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Duet will be looking for the second trophy of her career when she suits up in Friday nights featured Sire Stakes for owner/trainer Rick Cisco and pilot Tim Maier. The daughter of Disco Devil posed for pictures following the February 14 added-money gathering for this division, which features a very contentious group of 3-year-old pacing distaffers. I got this filly last summer and broke her, Cisco related when asked about the bay miss. She needed some time, so I was patient and waited with her. Luke Plano qualified her and told me she was ready for stakes company, so thats where we went. He had a filly of his own in there, and when I asked who I should drive, he suggested I get Tim. Hes done a great job with her and hes also been very helpful as far as giving me suggestions after the races. Since her February stakes tally, Duet was fourth and fifth with her peers and then turned in a solid effort in the most recent gathering for this group two weeks ago. She finished well that evening to complete the exacta behind Js Littlerockstar and should be sitting on a good outing Friday. After the race following her stake win where they went to the three-quarters in 1:25 and change, I had her scoped and she had a sinus infection, Rick noted. It took her awhile to truly recover from that and it hurt her in the next two stakes races.. As far as this week goes, James Kennedys filly has won the last two stakes, but I still think this is a pretty wide-open field as all of these have the ability to win on an given night. My filly is still green and learning and after this meet is finished Im going to give her all the time she needs. Sophomore Sire Stakes feature contentious casts Two $10,000 California Sire Stakes are the focus of attention at Cal Expo Friday night, with Js Littlerockstar eyeing her Third Straight big money score in the distaff pacing event while Placer and Ahh Panama are among the major players in the Trotting contest. Js Littlerockstar is a daughter of Little Steven and the Pacific Fella mare Sweet Sakra Sue who has moved to the head of the sophomore pacing filly division over the last month. James Kennedy owns, trains, drives and bred the distaffer. In the March 14 stakes clash, the Kennedy performer was unhurried early, came first over at the half and ignited when it counted to be up by a length. In the most recent gathering for this division two weeks ago, Js Littlerockstar raced up close and personal and got the job done by a length and a quarter as the 8-5 favorite. Duet was the runner-up in that affair for owner/trainer Rick Cisco and pilot Tim Maier. The Disco Devil offspring was an impressive winner of the February 14 stakes in a 1:57 2/5 performance and turned in a solid effort in that last get-together for this group two weeks ago. De Valeria was the leader of the division earlier in the meet and helps make things very interesting with her top effort with Steve Wiseman, while Brewski rounds out the compact field with Chip Lackey at the controls. The last three Sire Stakes for the trotting set have gone to three different performers. Ahh Panama was the most recent to be taking pictures two weeks ago, as she made every pole a winning one at 8-1 that evening for owners Henry Wieseneck, Marty Garey and Bob Johnson, who also conditions the daughter of Panama Hanover. Placer has three stakes trophies on the mantle for Team Desomer, but lost his chance in the most recent get-together when he made a break before the half. Snuff N Beer got the job done in the February 28 stakes for owner/breeder Mary Harris and trainer Kennedy Lindsey and must be respected.  by Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness            

This past Sunday the California Harness Horsemen’s Association (CHHA) held its annual awards meeting at the Hilton in Sacramento to honor divisional stakes winners, horse of the year and the induction of a horse into the CHHA’s hall of fame. Cut It Out, by Levity out of the Jenuine Hanover mare, Jenuine Frost was inducted into the hall of fame for California this year. Owned by Mark Holden and trained and driven by Bob Rosen, Cut it Out was a sensational mare, taking a mark of 1:55.1f and earned $436,594 lifetime. Winning 19 out of 22 races and earning over $212,000 in her 3 yr. old year, she won every sire’s stakes race either on the front end or coming from behind while setting the 3 yr. old filly track record at Los Alamitos.  Cut it Out was voted California horse of the year in 1985 and 1986. Show Runner by Little Steven out of Peace Runner was voted 2013 California horse of the year. Bred by the late Alan Kirschenbaum and owned by Denise Maier and Eileen Brodbar , Show Runner dominated the 3 yr. old filly stakes races, while winning 19 out of 33 starts for the year. Awards were also handed out to divisional stakes Champions who were, Show Runner 3 yr. old pacing filly owned by Denise Maier and Eileen Brodbar. Bit Player 3 yr. old pacing colt, owned by Desomer Stables More Tequila 3 yr. old trotting filly owned by Frank Neverez Freedombird 3 yr. old trotting colt owned by Melissa Erzene. 2013 Stallion awards were handed out to top breeding stallions, Hi Ho Silverheels, pacer owned by Wayne Knittle Panama Hanover, trotter owned by Debbie Budahn . The CHHA also welcomed new board of directors Steve Wiseman and Luke Plano. by Robin Clements, for the CHHA

