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Due to the Super Bowl, the trotters and pacers will be in action this week at Cal Expo on Friday and Saturday nights with first post set for 6pm. Saturday’s harness racing program will find the top trotters and pacers on the grounds doing battle. The Open Pace features Ponda’s Prospect and Allmyx’sliventexas; the Open Trot sees Pridecrest and Silverhill Volo squaring off; and the Filly and Mare Open Pace finds Velocity McSweets eyeing the hat trick.  Next week will return to the Saturday and Sunday evening schedule.   By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Pacing fillies and mares hold the harness racing spotlight at Cal Expo Saturday evening, with Velocity McSweets heading the marquee. The main event goes as the fifth of 11 races presented by Watch and Wager LLC and first post is set for 5:35 p.m. Velocity McSweets is a 6-year-old McArdie mare who is owned and trained by Jennifer Sabot and is again guided by Cordarius Stewart. She will be gunning for her 23rd snapshot from 86 trips to the post, recently went over the $200,000 mark in earnings and has a 1:52 mark that was established last year at Tioga Downs. Following a smashing win in the December 19 Joe Alto, the bay miss had to settle for minor awards as the heavy favorite in her next two appearances. She returned to the winner’s circle last week, however, as she stormed home from off the pace to get the job done over a sloppy track. Bertha Vanation had to settle for the place money that night after rattling off back-to-back upsets at the top rung for owner Cathy Dessert and driver/trainer Nick Roland. The Voracious Hanover mare captured the January 2 Open at 25-1 and came right back to weeks later to click again at 7-1 while earning a lifetime best 1:53 2/5 clocking in the process. Taking her on this weekend are Alwaysalittlemore with Luke Plano; Dancingonthesand, Mooney Svendsen; Capitol Hill; Delightfully Wild, Tony Kerwood; Paloma Ruiz, Jacob Cutting; Mary’s Pretty Girl with Doug Chappell; and Bertha Vanation for Nick Roland. Get My Good Side prevails in wild finish The finish of last Saturday night’s seventh race looked more like a quarter horse race than a pacing event, as the first five across the line were separated by a total of half a length. At the end, it was the mild 3-1 choice Get My Good Side who prevailed by a nose over Johnny Ringo, with Regal Mark beaten two nostrils for the whole thing, while Sneak Peek Hanover was another head back in fourth with How Your Remind checking in fifth beaten half a side. “I can’t remember ever calling a finish like that one,” track announcer Gary Seibel noted. “Like a bigger than normal ocean wave, you could almost see it forming around the sixteenth pole. At that point, there’s much you can do except brace for impact – and try not to get tongue tied!” The victory was sweet revenge for Get My Good Side, who himself was beaten a nose a week earlier after holding a clear lead in deep stretch. He was ultra-game last Saturday, doing the work in first-over fashion for Jacob Cutting. The 4-year-old is conditioned by George Reider, who co-owns the performer with Dave and Rob Haness. “I bought this horse the last day of racing at Running Aces,” Reider noted. “He’s a nice little horse who doesn’t do many things wrong.” One race later, Rockinscience rattled off his third straight win while capturing the Robert Gordon Pace, going coast-to-coast for Luke Plano as the 1-5 choice. After posting a sparkling 1:52 2/5 decision one race back, he returned with a 1:53 3/5 jaunt last weekend. It was also a consecutive double on the card for Dave Haness, who co-owns the son of Rockin Image with Nikki Hudson. Talk about a nice half an hour.   By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Rockinscience, fresh from a sparkling harness racing victory for driver/trainer Luke Plano, takes on a solid cast in Saturday night’s featured $9,700 Robert Gordon Pace. Watch and Wager LLC will present 13 races with first post set for 4:55 p.m. and the main event will go as the eighth contest on the evening. There are several major contenders in the Gordon line-up, with Rockinscience likely to have his share of backers as he goes for the hat trick this weekend. The 4-year-old son of Rockin Image carries the banner of Nikki Hudson and Dave Haness. After taking the measure of a softer group here on January 10, the bay performer came back last week and streaked home in :27 1/5 to make it two in a row while stopping the timer in 1:52 2/5, shaving two full seconds off his lifetime mark. Bobs Time will be gunning for his third snapshot from his last five trips to the post and is another major player. Rick Bertrand owns and trains the 4-year-old with Jake Cutting in his usual spot in the sulky. Bobs Time proved a punctual even-money favorite last week as he sat the pocket early, brushed