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Allmyx'sliventexas, victorious in seven of his eight starts at this harness racing meet, is once again the horse to beat in Sunday night's $7,200 Open Pace at Cal Expo Harness. The headliner will go as the eighth on a 12-race card presented by Watch and Wager LLC and things get under way at 4:50 p.m. Allmyx'sliventexas is an 8-year-old Hi Ho Silverheel's homebred who races for Wayne and Rod Knittel, hails from the Bob Johnson shedrow and will be guided by Nick Roland from the outside post in the field of seven. The Knittel charge has accounted for 46 of his 141 lifetime appearances, he's looking to add to a $260,000 bankroll and set his 1:50 career mark at Hoosier Park three years ago. Allmyx'sliventexas kicked off this meeting with five straight trips to the charmed enclosure, with the richest of those scores coming in the December 11 Dave Goldschmidt Pace. He suffered his only setback at the stand when he was hung the mile on January 31 and tired. He has returned to prove best in his last two trips to the post, including the most recent when he withstood a strong challenge turning for home and then came home in smart fashion to secure the length and a quarter decision in a powerful 1:51 1/5 tour. Taking him on, from the rail out: Bngs Express with Tony Kerwood; Contemporary Legend, Mooney Svendsen; Super Pac Hanover for Cordarius Stewart; Hoo Nien, Gerry Longo; Buddy's Hope with Jake Cutting and Ponda's Prospect for Luke Plano. Second time around for Corbin in California Robert Corbin is enjoying his second winter at Cal Expo while sending his share of performers to the winner's circle. "The weather is great and we had such a good time last year we decided to come back," explained the 61-year-old Chicago native. While Robert got his first taste of the sport in his teens through his parents, it wasn't until six years ago that he really got involved in the game. "My mother passed away and we wanted to have something for my father to look forward to, so we ended up buying a broodmare and eventually purchased some race horses as well." At this time, Corbin owned a trucking company and was just a casual player, but what started out as something to help occupy Robert Sr's time ended up being a real passion for his son, who continued to build the stable following his father's passing two and a half years ago. "I worked with a trainer for about a year and then took out my license in 2017," Corbin explained. By the way, that first broodmare he purchased with his dad was an Artsplace mare named Symphony Bay, and her first foal was Marys Pretty Girl, who has been a regular in the Filly and Mare Open Pace here. When this session ended in April, the Corbin shedrow will return to points East to compete at Hawthorne and Hoosier Park. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness              

Allmyx'sliventexas and Heza Real Diamond, who have been putting on some great battles at the head of the class, get another chance to settle the score in Friday night's featured $6,700 Open Pace at Cal Expo Harness.. A 12-race card is on tap with first post set for 6:10 p.m. The headliner goes as the fourth contest on the evening with Allmyx'sliventexas leaving from the No. 9 slot and Heza Real Diamond from the 10 post in the field of six. Allmyx'sliventexas is a 7-year-old son of Hi Ho Silverheel's who is owned and was bred by Wayne and Rod Knittel, takes his lessons from Bob Johnson and once again has Mooney Svendsen giving directions. The hard-hitting bay performer comes into this assignment with 36 wins from his 116 trips to the post with over $210,000 in his bank account and a 1:50 flat career standard that was established two years ago at Hoosier Park. Allmyx'sliventexas has posed for pictures following three of the last four top dances for the division, including last week when he sat the pocket behind Heza Real Diamond and was up by a nostril in a 1:50 2/5 tour. Heza Real Diamond is having a great meet with three snapshots from the last half-dozen starts for owner Orlando Nevarez and trainer Edwin Quevedo and Nick Roland will have a return assignment in the sulky. The Nevarez colorbearer has traded decisions with Allmyx'sliventexas in his last two starts, and on both occasions the horse who sat the two-hole behind the pacesetter has surged to get the victory in the final strides. Mr. Varsity, Part Time, King Of The Crop and Fox Valley Hoss complete the field. Key Word sparks low takeout wager There are two wagers here offered each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 20-cent Pick 5 and 20-cent Pick 4 - and taking a look at last Saturday's Pick 5 is a good example of the value added. Despite the sequence featuring winners that were 6-5, 7-5 and a pair of 2-1 shots, you toss in an 11-1 shot to kick off the proceedings and there is a nice $134 payoff for each correct 20-cent investment. Key Word was the catalyst in the evening's opener for veteran owner/driver/trainer Gerry Longo, as the 9-year-old pacer did the perfect track-and-attack from a cozy rail draw to pick up his first snapshot of the season. In the night's third race it was Allmyx'sliventexas for the Knittel/Johnson/Svendsen team returning to his winning ways in the Open Pace, hanging a nose decision on arch-rival Heza Real Diamond after being collared by that rival in their previous meeting. That was followed by another dynamite performance by Alwaysalittle more in the Filly and Mare Open as this gal seems to have really found her stride for owners Maria Alvarez and Terrence Smith, trainer Edwin Hernandez and pilot Luke Plano. The Pick 5 was rounded out by Bunkerhill Bill's virtual coast-to-coast tally in the Shelly Goudreau Final. The 9-year-old Michigan-bred goes about his business for the Haness Family and co-owner/trainer George Reider and has found a great partner in driver Dean Magee. By the way, the Pick 4 comes with a $40,000-guaranteed gross pool on Saturdays and a $30,000 pool on Fridays. Jump right in, the water's fine. by Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness      

