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The $20,000 Alan Horowitz Final headlines the Friday night harness racing action at Cal Expo, with last week's elimination winners Giggle Monster and Al's Briefs figuring to get plenty of attention. Watch and Wager LLC will present 12 races with first post at 6:10 p.m. The Horowitz Final will go as the eighth event on the program. Giggle Monster was extremely impressive winning his division last Saturday night in the slop, storming home for the easy win. Edwin Quevedo owns and trains and Nick Roland will once again be in the sulky. Al's Briefs is a 4-year-old son of Party At Artsplace who is owned by Nikki Hudson and reined and trained by Luke Plano. After finishing second in his previous two outings, he broke through with his first Cal Expo victory in last weekend's Horowitz elimination. Sent off the 2-1 second choice that evening, Plano made two moves to the lead at the half, took complete control of things from that point and came home with two lengths to spare over the sloppy going. Dewaydiddonegood had to settle for the exacta completion as the even-money favorite in that contest off back-to-back victories here for owner Fredi Herrera and trainer Quevedo, who has two nice looks at the outcome. Mooney Svendsen takes the assignment. Rounding out the field are Wildcat Bobby with Dean Magee; Fly Away with Steve Wiseman; Mystic Ruler for James Kennedy; Youroldlovletter, Jacob Fox; Rocknroll Jewel, also with Magee named; and Rolling Sea, who will have John Roberts at the controls. Horowitz, Goldschmidt remembered with races Cal Expo is proud to present the Alan Horowitz Final on Friday night and the Dave Goldschmidt Free-for-All Pace on Saturday, honoring these two individuals who meant so much to the sport in California. Alan Horowitz was a major force in California harness racing over the last several decades and a member of the California Harness Horsemen's Association (CHHA) Hall of Fame who passed away in 20017 at the age of 72. Dave Goldschmidt, who passed away of natural causes last year at the age of 62, was born in New York City and developed a love of harness racing in his early teens. More on his career follows in this article. Alan Horowitz, who wore many hats in the business, started out as a partner with longtime friends Donald and Barbara Arnstine and Steve Desomer with a $25,000 claimer named Quaker Byrd. Quaker Byrd won his first race for the partners and Alan was hooked. Moving on, Alan would eventually become a board member and president of CHHA. In 1994, Mr. Horowitz was instrumental in bringing harness racing back to Cal Expo in the form of Capitol Racing and was also its successful general manager. He was serving as the Executive Secretary of the CHHA at the time of his retirement in 2013 and continued to stay in touch with the sport that he loved so much. "It is impossible to overstate Alan's importance to the harness racing industry in California," said David Neumeister. "Simply put, if it were not for Alan, the sport would no longer exist in this state. "Between his time as executive director of Western Standardbred Association (now CHHA) and owner/ manager of our only yearling sale company when racing was flourishing in California, and his decision to retire from CHHA a few years ago, against all odds and some very powerful adversaries, Alan almost single-handedly took us from the brink of extinction in the mid-90s and formed and led Capitol Racing in Sacramento to several very successful years of harness racing in that city. "Were it not for his quiet determination and tactical brilliance, we would not be racing here today," said Neumeister. Dave Goldschmidt, who passed away of natural causes last year at the age of 62, was born in New York City and developed a love of harness racing in his early teens. He attended the University of Denver where he was a sports writer on the newspaper, but after hearing about the new Race Track Management Program at the University of Arizona, he knew he had to transfer to that school and was in that first graduating class. Among Dave's extensive resume in the sport, he was racing secretary at Los Alamitos and Cal Expo and co-racing secretary at Bay Meadows; assistant racetrack manager at Hollywood Park and a founder, president and major financial backer of the Premier Harness Meet at Los Alamitos in the 1990s. After his retirement, Dave concentrated on betting on the trotters and pacers and occasionally quarter horses while also developing a keen interest in politics. Dave met his wife Suzy in the late 1990s and they began dating in 2006. They completed building their dream house in 2014 and were married that year. Among their shared passions were a love of tennis, world travel and volunteer work. Eunice Morrow, who worked closely with Dave at the Premier Harness Meet, explained how important he was to harness racing in California in the early 1990s "Harness racing was in trouble maintaining a meet at Los Alamitos and thankfully Dave came to our rescue with a large monetary donation needed to keep harness racing active," Eunice said. "A few months later the industry found more funds were necessary and again Dave came to our rescue. He did not want it known that he had donated these deposits and volunteered the information that his mother in New York had loaned the organization funds. "Later, when Premier II Harness Racing was formed, Dave became Racing Secretary, spending many hours in several positions helping the sport he loved stay alive. Without Dave, I wonder if harness racing would have been able to continue." Eunice added, "There is no doubt David Goldschmidt will now be in Heaven with so many other of the great Harness Racing enthusiasts." Joel Lesser was best friends with Goldschmidt for over 40 years, playing hours and hours of tennis and golf, and also worked alongside Dave at the Premier Harness meets. "When he was president of Premier, he said that the fans and the horsemen came first, and management came last," Joel recalled. "I can say Dave Goldschmidt is the fairest and most honest person I have ever known in my life and wanted everyone to do well." By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness          

