last season at Running Aces, Walker Meister added another W to the resume last weekend over a sloppy track, proving a punctual favorite after making what proved to be the winning move to the lead by the half for James Kennedy. "I bought Walker Meister three years ago in Minnesota in partnership with Dave, Rob and Kim," Reider noted. "It took a little while, and he's always had some soundness issues, but he's turned into a nice little racehorse. He enjoys racing and I enjoy racing him. I hope I can find another one like him in Minnesota this year." Walker Meister is set to suit up in Saturday evening's ninth race, where he will depart from the No. 4 post in the field of nine with Kennedy back at the controls. Marvin Shapiro Final, Distaff Open on tap Outlawintriguedbyu, a coast-to-coast winner last weekend, gets the top billing in Saturday night's $8,400 Marvin Shapiro Final for pacing fillies and mares, while Capitol Hill and Brighten Your Life get a rematch in the co-featured Distaff Open Pace. An 11-race card is scheduled under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post at 6:10 p.m. Looking ahead to Saturday, an Open Pace, an Open Trot and a trio of Sire Stakes will be featured. Outlawintriguedbyu is a 5-year-old daughter of Blue Burner who competes for Benvenga Racing LLC and Azarik Sivatjian, is conditioned by Kathie Plested and will once again have Steve Wiseman at the controls. In last week's Shapiro Prep, the dark-hued miss was sent off the 5-2 second choice and made every pole a winning one over the sloppy going, reporting to the wire with two lengths over stablemate Chilma. The latter was the mild favorite in that contest and put in a real nice finish to complete the exacta. This Plested trainee is owned by Larry and Carol Parlin and has Mooney Svendsen once again doing the honors. Completing the field are Lookslikewemadit, If You Say So, Rockinroundheaven, Hi Fidelity, Cenalta Cougar, Sweet One; and La Diva De Rosa. In the Filly and Mare Open Pace, Brighten Your Life will look to snap a string of six straight runner-up finishes for owner/driver/trainer Nathan Sobey while Capitol Hill will gun for a repeat at the top rung for trainer Plested and co-owner George McChrystal with Mooney Svendsen guiding. A reminder there are two wagers offered here each night 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. The Pick 4 which comes with a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool on Fridays and $40,000 on Saturdays. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

Trainer Jenna Cornelison is certainly getting her name out there with the 12-year-old pacer Beckys Dreamboat, who has rattled off back-to-back victories for Dean Magee, including a 9-1 upset from the demanding 10 post last weekend. Jenna owns Beckys Dreamboat in partnership with Tyler Gunderson and he is one of three performers in her care. A 33-year-old Sacramento native, Jenna has had a love of horses from as far back as she can remember and cut her teeth in the sport of harness racing working for Gene Vallandingham. "Gene had a pacer named Run Baby Run who I got as a riding horse and in 2005 I ended up going to work with him here at Cal Expo," Cornelison explained. "In 2007 I went back East with Pete Foley and spent four years at Pocono." Jenna, the mother of two daughters age 5 and 8, was out of the game for a brief period, but returned in 2012 and eventually came back to California to once again work at the Vallandingham barn. "I've had my license for some time, but it's only in the last sixth months that I've been using it," she related. "I just love coming here each morning and having those three heads sticking out and waiting for me," said Cornelison, who is always looking to add to the stable. "The real satisfaction comes after putting in all that work, sometimes in the cold and the rain, and then watching them go out there and give everything they have in a race. It's very rewarding." Sire Stakes, pair of Opens head program An Open Pace featuring King Of The Crop; an Open Trot that brings out Silverhill Volo, Silverlode and Its a Horse, and a trio of California Sire Stakes get the marquee treatment Friday night at Cal Expo. There will be 11 races with first post set for 6:10 p.m. and two of the Sire Stakes will be decided as non-betting events prior to the regular card. King Of The Crop is an 8-year-old son of Little Steven who carries the banner of Don and Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chambers and Kathie Plested with Plested training and Steve Wiseman at the controls. After a pair of needed outings following a return from Pennsylvania, the hard-hitting gelding has recorded two solid victories at the head of the class. King Of The Crop, who has multiple Sire Stakes tallies, pushed his career bankroll to the $166,000 plateau and sports a 1:50 4/5 mark that was established two years ago. Looking at the Open Trot, Silverhill Volo is an 8-year-old son of Muscle Hill who is owned, trained and driven by Chip Lackey. He comes into this assignment with $142,000 on his card and a 1:55 1/5 mark that was set four years ago. After a string of four straight runner-up finishes, the Lackey colorbearer was a game winner of the most recent top dance for the division, coming first-over into favored Silverlode turning for home and coming away by two lengths over the sloppy going. The latter is a 10-year-old British Sterling mare who has several Sire Stakes trophies on her mantle to go with $231,000 in earnings and a 1:54 3/5 standard. She was a handy winner in the Open II Trot on January 18 and was overhauled late in that last mile while doing the heavy lifting as the 4-5 favorite. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness            