Mooney Svendsen guided some serious harness racing horsepower into the winner's circle on opening night at Cal Expo Harness, with Allmyx'sliventexas and Capitol Hill taking bows after impressive performances to kick off the stand. Allmyx'sliventexas has a slew of Sire Stakes trophies on his mantle for owner/breeders Wayne and Rod Knittel and trainer Bob Johnson and dropped into a pretty sweet conditioned spot for his return from Indiana. Sent off at 1-2 from the cozy rail slot, he made two moves to the lead at the quarter and turned out the lights into the lane, eventually coming to the line with four and a quarter- lengths to spare in a 1:52 4/5 performance. "I hadn't driven him since the end of the last meet here, but he's one of my favorites and I was certainly keeping tabs on him at Hoosier," Svendsen said. "I had a big hold of him when we were in the pocket coming to the quarter, then I had to pull him out because I was worried he would choke down if I didn't let him go. "Once I pulled the plugs, it was over. He was really strong and it's great to be driving him again." While Allmyx'sliventexas was a heavy favorite in his contest, Capitol Hill was 16-1 in the Filly and Mar Open for trainer Kathie Plested with Legio X Equestris going off the 1-9 chalk in the contest. Mooney was able to sit in the two hole behind that favorite, was out for the stretch and easily motored by for the upset. "I was surprised I was able to circle (Luke) Plano's mare away from there and then we just settled in behind her," Svendsen related. "To be honest, I could feel I had a lot of horse and was 95 percent sure she was the winner pretty early on. They really had her ready." Misspanderosajones heads distaff main event Pacing fillies and mares will be in the spotlight at Cal Expo Friday evening with Misspanderosajones heading the $4,800 conditioned feature and a solid field doing battle in the Annette Funicello Prep. Misspanderosa will leave from the outside slot in the headliner while carrying the banner of Tip That Bucket Stable. The 8-year-old mare is trained by Rocco Giambrocono with Dean Magee in the sulky. The bay miss made her Cal Expo debut on last weekend's opening night card and had her work cut out in the Filly and Mare Open, checking in fourth behind Capitol Hill and heavily-favored Legio X Equestris in that 1:55 2/5 mile. She should be very much at home in Friday's line-up, which will see her taking on Awesum World for trainer Robin Clements; the Junior Wilkinson-conditioned Directing Traffic; Perfect Pitch from the Bob Johnson barn and the Jessie Pacheco-trained Along Came Jane. Perfect Pitch was a runner-up on the opening program of the meet after doing her work in first-over fashion. Mooney Svendsen will once again guide the daughter of Hi Ho Silverheel's and she sports a 1:513/5 mark that was established three years ago. A contentious cast of eight distaffers will face starter Ken Fowler in the co-featured Funicello Prep, with the final being decided next week. The Annette Funicello is named for the famous actress/singer who was married to horseman Glen Holt for 27 years until her death in 2013 and was a major fan and proponent of harness racing. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

The Bob Johnson harness racing stable was hot last Saturday night, accounting for three of the first six races on the card with Mooney Svendsen doing the honors, including victories in the Glen Holt Memorial Pace and the Open Trot. Johnson, who will turn 75 next month, has now made 2,533 trips to the winner's circle in his career with over $12 million in earnings. While a hat trick is great in anybody's book, it doesn't come close to matching the night winners Bob sent out at Los Alamitos on February 11, 2000, when he won an amazing eight races. "I remember the date because I have a picture at home that was taken with all eight horses," Johnson related. "There were some nice ones in that group, including Kaycees Doll, who won the $250,000 Lloyd Arnold down there." Johnson's triple last Saturday started out with Talkin Tootsie recorded her third win on the season from five appearances as she hung a neck decision on 1-5 favorite Pridecrest in the co-featured Open Trot. Marin Garey and Henry Weiseneck own the mare. Two races later, it was the Johnson owned, bred and trained 11-year-old trotter Franks Best who added another W to his resume, which now includes $270,000 in earnings. Rounding things out was Allmyx'sliventexas, who ended up in a dead-heat with Gorgeous For Real in the Open Pace for owner/breeders and longtime clients Wayne and Rod Knittel. "I'd been in a bit of a slump going into that night, so it was extra nice," Johnson said. "I'll tell you, winning never gets old." Bob was asked to talk a little about each of the winners. "To be honest, I was just hoping to get a check with Talkin Tootsie, because she had missed a few weeks. I thought she went a super mile to beat a very nice trotter in Pridecrest." Franks Best is one of the most popular performers on the grounds and was picking up his second snapshot on the year while using his patented late charge. "No question, he's my all-time favorite. He just keeps on going at age 11, and he still has that desire to win." Johnson has always been high on the Knittel's Hi Ho Silverheel's hombred Allmyx'sliventexas, who has a 1:51 4/5 mark that was set last year at Running Aces and is closing in on the $100,000 earnings plateau. "That was a solid group and I wasn't sure how things were going to shake out early, but Mooney was able to work out a great trip. I think this horse is really coming up to some big races."   Contentious line-up set for Open Pace Gorgeous For Real and Allmyxsliventexas, who dead-heated in last weekend's Glen Holt Memorial, are among the major players in Friday night's $5,500 Open Pace. First post for the 11-race card is 6:10 p.m. and there will be a pair of California Sire Stakes decided as non-betting events prior to the regular card. The Glen Holt Memorial was contested over a track labelled "good" and Gorgeous For Real carved out all the fractions with William Hernandez while Allymxsliventexas sat a tracking trip with Mooney Svendsen and came first-over at the half. At the wire the pair could not be separated and shared the victory after a 1:53 4/5 mile. Gorgeous For Real is a 4-year-old son of He's Gorgeous who goes about his business for the partnership of Wilkinson, Schwartz, Axelrod and O'Neill with Junior Wilkinson conditioning. He was winning for the third time from seven starts on the year and will do his work from the No. 9 post in the field of 10 this evening. Allymxsliventexas is owned and was bred by Wayne and Rod Knittel with Bob Johnson calling the shots. He sports three snapshots this season from eight appearances with a 1:51 4/5 mark while closing in on $100,000 in earnings. He departs from the No. 8 slot for this go-around. I'm An Athlete has several wins at the head of the class at this meeting, but will have to deal with the demanding outside slot in this full field. James Kennedy guides the Ronald Rettig-Zucchi-owned, Jessie Pacheco-trained son of Art Major.   Mark Ratzky publicity – Cal Expo Harness  