After taking a few weeks off, Phantom Dan returns to the wars in Saturdays Open Pace while taking on the classy Pancetta and the streaking Docs Zippy in the main event. The 6-year-old son of Little Steven is owned, trained and driven by James Kennedy and was last seen capturing the March 22 Open Handicap Pace by a nose over heavily-favored One And Only while lowering his career standard to 1:52 1/5 in the process. There was nothing wrong with him, Kennedy explained. Its just that hed been racing his you-know-what off and I wanted to give him a bit of a break and do a little work on him. While Phantom Dan came from last to account for that most recent outing, in his previous victory in a conditioned affair he used front-end tactics to get the job done, putting his versatility on full display. Ive learned that he there are two ways to race him, his mentor noted. You either leave with him and let him roll, or you duck and let him do his pacing at the end. As far as the Phantom Dan you would find around the barn, James describes him as A Pig, while wearing a smile on his face. His happiest times are when hes in a pen and he can just roll around in the mud. He absolutely loves it. He also eats anything you put in front of him, from donuts to hamburgers. Apparently this playful nature and unusual diet agree quite well with the performer, who looks to keep the momentum going this weekend after getting a little R and R at Camp Kennedy. Open Pace entices hard-knocking cast Pancetta, who had to settle for second in his seasonal debut while leaving from the testing No. 10 post over a sloppy track last weekend; Docs Zippy, who got the job done in that affair for his second straight score, and the always-dangerous Phantom Dan headline Saturday nights Open Pace at Cal Expo. A 13-race card is on tap with first set at 5:45 p.m. The Open Pace goes as the third event on the evening with One And Only and Mobil Big John completing the cast. Pancetta is a 5-year-old son of No Pan Intended out of the Life Sign mare Gingerbread Square who is owned by Richard Morita and David Yamada, takes his lessons from Lino Pacheco and will have Steve Wiseman at the controls. Pancetta comes into this assignment just shy of the $200,000 earnings plateau with a 1:51 1/5 mark that was established last year at Pocono Downs. He was making his first start since December last week while doing his work from that demanding No. 10 post over the sloppy going and put in a solid effort for the place spot. Docs Zippy will be looking for his third straight trip to the charmed enclosure for the team of Toman Enterprises Ltd, trainer George Anthrop and pilot Patrick Galbraith. The son of Cams Eclipse was a 1:51 victor last season over the Colonial Downs strip. Two starts back, Docs Zippy took the measure of a conditioned field while coming from last, then did the stalk-and-pounce to perfection last week while seemingly appreciating the off going . Galbraith came first over with his charge at the half, gained command straightening for home and prevailed by a length and a half over the 1-5 favorite. Phantom Dan is making his first start since capturing the March 15 Open for his owner/driver/trainer James Kennedy. The 6-year-old Little Steven gelding has a versatile style that gives Kennedy options when the gate rolls. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

A Filly and Mare Open Pace headed by Show Runner and Haggin Oaks and an Open Trot the brings out the likes of Franks Best, Fort Valley As and Hellogottagobuhbye share the spotlight at Cal Expo on Friday. Show Runner comes into the Distaff Open have ended up in the winners circle following 22 of her last 37 trips to the post. The Little Steven mare, now racing under the banner of A Piece Of The Action LLC, is trained and driven by Tim Maier The bay mare was a dominating winner of the January 31 Open, then did not see evening action again until last weekend. Sent off the 1-2 favorite in that affair, she went coast-to-coast in a sparkling 1:52 4/5 performance with Luke Plano at the controls. She has been assigned the No. 10 post by Racing Secretary Fred Kuebler for this go-around. The Open Trot finds Franks Best, Hellogotagobuhbye and Fort Valley As vying for favoritism after chasing home Sharpshootennorris in last weekends top dance for the trotting set. Franks Best is on the verge of reaching the $200,000 earnings mark for his owner/trainer/breeder Bob Johnson and will as usual have Mooney Svendsen giving directions. He is looking for his first snapshot on the season after finishing second in six of his nine trips to the post. Hellogottagobuhbye has been victorious in three of his last six starts for owner/driver Daniel Maier and trainer Tim Maier and was fourth in his most recent attempt after doing his work in first-over fashion from the 10 slot over the slop. He made every pole a winning one on March 21 in impressive fashion. Fort Valley As is looking to make amends after making little impact at even-money favorite in that last clash at the top rung in his first evening appearance since early December. Jennifer