to command on the final bend and went on to a length and a quarter score over Cut A Rug, who will again be among his rivals in the Gordon with Doug Chappell at the controls. Rounding out the field are Paddy Murphy, to be handled by Cordarius Stewart; Its Pointless, Tony Kerwood; Villa For Rent with Mooney Svendsen; and Artspire, who will leave from the outside slot with Nick Roland guiding. Low takeout wagers offer true value There are three wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate – the 20-cent early and late Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4, the latter featuring a $25,000-guaranteed gross pool. To give you some idea of the value that comes as a result of the lower takeout, take a look at last Sunday night’s 20-cent Pick 5 that covered the first five races on the card. There was an even-money winner, three horses clicking at 3-1 and one scoring at 5-1, with the 20-cent investment coming back a nifty $353.68, which equates to a much higher return than the parlay and a nice increase on what the regular takeout payoff.                                           *** This weekend’s Robert Gordon Pace is named for the noted driver/trainer and track executive who passed away at age 65 in 2006. Bob Gordon started his 40-year-career in Ohio and learned his lessons under the outstanding horseman Bob Farrington. He eventually settled in California and was a mainstay at the top of the standings from the late 70s through the early 90s, conditioning such starts as Stand By N, Theora Hanover and Pack Leader. Gordon was a past president of the Western Harness Standardbred Association and the California Harness Horse Breeders Association, while in the early 90s he served as a director of the United States Trotting Association. He was president of Premier Harness Racing, which raced at Los Alamitos, and was instrumental in keeping the sport alive in the mid 90s at a time when harness racing was definitely on the ropes. Bob Gordon was also director of backstretch operations for the Sacramento Harness Association and helped in starting the not-for-profit corporation, which was operating at Cal Expo at the time of his death.   By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Allmyx’sliventexas, unbeaten in his four trips to the harness racing post at this stand, eyes another snapshot in Sunday evening’s featured $6,200 Open Pace. A 12-race Watch and Wager LLC card is on tap with first post set for 4:55 p.m. and the headliner occupying the eighth race slot. An 8-year-old son of Hi Ho Silverheel’s out of the Distinguisedbaron mare Annie Get Your Gun, Allmyx’sliventexas races for Wayne and Rod Knittel with Bob Johnson the conditioner and Jake Cutting at the controls. For his exploits, Allmyx’sliventexas has been assigned the No. 10 position in the field of seven. He comes into this assignment with 43 wins from his 137 appearances, $248,000 in his bank account and a 1:50 mark that was established at Hoosier Park three years ago. In his first three scores at this meet, Allmyx’sliventexas was handled by Nick Roland, including his victory in the Dave Goldschmidt Pace, while his most recent score saw Jacob Cutting at the controls. Allmyx’sliventexas has been putting his class and versatility on display here, capturing the Goldschmidt on the front end and coming from well back to get the job done by nearly four lengths from well off the pace in his most recent tally. Taking him on this weekend are stablemate Proof, who will be guided by Nick Roland; Hoo Nien for Gerry Longo; Royale Big Guy with Mooney Svendsen; Ponda’s Prospect for Luke Plano; Buddy’s Hope and Intrigued Again, who leaves from the rail with Anthony Kerwood.   Mandeville, Longo join forces for success Mandeville put his class on display last weekend when he got away from arch-rival Silverhill Volo and proved a punctual 4-5 favorite in a conditioned event. The 9-year-old trotter by Majestic Son is owned, trained and was driven by Gerry Longo, who is still going strong at 75 years young, and they make a great team. “I bought the horse in the fall of 2019 when I saw him racing in Kentucky,” Longo related. “What impressed me was that he could be tough on the front end or from behind and he was coming home in :27 and change.” Mandeville recorded eight victories from his 21 starts last season for Longo, including a l:54 lifetime mark over the five-eighths Running Aces oval during the summer. His win her last week was No. 31 from 142 starts and he currently has $270,000 in his bank account. “I’ve loved this horse ever since I got him,” his mentor said. “He was still a little short when he first raced at this meet, but I’ve been training him harder lately and that last start showed what can do.” Gerry was asked if the veteran sidewheeler has a preference when it comes to the size of the track, having raced over so many in his career. “He doesn’t care if it’s a half-mile, five-eighths or a mile like Cal Expo, he’s versatile enough to adjust to the track and any way the race comes up.”   By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