LARKSPUR, CALIF. (December 4, 2019)--The board of Webis, the Group specializing in pool wagering and the operators of Cal Expo, the Californian harness track, is pleased to announce that on Tuesday, Dec. 3, its US-based Advanced Deposit Wagering business, LLC ("WatchandWager") signed an extension with the Board of Directors of the California Exposition & State Fair in Sacramento to continue its Cal Expo Harness Racing operations through to May 1, 2025. The extension reflects the good standing that WatchandWager holds with the track landlord and the regulators in California. The renewal also includes a clause to extend the lease until 2030, should both parties wish to pursue it. The renewal is especially significant given the recent positive momentum behind the introduction of regulated sports betting in the Golden State. Recent initiatives to drive this forward include California racetracks as being eligible to be licensed for sports betting. WatchandWager has been operating live racing at Cal Expo since 2012. The 2019-2020 Cal Expo Harness Racing season began on Nov. 9, 2019, and will run 47 race dates on Fridays and Saturdays through to Saturday, April 25, 2020. Cal Expo is the only harness racing racetrack in California, and WatchandWager's operation of it is vital to supporting the breed and horsemen in the state. In addition to the racing, WatchandWager makes financial contributions to the California horse industry to promote breeding and racing in the state. Harness Racing at Cal Expo also enjoys an excellent health and safety record for many years, with the welfare of the horses and all participants of upmost importance to the Board and Management at Cal Expo. The initial performance of WatchandWager Cal Expo has been slightly above average through the first weekends of live racing this season. With a current horse population of 290 Standardbreds stabled on the backstretch, it is a strong sign of a successful season featuring fully filled races, competitive fields, and many wagering opportunities for harness racing fans. WatchandWager President and Webis CEO, Ed Comins, stated that the extension approval is a significant step for the long-term future of both Cal Expo and WatchandWager: "This approval is a significant milestone in WatchandWager's license presence in the US and the state of California," Comins said. "We believe that WatchandWager will continue to run safe and successful race meetings at Cal Expo, which is good for both harness racing fans and the horsemen of the state. At the same time, our commitment to Cal Expo and racing ensure that WatchandWager will remain a major stakeholder in the positive expansion of gambling in the state of California for many years to come." From

Tabbat Mcrey, who came from out of the clouds to record her first Cal Expo harness racing victory last week, gets the top billing in Saturday night's $8,500 Funicello/Holt Final for pacing fillies and mares. Watch and Wager LLC will present 12 races Saturday with first post at 6:10. The co-features will be a $7,200 Open Pace featuring the streaking Allmyx'sliventexas and two divisions of the Alan Horowitz Eliminations. Getting back to the Funicello/Holt, Tabbat Mcrey is a 5-year-old daughter of McArdie who goes about her business for owner David Watson and is reined and trained by Rene Goulet. After closing for the place spot in her local debut two weeks ago, the long-fused came back to get the job done by two lengths in last week's Prep for this event at 7-1 odds. Lakota Law completed the exacta in that affair and will be looking to turn the tables this weekend for owner Peter Jesh and driver/trainer Nick Roland. She was a 1:54 3/5 victress last season at Hoosier Park and fits very nicely with this group. Casey N Grinegan had to settle for a fourth-place finish as the 3-2 choice last week after being parked first-over to the lead in the stretch. Darryl Cutting conditions the Alberta-bred miss for Melinda Smith and Steve Wiseman will be at the helm. Completing the field are LLuli, Palmona Ruiz, That's How It Goes, Nightgirl, June Morning and Brooklyn Moonshine. Saturday night's third race is named for the Orangutan Foundation International. Nick Roland hoping to lay down the Law Nick Roland is making his presence felt here as both a driver and trainer with another California invasion, with his most immediate concern being Lakota Law in Saturday night's Funicello/Holt Final. The 5-year-old mare, who carries the banner of Peter Jesh, spent her summer at Running Aces and was runner-up behind Tabbat Mcrey in last week's Prep. She will be looking to turn the tables with conditioner Roland guiding from middle of the nine-horse line-up. "She's getting better," her mentor noted. "She had some soundness issues when she first got her, but we've been able to work on those and she's improving." Nick arrived with 16 racehorses and two babies, and is expecting six or seven more youngsters to join the barn shortly. He tips that some of the better performers are set to turn up in the entries, including the trotter Scramble Camp, who was scheduled to suit up on Friday night. In the meantime, Roland enjoys getting involved in the evening frays and is always open to catch drives. "It's always nice to have people put you up behind their horses. When the weather is nice, I certainly don't mind being out there every race. On the other hand, when it's colt and rainy, I have no problem sitting out some races." Nick hopes to stay here for most of the meet, which runs through April, with one caveat. "If the weather back home turns nice sooner rather than later, that could mean we leave a few weeks earlier than planned." In the meantime, look for Nick Roland to make his share of appearances in the Cal Expo winner's circle. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness                        