An Open Pace that rematches Icy Blue Scooter and King Of The Crop; a Distaff Open Pace headed by Brighten Your Life and the Marvin Shapiro Prep are the main attractions on Saturday evening's 11-race program. First post is 6:10 p.m. Last week's Open Pace saw an upset, as King Of The Crop got the job done by a half-length over favored Icy Blue Scooter, who was doing his work from the demanding No. 10 post. Saturday's assignment finds King Of The Crop leaving from the No. 4 position in the field of five, while Icy Blue Scooter has the outside post while moving in five slots from last week's appearance. King Of The Crop is an 8-year-old son of Little Steven who carries the banner of Don and Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chambers and Kathie Plested with Plested training and Steve Wiseman at the controls. After a pair of needed outings after returning from Pennsylvania, the hard-hitting gelding put it all together last week and was up in time. King Of The Crop, who has multiple Sire Stakes trophies on his mantle, pushed his career bankroll to the $162,000 plateau and sports a 1:50 4/5 mark that was established two years ago. Icy Blue Scooter had a three-race win skein snapped when runner-up last week, but did have the marooned post position and turned in another strong mile. Nathan Sobey drives, trains and co-owns the 6-year-old with Diane Bertrand. Icy Blue Scooter was spectacular in his hat trick at the top rung between December 29 and January 12, getting the job from a close-up spot in the first of those scores and then finishing strongly to seal the deal in the last pair. Low takeout wagers, added simulcasts featured A pair of wagers that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate and added simulcast action from Woodbine Mohawk Park in Canada help spice the action here each night at Cal Expo. Legislation that took effect January 1 allows a full card of international harness simulcasting to California patrons. The new law is applicable on nights of live racing only and California fans can now look forward to action from Woodbine Mohawk Park every Friday and Saturday evening. The two wagers offered here each night with the reduced 16 percent takeout rate are the 50-cent Pick 5, which begins on the first race; and the 20-cent Pick 4. The guaranteed pools for the Pick 4 were recently raised, with a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool on Fridays and a $40,000 guarantee on Saturdays. In last Saturday night's Pick 4, despite Fancy Little Girl winning the second leg at 4-5, the return was a healthy $568 per winning ticket. To give you some idea of the added value, with the regular takeout the payoff would have been $507, a difference of $61 for each 20-cent investment. Saturday evening's Marvin Shapiro Prep is named for the son of L.K. Shapiro, who owned the Hall of Fame thoroughbred and California-bred champion Native Diver. Marvin Shapiro was president of Western Harness Racing Inc. in the 1960s and spearheaded legislation that sanctioned night racing. He died in 2003 at the age of 83. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

When racing against the pacing mare Surprisingly Sweet, her harness racing rivals would be well served to heed the advice of Satchel Paige, who said, "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you." Surprisingly Sweet, an 11-year-old Indiana-bred daughter of Dontgetinmyway, carries the banner of Scott Ehrlich with Kathie Plested training and Mooney Svendsen at the controls and has used her powerful closing kick to capture four of her last five starts at Cal Expo. The dark-hued performer, who sports a 1:52 3/5 mark from four years ago, has now pushed her bank account to the $190,000 plateau and is going in razor-sharp form at the moment over this mile layout. "Surprisingly Sweet spent the summer at Al Sleva's farm instead of going to Running Aces or Hoosier," Ehrlich noted. "Kathie and Steve (Wiseman) would tell you how much giving her that time off helped her be as good as she is right now. That's also the plan again this summer. "Kathie just loves this mare to pieces and they train her differently to make sure she doesn't tie up." Svendsen has been guiding the long-fused mare with the expertise of a concert violinist as they have proven to be one of the most formidable horse/driver combinations on the grounds. "Mooney jogs her most of the time and usually sits behind her in training miles," Scott explained. "She basically trains herself to almost the same exact time each