The California Horse Racing Board has approved the request from Watch and Wager LLC, operator of Cal Expo, to switch Friday to Sunday evening effective the first of the year. Sunday evening post time will be 4:55 Pacific. "With the total closure of the California brick and mortar network, we think Sunday will better position ourselves for National exposure given the current situation in California," said General Manager Chris Schick.   By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Friday night’s harness racing program will find a $5,500 conditioned trot and an $8,296 carryover in the 20-cent early Pick 5 holding the spotlight. First post for the 12-race Watch and Wager LLC card is 4:50 p.m. The early Pick 5 is conducted on the first five events of the evening and there will be a $30,000 guaranteed gross pool. The 20-cent early and late Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4 all come with a reduced 16% takeout rate. Free past performances for the Friday program are available at Looking at Friday’s main event, Mshindi is exiting a fourth-place finish in last week’s Joe Lighthill Trot behind Silverhill Volo and looms a tough customer with Luke Plano handling the Bruce Nickells colorbearer for trainer Tim Clevenger. Mshindi will leave from the No. 2 slot in the field of seven and will have Teachmehowtotory on his inside, while the outside challengers will be Flameon, Bringthegold, Glenferrie Dreamer, Jesse’s Student and Major Al-Mar. On Saturday evening, the Annette Funicello/Glen Holt Final and the Joe Alto Filly and Mare Pace will be the main attractions.   Best Dream Seeker ready for social security When the calendar turns to January 1, Best Dream Seeker becomes 15 years old for official purposes and will have completed the racing portion of his career.  The pacing son of Cambest comes into this weekend having made 453 starts, with 43 wins, 63 seconds and 68 thirds. He has nearly $490,000 in his bank account and sports a 1:51 4/5 mark that was set back when George W. Bush was still our President. “He’s a nice horse to be around and work with,” said trainer Rick Bertrand, who co-owns the veteran with Vikki Pfeilsticker and Amy Fichtner and has had him for the last two and a half years. “He’ll remain in the barn for the winter to help pony the tough horses who don’t jog very well. He’ll also be useful to help train the babies and teach them to race before being turned out for the summer.” Bertrand has done his homework as far as Best Dream Seeker is concerned, noting that he’s raced at 23 different track and posed for pictures at 15 of those venues. He also pointed out that the veteran pacer has had 27 different trainers and 88 different drivers, winning for 26 of those pilots. “I’d have to say over the years he’s been handled by just about every top driver in the country,” his mentor added. Cal Expo wishes a long and happy retirement to Best Dream Seeker. Please note there will be mandatory payouts on all wagers Saturday. The second half of the meet will get underway on Saturday, December 26.   By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Watch and LLC, operator of Cal Expo harness, is pleased to announce their broadcast upgrade to High Definition beginning Friday, December 18. "The upgrade will ultimately include features such as shutter, car and paddock camera shots,” said Chris Schick, General Manager at Cal Expo harness. "We would publicly like to thank or partners Pegasus Communications, TVG, Roberts Television and the California Exposition and State Fair for help and cooperation with this fan friendly upgrade" Cal Expo can now be found on RTN channel 9732.   By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Jake Cutting has literally flown off the gate at this harness racing meeting with the equivalent of at :26 and change opening quarter, scoring with 17 of his first 51 drives. The Calgary native has displayed the cool of someone far beyond his 19 years and is making quite an impression. “My mom and dad, my aunt and uncle, my sister and her boyfriend and my grandparents on my mom’s side have all been involved with the sport,” Cutting related. “From as far back as I can remember, this is what I wanted to do.” One of Jake’s fondest memories came when Jim Marino won the Alberta Super Final for his parents. “I was about 9 or 10 at the time and it was quite a thrill.” In addition to leading the driver standings, Cutting also has a stable of his own and has been making steady trips to the winner’s circle with those proteges. “I’ve got nine right now, and 10 would be about perfect.” In his brief career, Jake has competed over half-mile, seven-eighths and mile tracks, with his preference being the latter, which is the case here at Cal Expo. “It’s easier to trip out on a mile track, and you can drive each individual horse accordingly,” he noted. As far as competition, Cutting said he would love to participate in each and every race, and his strong performance through the first few weeks has certainly garnered the attention of horsemen in terms of securing drives. “I’ve been fortunate to drive with a lot of very experienced drivers,” he noted. “I always take advice and I’ve been able to learn a lot in a short time.” Oh, to be 19 again.   