David Siegel got a solid start to the Cal Expo meet last Saturday night while guiding a pair of harness racing pacers into the winner's circle. Native's Revenge, who is co-owned by Siegel and trainer Bob Johnson, got the job done in the third race on opening night card, with Walker Meister posting a $38 surprise in the 12th race with Siegel handling the lines for trainer George Reider. "Bob (Johnson) has had nice success with Native's Revenge here after a challenging campaign at Running Aces," Siegel noted. "He's a classy horse and seems to really like the track. "I was looking for a reliable horse to buy a piece of in Bob's barn to diversity my holdings and Native's Revenge fit the bill. So when he returned to the left coast, I purchased a piece of him and was fortunate that he fit the bottom conditioned class in his first start and returned to his old winning form here." David added that Native's Revenge is being pointed for the Alan Horowitz series, with the opening leg of that event scheduled for Saturday, November 11. A few hours after prevailing with Native's Revenge, Siegel once again got his picture taken after working out a pefect trip with Walker Meister and lighting up the toteboard in the process. "It's somewhat similar in that he had not been racing in great form at Running Aces," Siegel said. "It seems like Walker Meister has fared best here in California. "George approaches the return of his horses with a long-term view, that is six months of racing ahead, and he also wanted to give the barn a nice breather after Aces. So, as expected, most of his horses were a little short last week. "I had a conservative plan for Walker Meister, but when I looked left from the seven hole, there were very few that had that 'leave' look so I jumped out of there along with the horse I thought I had to beat in Hi Ho's Little Rev. "Mooney (Svendsen) did the right thing with that horse and retook. At that point I knew Bobby Johnson's horses were all ready to rock and roll on opening night and I thought I could be good enough to be second. "But Walker Meister kept right up at the half and that's when I thought I just might get there. By the three-quarter pole I had a good feeling I would win and the gelding was solid. "I use Speed Ratings and his 77 was about 10 points up from his recent Running Aces efforts. No doubt he likes the Cal Expo surface and maybe just likes being home. He'll have to step up now, but the way he raced I expect him to be quite competitive." Open Trot, Pick 5 carryover in spotlight A $6,600 Open Trot and a Pick 5 carryover of $4,400 with a $20,000-guaranteed pool head the program Friday night at Cal Expo. The trotters and pacers are now in action on Friday and Saturday evenings under the banner of Watch and Wager LLC with first post set for 6:10 p.m. There will be 10 races on both Friday and Saturday. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent wager which is conducted on the first five races each night and features a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. That low takeout is also offered on the 20-cent Pick 4 that covers the penultimate four races on the card. Looking at the featured Open Trot, racing secretary Robin Schadt has assigned the Luke Plano trained-and-driven Pridecrest the outside post in the cast of seven, with the other six sidewheelers drawing their slots. A 5-year-old son of Angus Hall, Pridecrest carries the hopes of Mark Hinshaw and invades from the Midwest having met some solid company at Hawthorne and Hoosier Park this season. He scored his most recent victory in an Open event on August 26 over a good track at Hawthorne, as he set a stalking journey that evening and ignited in the stretch to win going away by 2 1/4 lengths while rewarding his backers as an 11-1 shot. Taking him on, from the rail out: Agrestores Comet with Chip Lackey; Becky Badger Baby, Nick Roland; Itzaziam, to be handled by Sean Smithpeters; Talkin Tootsie, Mooney Svendsen; and Silverlode with Steve Desomer. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

The Sunday night May 28 Running Aces harness racing card featured the $12,000 Open Handicap Pace with a talented field of 9 squaring off, and it was AllmyX’sLiveNTexas who stole the show. Driven confidently by Mooney Svendsen for trainer Bob Johnson, the duo posted a sharp front-running score in 1:51.4, just one tick off of the track record for 4 year old pacing geldings. Sent hard from post six, the impressive son of Hi Ho Silverheels battled to clear the lead past the opening quarter mile (26.4), then repelled a strong challenge from race favorite SF Donttellonme (J. Casagranda) through the middle fractions of the race (55.4, 1:22.3) and had enough left in the tank to hold the rest of the field at bay and pick up his 6th win in 16 starts this year. Easy Again (R. Magee) picked up second, with SF Donttellonme home in third. With tonight’s triumph AllmyX’sLiveNTexas expanded his seasonal bankroll to $28,778 for owners Wayne & Rodney Knittel. The $10,000 Open Trot was also part of the Sunday card, and it would be the return of Banker Volo to the Running Aces winner’s circle, a familiar place for this talented 8 year old Stallion by Yankee Glide who was runner up in this event last week and was making just his 2nd start of the year. Driver Luke Plano guided Banker Volo out to an easy lead from post 5 and was never in doubt, controlling the affair and strolling through moderate fractions of 28.2, 58.4 and 1:27.1 before coasting home in 29.3 to hold off Leave Your Mark (N. Roland) by ¾ of a length in 1:56.4. Banker Volo is owned by Daniel Roland and trained by Jenni King. The $13,000 Minnesota-Sired 3 year old trotters also squared off this evening, with a full gate of 10 contestants. Imapixieatmidnight (N. Roland) set all the fractions in the affair, but was gunned down late by pocket-sitter Al Mar Foxyeclipse (Joe Casagranda), with Al Mar Money Glide (T. Maier) home in 3rd in the 2:02.1 mile. Tonight’s win was the 3rd lifetime tally for Al Mar Foxyeclipse in 18 starts, and boosted his bankroll to $22,910 for owner Mark Holtan with Joel Mc Danel doing the conditioning. Drivers Nick Roland, Steve Wiseman, and Mooney Svendsen all picked up driving doubles on the program. Live Racing returns to Running Aces this coming Tuesday, May 30 with a first post of 7:00 pm CDT. By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer

The combination of owner/breeders Wayne and Rod Knittel, trainer Bob Johnson and pilot Mooney Svendsen are well represented on Saturday's harness racing program at Cal Expo with Allmyx'sliventexas in the Open Pace and Army Of One heading the Sire Stakes for sophomore pacing colts. Allymx'sliventexas is a 4-year-old by Hi Ho Silverheel's out of the Distinguishedbaron mare Annie Get Your Gun who has dominated his Sire Stakes rival this season, including a sizzling 1:51 4/5 romp by 11 lengths in the February 4 big money dance for the division. Army Of One is another Hi Ho Silverheel's for this team who has been the big man on campus in the previous four Sire Stakes decided for the 3-year-old pacing males. He is definitely following in his stablemate's footsteps in that regard. Allymyx'sliventexas really turned some heads in that aforementioned February stakes win where he blew the doors off his rivals in front-end fashion and established his lifetime standard in the process. "Usually when I let him roll he relaxes perfectly and I can drive him with two fingers," Svendsen related, "but that night he was like a rocket. I grabbed that bit and did all I could to just hold on. He was unbelievable." Allmyx'sliventexas has also proven himself with Open company this season, and has the advantage of the rail draw for Saturday's re-match with the red-hot Barbarian. Meanwhile, Army Of One will look to add another trophy to his case in the Sire Stakes. "He's got potential," Svendsen noted. "He might turn out to be just as good as Allmyx'sliventexas." Pair of Open Pacing events head card An Open Pace featuring the streaking Barbarian and a DistaffOpen that brings out Shark Festival and Hare To Eternity are the highlights on Saturday evening's program at Cal Expo. Twelve races are on tap under the banner of Watch and Wager LLC with a first post of 6:15 p.m. There will also be a pair of California Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacers going as non-betting events prior to the regular card. In the Open Pace, Barbarian is fresh from four straight victories at the head of the class, with the most recent coming from the demanding No. 10 post. He will leave from the outside slot in a field of five this weekend. Barbarian is a 6-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the Western Ideal mare Righteous Renee who races for owner Robert Orr, takes his lessons from Sparky Clarke and will once again have the services of Luke Plano. The hard-hitting pacer has been unbeatable in his those last four appearances, and in the process has been putting his versatility in full display. He went coast-to-coast in the first three of those scores, then came from last at most recent asking when asked to his work from this No. 10 post assignment. Doc's Deal is an 8-year-old son of Sportsmaster out of the Broadway Express mare Crystal Trip who is owned by Windy City Farm and is reined and trained by Chip Lackey. He recorded his most recent victory at the Open III level on February 24, coming from well back to be up by a half-length that evening. He has a second, a third and a fourth-place finish in the interim. Completing the field are Allymx'sliventexas with Mooney Svendsen guiding from the cozy rail slot; I'm An Athlete, James Kennedy; and Buddy's Hope, who will have the services of Steve Wiseman. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Owner/breeders Wayne and Rod Knittel and trainer Bob Johnson are sitting pretty in both male pacing Sire Stakes divisions here at Cal Expo, with Allyx'sliventexas heading the 4-year-old contingency and the promising Army Of One eyeing this weekend's first stakes dance for the harness racing 3-year-old colts. Allmyx'sliventexas made a shambles of the initial stakes gathering for the 4-year-old males last weekend, demolishing the field by 11 lengths while shaving a cool three seconds off his lifetime standard with the 1:51 4/5 clocking for Mooney Svendsen. "That was the biggest mile he's ever gone," Johnson related after the score. "I thought he'd be set for a good one, because he'd had an outside post in his last couple and had been making up a lot of ground, but I have to say the time surprised me. "He'll get a week off now and just point for the last three stakes races here. Then we'll go from there." Like Allmyx'sliventexas, Army Of One is a homebred son of Hi Ho Silverheel's who races for the Knittels and Johnson and looks to have a world of potential. He was a 1:57 3/5 victor in just his second lifetime start, then came back last week to turn in a bang-up second to heavily-favored Indiana invader Gorgeous For Real in a 1:54 3/5 tour. "I was very impressed by his last race, because I know Junior (trainer Jim Wilkinson) is very high on the winner. For a 3-year-old to turn in a mile like that in just his third start, that's saying something." Army Of One is set to make his stakes debut Saturday night with Svendsen at the controls, and a repeat of either of his last two efforts is going to make him tough to deny as he attempts to follow in his stablemate's footsteps. One And Only, I'm An Athlete battle A $6,600 Open Pace and the first California Sire Stakes of the season for the 3-year-old trotters are the main attractions on Friday night's Cal Expo program. Watch and Wager LLC will present 13 races on Friday, with first post set for 5:55 p.m. The Open Pace will go as the seventh race on the evening, while the Sire Stakes is a non-betting affair decided prior to the regular program. One And Only and I'm An Athlete were assigned the outside two slots in the Open, with the former leaving from the No. 9 post while I'm An Athlete will depart from the outside in the field of 10. One And Only is a 9-year-old son of Bettor's Delight out of the Western Hanover mare Gallie Too who is owned by Richard Morita and David Yamada, is conditioned by Lino Pachecho and will be guided by Luke Plano. The hard-hitting performer comes into this assignment with $245,000 in his account and a 1:51 2/5 mark that was established three years ago. Sent off the 3-2 choice in the most recent clash at the head of the class, One And Only did not disappoint the chalkplayers as he made every pole a winning one with Plano while prevailing by two lengths in a 1:53 1/5 tour. I'm An Athlete was the runner-up that evening and will be looking for a little revenge this weekend. The 7-year-old son of Art Major goes about his business for Ronald Rettig-Zucchi with James Kennedy reining and training. A 1:51 2/5 victor over this layout last season, I'm An Athlete captured nine of his 35 trips to the post last year and started 2017 with a game neck decision over One And only in the January 13 Open Pace while taking the field start to finish in that contest. With the outside assignment, the journey into the first turn will obviously be very important. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