Bettor In The Bank became the first three-time winner at the Cal Expo harness racing meet when the 9-year-old pacer made short work of his conditioned rivals last week with James Kennedy at the controls. Despite leaving from the outside post in the field of nine, Bettor In The Bank got the job done once again by saving his best for last, looping the leaders into the lane to win going away by four and a quarter lengths. A son of Better Tuwin who is owned by Debra McCarthy and conditioned by Gordie Graham, Bettor In The Bank was winning for the 46th time from 185 starts and pushed his career bank account to $236,000 in the process. He established his 1:51 3/5 standard here last season. "He's just too classy for the horses he's been racing against here," said Kennedy of the McCarthy colorbearer. "He definitely likes to come at the end, so even though he had the outside post last time, I was worried about it. At some poinI he'll come out and make his move." Bettor In The Bank will attempt to keep the streak going in Friday evening's fourth race, leaving from the much more advantageous No. 3 post in the field of seven. The victory with Bettor In The Bank last Friday was one of four tallies on the card for Kennedy, who is looking to repeat as the leading driver at this meeting. His other scores came with Joltin Joe, Relentless Dancer and Marilyn. As far as repeating as leading pilot at this stand, James acknowledges this is one of the strongest driving colonies in recent memory. "I don't know if I can repeat this year, but some people wait their whole lives to get a title and I was very proud to do it at the last meeting." Trot, Distaff Pace head the Friday night marquee An Open II Filly and Mare Pace featuring Dancingonthesand and an Open II Trot that brings out Its a Horse and invading Scramble Camp are the main attractions on Friday night's program at Cal Expo. There will be 12 races presented under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. Dancinginthesand will be gunning for her third straight victory in the Distaff Pace while being asked to leave from the outside slot in the field of 10. Alan Cooper owns, Kathie Plested trains and Mooney Svendsen will be in the sulky. After a romping score here on November 9, Dancinginthesand did her work from the No. 9 slot in last weekend's clash at this level and came from double digits off the pace to post a length and a half score with Svendsen. Looking ahead to Saturday's program, the $8,500 Funicello/Holt Final, an Open Pace headed by Allmyx'sliventexas and two divisions of the Alan Horowitz Elimination will headline the evening's action. Tabbat Mcrey, who came from out of the clouds to record her first Cal Expo victory last week, gets the top billing in the Funicello/Holt Final, which is for pacing for fillies and mares. There are two wagers offered here nightly that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. They are the 20-cent Pick 5, which begins on the first race; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which comes with a $25,000-guaranteed gross pool. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

Allmyx'sliventexas and Gorgeous For Real head the harness racing cast in Saturday night's featured $7,200 Don Ratchford Pace at Cal Expo Harness.. Watch and Wager LLC will present 10 races with first post set for 6:40 p.m. and the main event goes as the fifth on the program. Allmyx'sliventexas is a 6-year-old son of Hi Ho Silverheel's who is owned and was bred by Rod and Wayne Knittel, takes his lessons from Bob Johnson and will have Mooney Svendsen back at the controls. In last week's Open Pace, he was sent off the 6-5 second choice while leaving from the outside post and blasted away from the barrier to make virtually every pole a winning one in a 1:53 2/5 performance. It was the 32nd lifetime victory for Allymyx'sliventexas and he is now just shy of the $200,000 earnings mark with a 1:50 flat lifetime standard that was established last year at Hoosier Park. Gorgeous For Real put in a good late move in that top dance last weekend, but had to settle for the exacta completion as the odds-on choice. The 5-year-old goes about his business for the partnership of Schwartz, Wilkinson, Axelrod and O'Neill with Jim Wilkinson training and Luke Plano in the sulky. A winner of 19 of his 88 appearances, Gorgeous For Real romped here opening night and established his 1:50 3/5 career standard this summer in Indiana. Completing the field are Marced Magic, Bestinthebusiness, Part Time, Coz and Effect and Cowboys Dirtyboots. Race honors memory of Don Ratchford Saturday's feature race is named for Don Ratchford, the respected horseman who passed away in August at the age of 75. Born in Nova Scotia, Don originally came to the United States in 1962 with Hall of Famer Joe O'Brien and quickly established himself as a valuable asset to the success of the O'Brien stable. Ratchford also worked with such top horseman as Bob Farrington, Jim Dennis, Jack Williams, Bob Williams and Harold Merriam which, he said, "Contributed to whatever success I achieved because of what I learned from them." Not only was he very successful as a trainer/driver, Don was a partner and operator of Highland Farm, a breeding and training facility under his care from 1980 to 1994. Among Ratchford's most successful performers were Armbro Guest, Hilarious Brew, Timeron Hanover, Karen's Rowdy One, A Little Bit Rowdy and Karen's Magic One. Said trainer Barry Abrams, "He was very important to me, because I learned to be horsemen from Don and never would have been a trainer without him. "He was an outstanding horseman. Give him a sore horse and he would change the shoeing and rub those legs, the way he learned from Joe O'Brien, and get amazing results." By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