Sabot owns, George Reider trains and Chip Lackey pilots the son of Tom Ridge, who is looking to add to a $366,000 bankroll with a 1:55 mark in tow. Pick 5 is hit for $8,773 payout! There are three wagers offered here each night with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate, including the 50-cent Pick 5 that was hit by a single ticket last Saturday night to the tune of $8,773 with another 60 cents tossed in for good measure. To put this in perspective, if the regular takeout had been in place, the payoff would have been $7,832, with $941 less going into the winning players pocket. The other bets with the 16 percent takeout here are the 20-cent Pick 4, which comes with a $20,000-guaranteed pool on Friday and a $25,000 guarantee on Saturday; and the 10-cent Hi-Five on the nightcap. Taking a closer look at last Saturdays Pick 5 sequence, the handicapper did a pretty good job when you consider that favorites blanked in the sequence, which was decided over a sloppy racetrack. Docs Zippy set the tone when he won the featured Open Pace for trainer George Anthrop and regular pilot Patrick Galbraith, upsetting the classy 1-5 Pancetta, who had the demanding No. 10 post in his first evening appearance of the year. Chalk it up as the Third Straight big effort from Docs Zippy and a solid return for Pancetta. Most bettors probably felt the classy returnee Fort Valley As and the repeat-seeking Hellogottagobuybye were the way to go in the Open Trot that followed, but Sharpshootennorris had other ideas and parlayed a pocket trip into a 12-1 upset for Steve Wiseman. Native Country and Tim Maier got the job done at 7-2 some 20 minutes later, while it was Wiseman again in the following as Lodi Nickolus made it look easy at $7.80 in a Trotting event. While it had already been difficult to get to the final leg, making things even more complicated was the fact that this looked to be the most wide-open race of the sequence. When all was said and done, it was Wiseman posing for pictures once again with the aptly-named Quick On My Feet. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

After making a clean sweep of the Sire Stakes for his division at this meeting, the 4-year-old trotter Freedombird has added two more conditioned victories to the resume, including a dominating score at even-money with Luke Plano last weekend. "He's still a work in progress, but hes very game and all business when that gate starts rolling," trainer Gordie Graham related. "He likes to have a target, because when hes out in front he has a tendency to think his work is done. The key with trotters is to relax, and hes definitely getting there. Luke said when he moved with him the other night he only needed two fingers, which is a great sign. Hes late maturing and Im sure we havent seen his best yet. Freedombird is a son of Panama Hanover out of the diminutive Sacramento mare Kimmie Girl, an extremely popular performer who carried the banner of Walt and Patty Petersen. Like Freedombird, she retired with a slew of Sire Stakes trophies on her mantle. Gordie is an excellent trainer and Luke does a great job driving Freedombird, Patty related. This horse is very lucky to have them on his team. Patty reports that Kimmie Girl is at home right now and enjoying life. She has a 2-year-old filly named Pattycakepattycake by Claudius Augustus who is the process of being broken, Petersen informed. Shell come home during the break and be given some time to grow. She doesnt look a all like Kimmie, as she is very big but light on her feet and fleet of foot with a lot of spring in her step. Sounds like another nice trotter could be coming down the line. El Azteca puts streak on line in Open Trot El Azteca, who went over the $100,000 mark in earnings while registering his fourth straight victory two weeks ago, heads the cast set for Saturday nights featured $5,500 Open Handicap Trot at the Watch and Wager LLC meeting at Cal Expo. A 5-year-old son of Panama Hanover, El Azteca is owned, trained and was bred by Marco Rios and will have Luke Plano in the sulky. For the second straight time, he will be asked to get the job done from the demanding No. 10 post position this weekend. The razor-sharp performer won an Open Pace at 22-1 in June at Hoosier Park in a sparkling 1:55 with Scott Cisco at the controls, but then went to the sidelines until mid-January, when he returned with an easy win in an Open Handicap here with Tyler Smith driving. Luke Plano took over two weeks later and it was a curtain call for the Rios charge. El Azteca was then assigned that.10 post for his most recent tour on February 21 and was up to the task as the 1-2 choice. Plano dropped in early with the trotter, made a big move past the half and after opening five lengths in midstretch, came to the wire with a length and a half on Franks Best that evening. Owner/trainer/breeder Bob Johnson sends out the main threats in the uncoupled pair of Inside Broadway with James Kennedy giving directions and Franks Best with Mooney Svendsen at the controls. They are also half-brothers, both being out of the American Winner mare Inside Edition. Franks Best was 3-5 when facing his stablemate last week, but it was Inside Broadway who got the barn bragging rights. He went right to the front for Kennedy and won easily, while Franks Best had too much work to do from last and had to settle for second money. Looking for an upset are Sharpshootennorris, who has the inside slot and Steve Wiseman guiding; High Dollar for Tim Maier; and Hellogottagobuhbye, who gives the Maier barn two looks at the outcome. The 14-race card will begin at 5:45 p.m. by Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness      