When Franks Best lines up at the gate for Saturday night's sixth race at Cal Expo, he will have just shy of $250,000 in his bank account for harness racing trainer Bob Johnson. "I bred him and own him, and he's been a nice little ATM machine over the years," Johnson said with a smile when asked about the 9-year-old trotting son of Armbro Scribe and the American Winner mare Inside Edition. "He's obviously lost a step or two, but he absolutely loves to train and race and the one other thing about him, he gives his best every single time." Franks Best actually established his lifetime mark of 1:55 4/5 here earlier this year, but didn't see action between the end of that meet on May 8 and a third-place finish on last weekend's card. "He came with us to Hoosier Park this summer, but pulled a suspensory the first time we trained him back there," his mentor explained. "That type of injury can be tough, but he's come back well and now that he's had a race under his belt, I expect him to improve." Mooney Svensden, who has been his main chauffeur for several years, will once again climb Behind Frank's Best as he leaves from the No. 4 post in the field while meeting some familiar foes like Franky Provolone and Winsome Kelly. As far as this meeting goes, Johnson is optimistic as we move into the fourth week of action and the first week of Friday and Saturday programs. "I'm optimistic. I think the meet is shaping up very well, with a lot of new horses and very competitive racing. I'm looking forward to it." Pacing, Trotting Opens command the spotlight A $6,000 Open Pace that finds Barbarian eyeing his fourth straight victory and a $6,600 Open Trot that rematches Silverlode and Flameon headline the Cal Expo program Saturday night. There will be 12 races on the Watch and Wager LLC card with first post set for 6:10 p.m. The featured Trot goes as the second event, while the featured Pace is the third contest. A reminder that starting this week, there will be Friday and Saturday night programs. Barbarian eyes a grand slam in the Open Pace and has been assigned the outside post in the field of six. A 5-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere, he is owned by Robert Orr, takes his lessons from Sparky Clarke and will have Tony Succarotte back at the controls. Barbarian finished up his Vernon Downs campaign in New York with back-to-back wins in the Miracle Mile series at that New York track, then made his local debut here last week in the Open and was sent off as the 5-2 second choice. The Clarke trainee was shuffled a bit midway, took aim on the leaders at the head of the stretch and came a sparkling :26 final quarter en route to winning by two and a quarter lengths in a 1:54 4/5 mile. Silverlode and Flameon put on one heck of a battle two weeks ago in the most recent Open Trot, with the former prevailing by a head over a "good" track after carving out all the fractions and just holding off the first-over Flameon. Silverlode is a homebred British Sterling mare who races for Desomer Stables and will once again have the services of Luke Plano, while Chip Lackey will guide Flameon for owner Mark Anderson and conditioner Gordie Graham. It should prove to be a very interesting rematch. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Allmyx'sliveintexas and Moonstone Beach, who have made clean sweeps of their respective stakes divisions this year for the team of owner/breeders Wayne and Rod Knittel and harness racing trainer Bob Johnson, look to continue their dominance in Friday night's two $10,000 California Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacers at Cal Expo. A special 12-race card is on tap Friday with first post set for 6:15 p.m. The trotting and pacing action will continue Saturday night, with no live racing on Easter Sunday. Next week will find a return to the regular Saturday and Sunday programs. Allmyx'sliveintexas is son of Hi Ho Silverheel's out of the Distinguishedbaron mare Annie Get Your Gun and he will once again be handled by Mooney Svendsen. He comes into this assignment having won four of his eight starts, with a victory in the opening leg of the Lonnie Beck Series to go along with his trio of stakes decisions. The Knittel homebred did the stalk and pounce to get the job done in the first two Sire Stakes in February, then proved a sloppy track was in his wheelhouse as he romped home by 10 lengths in the most recent big-money gathering for his group. Lining up against him this weekend are Midnight Adventure, to be handled by Chip Lackey; Rock Of Ages with Mike Jarvis; Mathachussetts, Steve Wiseman; and One More Chance with Luke Plano in the sulky. Meanwhile, Allymx'sliveintexas' stablemate Moonstone Beach has been just as dominant among the fillies for the Knittel/Johnson/Svendsen team. A daughter of Crisis Situation, she has captured the last two Sire Stakes by a combined 13 lengths, the most recent coming over an off track on March 12. Little Emma (Luke Plano) and Plain Awesome (James Kennedy) will tak Frankthebank continues to make deposits Frankthebank showed he still has the right stuff at age 14 when he posted an 8-1 upset over a sloppy track on last Sunday night's program. Racing for Rick and Marlene Thomas with George Reider his longtime conditioner and Luke Plano at the controls, the old guy sat patiently in the pocket and then came when it counted to be up by a neck for his second victory on the season from 11 tries. The victory pushed Frankthebank's bankroll over the $460,000 plateau with a 1:51 lifetime standard and Reider noted he will go to Hawthorne this summer and then return here in the fall here before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 15. "He has his senior moments, but he's all class," trainer Reider noted after last Sunday's win. "Frank is the gift that just keeps on giving. Luke got off him and said he's a good old horse very set in his way, but when he gets behind the gate he's all business and can still get the job done." George admits that being the senior citizen around the barn does come with its privileges. "One thing about him being 14 now is that I kind of spoil him. Every time he sees me he uses me as a scratching post for his head. He will literally rub his head on me for five minutes if I let him. "Two months ago, somehow he got his stall guard down at night. I keep a big bag of carrots next to my office and he knows exactly where they are. It was about two-thirds full, and when I came in the next morning the bag was empty and his morning breakfast and the two horses next to his was gone and he was lying down in the stall. "Most mornings he has seniority and he's the first to go out, but this time he was the last to go out after his big breakfast." This summer Frankthebank is headed back to Illinois where he was born. "I'm pretty sure if he could talk," Reider said with a smile, "he would be saying going to Chicago is nice for a visit, but I want to retire in California" And so it shall be for the veteran pacer who has brought so much joy to Rick and Marlene Thomas and his trainer/scratching post George Reider. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness  