The road to harness racing victory in last weekend's Cal Expo Bill Conlin Pace by Rue Hanover and Chip Lackey is an interesting one. The Pennsylvania-bred 3-year-old miss was purchased as a yearling by John Glenn at Harrisburg and was then sent to Canada for her 2-year-old season, where she had to settle for minor awards in her first 10 starts. Lackey picks up the story. "It was the first of August and I got a call from John, who is a good horseman and an even better friend. He knew I was desperate for horses and said he had a maiden I should come take a look at up in Toronto." After checking out Rue Hanover, Chip bought the pacing filly for himself and Kenneth Seastrom and promptly brought her with him to Hawthorne Park, where she recorded two wins before once again hitting the road and arriving in Sacramento last month. "I was very impressed with her win in the Conlin leg on opening night," Lackey noted. "She'd been off for five weeks and traveled across the country." Rue Hanover came right back and accounted for the Conlin final last week, leaving sharply from the No. 8 slot to get position before challenging first over past the half and gamely getting the job done "She's a bit of a firecracker, high strung and all, but she's shown she has guts," her mentor praised. "Her dam is a half-sister to Rock N Roll Hanover and Royal Flush Hanover, who were both millionaires, so she has class in her pedigree." Bettor in the Bank eyes hat trick Bettor in the Bank, who has started the meet with back-to-back wins, looks to keep the momentum going in Friday night's $5,000 pacing feature. First post for the nine-race card is 6:40 p.m. 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 once again have James Kennedy giving directions as he steps up another notch in class and leaves from the demanding No. 9 slot. The dark-hued performer, who has captured 45 of his 184 starts with a 1:51 2/5 mark established here last season, left little doubt on opening night as he waltzed home by two and a quarter lengths on the class drop. Bettor in the Bank had to work a lot harder in last week's tally as the 2-5 chalk, surging when it counted for Kennedy to up by a nose in a 1:53 1/5 mile where the first three finishers were separated by a neck. Friday's eighth race is a very interesting affair that will be decided at the elongated distance of a mile and a half, with last week's coast-to-coast victor Blue Star Maverick squaring off against Al's Briefs, who was Bettor in the Bank's most immediate victim last weekend. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

Jim Wilkinson has a good chance to be posing in the harness racing winner's circle following Saturday night's featured Bill Conlin Pace, as California Rock will be representing his shedrow. Wilkinson trains and co-owns the sophomore and he made short work of the opposition at 70 cents on the dollar in one of last week's eliminations with Luke Plano guiding, coming to the line with plenty in the tank in a 1:55 4/5 performance. "We bought him as a yearling and he was racing against some pretty stiff competition this summer at Hoosier Park," Jim related. "He paced in :51 and change there, but those were some tough horses. "I think he's got a real good chance to climb the ladder here, he just needs some confidence." That climb begins with Saturday's Conlin, where he will face the other elimination winner Rue Hanover, who was also impressive for driver/trainer Chip Lackey. The opening night card also saw Wilkinson sending out Gorgeous For Real in a coast-to-coast performance as the odds-on choice, with that 5-year-old pacer also going about his business for the Schwartz, Axelrod, O'Neill and Wilkinson partnership. The son of He's Gorgeous, who was a 1:50 3/5 victor at Hoosier this year, is working his way toward $100,000 mark in earnings and never looked like a loser last week after flying from the gate from the outside post for Plano. "He got some class relief from those Indiana races and found a real good spot," his conditioner noted. "He's won at the top level here and I'm looking forward to racing him." Gorgeous For Real was scheduled to suit up in Friday night's feature. Rue Hanover, California Rock head Bill Conlin The $8,900 Bill Conlin Pace heads the harness action Saturday night at Cal Expo, with last week's elimination winners California Rock and Rue Hanover getting the marquee treatment. A 10-race card is on tap with first post set for 6:40 p.m. California Rock is a 3-year-old son of Rockin Image out of the Bettor's Delight mare Tia Maria Hanover who is owned by Schwartz Wilkinson, Axelrod and O'Neill with Jim Wilkinson the conditioner and Jim Lackey at the controls. In last week's elimination leg with Luke Plano at the helm, California Rock proved a punctual 3-5 favorite as he brushed to the lead past the quarter and was never seriously threatened after that, coming to the wire with three and a half-lengths to spare in a 1:55 4/5 tour. Rue Hanover should have an equal amount of supporters Saturday night for driver/trainer Chip Lackey, who also co-owns the distaffer along with Kenneth Seastrom. The 3-year-old Betterthancheddar filly was sent off the 8-5 second choice in her elimination and came home by two and a half lengths in a 1:55 3/5 performance after withstanding a strong challenge on the final turn while carving out the fractions. Completing the field are Joltin Joe, Intrepid Byrd, Joker John, Budgie Smuggler, Lakota Law, Red N Hotallover and Custards Dungeon. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness            