time she trains - so much so that he rarely needs a stopwatch." Open Trot brings out Its a Horse Its a Horse, who has rattled off four straight wins including the last three dances at the head of the class, looks to keep the momentum going in Friday night's featured $6,500 Open Trot. First post for the 11-race program under the banner of Watch and Wager LLC will be 6:10 p.m. For the second straight appearance, Its a Horse will be asked to do his work from the demanding No. 10 post position as he goes about his business for owner Alan Miller, trainer Marco Rios and pilot Gerry Longo. The Ohio-bred trotter made his local debut on December 28 and posted a facile five and a quarter length score at odds of 9-1 in an Open II affair, then moved up to the top level and did an encore from well off the pace while again motoring away in the final stages. Its A Horse cut it much closer in the January 11 clash at the head of the trotting class, coming from far back at the top of the lane to collar pace-setting Silverhill Volo by a half-length. In his most recent outing two weeks ago, the streaking performer left from the tough No. 10 post and prevailed as the 6-5 favorite, once again coming from well back to win going away by a length and three-quarters. Completing the field are Silverlode, who captured last week's Open II Trot; the hard-hitting Silverhill Volo, Windsun Galaxe, One Chief and Franks Best. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

The streaking Urgointohearmeroar looms an overwhelming favorite in Saturday night's $9,800 Robert Gordon Final for the harness racing pacers at Cal Expo. An 11-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. There will also be an Open Pace headed by the razor-sharp Icy Blue Scooter and a Filly and Mare Open Pace featuring Misspanderosajones. Urgointohearmeroar has accounted for five of his last six trips to the post here, including the December 29 Bill Conlin Final and last week's Robert Gordon Prep as the 1-9 favorite. A 4-year-old son of Mystery Chase out of the Dragon Again mare Its Unconditional, the bay performer goes about his business for owner Mark Anderson, trainer Gordie Graham and will once again be guided by Mooney Svendsen. In last week's Gordon Prep, Urgointohearmeroar was parked to the lead by the quarter, then took complete control of things from that point and came home with two and a half-lengths to spare. Just B Talking turned in a solid runner-up finish in that affair as a 25-1 shot for owner/trainer/driver Gerry Longo. They left into what became a pocket trip, tracked the heavy favorite to the lane and kept to the task while easily holding for the place spot. Completing the field are Hay Hay Alright, Fox Valley Hoss, In For The Chase, Wizard Of Odds and Lickcreek Speedway. Race honors memory of Robert Gordon Saturday night's main event is named for Robert Gordon, the noted driver/trainer and track executive who passed away at the age of 65 in 2006. Said Ben Kenny, Cal Expo/Watch and Wager LLC Asst. General Manager and Chief Financial Officer, "Bob was my unofficial campaign manager when I first ran for the CHHA board. He was a mentor on the board, a great horseman and I remember him always having a funny joke to tell." Said trainer George Reider, "Bobby Gordon was a good friend off the track, but on the track he was all business and could train a horse as hard as anybody in the country and be successful at it. The Bobby Gordon I choose to remember is when we played water volleyball and had those great barbecues." Robert Gordon started his 40-year career in Ohio and learned his lessons under the outstanding horseman Bob Farrington. He eventually settled in California and was a mainstay at the top of the trainer standings from the late 70s through the early 90s, conditioning such stars as Stand By N, Theora Hanover and Pack Leader. Stand By N raced under the banner of Bob and Loretta Staats stable and she was his all-time favorite. The Down Under import had a 1:52 1/5 career standard and banked $254,381 in a brilliant career on the racetrack, then went on to be an equally outstanding broodmare. She was inducted in the California Hall of Fame in 2010. Bob Gordon was a past president of the Western Harness Standardbred Association and the California Harness Horse Breeders Association, while in the early 90s he served as a director of the USTA. He was president of Premier Harness Racing, which raced at Los Alamitos, and was instrumental in keeping the sport alive in California in the mid 90s at a time when harness racing was definitely on the ropes. Bob Gordon was also director of backstretch operations for the Sacramento Harness Association and helped in starting the not-for-profit corporation, which was operating at Cal Expo at the time of his death. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness    