Ideal Smile is one of the hottest horses on the grounds, having rattled off three straight 1:54 and change victories for owners Scott and Lisa Ehrlich and driver/trainer Steve Wiseman. Two of those decisions have come from a stalking position, while last week’s tally was accomplished in coast-to-coast fashion without an anxious moment as the son of American Ideal made 6-5 look like a belated Xmas gift. He’s back in action Saturday night with a second-tier starting position. Scott Ehrlich related, “Ideal Smile caught my eye in the early part of last year here  when he showed very good speed on the front-end for Mike Eaton, carrying it well most of the time. This impressed me because I feel that the bias at Cal Expo almost always favors closers.  “Fast-forward to last October when Mike invited my family to his farm to jog some horses when we made a trip to New England. By luck, I got to jog Smile and I liked the way he went.  Mike said he as for sale, but that was about the end of it, or so I thought.  “About a month later, Mike called me and said he was for sale as part of a package deal with Surprisingly Sweet.  By pure luck, I had watched a race of hers and loved the way she closed.  Then after watching more of her previous races, she fit the type of horse I love and we made the deal. “Since getting them, both of them have required some time to get built up to where they should be physically/weight wise, especially Smile. Steve and Kathie Wiseman, and their fine crew, including Smile’s great Caretaker, Mike Fowler, have done an outstanding job of getting them to where we want them to be.  And while they're much closer, they aren't there yet, which would lead you to hopefully believe that better things are yet to come.”  SATURDAY NIGHT WILL FEATURE FREE ADMISSION AFTER 4 P.M. WITH $1 BEER, COFFEE, HOT DOGS AND SODA. HANDICAPPER DAVE BROWER WILL ALSO BE LIVE ON SITE BOTH FRIDAY AND SATURDAY, SO BE SURE TO STOP BY THE SIMULCAST CENTER AND SAY HELLO. Race honors memory of Dr. Robert Goodbary Saturday’s night’s 11th race at Cal Expo is named for Dr. Robert Franklin Goodbary, DVM, who passed away on December 28, at his ranch in Clements, California.  In his final days he was surrounded by family and friends at home, where he candidly would say he was “Just chuggin’ along”.  Known to everyone as Doc, he was born August 3, 1934 in Chandler, Oklahoma to Omer “Snip” and Olga Mae Goodbary. His father worked as a ferrier, moving his family from Oklahoma to Yuba City, California in the 1940’s.  His mother was a homemaker.  Doc Goodbary graduated from Yuba City High School in 1952.  While in high school, he worked as the only paperboy who delivered the San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle to Yuba City and Marysville.  He also worked for Dr. Sam Fisher as a kennel boy, and later worked with larger animals, primarily cows.  After graduating from high school, he attended college at Michigan State and graduated in 1958 with a Doctorate in Veterinarian Medicine.  This is where he met Noel Lassen, whom he married and they had two sons, David and Richard Goodbary. During his summers off from college, he came back home to work at the Del Monte Cannery as the Floor Foreman, overseeing about 35 employees.    After graduating from college, Doc moved back to California, where he began his career as a Professor at the University of California-Davis, then opened a small animal Veterinarian Clinic. He also owned and operated the Buena Mora Ranch in Pleasanton and later a ranch in Clements. Doc Goodbary worked as the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse Race Track Veterinarian in Northern and Southern California racetracks, operating on and treating many a racehorse in his day. In Northern California, he worked many years at Bay Meadows, Golden Gate Fields and Tanforan racetracks, as well as the Northern California Fairground circuit that included Cal Expo, Stockton, Pleasanton, Santa Rosa and Fresno.  In Southern California, he worked many years at the Los Alamitos and Santa Anita racetracks.  Doc Goodbary enjoyed watching football, gardening (at home and even at the racetrack), playing cards and winning, loved dancing and making his annual treks to Sayulita, Mexico to vacation with family and friends. He liked being in charge and doing it his way, the right way.  No one was ever a stranger to him. He was greatly respected, loved and adored by family, friends and colleagues who knew him. They all were considered family. Doc Goodbary  is survived by his wife, Jeannette Goodbary of Clements; his son, David Goodbary of St. Louis, Missouri; his brother and sister-in-law, George and Ginger Goodbary of Marysville, California; and grandchildren, Elizabeth, Connor, Dylan, Brooke, Ryan, Amanda, Alex and Anthony; and many nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, “Snip” and Olga Mae Goodbary; his two sisters, Mary Ann Yerzy and Donna Sue Prevatt; his son, Richard Goodbary; and special friend, Dorothy Stringer, who was his mother-in-law. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to this animal rescue:  The Grace Foundation P.O. Box 4692 El Dorado Hills, CA  95762 Mark Ratzky    

