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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

Silverlode, who is having an outstanding year, looms the one to beat in Friday night's harness racing featured $10,000 Stan Bergstein Trot. A nine-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. The Bergstein occupies the fifth-race slot on the program. Silverlode is a 10-year-old daughter of British Sterling who comes into this assignment with five wins from her eight starts on the year, $246,000 in her bank account and a 1:54 3/5 standard that was established last year at Running Aces. The hard-hitting performer is owned by Medinah Racing and Kathie Plested, is conditioned by Plested and will as usual have Steve Wiseman in the sulky. Silverlode has made her last two starts from the demanding No. 10 post position, but has been unfazed by that handicap while reporting home a punctual odds-on favorite with Wiseman. Last week's outing was her first in nearly a month, but she was razor sharp. Last of the half-dozen to the final bend, she followed the cover of One Chief to the lane and prevailed by a half-length over that rival. One Chief is a 6-year-old son of Lucky Checky who gives the Plested barn another strong look at the Bergstein. He carries the banner of Don and Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chambers and Tyler Wiseman with Luke Plano at the controls. Completing the field are Its a Horse, Winsun Galaxie, Majestic Lady Jo and Franks Best. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

An Open Pace that rematches Icy Blue Scooter and King Of The Crop; a Distaff Open Pace headed by Brighten Your Life and the Marvin Shapiro Prep are the main attractions on Saturday evening's 11-race program. First post is 6:10 p.m. Last week's Open Pace saw an upset, as King Of The Crop got the job done by a half-length over favored Icy Blue Scooter, who was doing his work from the demanding No. 10 post. Saturday's assignment finds King Of The Crop leaving from the No. 4 position in the field of five, while Icy Blue Scooter has the outside post while moving in five slots from last week's appearance. King Of The Crop is an 8-year-old son of Little Steven who carries the banner of Don and Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chambers and Kathie Plested with Plested training and Steve Wiseman at the controls. After a pair of needed outings after returning from Pennsylvania, the hard-hitting gelding put it all together last week and was up in time. King Of The Crop, who has multiple Sire Stakes trophies on his mantle, pushed his career bankroll to the $162,000 plateau and sports a 1:50 4/5 mark that was established two years ago. Icy Blue Scooter had a three-race win skein snapped when runner-up last week, but did have the marooned post position and turned in another strong mile. Nathan Sobey drives, trains and co-owns the 6-year-old with Diane Bertrand. Icy Blue Scooter was spectacular in his hat trick at the top rung between December 29 and January 12, getting the job from a close-up spot in the first of those scores and then finishing strongly to seal the deal in the last pair. Low takeout wagers, added simulcasts featured A pair of wagers that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate and added simulcast action from Woodbine Mohawk Park in Canada help spice the action here each night at Cal Expo. Legislation that took effect January 1 allows a full card of international harness simulcasting to California patrons. The new law is applicable on nights of live racing only and California fans can now look forward to action from Woodbine Mohawk Park every Friday and Saturday evening. The two wagers offered here each night with the reduced 16 percent takeout rate are the 50-cent Pick 5, which begins on the first race; and the 20-cent Pick 4. The guaranteed pools for the Pick 4 were recently raised, with a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool on Fridays and a $40,000 guarantee on Saturdays. In last Saturday night's Pick 4, despite Fancy Little Girl winning the second leg at 4-5, the return was a healthy $568 per winning ticket. To give you some idea of the added value, with the regular takeout the payoff would have been $507, a difference of $61 for each 20-cent investment. Saturday evening's Marvin Shapiro Prep is named for the son of L.K. Shapiro, who owned the Hall of Fame thoroughbred and California-bred champion Native Diver. Marvin Shapiro was president of Western Harness Racing Inc. in the 1960s and spearheaded legislation that sanctioned night racing. He died in 2003 at the age of 83. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