Harness racing trainer Marissa Kleinsasser is one of the new faces here from Canada this season, and she won't soon forget Cal Expo as it was here last month that she recorded the first training victory of her career with Camita B and E. Sent off at 39-1 in that December 7 contest, the 6-year-old pacer rode live cover to the lane for Nathan Sobey and won going away by a length and a half while rewarding his backers at 39-1 that evening. He races for Kleinsasser and Marlys Muller and has added another victory in the interim. While it may have been first win for Marissa on her own, the 23-year-old native of Alberta has made plenty of winner's circle appearances. "I'm fourth-generation in the game, and I guess you could say I knew I wanted to be involved from the time I was old enough to walk and talk," Kleinsasser related. "I've worked for last 10 years for my uncle Glenn Lutz." Marissa was encouraged to come down and give California a try by several of her fellow Alberta horsemen, who touted her on Cal Expo and all that comes with the racing here. "I absolutely love this mile track, especially the surface, and obviously the weather is much nicer than home right now. Add to that the people are the nicest I've ever been around and then winning my first race, it's been great so far." Kleinsasser plans to stay here until April and then will return to the Great White North, where she's looking forward to racing at the new mile track in Edmonton later in the year. Silverhill Volo, Silverlode set to battle Silverhill Volo and Silverlode, who chased home the red-hot Its a Horse in last week's top dance, get away from that rival and loom large in Friday night's featured Open II Trot. First post for the 12-race program is 6:10 p.m. Silverhill Volo is a 6-year-old son of Muscle Hill who is owned, trained and driven by Chip Lackey. He comes into this assignment with $137,000 on his card and a 1:55 1/5 mark that was set four years ago. He accounted for the December15 Open for his most recent tally, but has had to settle for three straight runner-up finishes behind Its a Horse since that score. On each occasion he has shown the way to the stretch, but could not contain the powerful finish of the Marco Rios trainee. Silverlode also figures to get plenty of support in Friday's headliner, as not only does she get away from Its a Horse but has a race over the track.She had been away from the wars since December 8 when she suited up in last week's Open. Owned by Medinah Racing and trained by Kathie Plested, the 10-year-old daughter of British Sterling put in a big effort with Mooney Svendsen, coming first over into Silverhill Volo and only weakening late in the needed outing. Silverlode sports a 1:54 3/5 career standard with $228,000 in the bank and has gone several huge miles over this Cal Expo strip. Her versatility and class make her very dangerous in this spot. Looking ahead to Saturday, there will be an outstanding card with the $9,800 Robert Gordon Final, an Open Pace headed by the streaking Icy Blue Scooter and a Filly and Mare Open Pace that finds Misspanderosajones eyeing an encore. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

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

The hard-hitting 12-year-old trotter Franky Provolone is making his final start in Friday night's fourth race and it's sure to be a bittersweet experience for his harness racing owner/trainer Robin Clements. "Franky has been a fan favorite here at Cal Expo and Running Aces for many years, but he's starting to tell me that it's time to retire," Robin noted at entry time. "After this last race he'll be sent to a friend of mine, Janet Scott and her two kids Carol and Cody in Wilton, where he will retire with another standardbred named Continental for company. "Franky has been good to me and he owes me nothing. It's my position that he deserves to be retired to a home where he will be safe and forever loved." For the record, Franky Provolone comes into this weekend's assignment with 297 starts on his card, sporting 53 wins, 68 seconds and 62 thirds, with $254,000 in his bank account and a 1:55 4/5 mark that was established five years ago. By Armbro Scribe out of the Donerail mare Simply Royal, he was bred on the Desomer Farm in Wilton and was originally owned and raced by Rick Plano. "I acquired Franky at the age of 5 in April of 2012 out of a claimer for $3,750," Clements said. "I raced him one more time here at Cal Expo and then sent him to Running Aces in Minnesota with Steve Wiseman and Kathie Plested." After racing once in a $4,500 claimer at Running Aces, Wiseman was approached about selling the trotter, but Robin didn't want to do that at the time. "We then put him in a $6,000 claimer that didn't fill," the story continued. "The only other class was the Open Trot in which he finished a strong third, and from that point on we knew we had an Open trotter." Franky Provolone went on to win 15 races that year while earning over $55,000 and was voted CHHA 2012 Horse of the Year for his accomplishments. "In 2017 and 2018, Franky was enrolled in the Summer Fling Racing League at Running Aces where fans can purchase a piece of a horse for the summer meet," she added. And how does Robin Clements sum up this popular performer who will attending his last dance this weekend? "He is a very sweet horse with a kind soul who gave 110 percent on the track every time he raced." You can't ask