Your eyes are not deceiving you, Gerry Longo is back in California and competing here at Cal Expo. Once a fixture at or near the top of the driver standings at this track, Hollywood Park and Los Alamitos, the 68-year-old driver/trainer has returned to the West Coast for at least the foreseeable future. Its been over 30 years since I raced out here, said Longo, who recently passed the 2,600-win plateau with over $11 million in earnings. Ive come to California quite a bit to visit my mother, who lives in Garden Grove, and my daughter in Riverside, but this is the first time Ive raced here in a long time. I can tell you that the weather is nice, the people are great and Im impressed with the way theyve upgraded the facility since I was here the last time. Longo explained that he made the move to Chicago at a time when it looked like harness racing was about to go down for the count in California. I did some racing back there in 78, 79 and 80, then I bought a place and started racing in Chicago full time, he said. I like to travel, so Ive also been racing at tracks in Virginia and Minnesota. Gerry has brought out six performers and is almost treating the visit like a vacation. Right now the plan is stay at least under March, but well see how it goes. Open Pace, Sire Stakes, Joe OBrien set An Open Pace spotlighting One And Only; a trio of $10,000 California Sire Stakes and the first leg of the Joe OBrien Pacing Series are the main events on Saturday nights 15-race program at Cal Expo. The Open Pace is the third race on the evening with One And Only looming large. He is a 6-year-old son of Bettors Delight out of the Western Hanover mare Gallie Too who carries the banner of Richard Morita and David Yamada with Line Pacheco the conditioner and Luke Plano handling the lines. He is looking for his Third Straight win at the top level. The bay performer got a perfect pocket trip with Plano on December 21 and drew off by five lengths when push came to shove in a lifetime-best 1:52 2/5 mile. Sent off at 40 cents on the dollar in the most recent top dance two weeks ago, One And Only took matters into his own hands and went coast-to-coast by a two and a half lengths to the delight of his many backers. Set to challenge One And Only are Its Getting Hairy for Tim Maier; Phantom Dan with trainer James Kennedy in the sulky; Docs Zippy, Tyler Smith; and Winsmith Syd, who leaves from the rail with Steve Wiseman. A Stitch In Time and Show Runner are strictly the ones to beat, respectively, in the Sire Stakes for the 4-year-old pacers, while the 3-year-old colts get their first chance to race for added-money at the meeting. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

An Open Trot headed by stablemates Inside Broadway and Franks Best and a trio of $10,000 California Sire Stakes share the marquee Friday night at the Watch and Wager LLC meet at Cal Expo. A 15-race card is on tap with first post set at 5:20. The Open Trot goes as the eighth race on the evening, the Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies occupies the sixth spot while the other two stakes will be decided as non-betting events prior to the regular program. Inside Broadway started off the new year in winning fashion by capturing the top dance for the trotting set on January 3 for her owner/breeder/trainer Bob Johnson and regular pilot James Kennedy. He made a huge move down the backside to go from fifth to first and came home powerfully to seal the deal in a 1:58 flat performance. Franks Best is also owned, trained and was bred by Johnson and is a half-brother to Inside Broadway with both being out of the American Winner mare Inside Edition. An earner of over $185,000 with a 1:56 2/5 career standard, the 7-year-old has several Invite wins at the meet and will once again be guided by Mooney Svendsen. Rounding out the field are Bet It All from the rail for Steve Wiseman; Rich Dessert with trainer Tim Maier in the sulky; El Azteca, to be guided by Tyler Smith; and Axel with Dave Siegel at the controls. The Sire Stakes for the sophomore pacing fillies will give that group their first added-money opportunity at the meeting. Trainer Junior Wilkinson will send out an uncoupled pair in Brewski, who has the inside slot with Tyler Smith; and Clara Bea with Chip Lackey at the helm. They will be challenged by Js Littlerockstar, Merlot, De Valeria and Perfect Pitch. The other two Sire Stakes are for the trotting set. Kimmie Girls offspring Freedombird looks to add another trophy to the mantle for trainer Gordie Graham and pilot Luke Plano in the 4-year-old affair, while Ahh Panama is among the major players in the 3-year-old contest. by Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness  

