Day At The Track

Anthrop returns with promising prospects

07:52 AM 08 Mar 2012 NZDT
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Bob Johnson
Bob Johnson

Midwest-based harness racing trainer George Anthrop is making his third invasion of California, having previously campaigned his performers in the Golden State in 1997 and then again in 2007. "It seemed like the time was right," explained Anthrop.

“I’ve got 10 out here at Cal Expo right now and another five will be coming in soon. I’m really looking forward to racing here again, because the people have always been very nice.”

A couple of Anthrop’s 3-year-olds will be prepping for stakes races this summer in Kentucky, including a colt named Doc’s Zippy who won four of his 12 starts last season, and has his conditioner thinking big things in the future.

“He’s a full brother to a real nice one we had named Doc’s Cilla, and he’ll be getting ready for some big races back in Kentucky. The plan is to qualify him in a couple of weeks and then get some miles under him before he ships back.”

George is also pretty high on Western Tower, who is set to make his California debut in Saturday night’s feature where he will line up against the likes of Haggin Oaks, Marlin Hanover and One And Only. This one sports a 1:52.4 mark at Colonial Downs, and it will be interesting to see how he fits with the top guns at this stand.

When asked about the best performers he’s ever had in the barn, a somewhat familiar name comes up in King Country, who began his career at Cal Expo and was a Sire Stakes hero before moving his base to the East.

“I claimed him for $5,500 and he ended up winning over $200,000 for us and set a track record at Balmoral. We also had a real nice one named Rusty Water. He set three different track records and had a 1:50 mark.”


Alpine Hawk, a winner of five of his seven appearances this season; faces the classy Franks Best and the Rocky Stidham-trained duo of Shelby County and Putoneonnetformom in Friday night’s (March 9) $4,500 Winners-Over Trot at Cal Expo.

An 11-year-old New York-bred son of Movie Mogul, Alpine Hawk comes into this weekend’s outing with $169.000 in his bank account and a 1:56.4 mark that was set four years ago. He carries the banner of Jim Winske, hails from the Gordie Graham barn, and as usual will have Rich Wojcio giving directions.

The veteran is currently riding a three-race winning streak and has been putting his versatility on display during the course of these victories. He came from off the pace to click on February 10, while in his last two scores he has made what proved to be the winning move to the lead at the half.

Franks Best is a multiple stakes-winning son of Armbro Scribe who is owned, trained and was bred by Bob Johnson. Lemoyne Svendsen will once again guide the 5-year-old who is looking to add to a $123,000 bankroll and sports a 1:57 lifetime mark that was established over this layout last season.

Franks Best recorded his most recent win at this top level on February 25, coming first over to the final bend and proving strongest in the lane to win going away by a length and three-quarters. He tracked Alpine Hawk to the stretch last week and fell three-quarters of a length short of getting that one while completing the exacta. Rounding out the field are Giles L S Hanover, Meringue and Winsom Kelly.

Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Friday (March 9) & Saturday (March 10) at 6:00 p.m. (PST). On every live card, Cal Expo offers free parking & free admission after 4:30 p.m. On Friday, Cal Expo offers Happy Hour from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on which Beer; Well Drinks & Wine are offered at $4 each, while a Burger with fries is offered at $5.

Cal Expo currently offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on all Pick 4’s. Additionally, all Late Pick 4’s now come with an increased $20,000-guaranteed gross pool. Also, the Friday Late Pick 4 will offer a 0% takeout on all winning wagers made on track or at, while the Saturday Late Pick 4 will be broadcast on TVG.

by Mark RATZKY

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