for more than that. Au Revoir, Open Trot command spotlight The Au Revoir Invite, which will be the final start for the popular trotter Franky Provolone; and an Open Trot featuring Its a Horse are the main events on Friday night's Cal Expo program. There will be 12 contests on the card, which is presented by Watch and Wager LLC, and things get underway at 6:10 p.m. The Au Revoir, in addition to being Franky Provolone's final start, is unique in that it will match a pair of trotters against four pacers, with Franks Best being the other trotter going up against pacers Nevermissabeat, McCedes, Bos So Hot and Whatchamacallum. The co-featured Open Trot will find Its a Horse gunning for this fourth straight victory while leaving from the assigned No. 10 post position in the field of seven. He is a 6-year-old son of Full Count who is owned by Ray Alan Miller, is trained by Marco Rios and will once again be handled by Gerry Longo. The Ohio-bred trotter made his local debut on December 28 and posted a facile five and a quarter length score at odds of 9-1 in an Open II affair, then moved up to the top level and did an encore from well off the pace while again motoring away in the final stages. Its A Horse cut it much closer in the most recent clash at the head of the trotting class, coming from far back at the top of the lane to collar pace-setting Silverhill Volo by a half-length. The latter performer has been runner-up in the last two top dances and accounted for the December 15 Open while rewarding his many backers as the 1-2 choice. Chip Lackey owns, trains and drives the 8-year-old son of Muscle Hill. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

The California Harness Horsemen's Association is proud to announce that Robin Burns and the late pacer Hi Ho Silverheels will be inducted into the California Harness Racing Hall of Fame on Sunday. "What a terrific honor," said Burns. "To be mentioned in the same breath as Joe O'Brien, Pres Jenuine, Jim Dennis and the other members is really beyond comprehension. "I can't thank enough the members of the selection committee for their unanimous vote." A native of Niagara Falls, NY, Robin attended the University of Miami (Fla.) and The Columbia School of Broadcasting. Burns first came to the attention of California fans as the announcer at Hollywood Park and also handled those duties at Los Alamitos and here at Cal Expo. He has also been the voice at harness tracks The Meadowlands, Freestate Raceway, Rosecroft Raceway, Louisville Downs, The Red Mile and Midwest Harness. His thoroughbred announcing has seen him calling the races at Laurel Park, Pimlico and currently Presque Isle. Burns estimates he has called over 80,000 races, including several broadcast on ESPN and CBS, including the Breeder's Crown, Maryland Million and Washington D.C. International. Robin's extensive resume has seen him serve as director of racing, director of simulcasting, consultant to the Macau Trotting Club, steward, starter, morning line maker and simulcast host. He helped launch the TVG Network while serving as director of traffic and simulcasting and as on-air host and analyst. His other television credits include hosting Racing from The Meadowlands on the Madison Square Garden Network; Winning at Rosecroft on Home Team Sports in Washington, D.C. and Harness Hoofbeats on Channel 9 in Los Angeles. In addition, Robin has lent his voice to the Hollywood movies "On the Right Track" and "Little Miss Marker". Robin Burns Also being inducted this year into the Hall of Fame this week is the late pacer Hi Ho Silverheels. Hi Ho Silverheels was a brilliant racehorse, earning just shy of $1.2 million with a 1:49 4/5 mark, and also proved to be one of the more influential harness racing stallions in the history of California breeding. A member of the class of 1991, Hi Ho Silverheels was by Walton Hanover out of the Abercrombie mare Armbro Caprice. "He wasn't bred in California, but he was foaled here and he's the best we've ever produced," said Wayne Knittel, who stood the stallion. In his racing days, Hi Ho Silverheels was scintillating to watch. Rick Kuebler drove him in all his California starts and was also at the controls when he competed in the Dan Patch at Indiana Downs. "He was the most gifted equine athlete I ever sat behind," Kuebler stated. "He had the unique combination of high speed and the capability to carry it. He routinely paced miles in 1:51 and change at Los Alamitos and I felt that on a good day he would break the 1:50 barrier. "There was a period in his career where you could have matched him up against the nine other best horses in the world and he would have been the odds-on favorite. He was that impressive." Robert Staats Final, Open Pace headline Lickcreek Speedway looms the overwhelming favorite in Saturday night's $9,600 Robert Staats Final, while Icy Blue Scooter gets top billing in the in the co-featured $7,000 Open Pace. Watch and Wager LLC will present 12 races and the action gets underway at 6:10 p.m with the Staats going as the sixth event and Open Pace occupying the eighth race slot on the evening. Lickcreek Speedway was sent off