Silverhill Volo heads Joe Lighthill Trot Silverhill Volo, fresh from back-to-back tallies at the head of the class, leads the field for Saturday’s featured $10,000 Joe Lighthill Trot. The headliner will go as the fifth contest on an 11-race card and things get underway at 4:55 p.m. under the Watch and Wager LLC banner. Chip Lackey, reins, trains and owns Silverhill Volo, a 9-year-old son of Muscle Hill who will gunning for his 27th career snapshot from 138 appearances. He has a 1:55 1/5 career standard and is looking to add to a $160,000 career account. He was 6-1 when he captured the November 27 Open, withstanding a strong bid up front on the final turn before drawing away late. Off at even-money in his last tour, Silverhill Volo was parked to the lead by the quarter, took complete control from that and went on to a three-length decision for Lackey. Mandevillie was runner-up to Silverhill Volo in last week’s Open and will be looking for some revenge this weekend for his owner/driver/trainer Gerry Longo. He lands the rail with Silverhill Volo just to his outside in the cast of seven. The 8-year-old Majestic Son gelding has posed for pictures following 8 of his 20 trips to the post this season, the most recent coming at Oak Grove in early November. He is looking to add to a $266,000 lifetime bankroll. Pridecrest turned in a sharp qualifying win last weekend and has gone many strong races over this layout in the past. He helps make things very interesting for trainer Kathy  Plested. Completing the field are Bringthgold, Major Al-Mar, Jesse’s Student and Mshindi.   By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Allmyx’sliventexas, who has rattled off two impressive harness racing victories since returning from Chicago, has top billing in Friday night’s $10,000 Dave Goldschmidt Free-For-All Pace. Watch and Wager LLC will present xxx races with first post set for 4:55. The main event goes as the eighth event on the card. A 7-year-old homebred son of Hi Ho Silverheel’s from the Distinguishedbaron mare Annie Get Your Gun, Allmyx’sliventexas carries the banner of Wayne and Rodney Knittel with Bob Johnson conditioning and Nick Roland at the controls. He comes into this assignment with 41 wins from his 135 starts, a 1:50 mark that was set two years ago at Hoosier Park and a bankroll of $240,000. Allmyx’sliventexas has put his class and his versatility on display in his two scores at this meet, going coast-to-coast in the November 27 score and then coming back the next week to get the job done from off the pace in first-over fashion while doing his work from the demanding No. 10 post. The Knittel colorbearer will leave from the No. 6 slot for the Goldschmidt and will be challenged by Bngs Express, Impressive Art, I’m An Athlete, Dependlebury A, Hoo Nien A, Pecorino and Ponda’s Prospect. Looking ahead to Saturday night, the $10,000 Joe Lighthill Trot will hold center stage with Silvehill Volo eying his third straight trip to the winner’s circle for owner/driver/trainer Chip Lackey.   Races honor memory of Lighthill, Goldschmidt Friday’s Dave Goldschmidt Pace and Saturday’s Joe Lighthill Trot are named for two important members of the California harness racing community. Joe Lighthill was an outstanding driver/trainer who was a mainstay in the Golden State for decades and passed away at the age of 78 in 2006. Lighthill, who began his career in the mid-1940s, drove 2,272 winners for purse earnings just shy of $7 million and reined and/or trained some of the top performers of their generation. Included in that illustrious list were Meadow Skipper, Countess Adios, Tender Loving Care, Hickory Pride, Peter Lobell, Try Scotch and BC Count. Joe Lighthill was one of the greats, not just in California, but across the nation. Dave Goldschmidt, who had an extensive resume in the sport from the frontside, passed away in July of 2018 at the age of 62. Goldschmidt attending the University of Denver where he was a sportswriter on the newspaper, but after hearing about the new Race Track Management Program at the University of Arizona, had knew he had to transfer to that school and was in the first graduating class. Dave 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.   