Opening night harness racing victor Gorgeous For Real and the classy returnee Allmyx'sliveintexas head the cast for Friday night's featured $6,700 Open Pace at Cal Expo Harness.. Racing will now be conducted on Friday and Saturday evenings and first post for Friday's nine-race card will be 6:40 p.m. Allmyx'sliveintexas and Gorgeous For Real have been assigned the outside two posts in the field of six and figure to attract a majority of the betting action. The former is a son of Hi Ho Silverheels who carries the banner of Wayne and Rod Knittel with Bob Johnson training and Mooney Svendsen at the controls. He spent the summer at Hoosier Park, where he set a new lifetime mark of 1:50 3/5, and comes into this assignment on the verge of going over the $200,000 earnings plateau. Gorgeous For Real proved a punctual 1-5 favorite on the opening night card and will leave from just inside his main rival with Chip Lackey guiding. He is owned by the partnership of Schwartz, Wilkinson, Axelrod and O'Neill with Jim Wilkinson training. Looking ahead to Saturday's program, the $8,900 Bill Conlin Pace will hold the spotlight with last week's elimination heat winners Rue Hanover and California Rock among the major players. California Rock proved a punctual 3-5 favorite as he brushed to the lead past the quarter and was never seriously threatened thereafter in his score, while Rue Hanover was sent off the 8-5 second choice in her elimination and came home by two and a half-lengths after withstanding a strong challenge on the final turn while carving out the fractions. George Reider eyeing charmed enclosure Trainer George Reider is back at Cal Expo after what he describes as a nice summer up in Minnesota and is looking forward to making his share of winner's circle appearances. "Every year I try to bring some new horses back to California and you should see three or four coming out of the barn," he related. Saturday's Bill Conlin Pace will find Reider sending out the 3-year-old mare Brooklyn Moonshine, who was fourth in one of last week's elimination heats while making her Golden State debut. She competes for George and longtime clients Dave, Rob and Kimberly Haness, while the conditioner is also looking forward to sending out performers for two other stalwarts of his barn in Rick and Marlene Thomas. Tiyaga has qualified for Reider and could make some noise, according to the trainer. "I had him here last year and it just took him some time to mature." George is also looking forward to a promising yearling filly whose brother is the multiple Sire Stakes winner Pride of the Sierra. That, as they say, is the stuff dreams are made of. "A safe and fulfilling meet," is George's hope for the session. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness          