Nutmegs Desire, who will suit up in Saturday night's ninth race at Cal Expo, recently recorded a milestone 50th harness racing victory here and after some farewell starts will begin a new career next year as a broodmare. A soon-to-be 11-year-old daughter of Real Desire, Nutmegs Desire is owned by the partnership of Don and Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chambers and Tyler Wiseman with Kathie Plested training and Steve Wiseman in the sulky. She comes into this assignment with 231 starts on her resume, with 50 wins, 42 seconds and 29 thirds and $233,000 in her bank account. She sports a 1:53 1/5 lifetime mark that was established five years ago at Pocono Downs. Nutmegs Desire reached the half a century win mark here on December 8, going right to the front and then coming out of the fog to get the job done by a length and a half. She came back in her last start to miss score No. 51 by just a head. Following that victory three weeks ago, members of the Cal Expo racing office were treated to a cake courtesy of the pacing mare and Barbara Arnstine. "Nutmegs Desire is a horseman's horse," a proud Barbara related when asked about the bay 10-year-old mare. "She's honest and consistent in effort, she's a pleasure to have in the barn as long as you keep those carrots coming, and she helps keep the youngsters in line." Arnstine explained that some chronic injuries slowed her East Coast campaign and former California owner/trainer Gilbert Herrera sent her to Plested and Wiseman to finish up her career. "In one of her last races at Running Aces this summer, as she was charging down the stretch to her 49th win, someone yelled out 'Go on Grandma, you can do it'! "No one told 'Grandma' this was a finish," Barbara said. "Steve will tell you that when he tries to pull her up after a race. If you aren't flying back to the winner's circle, then she's ready to go around again. Once you put that yellow hood on, she's ready to work." In a few months, Nutmegs Desire will go from being a veteran racemare to a young broodmare. "When the snows melt in Canada in early March, she'll be on her way to having those babies that we will look forward to seeing," Arnstine noted. "Meanwhile, that yellow hood will keep pushing to the front, trying to win and prove a credit to the breed." Bill Conlin Pace shares spotlight with Opens Urgointohearmeroar and Lickcreek Speedway, who put on quite a show two weeks ago, get another chance to settle the score in Saturday night's featured $8,400 Bill Conlin Pace. Watch and Wager LLC will present an excellent 12-race card that gets underway at 6:10 p.m. In addition to the Conlin, there is a $7,000 Open Pace that finds I'm An Athlete seeking an encore and a $6,500 Filly and Mare Open Pace headed by the razor-sharp Capitol Hill. Urgointohermeroar and Lickcreek Speedway finished one-two in the December 14 Conlin Prep, with Urgoinhearmeroar getting up by a head over the latter after that rival had opened a clear lead at midstretch. Urgointohearmeroar is a 3-year-old son of Mystery Chase who is owned by Mark Anderson, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and will once again have Mooney Svendsen giving directions. He has accounted for three of his four appearances at this meet, lowering his lifetime standard to 1:54 flat in his most recent outing. Sent off the 8-5 choice in that contest, he stalked to the lane and proved best at the line. Lickcreek Speedway has a win and two near-misses from her five trips to the post at this stand, with her victory coming in the Annette Funicello Prep on December 7. She set her mark of 1:56 1/5 this year at Hooser Park and goes about her business for owner Jennifer Scarberry and driver/trainer James Kennedy. Completing the field are Hay Hay Alright for Ryan Grundy; Just B Talking, Gerry Longo; Oh My Josh with Steve Wiseman; and Dancer's Fancy, who has Dean Magee at the controls. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Columbus, MN - The featured event on the Tuesday night Harness Racing program at running Aces was the $7,400 Claiming condition Pace, and it would prove to be a dominating performance for Make It Big ($3.20) who delivered a gate-to-wire dazzler from the outside 6 post.   Driver Steve Wiseman sent the talented gelding by Blue Burner right to the front and never looked back while posting fractions of 27.3, 57.2, and 1:25.1 before powering home in 28.0 to leave his rivals reeling.   The final margin at the wire was 4½ lengths over Tornado Henry (Mooney Svendsen) who improved from a three-hole trip, and Hello Sevens (Rick Magee) who also improved one position in the final quarter. Make It Big is owned by Benvenga Racing LLC, Kathie Plested and Darren Taylor, and is conditioned by Kathie Plested. Tonight's tally in a lifetime mark of 1:53.1 was career win number twelve in 70 starts for the Alberta-bred pacer.   Bet Together ($4.80) was another impressive winner on the card, as the 11 year old Bettor's Delight gelding also fired from post six and led from start to finish, stopping the clock in 1:53.3 despite very sloppy conditions with trainer James (J.D.) Yoder in the sulky for Casandra and Rebecca Uppal.   Elusive Image turned in an eye-opening performance in the $5,500 nightcap conditioned pace, with yet another gate-to-wire romp by two lengths in 1:53.1 with owner/trainer Tony Huffman driving, the 4 year old gelding by Rockin Image is also owned by June Huffman, and tonight's win was his first tally in two starts this year.   Drivers Steve Wiseman and Mooney Svendsen both turned in driving doubles on the evening's program.   The 20 cent Jackpot Pick 5 wager now has a carryover of $1,397.21 for Saturday night, June 2.   Post time on Saturday and Sunday evenings is 6:00 pm CDT, and Tuesday racing starts at 7:00 pm CDT.     By Darin Gagne', for Running Aces  

