Day At The Track

Giggle Monster eyes another triumph

06:32 AM 14 Mar 2021 NZDT
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Giggle Monster, harness racing
Giggle Monster in prior win
Dee Leftwich photo

Giggle Monster, victorious in seven of his nine trips to the post this harness racing season, will attempt to overcome the daunting No. 10 post as he heads the cast for Sunday night's pacing main event at Cal Expo Harness.

There will be 12 races presented under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 4:50 p.m.

Giggle Monster is a 6-year-old son of Wind Me Up who races for Set The Pace Racing LLC and is reined and trained by Nick Roland. He is 26-for-90 in his career and his most recent score two weeks ago lowered his lifetime mark to 1:52 3/5.

Sent off the 9-5 choice in that February 28 contest, Giggle Monster was unhurried early, made a huge move off the final turn to sweep to command in the drive and went on to three-quarter lengths decision over Sin Machqueen, who will again be among his rivals on Sunday.

 

The latter is also having a strong year with four trips to the winner's circle from his eight appearances. Jacob Cutting drives and trains the 10-year-old Mach Three gelding, who is owned by Darryl Mason.

His most recent trip to the charmed enclosure came on February 21, when he looped the field to pull off a 7-1 upset with Cutting. He established his 1:53 2/5 career standard over this strip earlier in the session.

A reminder there are three wagers offered each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 20-cent early and late Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4, with the latter featuring a $25,000-guaranteed gross pool.

Queenace Blue Chip Is Jack to his family

Queenace Blue Chip made a game return to the races two weeks ago in his first start of the year, ending up on the right end of a photo to kick off 2021 in style with Mooney Svendsen.

The 5-year-old is by Art Major out of the Cam's Card Shark mare Blackjack Princess, is co-owned by Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chambers and trainer Kathie Plested and sports a 1:52 1/5 mark that was set last season at Running Aces in Minnesota.

"Our friend and trainer, Gilbert Herrera, sent Queenace Blue Chip to us because he simply wasn't ready for the stress of Yonkers and Pocono as a 3-year-old," Arnstine related. "Over the last year he's matured into a good horse for the Plested/Wiseman barn and that first race here showed his talent."

Barbara revealed there is also another contribution she believes made his growth possible, one that is not so obvious.

"He got a much better name," she explained. "His barn name is Blackjack, or Jack for short, and it's obvious he's enjoying this much more than Queen. For this owner, his success is a joy, but also why owning a race horse is a very humbling experience.

"Much as you would like to be cool and smart when you arrive at the shedrow with carrots and congratulations, finding your horse without help can be difficult. That's because many of those horses have barn names, and since these come with care and affection, they are usually what they respond to, instead of the names they race under.

"The horses in the Plested barn also move around a lot of take advantage of the sun and shade and horse friendships, and most of them are brown. So an owner finds themselves looking at a lot of brown horses in different locations with names that aren't in the program."

Arnstine sums it up this way. "It's a lesson in humility, and a reminder that success rests on the work of others. He may be Queenace Blue Chip in the program, but he wins because his family calls him Jack."

By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

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