Harness racing under the Watch and Wager LLC banner returns to Cal Expo Saturday night with a 12-race program headed by the opening leg of the Bill Conlin Series. First post will be 6:10 p.m. and beginning next week there will be Friday and Saturday action each week. The wagering menu includes the return of the low 16% takeout Pick-4 and Pick-5 wagers. Last season's Pick-4 pool averaged over $46,000 nightly. In addition to the Pick-4, fans will able to wager on the Pick-5 this season in 20-cent denominations. The Bill Conlin will go as the fourth race on the program with a field of seven set to face the starter and a solid case can made for each of the pacers. California Rock has been facing tougher company at Hoosier Park this summer and had a solid tune-up in a qualifier last week with Luke Plano at the controls. The son of Rockin Image is owned by Billie Schwartz, Jim Wilkinson and Ivan Axelrod with Wilkinson the conditioner. Red N Hotallover has the cozy rail post for owner Edmund Martin Knapp and driver/trainer Nick Roland and this 4-year-old mare looms a major player. Completing the cast are Custards Dungeon, Fox Valley B Gump, Brooklyn Moonshine, Nightgirl and Lakota Law. On track fans will be treated to a special Family Value night on Saturday. Hot Dogs, Beer, Wine, and Soda are each $2 from 6 to 9. As always, parking and admission are free after 4:30. Rebuilding process for Robin Clements Robin Clements sent four performers to Running Aces this summer, eventually selling two and retiring the other pair, and now starts off this meet with a new quartet under her direction. "I claimed Crusin For You for $10,000 in Minnesota because he's a hard-knocking little horse who seems to do well both at Running Aces and Cal Expo," Clements related. A familiar name in the barn is Shock N Awe, who has been with trainer Bruce Clarke for many years back east. "I just happened to call him and say I was looking for a mare to race at Cal Expo and he had her for sale. She was a barn favorite of Bruce's wife Megan, so they were a little fussy about her going to someone they knew would take good care of her." Using an on-line auction site called On Gait, Robin was able to find a mare named Plain Old Jane who she felt would be a good addition to the barn. "I went into her past history and noticed she seemed to like the bigger track, having taken her 1:53 1/5 mark at The Meadowlands as a 3-year-old." Looking for a gelding to round out the shedrow proved to be a more difficult task for Clements. "I didn't really see anything worth claiming until I found Marced Magic," she noted. "He had been racing at Yonkers. I reached out to a friend of mine who owns a full brother and he loved the horse and told me to check out the history. Being an Iowa-bred, he fits into the DHA program and I was able to buy him because they were dissolving a partnership." Robin added she was pleased with the way each pacer qualified last weekend and is looking forward to finding out more about her new proteges on the opening night program. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

Watch and Wager LLC kicks off their 8th season of harness racing at Cal Expo with a strong 12-race card Saturday night. Beginning next week, the trotters and pacers will be in action on Friday and Saturday evenings with a 6:10 p.m. post time. The wagering menu includes the return of the low 16% takeout Pick-4 and Pick-5 wagers. Last season's Pick-4 pool averaged over $46,000 nightly. In addition to the Pick-4, fans will able to wager on the Pick-5 this season in 20-cent denominations. The strong on-air broadcast team returns intact. Hall of Fame announcer Gary Siebel will anchor the broadcast, while Jenn Bongiorno and Wendy Ross will do the popular Pick-4 analysis on Friday and Saturday, respectfully. Derick Giwner is back with his nightly insightful Pick-5 opinions and Garnet Barnsdale will return each Friday with his expertise on the Woodbine Mohawk circuit for our California simulcast patrons. On track fans will be treated to a special Family Value night this opening Saturday. Hot Dogs, Beer, Wine, and Soda are each $2 from 6 to 9. As always, parking and admission are free after 4:30.   By Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness

Watch and Wager LLC will present its eighth season of harness racing at Cal Expo beginning Saturday, November 9. Beginning the following week, the trotters and pacers will be in action on Friday and Saturday evenings with first post each night set for 6:10 p.m. Purses for the meeting have been raised 6 percent, after being having been raised 8 percent during the 2018-2019 session. The horse population looks solid for the upcoming season and qualifying races will be held this Saturday, November 2, beginning at 10:30 a.m. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

Allmyx'sliventexas, fresh from a victory in the Lloyd Arnold Pace, looks to close out the Cal Expo harness racing meet with another score in the featured $7,000 Open Pace. Watch and Wager LLC will present 10 races to bring down the curtain with first post at 7:10 p.m. and the main event is scheduled as the seventh contest on the evening. A 6-year-old homebred son of Hi Ho Silverheel's out of the Distinguishedbaron mare Annie Get Your Gun, Allmyx'sliventexas carries the banner of Wayne and Rod Knittel, is conditioned by Bob Johnson and will as usual have Mooney Svendsen in the sulky. The hard-hitting performer comes into this assignment with 30 wins from his 87 lifetime trips to the post, a $168,00 bank account and a 1:50 flat mark that was established last year at Hoosier Park. Sent off the 1-5 favorite in last week's Arnold, Allmyx'sliventexas brushed to command on the backside, held a clear advantage to the drive and prevailed by a length and a half over I'm An Athlete. The latter will be looking to turn the tables for owner Ronald Rettig-Zucchi, trainer Jessie Pacheco and pilot Luke Plano. He recently went over the $200,000 earnings plateau with a 1:51 standard that was set over this track last year. Completing the field are King Of The Crop, Blue Star Maverick, Better In The Bank and Coz and Effect. Meet finale features mandatory payouts With this being closing night of the meet, there will be mandatory payouts for all wagers. A reminder that a reduced 16 percent takeout rate is offered on the 50-cent Pick 5, which covers the first five races of the evening; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which comes with a $40,000-guaranteed gross pool. Congratulations to Kathie Plested, who long ago locked up the training title here, while it looks like the driver's crown may come right down to the wire with James Kennedy holding a one-length advantage on Mooney Svendsen. Plested put the training race on ice long ago and comes into the final weekend of racing having made 77 trips to the charmed enclosure. While Gordie Graham is a distant second, it should be noted his 40 wins have come from just 138 starters. Kennedy had a clear advantage in the driver's race going into last weekend, but Svendsen is coming a fast last quarter and has really tightening things up going into the last two programs. *** Said Cal Expo general manager Chris Schick, "Despite some tough weather conditions, and the early on loss of a weekend due to smoke from the Paradise fire, the meet was very safe and successful. "The legislation enabling the International signal importation beginning January 1 has been a nice boost. Overnight purses were raised eight percent coming in to the meet, and we are happy to announce a further six percent increase beginning opening night of our next meet on November 9. "The industry has also come together on a monumental Stakes program beginning in 2021. This plan has been extremely well received by our owners, breeders and horseman. Our next big challenge is to make sure we have a seat at the table for the anticipated coming of sports wagering to California. We are excited about the industry's future." By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