the 3-5 chalk in last week's Robert Staats Prep and made it look like a belated Xmas gift as she romped home by four and a half-lengths over the sloppy track. A 4-year-old daughter of Sand Shooter, the bay mare goes about her business for owner Jennifer Scarberry with James Kennedy reining and training. Her other victory at the meeting came in the Annette Funicello Prep in late November. Taking her on Saturday, from the rail out: Dancer's Fancy with Dean Magee; Glad to Meet Ya, Luke Plano; Lookslikewemadeit, Steve Wiseman; Damoricdalesno, Nathan Sobey; and Brigitte Bordeaux, who will be guided by Mooney Svendsen. Icy Blue Scooter is coming off a pair of dominating Open Pace scores for driver/trainer Nathan Sobey, who also co-owns the 6-year-old son of Blue Burner with Diane Bertrand and Robert Gilhespy. Sent off the 8-5 chalk in last week's top dance, Icy Blue Scooter came first over at the half, engaged the leader into the lane and then came home smartly in :27 1/5 to seal the deal by two and a quarter-lengths with Sobey at the helm. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

An Open Trot featuring Its a Horse and Silverhill Volo and a Filly and Mare Open Pace headed by Delightfully Wild hold the harness racing spotlight at Cal Expo Friday evening. A 12-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. The main events are scheduled as the second and third races on the program. Its A Horse is a 6-year-old son of Full Count who is owned by Ray Alan Miller, takes his lessons from Marco Rios and will once again have the services of Gerry Longo. The Ohio-bred trotter made his local debut on December 28 and posted a facile five and a quarter length score at odds of 9-1 in an Open II affair, then moved up to the top level for his most recent appearance and did an encore from well off the pace while again motoring away in the final stages. Silverhill Volo was runner-up in that contest after setting some of the fractions and accounted for the December 15 Open while rewarding his many backers as the 1-2 choice. Chip Lackey owns, trains and drives the 8-year-old son of Muscle Hill. Delightfully Wild is a 6-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight who competes for Richard Morita and David Yamada with Jessie Pacheco training and has James Kennedy in the sulky. After a needed effort in the December 29 Open after returning from Pennsylvania, the bay miss was ready to rock and roll in last week's clash at the head of the class and made every pole a winning one as the 6-5 favorite over a sloppy track. Low takeout wagers, added simulcasts featured A pair of wagers that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate and added simulcast action from Woodbine Mohawk Park in Canada spice the action here at Cal Expo. Legislation that took effect January 1 allows a full card of international harness simulcasting to our California patrons. The new law is applicable on nights of live racing only and California fans can now look forward to harness action from Woodbine Mohawk Park every Friday and Saturday evening. The two wagers offered here with the reduced 16 percent takeout rate are the 50-cent Pick 5, which begins on the first race; and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 4 guaranteed pools have now been raised, with a $30,000 guarantee on Fridays and a $40,000 guarantee on Saturdays. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Legislation that took effect January 1 allows a full card of international harness racing simulcasting to our California patrons. The new law is applicable on nights of live racing only and California fans can now look forward to harness action from Woodbine Mohawk Park every Friday and Saturday evening. "We are very pleased to offer the world class Woodbine Mohawk Park product to our California patrons," said Cal Expo General Manager Chris Schick. "This quality product with large pools and low minimums will nicely compliment our nightly Meadowlands imports. "We are also pleased to have talented Toronto handicapper Garnet Barnsdale aboard each week to follow trends and horses to watch." Garnet's nightly analysis of Woodbine Mohawk Park is available at //DRF.com/harness. ........................................................................... There are two wagers offered here nightly with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5, which begins on the first race; and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 4 guaranteed pools have now been raised, with a $30,000 guarantee on Fridays and a $40,000 guarantee on Saturdays. Distaff Open Pace, Staats Prep atop bill A very contentious $7,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace, which finds stablemates Outrageousdelightn and Capitol Hill doing battle once again, and the Robert Staats Prep headline the Cal Expo action on Saturday night. First post for the 12-race card, which is presented by Watch and Wager LLC, will be 6:10 p.m. The Staats Prep is scheduled as the sixth event and will be immediately followed by the Distaff Open. Outrageousdelightn made an impressive California debut in last week's top dance as she