After quite a bit of nibbling, I'm Confident got his picture taken last week for trainer Bob Johnson and pilot Tyler Smith. He'll attempt a curtain call in Saturdays Cal Expo headliner while facing a slightly tougher group. The 8-year-old son of The Panderosa comes into the assignment with $272,000 in his bank account and a 1:53 mark that was established last season at Hoosier Park. The fact that he gamely re-rallied to get the job done last week will not be lost on the bettors. "He was one of three horses I bought last summer in Indiana from Gilbert Herrera.", said Johnson, who co-owns the performer with Marty Garey and Hank Wieseneck. "All three had over $200,000 on their card, but hes the only one who really worked out. "He has that back class working for him and I was actually shocked he was on the lead last week and then re-rallied to beat the favorite. As far as Tyler Smith is concerned, Ive never seen a driver with so much talent at such an early age." Last summer at age 20, Smith became the youngest driver in harness racing history to reach 1,000 victories. He has been dividing his time between Northfield Park in Ohio and Cal Expo of late, although the nasty weather back East shut down Northfield earlier this week. "I was driving for Bob this summer and he suggested I look into coming to Cal Expo," said Smith, who will turn 21 later this month. "After talking with (General Manager) Chris Schick, I was very excited about the opportunity." Smith, who captured the Hoosier Park driving crown, noted that he actually prefers to race on a mile track. On a half-mile track, post position can be a big handicap and you almost always have to be moving. I like the chance to be patient and think a little more out there. It's Getting Hairy gets the marquee treatment It's Getting Hairy, who has been doing all his recent work at the Invitational level against the likes of Pancetta and One And Only, gets some class relief and earns the top billing in Saturdays pacing feature at the Watch and Wager LLC meet at Cal Expo. Among the major rivals in the main event are the hard-knocking Split Ticket, who will go postward for trainer Lino Pacheco and Chip Lackey; Phantom Dan and recent victor Giant Sculpture. A 14-race card is on tap with first post set for 5:20 p.m. A 5-year-old son of Relentless Yankee from the Troublemaker mare Camden Flora, It's Getting Hairy is owned by Denise Maier with Tim Maier driving and training. Last year saw him capturing nine of his 24 appearances, including a lifetime-best 1:52 3/5 clocking at Running Aces. The dark-hued performer was razor sharp earlier in the meeting, including back-to-back wins at the Open 2 level in November where he used a wicked stretch kick to prove a punctual favorite on both occasions. It's Getting Hairy has had to settle for minor awards in the interim, however, while facing some pretty tough customers in Pancetta, One And Only and Stuebuen Jumpinjack. He figures to be much more at home with this weekends rival and could easily return to his winning ways under these conditions. Like Its Getting Hairy, Phantom Dan was an Open 2 victor earlier in this session and is a nice fit at this level. James Kennedy drives, trains and co-owns the son of Little Steven with Jennifer Burns and he was beaten a head last weekend in a solid effort. Giant Sculpture is moving up in class after posting a convincing score from well off the pace at most recent asking. The 6-year-old Village Jolt gelding goes about his business for A Piece Of The Action LLC with Gene Vallandingham the conditioner and Steve Wiseman making a return engagement in the sulky. By Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness                                  

Steve Desomer will be guiding his mare Silverlode in Friday nights finale of the Dr. Gary Budhan Trotting Series, hoping to pick up another nice check with the 5-year-old homebred daughter of the late British Sterling. Silverlode, who has some Sires Stakes trophies on her mantle, is attempting to win her second series finale at this meet having captured the Joe Lighthill final in late November. She was second and third in the first two legs of the Budahn behind Donna Letsgo and Hooray Katie. For the 77-year-old Desomer, he will be making sulky appearance No. 12,701 in a career that has seen him land in the winners circle on 2,609 occasions while banking nearly $11 million in the process. The veteran, who runs the barn along with his wife Vickie, was asked how things have changed since the days of Western Harness Racing at the soon to be demolished Hollywood Park. The racing has changed dramatically since the days of Hollywood Park, Steve related. Back in the 70s, most of the drivers were also trainers. The horsemen were more complete in that they had knowledge of shoeing, soundness, driving, rigging and training and entering. Today many of the drivers specialize in just driving. Driving against the likes of Tyler Smith and other young drivers puts the older drivers at a distinct disadvantage in that they do not react as quickly as needed. Most know the drivers and horses they race against, but making that split second decision becomes more difficult with the passing of time. GUARANTEES INCREASED PICK 5- $10,000 BOTH NIGHTS PICK 4 - $20,000 FRIDAY PICK 4 - $25,000 SATURDAY Dr. Gary Budahn Trotting Series finale in spotlight The $13,750 final of the Dr. Gary Budahn Trotting Series, with first and second leg winners