A well-matched field of top-class pacing fillies and mares will take center stage Friday night at Cal Expo in the $10,000 Kirk Breed Pace. A 10-race program is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post at 7:10 p.m. and the main harness racing event will go as the sixth contest on the evening. Trainer Kathie Plested looks to have a strong hand in the race with Capitol Hill and Dancingonthesand representing the shedrow. The former is owned by the trainer and George McChrystal with Steve Wiseman guiding, while Dancingonthesand races for the trainer and Alan Cooper with Mooney Svendsen at the controls. As has often been the case at the head of the distaff pacing class, last week's Open saw an upset as Capitol Hill sat a pocket trip for Wiseman and came home smartly to get the job done by a length and a half as a 15-1 shot. Dancingonthesand has recorded six wins from her 10 trips to the post on the season and the long-fused mare looms large. Her most recent tally came on April 6, as she did the stalk-and-pounce to perfection to win going away. Legio X Equestris is going in very sharp form at the moment for owner David Shell and trainer Luke Plano with a win and two seconds from the last three clashes at the top rung here. Ryan Grundy guides the daughter of Roll With Joe and she was a 1:53 victress two back in a handy coast-to-coast decision. Completing the field are Lickcreek Speedway, Brighten Your Life, Delightfully Wild and Magnifique.   Kirk Breed, Tony Miller remembered with races Friday's Kirk Breed Pace is named for the man who served as executive director of the California Horse Racing Board from 2008 until his death at the age of 73 in 2013; while the Tony Miller Memorial is in honor of the harness valet here at Cal Expo who passed away recently at age 56. Mr. Breed was appointed as general manager at Cal Expo during the first term of Gov. Jerry Brown in 1979, and was credited with turning around the event's financial fortune during lean times. He later became a lobbyist on behalf of the racing industry and also served for eight years on the Cal Expo board of directors. The Oklahoma native loved horses and worked tirelessly to reduce equine fatalities and improve track safety for horses, jockeys and drivers. Tony Miller was a third-generation horsemen who was an owner, thoroughbred valet and most recently harness valet here at Cal Expo for the past 12 years. He passed away after a battle with colon cancer. *** The 14-year-old pacing mare Blue Note will be making the final start of her career Friday evening when she suits up in the evening's fifth race and there will be a special ceremony prior to that start in the winner's circle to honor this popular performer. Rick Cisco owns and trains the daughter of Little Steven, who is out of the Denali mare Romantic Music. She comes into her final assignment with 37 wins from her 321 appearances, $155,000 in her bank account and a 1:54 1/5 mark that was set here two years ago "She's a gem, and always tries her heart out," Cisco said. "I want to be sure to credit Luke Plano, because he's had a lot of success driving her over the years. The plan is to send her to Minnesota, where she'll be bred to Wind Me Up."     By Mark Ratzky publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Allmyxsliventexas, who made his seasonal debut last week, could hold the aces this time around in a strong renewal of the $10,000 Lloyd Arnold Pace that headlines Saturday night's Cal Expo harness racing card. Watch and Wager LLC will present 10 races with things getting underway at 6:10 p.m. and the main event is scheduled as the seventh event on the program. Allmyx'slivntexas was making his first start of the year as the 4-5 favorite in last week's Open and found himself with too much work to do in the stretch from last, settling for the fourth-place check. He closed out 2018 with four straight victories, including the Dave Goldschmidt, and competes for his owner/breeder Wayne and Rod Knittel with Bob Johnson training and Mooney Svendsen at the controls. He was a 1:50 victor at Hoosier Park last season. Coz and Effect was runner-up in last week's open at 25-1 after capturing a conditioned contest in his previous tour. James Kennedy reins and trains the son of Mystery Chase for Jose Castillo and he was a 1:54 winner here earlier in the season. Bettor In The Bank has accounted for seven of his 13 appearances on the year and the long-fused 9-year-old has to be given plenty of respect. Chip Lackey handles the dark-hued performer for owner Debra McCarthy and conditioner Gordie Graham. Rounding out the field are I'm An Athlete, King Of The Crop, To The Limit, Bettor's Promise and Gorgeous For Real. Kennedy has sights on driving title We don't want to jinx James Kennedy, but he comes into these last two weeks of the Cal Expo meet leading the driver standings while holding a seven-length advantage. While James has done well with the two pacers in his shedrow - the mare Lickcreek Speedway and this week's Lloyd Arnold participant Coz and Effect - he has recorded the majority of his victories as a catch driver. "It's been a fantastic meet," Kennedy related. "I really want to thank all the drivers and trainers who have given me some great opportunities. "Coming into the meet, I was pretty confident I would be in the top five, but I never really saw being the leading driver," he noted. "It's really been awesome." One of the highlights of the session for Kennedy has been handling the 9-year-old pacer Bettor In The Bank for Gordie Graham, recording seven Open victories behind the hard-knocking veteran. "He's been spectacular," his pilot related. "He always gives you everything he has and there's that big punch in the stretch you can always count on." Because they are both suiting up in the aforementioned Arnold on Saturday evening, for the second straight week James will be racing against Bettor In The Bank with his trainee Coz and Effect. "His last two races have been super," his mentor added, hoping for an upset this weekend. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