By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Trainer Robert Corbin appears to have a strong hand in Friday night’s $20,000 Alan Horowitz Memorial, as he sends out two of last week’s three elimination winners in E R Vincent and Skyway Raider. An 11-race program is on tap Friday under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with a first post of 4:55 p.m. Looking at the Horowitz, E R Vincent was a handy winner of his heat last week while touring the mile in 1:54 flat with Mooney Svendsen in the sulky, while Skyway Raider went two ticks faster in his tour a bit later in the evening with Phil Knox giving directions. E R Vincent is a 6-year-old son of He’s Gorgeous who races for Corbin Stables Inc and is looking for his second snapshot from his last five trips to the post. The first of those scores came on October 10 at Hoosier Park, then he made his Cal Expo debut a winning in the first elimination for this event last week. Stablemate Skyway Raider carries the banner of Cavalho Stables and is a 4-year-old son of Arache Hanover who is gunning for his sixth victory of the season from 18 trips to the post. He went coast-to-coast in his first-ever Cal Expo mile with Knox and looms large right back. Cruisin For You accounted for the other elimination last week for owner Troshu Racing, trainer Ariel Alvarez and pilot Jacob Cutting. The 8-year-old set his 1:53 3/5 mark over this layout last season and has 31 trips to the charmed circle from his 189 lifetime appearances. Completing the field are, McLegend, Wild Again, Buff’s Image, Man Of Mine, Impressive Art, Western Devil and Lukes Cowboy.   $69,912 Single 6 carryover; low takeout wagers on tap Players have plenty to aim for Friday night with a $69,912 carryover in the 10-cemt Single 6 and three wagers that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. The lower takeout bets are the 20-cent early and late Pick 4 and the 20-cent Pick 5, all offering great value. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Saturday night’s Bill Conlin Final shapes up as interesting handicapping puzzle with several questions to be answered. How good is Its Pointless? Can Cut A Rug work out another pocket journey? Will Sherwood get his revenge after being collared at 2-5 last week? Its Pointless steamrolled over his opposition in a quartet of Sire Stakes here earlier in the year, then did the stalk and pounce to perfection for James Kennedy while capturing his elimination heat in a sparkling return last week. Meanwhile, the other elimination saw Sherwood dispatched at 40 cents on the dollar, but he had to be happy with an exacta completion as Cut A Rug was upset minded and left hard into an eventual two-hole trip that resulted in a length score with Luke Plano doing the honors. Something has to give Saturday night, and starter calls for the pacers.   By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

An Open Pace and three eliminations for the Alan Horowitz Pace share the harness racing spotlight at Cal Expo on Friday night. The trotters and pacers are now in action every Friday and Saturday evening for a 44-day session, with 11 races this Friday and a first post of 4:55 p.m. The Open brings out the popular Allmyx'sliventexas, who has gone many sensational miles over this layout in his career for his owner/breeders Wayne and Rod Knittel and trainer Bob Johnson. He will be handled by Nick Roland. A 7-year-old son of Hi Hi Silverheel's out of the Distinguishedbaron mare Annie Get Your Gun, he has a lifetime mark of 1:50 that was established two years ago over the seven-eighths Hoosier Park oval. Allmyx'sliventexas got nice and tight for Friday's assignment with a sharp qualifier last weekend with Roland handling the lines. He blasted right to the front, carved out all the fractions and then came home in style by nearly five lengths in 1:56 3/5. Taking him on Friday are Dependlebury, Bngs Express, Ponda's Prospect, Super Pac Hanover and Gorgeous For Real. The Open goes as the fourth race on the card, while the Alan Horowitz eliminations occupy the first, eighth and tenth-race slots on the program. There is also an Open III Trot going as the third that features invading Mshindi for driver/trainer Tim Clevenger. $63,764 Single 6 carryover, reduced takeout wagers featured A $63,764 carryover in the Single 6 and a reduced 16% takeout rate on three of the most popular wagers on the card help spice up the action on Friday night. The 20-cent early Pick 4 and 20-cent Pick 5 as usual will feature the lower takeout, and this season Cal Expo has added the reduced 16 percent takeout rate to the 20-cent Pick 4 as well. Meanwhile, this weekend will find Alan Horowitz and Bill Conlin remembered with series events named in their honor. 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 2017 at age 72. A $63,764 carryover in the Single 6 and a reduced 16% takeout rate on three of the most popular wagers on the card help spice up the action on Friday night. The 20-cent early Pick 4 and 20-cent Pick 5 as usual will feature the lower takeout, and this season Cal Expo has added the reduced 16 percent takeout rate to the 20-cent Pick 4 as well. 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, Alan 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. Bill Conlin was the longtime sportswriter, editor and columnist for the Sacramento Bee who passed away in 1997 at the age of 84. With great wit, he covered sports (and more) for six decades, first at the Sacramento Union and then at the Sacramento Bee. He was a daily presence in the Bee's sports section until his retirement in 1985 By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness  