and stablemates Hooray Katie and Donna Letsgo figuring to get the majority of the attention, is the main event on Friday nights Cal Expo program. A 14-race card is on tap Friday evening, with the Budahn final set as the seventh event on the program. First post is 5:20 p.m. The Dr. Gary Budahn Series honors the memory of a mainstay of California harness racing for over 30 years who passed away in 2009. Dr. Budahn served on the board of directors of the California Harness Horsemens Association (CHHA) for over 12 years, including President of the organization for three years. He was a strong voice for harness racing in the state and was always there for the horsemen, helping them in any way he could. Looking at the field, Hooray Katie is a 5-year-old daughter of Chip Chip Hooray who is owned by William Neumeister, takes her lessons from Bob Johnson and will once again be guided by Tyler Smith. She proved best in her divisions of the first two legs of this event, last week showing the way home by a half-length over Silverlode. Donna Letsgo gives the Johnson barn two solid looks at the outcome in the headliner. The Keystone Blitz mare is owned by the trainer, Marty Garey and Henry Wiesenstock with Luke Plano doing the honors. In last weeks penultimate leg, the bay miss made every pole a winning one and came home with two and a quarter lengths to spare. Completing the field are High Dollar for Tim Maier; Bar Back, who has the services of Steve Wiseman; Lodi Dorian Blues, Chip Lackey; Silverlode with Steve Desomer; Sky Keeper for James Kennedy; Ali De Vie, to be handled by Gene Vallandingham; and Southwind Kean, who leaves from the outside with Marc Mosher at the controls. By Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness            

They say age is just a number, but sometimes those numbers can really add up. As the field passed the opening quarter in last Friday nights ninth race, Tour Guide showed the way with Rather Be Playing In The Pocket and Early Boy looming in third. Nothing really unusual there as the field straightened for the backstretch in the conditioned trot. However, trackman Marty Bridges pointed out something interesting about the three drivers who were guiding these leaders Steve Desomer, Pierre Girard and Gene Vallandingham. If you add their ages together, thats 219 years and that might be some kind of a record. We checked Marty's math and he was right on. Steve Desomer is 77, Gene Vallandingham turned 73 in September and Pierre Girard had 69 candles on his last birthday cake. By the way, Gene ended up winning the race while relative youngster Luke Plano completed the exacta and 20-year-old driving sensation Tyler Smith finished in the show spot. Vallandingham comes into this weeks action needing just 22 victories to reach the 3,000 plateau while sporting over $13 million in earnings. He was asked what its like to come down the stretch with a 20-year-old who could easily be his grandson whipping and shouting in the sulky next to him. It doesnt make any difference, Gene related. Heck, I only feel about 29 when Im out there, so I dont mind driving against somebody whos only nine years younger. By the way, the kid (Smith) is doing a very good job. A Stitch In Time headlines Sire Stakes A Stitch In Time, a romping winner of the last two big-money gatherings for the division, looks to add to his reputation in Saturday nights $10,000 California Sire Stakes for the newly-turned 4-year-old pacing males. A 15-race card is on tap with first post set for 5:20 p.m. The headliner will go as the second race on the evening, with the co-feature being a $5,000 Invitational Pace that occupies the third-race slot on the program. A Stitch In Time is a son of Kents On Nuke who is owned and was bred by Mark Anderson, takes his lessons from Gordie Graham and has Mooney Svendsen handling the lines. He comes into this contest having posed for pictures in 11 of his 16 starts, including a 1:53 3/5 lifetime-best performance at Fraser Downs in October. The dark-hued pacer was a prohibitive favorite in the two stakes decided so far as this meeting and did not disappoint on either occasion. He waltzed home with 10 lengths to spare in the November 16 affair, then came back two weeks later as the 1-9 choice and had six and a quarter lengths on his nearest rival when all was said and done. Lining up against him this weekend are Hi Ho Disguise, who will have Dave Siegel at the controls; Kablooie with Luke Plano; Orlandos Express, who has the services of Chip Lackey; Bit Player, Steve Wiseman; and Me Tarzan with James Kennedy giving directions. Looking at the Invitational Pace, One And Only has been assigned the outside slot after posing a convincing victory at this level two weeks ago. The 5-year-old son of Bettors Delight carries the banner of Richard Morita and David Yamada with Lino Pacheco training and Luke Plano in the bike. One And Only was able to work out a pocket journey behind pace-setting Steuben Jumpinjack in that last Invite clash, engaged that rival at the top of the stretch and drew off to a five-length score in a sharp 1:52 2/5 tour. Stueben Jumpinjack will again be among his rivals along with Docs Zippy, Its Getting Hairy and Party Cove.  By Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness  