tracked to the lane, then exploded with a :27 flat final quarter to be up by a neck over Brighten Your Life in a 1:52 mile, shaving four ticks off her career standard. The now 10-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight is owned by Don and Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chambers and Tyler Wiseman with Kathie Plested training and Mooney Svendsen was in the sulky for that score. Brighten Your Life has turned in three solid efforts since coming in from Canada for her owner/trainer/driver Nathan Sobey. She won the Alan Horowitz Prep in her local debut on December 6, just missed in a game try in the Horowitz Memorial at next asking and was just nailed on the line in last week's Open. Capitol Hill gives the Plested shedrow two big looks at the outcome. The Badlands Hanover mare races for Plested and George McChrystal and had her work cut out last week leaving from the assigned No. 10 post position after rattling off three straight wins here at the head of the class. Rounding out the field, from the rail out: Directing Traffic, Bettor Lady, Misspanderosajones, Legio X Equestris, Delightfully Wild and Magnifique. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

‚ÄčLuke Plano relates that the pacing mare Magnifique, who proved clearly best in last week's Distaff Open II event, has been a pleasant surprise at this harness racing meeting. The now 8-year-old daughter of Tell All carries the banner of Nikki Hudson with Luke reining and training and has turned in a series of solid efforts at this meeting, including a close third in the Alan Horowitz Memorial two weeks ago. "I've had her since September," Plano explained. "Nick Roland claimed her at Running Aces for $6,000 toward the end of the meet and then I took her over. "We thought she would do well here with her conditions, and she's exceeded what we hoped for to this point." Magnifique proved a liking for an off track when she prevailed in a conditioned contest on opening week, then went a powerful mile two back when missing by only a half-length to heavily-favored Scary Harry in the aforementioned Horowitz. In her most recent appearance, she looked every part the even-money favorite as she brushed to the lead at the half and took complete control of the race from there, coming to the wire with a two and a half-length advantage. "She can a little quirky when she jogs, but when it's time to race she's all business out there and has a touch of class," her mentor added. "Now she'll have to step back up to the Open, so we'll see how that goes." Opens bring out quality trotters, pacers A $7,000 Open Pace headed by Icy Blue Scooter, Gorgeous For Real and I'm An Athlete and a $7,000 Open Trot that finds Silverhill Volo in the spotlight are the main attractions on Friday night's Cal Expo program. Watch and Wager LLC will present 12 races with first post set for 6:10 p.m. Icy Blue Scooter is coming off a dominating front-end victory in last week's Open Pace for driver/trainer Nathan Sobey, who also co-owns the 6-year-old son of Blue Burner with Diane Bertrand and Robert Gilhespy. He was runner-up in his first two outings here after coming in from Canada, including a nose setback on November 14, then got his revenge in the most recent clash at the top rung with his two-length score in a lifetime-best 1:52 1/5 clocking. Gorgeous For Real completed the exacta in that contest while going off the mild 5-2 favorite He was a 1:51 victor at Hoosier Park last summer and goes about his business for the partnership of Schwartz, Wilkinson, Axelrod and O'Neill with Junior Wilkinson the conditioner and Dean Magee handling the lines. I'm An Athlete accounted for the December 14 Open when hanging that nose decision on Icy Blue Scooter and was third in that last clash at the head of the class. The 9-year-old son of Art Major is approaching the $200,000 earnings plateau for owner Ronald Rettig-Zucchi, trainer Jessie Pacheco and pilot James Kennedy with a 1:51 mark that was established over this track. Completing the field are King Of The Crop, Bettor's Promise, Almost Cut My Hair, Jazzmanian Devil, Why Ask Why and Prodigal. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Nutmegs Desire, who will suit up in Saturday night's ninth race at Cal Expo, recently recorded a milestone 50th harness racing victory here and after some farewell starts will begin a new career next year as a broodmare. A soon-to-be 11-year-old daughter of Real Desire, Nutmegs Desire is owned by the partnership of Don and Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chambers and Tyler Wiseman with Kathie Plested training and Steve Wiseman in the sulky. She comes into this assignment with 231 starts on her resume, with 50 wins, 42 seconds and 29 thirds and $233,000 in her bank account. She sports a 1:53 1/5 lifetime mark that was established five years ago at Pocono Downs. Nutmegs Desire reached the half a century win mark here on December 8, going right to the front and then coming out of the fog to get the job done by a length and a half. She came back in her last start to miss score No. 51 by just a head. Following that victory