It's been all about the Wayne and Rod Knittel/Bob Johnson connection when it comes to the 3-year-old pacing stakes here at Cal Expo, as last weekend saw Allmyx'sliveintexas and Moonstone Beach once again flexing muscles in their respective harness racing  divisions. Allymx'sliveintexas is a Hi Ho Silverheel's homebred who races for the Knittels and takes his lessons from Johnson. He has left little doubt while sweeping the first three big-money events for the sophomore pacing colts. He proved last week he can be just as effective over a sloppy track, as he splashed home by 10 lengths with regular pilot Mooney Svendsen sitting chilly in the sulky and basically never gave them a chance. Moonstone Beach has been exerting similar dominance among the 3-year-old pacing fillies and also had no trouble with the off going as she waltzed home by five and a quarter lengths with Svendsen. Moonstone Beach is a homebred daughter of Crisis Situation who changed tactics for last weekend's trophy earner by going coast-to-coast for Svendsen. She's a half-sister to Avila Beach, who is fresh from capturing the most recent Sire Stakes for the 4-year-old pacing mares for the Knittel/Johnson/Svendsen team. Just for good measure a bit later on the Saturday card, a third starter from the mare Bj's Beach Fire was seen posing for pictures as Pismo Beach got the job done, with this former stakes winner now going over the $100,000 earnings mark. As for Moonstone Beach and Avila Beach, Johnson has noted that while they both have great ability, they are different physical types. "Avila Beach is frail and a bit on the skinny side, while Moonstone Beach is a big, muscular filly. They both have a great attitude." Flameon, One and Only command spotlight Stan Bergstein Trot winner Flameon and Lloyd Arnold Pace runner-up One And Only get top billing in Saturday night's co-features at Cal Expo. There will be 11 races on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:15 p.m. The trotting headliner goes as the third race, while the pacing main event occupies the fifth-race slot on the card. Flameon is a 6-year-old son of Angus Hall who is owned and was bred by Mark Anderson, resides in the Gordie Graham barn and will be handled by Chip Lackey. He showed the way to deep stretch in his seasonal debut before being caught by Northern Stormont, then turned the tables on that rival in last week's Stan Bergstein. Sent off the 9-5 second choice in that contest, Flameon took the field start to finish for Lackey with a length and a quarter to spare, with the 1-2 choice Northern Stormont making a miscue in the sloppy going. He will be doing his work from the assigned No.10 post this weekend. One And Only was a solid second in the Lloyd Arnold Pace last week, which was also decided over a sloppy track. The 8-year-old son of Bettor's Delight races for Richard Morita and David Yamada with Lino Pacheco the conditioner and Gerry Longo driving and he recently went over the $200,000 earnings plateau with a 1:51 2/5 career standard. A reminder 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 features a 25 percent minor pool payout; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which comes with a $40,000-guaranteed pool on Saturdays and a $25,000 guarantee on Sundays. ******* Next week will find the trotters and pacers in action on Friday and Saturday, March 25 and 26, with no live racing on Easter Sunday, March 27. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness  

It was a good weekend for half-sisters Avila Beach and Moonstone Beach, as the former crushed a conditioned crew in impressive fashion while Moonstone Beach accounted for the first California Sire Stakes of the season for the harness racing 3-year-old pacing fillies. Both are Wayne and Rod Knittel-owned and bred offspring of the Beach Towel mare Bj's Beach Fire who are trained by Bob Johnson and handled by main man Mooney Svendsen. Avila Beach was involved in one of the closest finishes we're likely to see all meet in the first Sire Stakes for the 4-year-old pacing distaffers on February 5, missing by a nose while finishing third behind dead-heaters Smash and Speak English that evening. She came back with a dominating overnight score and the barn is eagerly awaiting the next stakes dance for a little revenge. "She had to take all the worst of it in that last stakes, coming first over against a couple of real nice ones, and she just kept on trying in what turned out to be a great race," Johnson said. "I thought her win the other night was super, because she came first up and then just drew off at the end." The 3-year-old Moonstone Beach looks to be following in her half-sister's footsteps, winning two of her three starts including a solid score in the first stakes dance for her division last weekend. "She's still green, but she's an awfully nice filly and I really like the way she's raced to this point. Her first couple of starts set her up perfectly for the first stakes and she came through." As far as comparing the two, Johnson noted that while Avila Beach is on the skinny and somewhat frail side, Moonstone Beach is completely different and a big, muscular filly. Both have the same great attitude, he added, which includes the will to get to the wire first. Marvin Shapiro, Open Pace headline marquee The $7,700 Marvin Shapiro Pace headed by Hi Ho Houdini and a $6,000 Open Pace featuring I'm An Athlete are the main events on Saturday night's Cal Expo program. First post for the 12-race card is 6:15 p.m. Marvin Shapiro 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. Hi Ho Houdini should be tough in the Shapiro after picking up his first Sire Stakes trophy two weeks ago. The son of Hi Ho Silverheel's is owned by Lujuanna Lopez with Gordie Graham the conditioner and Luke Plano once again handling the