Sacramento, CA — Watch and Wager LLC, operator of Cal Expo harness, and the California Harness Horsemen’s Association would like to publicly thank Running Aces for their generous support during the COVID-19 crisis. Running Aces, through its charitable foundation, has contributed $30,000 to help defray Cal Expo backstretch operating expenses for the past two months. “This is exactly the reason we created the North Metro Racetrack and Community Foundation,” said Running Aces President and CEO Taro Ito. “To help our horsemen when needed. We are glad to fulfill our charter and that we made a difference.” The Cal Expo backstretch area is set to close on May 31 as the vast majority of these horsemen head to Running Aces Racetrack and Casino. The barn area at Running Aces opens June 1, with the first day of live racing Saturday (June 20). by Mark Ratzky, publicity, Cal Expo Harness

The California Horse Racing Board conducted two separate meetings on Thursday, March 26, by teleconference. The public participated by dialing into the teleconference and/or listening through the audio webcast link on the CHRB website. Both meetings were chaired by Dr. Gregory Ferraro, joined for the first meeting by Vice Chair Oscar Gonzales and Commissioners Dennis Alfieri, Damascus Castellanos, Wendy Mitchell, and Alex Solis. Commissioner Mitchell did not participate in the second meeting. The audios of these two meetings are available on the CHRB Website ( under the Webcast link. In brief, during the first, regular meeting: Chairman Ferraro opened the meeting by welcoming Commissioner Castellanos to his initial meeting as a member of the Board. Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Commissioner Castellanos on March 10. In two separate but related actions involving both emergency and permanent rules, the Board voted to re-establish the 48-hour restriction on the administration of medications or other substances to horses entered to race unless otherwise authorized by regulation. The change to the emergency regulation went into effect immediately, while the permanent rule was approved for 15-day public notice. The Board approved a regulatory amendment prohibiting the administration of the anti-bleeder medication furosemide to 2-year-olds. The amendment also reduces by half the level that can be administered to horses permitted to race with furosemide. The Board put over to the April 22 meeting further discussion of a regulatory amendment clarifying that racing veterinarians are under the direction of Official Veterinarians, allowing racing associations input, as requested by The Stronach Group. The Board approved for public notice an amendment to the rule governing penalties that makes veterinarians and other licensees who violate shock wave therapy regulations subject to the same penalties as trainers. The Board approved a regulatory amendment requiring individuals to hold an assistant trainer's license in good standing for one year as a qualification for a trainer's license. The Board approved a requirement for practicing veterinarians to use an electronic on-line form prescribed by the Board when submitting their required veterinarian reports to the Official Veterinarian. The Board approved a regulatory amendment requiring trainers to maintain treatment records of all medications they administer to horses in their care at facilities within the CHRB's jurisdiction. The Board authorized the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club to distribute $90,839 in race day charity proceeds to nine beneficiaries and another $13,744 to four beneficiaries. The Board designated the 2020 fair racing sessions in Pleasanton, Sacramento, Ferndale, and Fresno as a combined meet for pari-mutuel purposes. The Board approved an industry use a designated portion of Advance Deposit Wagering revenue that would ordinarily go to horsemen's purses and racetrack commissions to be used to fund a California co-op marketing program. After the conclusion of the first, regular meeting, the Board reconvened the teleconference to hold a special meeting to address a single agenda item. The Board approved a change to the license application of Watch & Wager LLC, allowing harness racing at Cal Expo to switch race days from Fridays and Saturdays to Tuesdays and Wednesdays.   Reprinted with permission of The Paulick Report

