Day At The Track

Joe Lighthill FFA Trot Friday

05:07 AM 13 Dec 2019 NZDT
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It's A Horse, harness racing
It's A Horse (on the inside) in prior win
Dee Leftwich photo

The $10,000 Joe Lighthill Free-for-All Trot headlines Friday night's Cal Expo card with Its A Horse and Scramble Camp among the major players. Watch and Wager LLC will present 12 races with first post set for 6:10 p.m.

The Joe Lighthill Trot is named for the outstanding driver/trainer who was a mainstay in California for decades and passed away at the age of 78 in 2006.

Lighthill, who began his career in the mid-1940s, drove 2,272 winners for purse earnings just shy of $7 million and reined and/or trained some of the most outstanding performers of their generation. Included in that illustrious group were Meadow Skipper, Countess Adios, Tender Loving Care, Hickory Pride, Peter Lobell, Try Scotch and BC Count.

It's A Horse is a 6-year-old son of Full Count who is owned by Ray Alan Miller, trained by Marco Rios and will be guided by Dean Magee. The long-fused trotter stormed from well back to get the job done on November 23 while registering his 15th victory from 77 career outings.

Scramble Camp accounted for his Cal Expo debut last month in a coast-to-coast performance for owner Jeralene Roland and driver/trainer Nick Roland. The Iowa-bred sidewheeler was a 1:54 4/5 winner earlier this year at Hawthorne.

Taking on this pair, from the rail out: Majestic Lady Jo, Flameon, Kristy'sgingergal, Windsun Galaxe, Pridecrest and Mandeville.

Looking ahead to Saturday's program, the rescheduled Dave Goldschmidt Free-for-All Pace headed by Allmyx'sliventexas and the Robert Staats for pacing fillies and mares featuring Rue Hanover will be in the spotlight.

A tip of the cap to Ed Burgart

Cal Expo is proud to name Friday night's 10th race for Ed Burgart, who is retiring after being the voice of Los Alamitos for the past 39 years.

Ed's final call will be the Los Alamitos Two Million on Sunday night.

In addition to calling Arabians, Thoroughbreds, Mules and of course Quarter Horses at Los Alamitos, Ed was also the announcer for harness racing at the Orange County oval for one season.

"I called harness racing at Los Alamitos in 2000, which was the final year it took place here," Burgart related. "Going from 350 yards to a mile required a different tempo and I quickly learned that harness racing had its own terminology.

"What I found most interesting about harness racing was the strategy involved, especially over a five-eighths mile track like Los Alamitos. Top drivers knew when to make the proper brushes and how to take advantage of inside and outside post draws."

Cal Expo salutes Ed Burgart and wishes him and his wife Marsha the very best in his retirement.

There will be mandatory payouts in all wagers on Saturday night, including the reduced 16 percent takeout 20-cent Pick 5 and 20-cent Pick 4, with the latter featuring a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool.

By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness





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