lines. Meanwhile, the Open Pace will find I'm An Athlete eying his fourth straight trip to the winner's circle while doing his work from the assigned No. 10 post position. A 6-year-old son of Art Major out of the Cam's Card Shark mare Femal Champs, he is owned by Ronald Rettig-Zucchi and is reined and trained by James Kennedy. The hard-hitting performer kicked off his hat trick in the January 23 Open over a "good" track, as he did the track-and-attack to perfection for Kennedy and was driven out to a two-length score that evening. Wheeled back a week later at the head of the pacing class, he once again played the role of stalker and turned in a sparkling :26 1/5 final quarter to seal the deal and prevail by a length and a half as the 3-2 favorite. I'm An Athlete made his most recent outing two weeks ago in the Open and once again proved a punctual favorite. He sat next-to-last in that affair while some very snappy fractions were being rattled off, then swooped in the stretch and won going away by a length and a quarter while lowering his career standard to 1:51 2/5 in the process. By Mark Ratzky

Allmyx'sliveintexas, who has turned in three solid efforts at this Cal Expo meeting including a romping score in the first leg, gets top billing in Saturday night's Lonnie Beck Series final for the 3-year-old pacers, while a contentious field is set for the co-featured Open I Pace. There will be 13 races on tap with first post set for 6:15 p.m. The Lonnie Beck goes as the third event on the evening and the Open I Pace occupies the 12th-race spot on the card. A homebred son of Hi Ho Silverheel's out of the Distinguishedbaron mare Annie Get Your Gun, Allmyx'sliveintexas races for Wayne and Rod Knittel with Bob Johnson the conditioner and Mooney Svendsen once again in the sulky. The bay performer made his debut on January 10 and finished a promising second, then suited up for the first leg of the Lonnie Beck the following week and made 4-5 look like a gift with a five and a quarter length romp with a 1:57 1/5 tour of the oval. Allmyx'sliveintexas suited up in a conditioned event at most recent asking and finished third behind the 1-5 Hi Ho Houdini, earning a 1:56 individual clocking. He looms strictly the one to beat off those first three outings. Mattachusetts gives the Knittel/Johnson team another strong look at the outcome with Steve Wiseman at the controls. He put in a strong late move to earn his graduation papers last weekend and the son of Crisis Situation appears to be headed in the right direction. Completing the field the Junior Wilkinson-trained One More Chance with Chip Lackey handling the lines and Midnight Adventure, who hails from the Gordie Graham shedrow and will have James Kennedy in the sulky. Hi-Five carryover with 25K guarantee set A $7,839 Hi-Five carryover will add some intrigue to Saturday night's 10th race, courtesy of several double-digit performers filling out those spots in last Sunday evening's nitecap. The Hi-Five is a 20-cent wager that challenges players to pick the first five finishers across the line and Saturday night there will be a $25,000-guaranteed gross pool. That task proved to be too difficult a task for the players on Sunday when As Hot As Hall and Luke Plano stormed home to a $27 upset over the 29-1 I'm Confident, with 10-1, 6-1 and 15-1 shots right behind them. Looking at Saturday's 10th race, it's a Open III contest for pacing fillies and mares with a field of nine set to face starter Ken Fowler. Racing secretary Robin Schadt has basically divided the field into two parts, with four of the distaffers drawing for the inside slots, while the other five drew for the outside post positions. Steve Wiseman conditions two of the major players, as he will guide Part Time Lady from the No. 5 slot, while David Siegel has the assignment behind Surprisingly Sweet, who does her work from the No. 8 post. A reminder that there are two wagers offered here each night with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5, which this season features a 25 percent minor pool payout; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which comes with a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool on Saturdays and $25,000 guarantee on Sundays. ********** Next week will find the trotters and pacers in action on Friday and Saturday, February 5 and 6, with no live racing on Super Bowl Sunday, February 7. By Mark Ratzky    

There was a very popular exacta here last weekend, in more ways than one, when fan favorites Franky Provolone and Franks Best crossed the line in that order to the delight of the harness racing chalkplayers. Both are newly-turned 9-year-old sons of Armbro Scribe who are known for making more than share of winners circle appearances around these parts and as a result are very popular with the fans. Franky Provolone is the pride and joy of owner/trainer Robin Clements and with his victory under Luke Planos direction he pushed his career bank account to just shy of $193,000. He set his mark of 1:55 4/5 in 2014 during one of his Running Aces invasions. Meanhile, Franks Best is a multiple Sire Stakes hero who is owned, trained and was bred by Bob Johnson and had regular pilot Mooney Svendsen at the controls for his runner-up effort. He has $232,000 in the bank and a 1:56 2/5 career standard. The win by Franky Provolone was especially sweet for Clements, as the trotters heart went into atrilia fibrillation this summer in Minnesota, which in laymans terms means he had an erratic heartbeat. This was his fifth start on the comeback trail and his first trip to the winners circle, as Plano guided him to a perfect second-over trip behind Franks Best and then overpowered that rival for the length and a quarter score as the 1-2 favorite. As is usually the case, Franks Best was game in defeat as he did the heavy lifting in first-over for fashion under main man Svendsen and certainly didnt give up without a fight in what turned out be a very entertaining mile. Jessesjo gets top billing in featured Trot Jessesjo, who has been chasing home El Azteca and stablemate Flameon at the top level of late, gets some class relief and looms the one to beat in Sunday nights $4,400 Open III Trot. A 12-race card is on tap and things get underway at 4:55 p.m. The co-feature on the evening is a $4,400 Open III Pace that brings out the likes of BBs Harley, Quality Sport and Bettormeboy. Getting back to the Trot, Jessesjo is a 9-year-old son of Jailhouse Jesse who is owned by Mark Anderson, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and will as usual have the services of Chip Lackey while