The featured event on the Saturday night Harness Racing program at Running Aces was the $10,000 Open Handicap Trot, and My Little Susie would steal the show this evening, by storming down the center of the track to get home first in the top trot, and establish a new track record of 1:55 for 4 year old mares, adding to the record she set here as a 3 year old last season of 1:56.4, she now sports 2 current track records here at the Minnesota oval. Driver Steve Wiseman floated My Little Susie quickly off the gate to find a pylon position in third, and waited patiently in that spot as race-favorite Banker Volo (Luke Plano) set all the fractions (27.1, 56.3 and 1:25) before My Little Susie came charging up the inside passing lane in the stretch to overtake the leader and hold off the pocket sitter Leave Your Mark with Nick Roland who took second, with Banker Volo checking in third. Tonight’s big win was the 20th lifetime tally for the talented mare, who is owned by A Piece of The Action LLC and trained by Kathie Plested. Whatevershesgot ($3.60) with Gerald Longo aboard, picked up the winners share of the second leg of the Charlie Hare trotting series tonight in a lifetime best mile of 1:57.1 after converting the pocket trip into a 1 ¾ length score. It was the first win of the season and 5th lifetime victory for the 4 year old mare by Sos Lunar Eclipse, who is owned and trained by Jenni King. Ideal Jesse ($3.20) a 3 year old colt by Jailhouse Jesse was sharp in winning the $8,000 3 year old Open Trot tonight in 1:57.4 with part owner/trainer/driver James Yoder in the bike. It was the 3rd lifetime win in 18 starts for Ideal Jesse who is also owned by Jesse Yoder. Drivers Rick Magee and Nick Roland both picked up driving doubles this evening at Running Aces. The next card of live Harness Racing at Running Aces Casino & Racetrack will go to post on Sunday night, June 11 at 6:00 pm CDT, with a carryover in the .20 cent Jackpot Pick-5 wager of $7,908.32. By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer

Shark Festival has rattled off back-to-back impressive harness racing victories here at Cal Expo for Medinah Racing and Scott Ehrlich, with Kathie Plested and Steve Wiseman taking care of business on the training and driving end. "Medinah Racing is the partnership of George McChrystal and Mark Kremen," related Ehrlich. "We're all Chicago born and raised guys who met up at the Chicago harness tracks. For me and George, it was in the early 80s, which also included Fairmount Park." After a couple of needed efforts to start off the meet, Shark Festival has been all Jaws as she has done the stalk-and-pounce to perfection for Wiseman while working her way closer to the $100,000 mark in career earnings. "George and I watch races from everywhere in hopes of finding a diamond in the rough," Scott explained. "One of the tracks George was watching was Century Downs in Alberta. What caught his eye was her breeding, her 'look of a real horse', her spurts of talent and that she was using an older race bike. "He called me one day asking me to watch the replays of her most recent races. After I did, we felt if he we could obtain her and get her into the Wiseman stable and their program, that between Steve and Kathie and their fine crew, that would be a good fit. "Since we've gotten her, especially here at Cal Expo, she's gained quite a bit of weight and really looks the part. And from that has come two straight wins. We know she gets her toughest test stepping up to the filly and mare Open this week, but she did win the filly and mare Open at Century over some quality mares and did it handily in first-over fashion." Ehrlich added, "We have high hopes for her." So far, so good. Open Trot brings out Silverlode, Flameon A $5,500 Open Trot that finds Silverlode and Flameon continuing their rivalry and a $6,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace that has lured some very sharp distaffers headline Saturday night's program at Cal Expo. There will be 12 races on the Watch and Wager LLC card with first post set for 6:10 p.m. In addition to the two Opens, there will be an elimination heat for next week's final of the Robert Staats Series. The Open Trot will go as the third race on the evening with Silverlode doing his work from the assigned outside post in the field of five, while arch-rival Flameon departs from just to his inside. Zoraze, Windsun Galaxe and Winsom Kelly complete the cast. Silverlode and Flameon have met three times at this meeting, with the former capturing the first and third meetings which were contested over off tracks, while Flameon prevailed in between those two races on a fast track. Silverlode is a 7-year-old homebred daughter of British Sterling and the Website mare Charlotte's Web who is owned by Desomer Stables, takes her lessons from Vickie Desomer and will have Steve Wiseman giving directions after Luke Plano did the honors in the first three outings at this session. Flameon is 6-year-old son of Angus Hall who carries the banner of Mark Anderson with Gordie Graham the conditioner and Chip Lackey handling the lines. He is looking for his 11th win on the year from 21 trips to the post and will be drawn inside Silverlode for the first time at the meeting. The Filly and Mare Open brings out a solid field of eight with Strings, Shark Festival, Directing Traffic and Stable Eyes among the major players in what shapes up as a very interesting contest. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

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