Capitol Hill and Virgin Eyes, two hard-knocking performers, get top billing in Saturday night's $5,400 filly and mare harness racing pacing feature. Watch and Wager LLC will present 10 races with first post set for 6:10 p.m. Capitol Hill is a 9-year-old daughter of Badlands Hanover who goes about her business for George McChrystal and Kathie Plested with Steve Wiseman training and Jacob Cutting in the sulky. A lifetime winner of $143,000 with 25 wins from her 164 starts and a 1:53 2/5 mark that was set here three years ago, Capitol Hill is coming off a solid runner-up finish where she ignited late but was unable to catch upsetter Surprisingly Sweet under these conditions. Virgin Eyes has been doing all her work in the Open ranks and should appreciate the class relief in the headliner. Her most recent trip to the charmed enclosure came on February 29 at the top level. The Always A Virgin mare carries the banner of Aleksandra Karl, is conditioned by Robert Corbin and will once again be guided by Dean Magee while departed from the No. 5 slot in the cast of six. Rounding out the field are Along Came Jane, Relentless Dancer, Brian's Magic Girl and Place At The Beach. Heza Real Diamond continues to shine Heza Real Diamond recorded his fourth straight victory at the head of the class last weekend, with all of those victories coming from the demanding No. 10 post position. The 4-year-old son of All American, who is owned by Orlando Nevarez and conditioned by Edwin Quevedo, has been sensational with Nick Roland giving directions with all of those victories coming in handy fashion. In last week's score, he was parked to the lead by the quarter, took complete control of things from that point and came to the line with two and three-quarrter lengths to spare. His 1:51 1/5 clocking in his previous tally equaled his lifetime standard. *** There are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 20-cebnt Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 5 starts with the opening race, while the Pick 4 is decided over the final four races on Saturday's program. The Pick 4 features a $40,000-guaranteed gross pool on Saturday and a $30,000 guarantee on Friday. To give an example of the value added with the lower takeout, last Friday night's Pick 4 returned $988 for each correct 20-cent investment. That would have been $895 using the regular rate, a difference of $93 for each winning ticket. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness  

As legalized ways of gambling have almost come to a stop, horse racing remains the only sport still open for business. Despite that unique position, it hasn’t led to a surge in popularity or revenue to the few tracks still operating. The tracks that are still running -- Santa Anita and Los Alamitos are among the four in California -- are closed to the general public and open only to the most essential people. In fact, conducting a race card requires far fewer people than when horses have to get out of their stalls every morning if to do no more than jog or gallop. Santa Anita gets about a third of its pari-mutuel business either on-track or through state inter-track wagering, sometimes called OTBs. However, the lack of other tracks running or no team sports to bet has shifted only about 10% to 20% of new revenue back to the mutuel handle. This past Saturday and Sunday, Santa Anita had $13.2 million bet on its races. In a comparable weekend in February, there was $18 million bet, $6.4 million of that either on-track or through state inter-track wagering. Other date comparisons this year showed the same trends, although figures vary day to day based on the number of races and horses that are entered. Last year around this time, Santa Anita was closed because of an increase in horse fatalities. “No one really thought this would be a great windfall,” said Craig Fravel, chief executive for racing at the Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields. “I think anybody who is looking at it from that standpoint is missing the big picture. What we’re trying to do is sustain the ecosystem in a responsible manner. … We want to make sure people are following all the protocols while giving them an opportunity to pay their bills.” The Stronach Group is donating 100% of its profits during this time to people impacted by COVID-19. If racing in California were to stop, the owners, trainers and jockeys would have to look to a jurisdiction that is running. Moving between tracks on the East Coast is easier because of geography. If people were to leave California they might never come back and the industry could collapse in the state. The territories running are getting fewer. Racing is currently halted at Aqueduct in New York, Laurel in Maryland and Fair