leaving from the outside post in the field of five. Jessesjo recorded back-to-back victories here on November 29 and December 5, on both occasions making every pole a winning one with Lackey at the controls. Since those scores, he has turned in a pair of third-place finishes behind El Azteca and Flameon at the Open I level and lost his chance on December 20 with an early break. Its Not Over was fourth in last weeks top dance for the trotting set and will also appreciate getting away from the two big guns of the division. The son of Panama Hanover carries the banner of trainer Bob Johnson and Ed Actkinson and Mooney Svendsen has the return assignment from the No. 3 slot. Completing the field are Northern Stormont for driver/trainer Steve Wiseman; Big Baller, who takes his lessons from George Reider and will be guided by David Siegel; and the Lino Pacheco-trained Windsun Galaxie, who leaves from the rail with James Kennedy in the sulky. In the co-featured Pace, BBs Harley, Bettormeboy and Quality Sport were assigned the outside slots and figure to play tough after knocking heads with tougher competition through much of this meeting. Im An Athlete, Willey Bite and Stable Eyes round out the cast. By Mark Ratzky, Publicity Cal Expo

Franks Best surprised a few people with his victory at 12-1 in last weekends featured trot, and that included his owner/trainer Bob Johnson. Johnson not only owns and trains the 8-year-old son of Armbro Scribe, but he bred the multiple stakes winner who boosted his earnings to the $230,000 plateau while getting the job done with regular pilot Mooney Svendsen. He was named for my wifes father and hes definitely one of my all-time favorites, said Johnson. The two things that make him so tough are that hes about 95 percent sound and he just loves to race. Franks Best spent the summer at Running Aces, then finished second in a qualifier here before going in the Open III Handicap Trot, where he was assigned the outside slot in the field of eight. He was facing some tough trotters up in Minnesota, because after you win a race you have to jump into the Open, Johnson explained. He got a nice tightener in the qualifier, but I was wondering why he was assigned the outside post for the race. I guess the racing secretary knew something. It was no surprise when Svendsen took the trotter back to last from that marooned post and things didnt look too promising at the head of the stretch, but Franks Best looked like his old self as he exploded late to win going away by three-quarters of a length while posting the $26 upset. I was just hoping he would get a check, especially with the outside draw, but he had other ideas, Johnson noted. Mooney said after the race he acts like hes happy to be back in California. Windsun T Bird heads Annette Funicello Final The $7,100 Annette Funicello Pacing Series final featuring Windsun T Bird gets top billing Saturday night at the Watch and Wager LLC meeting at Cal Expo. A 14-race card is on tap with first post set for 6:10 p.m. Beginning next week, the schedule will expand to Saturday and Sunday racing through December 27, while January will find the trotters and pacers in action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Windsun T Bird loves an overwhelming favorite in the Annette Funicello, which goes as the 8th race on the card. An 8-year-old daughter of Astreos, she is owned by Brandon Bragg and is trained and driven by Luke Plano. Windsun T Bird has banked $218,000 in her career and sports a lifetime standard of 1:52 4/5 that was established two years ago. She has been an impressive winner of both her starts at this meet for Plano, including last weeks opening leg of the Funicello where she was sent off the 1-5 favorite and rallied from far back to prevail by two lengths. Pismo Beach completed the exacta that night while coming from last and has to be respected for the strong team of owner/trainer Bob Johnson and driver Mooney Svendsen. The Hi Ho Silverheels mare sports a 1:53 3/5 mark and has several solid races over this layout on her resume. Becky B Skipalong handled an easier group here on opening week and turned in a good try last time to be third with this group. The Kc C Carvalho colorbearer gives the Plano barn two solid looks at the outcome with David Siegel handling the lines. Completing the field, from the rail out: Blue Note with Tony Succarotte; Majestic Lass and Michael Minnella; Ms Solongbybye for Frank Petrelli; Janet Rose, who will have the services of Williams Hernandez; Windy City Paige, Pat Galbraith; and Moon Is On Fire with James Kennedy. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

COLUMBUS, MN. - Al-Mar Skip Bo and Texakota scored harness racing upsets in their respective $8000 divisions for Minnesota-sired sophomore trotters at Running Aces on Sunday night. Driver Rick Magee rushed Al-Mar Skip Bo directly to the lead in the colts split and never looked back, besting favored Go See Lo Go (Nick Roland) and Drakensberg (Luke Plano) in 2:01.4. The same bunch will be joined by a few others when they chase a $21,000 purse on Minnesota State Championships Night next Saturday (September 12), which is closing night on the 2015 Running Aces summer meet. Magee also owns and trains the winning son of Abra who was notching his fourth career victory and pushed his lifetime earnings to just over $30,000. Texakota (Lemoyne Svendsen) notched her first-ever pari-mutuel win in 2:01.3 over a sloppy track in the fillies division for owners Cynthia Ivey and Ryan Lems. The daughter of Abra collared Al-Mar Reba Babe (Gerry Longo) in the final stride with Marisa's Lady (Tim Maier) third in the seven-horse field. Bob Lems trains Texakota, who has shown speed all season but had problems staying on stride until this final tuneup for Championship Night. Heavily favored Becky Badger Baby made an uncharacteristic break when driver Nick Roland's sulky wheel tube popped and resulted in racing with a flat tire for more than the final half mile. El Azteca (Gerry Longo) won the meet's final $9600 Open Trot by two lengths over Thekeptman (Luke Plano) and Jimmy Shin (Steve Wiseman). It was the 34th lifetime score in just 74 career starts for the six-year-old stud owned by Marco Rios and trained in Minnesota by Bob Johnson. Both Rick Magee and Gerry Longo scored driving doubles on the ten-race program. Leading drivers Nick Roland and Steve Wiseman each had one win, giving them 71 and 69 tallies respectively with three nights remaining to determine the local dash title for this season. Gregg Keidel

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