three weeks ago, members of the Cal Expo racing office were treated to a cake courtesy of the pacing mare and Barbara Arnstine. "Nutmegs Desire is a horseman's horse," a proud Barbara related when asked about the bay 10-year-old mare. "She's honest and consistent in effort, she's a pleasure to have in the barn as long as you keep those carrots coming, and she helps keep the youngsters in line." Arnstine explained that some chronic injuries slowed her East Coast campaign and former California owner/trainer Gilbert Herrera sent her to Plested and Wiseman to finish up her career. "In one of her last races at Running Aces this summer, as she was charging down the stretch to her 49th win, someone yelled out 'Go on Grandma, you can do it'! "No one told 'Grandma' this was a finish," Barbara said. "Steve will tell you that when he tries to pull her up after a race. If you aren't flying back to the winner's circle, then she's ready to go around again. Once you put that yellow hood on, she's ready to work." In a few months, Nutmegs Desire will go from being a veteran racemare to a young broodmare. "When the snows melt in Canada in early March, she'll be on her way to having those babies that we will look forward to seeing," Arnstine noted. "Meanwhile, that yellow hood will keep pushing to the front, trying to win and prove a credit to the breed." Bill Conlin Pace shares spotlight with Opens Urgointohearmeroar and Lickcreek Speedway, who put on quite a show two weeks ago, get another chance to settle the score in Saturday night's featured $8,400 Bill Conlin Pace. Watch and Wager LLC will present an excellent 12-race card that gets underway at 6:10 p.m. In addition to the Conlin, there is a $7,000 Open Pace that finds I'm An Athlete seeking an encore and a $6,500 Filly and Mare Open Pace headed by the razor-sharp Capitol Hill. Urgointohermeroar and Lickcreek Speedway finished one-two in the December 14 Conlin Prep, with Urgoinhearmeroar getting up by a head over the latter after that rival had opened a clear lead at midstretch. Urgointohearmeroar is a 3-year-old son of Mystery Chase who is owned by Mark Anderson, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and will once again have Mooney Svendsen giving directions. He has accounted for three of his four appearances at this meet, lowering his lifetime standard to 1:54 flat in his most recent outing. Sent off the 8-5 choice in that contest, he stalked to the lane and proved best at the line. Lickcreek Speedway has a win and two near-misses from her five trips to the post at this stand, with her victory coming in the Annette Funicello Prep on December 7. She set her mark of 1:56 1/5 this year at Hooser Park and goes about her business for owner Jennifer Scarberry and driver/trainer James Kennedy. Completing the field are Hay Hay Alright for Ryan Grundy; Just B Talking, Gerry Longo; Oh My Josh with Steve Wiseman; and Dancer's Fancy, who has Dean Magee at the controls. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

A $6,000 Open II Distaff Pace headed by Magnifique and a $5,500 Open II Trot featuring Dougs Hobby Horse and Windsun Galaxie are the main attractions on Friday night's harness racing program at Cal Expo. There will be 12 races presented by Watch and Wager LLC with first post set for 6:10 p.m. Looking at the Filly and Mare Open II event, Magnifique figures to have her share of backers leaving from the cozy rail slot for Luke Plano, who reins and trains the 7-year-old mare for Nikki Hudson. Magnifique started the meet with a victory in a conditioned contest, was third in a blanket finish in the November 30 Open and at most recent asking was beaten only a half-length while picking up the show money behind the streaking Scary Harry in the Alan Horowitz Memorial. Several of the performers in the co-featured Open II Trot have the credentials to get the picture taken, including a pair from the Rick Bertrand barn in Dougs Hobby Horse and Majestic Lady Jo. The latter, who carries the banner of Bertrand and Amy Grunwald, was a 29-1 upset winner of the December 7 Open, while Dougs Hobby Horse races for Bertrand and Doug Flores and sports an Open victory from last month. Windsun Galaxie is coming off a solid runner-up effort behind Silverhill Volo in the most recent clash at the head of the division two weeks ago and has been assigned the outside post in the field of six. Dean Magee handles the lines for owner Ronald Rettig-Zucchi and conditioner Jessie Pacheco. Low takeout wagers offer true value There are two wagers offered here nightly that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate, giving players extra incentive to participate in these horizontal bets. The wagers are the 50-cent Pick 5, which begins on the first race; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which comes with a $20,000-guaranteed pool on Fridays and $30,000 on Saturdays. In addition, Cal Expo offers 20-cent Trifectas and 10-cent Superfectas, affording players the opportunity to spread deep in these vertical wagers. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

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