Grounds in Louisiana. However, racing continues at Gulfstream and Tampa Bay in Florida, Oaklawn in Arkansas and two Northern California tracks, Golden Gate Fields and Cal Expo, the latter of which is only harness racing track running in the country. “I haven’t seen any evidence that there is an amazing explosion of sports betting going to horse racing as of now,” said Alex Waldrop, chief executive of the National Thoroughbred Racing Assn. “But if we can continue to be responsible and race, we may start to draw some of those players who had been betting other sports.” Racing has continued at Santa Anita without fans on hand. (David McNew / Getty Images) As for the sport’s economic fuel, wagering, it’s estimated that as much as 90% is done online through advance-deposit wagering (ADWs). Money bet through an ADW while at the track counts as on-track handle, which explains why the math doesn’t always add up. And with at least 20 states having stay-at-home orders, it’s why so much money can still be bet. “Horse racing is better off than other forms of gaming,” said Kip Levin, president of FanDuel and chief executive of TVG, the horse racing television channel. “Our new customers [to TVG’s online betting service] are up substantially. I don’t know if they are people who were betting retail at the tracks or OTBs or new overall. It’s too early to tell.” The same is true at NYRA Bets, the ADW that is run out of the New York Racing Assn. “We have seen an increase in new bettors, but we’re positive they are not big bettors,” said Tony Allevato, president of NYRA Bets. “A significant number are $2 bettors.” There is also an increase of horse racing on television. Fox Sports partnered with NYRA to put on 15 hours of live race programming last weekend. NBC has an agreement with TVG to also provide programming. Both of those shows would contain racing from California. The racing calendar remains a moving target. This is currently the time the last major prep races for the Kentucky Derby would be run. Last Saturday, Fair Grounds ran the Louisiana Derby and then canceled the rest of its meeting. Saturday will be the Florida Derby at Gulfstream, and the following Saturday the Santa Anita Derby is scheduled to be run. Next Saturday would normally have the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, but both have been postponed. The Arkansas Derby has moved to the first Saturday in May — a date reserved for the Kentucky Derby, which had to be moved to the first Saturday in September.   By John Cherwa - Special Contributor   Reprinted with permission of The Los Angeles Times

Royal Mistress figures to get plenty of support in Friday night's harness racing feature at Cal Expo, a $5,400 conditioned event for pacing fillies and mares. Watch and Wager LLC will present 10-race cards on both Friday and Saturday this week with first post set for 6:10 p.m. Royal Mistress is the 9-5 favorite on Trackman Marty Bridges' morning line. A 6-year-old daughter of Jk Royal Flush, the bay miss is owned by Kevin Anderson, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and will have the services of James Kennedy while leaving from No. 6 slot in a field of seven. Royal Mistress has four wins from her 10 starts on the season, with the most recent coming in a February 7 Distaff Open where she sat the pocket journey for Kennedy and ignited when it counted to be up by a neck. Sing Along is listed as the 7-2 second choice and her best effort will certainly make her dangerous. Edwin Quevedo owns and trains and Luke Plano pilots the Rock N Roll Hanover mare, who is coming off back-to-back sharp efforts. Taking them on will be Lookslikewemadeit with Mooney Svendsen; Velocity Layla, Jacob Cutting; Hi Fidelity, Braxten Boyd; Getter Queen Flush, John Roberts; and Kiss On The Lips with Nick Roland at the controls. Single 6 carryover, low takeout bets featured There will be a $40,644 carryover in the 10-cent Single 6 wager on Friday night at Cal Expo. The sequence begins with the fifth race on the program. A single (unique) winner in the wager receives 100 percent of the net pool plus the carryover. Otherwise the pool is divided equally into the minor share and the carryover. In addition, there is a reduced 16 percent takeout rate in both the 20-cent Pick 5 and 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 5 starts with the opening race, while the Pick 4 is decided over the final four races on Friday's program. The Pick 4 features a $40,000-guaranteed gross pool on Saturday and a $30,000 guarantee on Friday. To give an example of the value added with the lower takeout, last Friday night's Pick 4 returned $988 for each correct 20-cent investment. That would have been $895 using the regular rate, a difference of $93 for each winning ticket.   By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

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