There was a harness racing rarity at Cal Expo Friday evening as 14-year-old pacers Allamerican Solo and Blue Note accounted for the late double on the 11-race program. Allamerican Solo is a son of Western Hanover who goes about his business for Edward Del Ponte Jr., takes his lessons from Earl Kennedy and was guided by James Kennedy. He came first over at the half and responded when it counted to prevail by a neck as the public choice. Blue Note is a Little Steven mare who is owned and trained by Rick Cisco, was handled by Luke Plano and pushed her career bankroll over the $155,000 plateau with a coast-to-coast score while earning her fourth snapshot from 15 trips to the post on the season. Racing continues at Cal Expo with Friday and Saturday night action through April 27.   By Mark Ratzky

This meet has been a homecoming of sorts for David Shell's California-bred Legio X Equestris and she has turned in some big efforts while racing with the top distaff pacers on the grounds. The 5-year-old harness racing daughter of Roll With Joe, who was a 1:52 flat victress at Pocono last year, dominated conditioned rivals here in 1:53 2/5 last month for Luke Plano, and is coming off back-to-back solid tries in the Filly and Mare Open. "She'd been racing in Indiana, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and David wanted to bring her home for the winter," said Plano. "Even though I was racing her for the first time at this meet, I trained her a bit as a 2-year-old before she made her first start." Plano admits it's been a bit of a rollercoaster return to California for Legio X Equestris, she has shown her ability more often than not. "When she came out, she shipped from New York to Indiana, then on to here, and I don't think we realized how much it had taken out of here. There were also a few health issues along the way, but now everything seems to be fine." In last week's top dance for the distaff set, Legio X Equestris brushed to the lead at half for Luke, putting up solid fractions of :55 3/5 and 1:23 4/5 before being overpowered in the late stages by Dancingonthesand. "I'll tell you one thing about this mare - she loves to play the hard way," Plano added.   Dancingonthesand, Silverlode among top players An Open Trot that sees the return of Silverlode and an extremely contentious Filly and Mare Open Pace are the main attractions on Cal Expo's Saturday night program. Watch and Wager LLC presents 11 races with first post at 6:15 p.m. Silverlode is a 10-year-old daughter of British Sterling out of the Website mare Charlotte's Web who comes into this assignment with $243,000 in earnings and a 1:54 3/5 mark that was established last season. The hard-hitting mare, who is owned by Medinah Racing and Kathie Plested, with Plested training and Steve Wiseman in the sulky, has posed for pictures following four of her seven trips to the post in 2019. She suits up this weekend riding a three-race winning streak while making her first start since March 16, when she crushed her rivals by four a half-lengths as the prohibitive 2-5 favorite while doing her work from the No. 10 slot, which will again be the case this time around. Looking at the Distaff Open, Dancingonthesand is a 4-year-old daughter of A Rocknroll Dance who goes about her business for Alan Cooper and Kathie Plested with Plested training and Mooney Svendsen handling the lines. The bay miss has returned to greet her connections in the winner's circle following six of eight appearances this season and shaved a second and two fifths off her lifetime record with last week's sparkling 1:53 score. Sent off at 9-2 from her outside post in the field of seven, Dancingonthesand was unhurried in the early stages following strong fractions, swung off cover into the drive and went on to the length and a half decision.   By Mark Ratzky Cal Expo Harness

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