Saturday nights finale of the Bob Gordon Pacing series is named for the noted driver/trainer and track executive who passed away at the age of 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 trainer standings from the late 70s through the early 90s, conditioning such stars as Stand By N, Theora Hanover and Pack Leader. Stand By N raced under the banner of Bob and Loretta Staats stable and she was his all-time favorite. The Down Under import had a 1:52 career standard and banked $255,000 in a brilliant career on the racetrack, then went on to be an equally outstanding broodmare. She was inducted in the California Hall of Fame in 2010. Bob 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 USTA. He was president of Premier Harness Racing, which raced at Los Alamitos, and was instrumental in keeping the sport alive in California 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. Steve and Vickie Desomer have fond memories of their many years side-by-side with Gordon. When Steve broke his leg in a racing accident, we turned the horses over to Bob, she recalled. It was the most fun we have had in the business no stress and great results! By the way, in addition to be an excellent horseman, Bob was always extremely good to his help. He always looked out for them and helped in any way he could. Bob Gordon Series finale commands the spotlight The $10,600 finale of the Bob Gordon Pacing Series is the main event at Cal Expo Saturday night, featuring five performers from the Gene Vallandingham barn including Party Cove and Cocomara. Gene will guide Party Cove while Cocomara will have the services of Steve Wiseman. The other Vallandingham trainees in the cast are Gonna Rock N Roll, Scarboro Hanover and After Alimony, with the cast completed by Rag Doll, Orlandos Express, Bettermeboy and Kablooie. Party Cove has had to settle for second money in the first two legs, but will definitely have his share of backers in the finale. The 3-year-old Party At Artsplace gelding races for A Piece Of The Action LLC and registered back-to-back scores over this layout last month prior to his two near-misses in this series. Cocomara is a 3-year-old son of Lis Mara who also carries the banner of A Piece Of The Action LLC and is looking for his fourth victory from heis last five appearances here. He faltered after carving out all the fractions in the opening leg, then came back last week to come from off the pace to win going away. Kablooie denied Party Cove last week as a 9-1 shot and figures to get more respect this time around after posting that lifetime-best 1:54 3/5 decision. The son of Hi Ho Silverheels races for Harold Actkinson, takes his lessons from Bob Johnson and will once again be handled by Mooney Svendsen. The co-feature is a filly/mare Invitational Pace headed by Show Runner. She is a 3-year-old daughter of Little Steven who is seeking her sixth straight victory for owners Denise Maier and Eileen Brodbar and driver/trainer Tim Maier. She has been putting her class and versatility on display during the course of this winning streak, including two Sire Stakes scores and a pair of Invitational victories. By Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness  

 Owner/trainer Bette Jean Calice admits that the 10-year-old trotter Sharpshootennorris is as much a pet as a member of her stable, which raises the question of how many pets can you buy for $8,000 and three years later theyve put over $85,000 in the bank? Thats the scenario with Sharpshootennorris, who looks to add to his $422,000 in overall earnings when he suits up in Friday nights headliner for Bette Jean and regular pilot Steve Wiseman. He originally raced for my niece and was an Open trotter back then, Calice said. He lost a step and ended up in claimers and was taken by someone for $8,000. He raced for them for awhile, and then when they dropped him back in for $8,000, I claimed him. Sharpshootennorris banked $40,000 that first year for Calice and turned in a 1:55 3/5 mile at Pompano, adding another $45,000 to that total over the last two seasons. He currently makes up the entire barn for Calice, who considers herself to be semi-retired at this point. Hes very special, she noted. He hears me coming even before I get around the side of the barn. When were jogging, he can still act a little like a baby and jump up and down when something unusual happens, but when it comes time to race hes all business out there. The 10-year-old trotter dead-heated for a conditioned victory on November 22 and has spent his last three starts chasing home Bob Johnsons dynamic duo of Franks Best and Inside Broadway in the Invitational ranks. He figures to appreciate the class relief for Fridays assignment and looms large with Wiseman guiding. Bette Jean explained that its been some 30 years since she raced here in Sacramento, spending the majority of her time in Florida and Indiana during the interim. The timing seemed right, and Im looking to spend the summer in Oregon when this meet is over. Im having a great time. Apparently, so is Sharpshootennorris. Trotting main event lures contentious cast Sharpshootennorris, who has been knocking heads with the likes of Franks Best and Inside Broadway of late; and Hellogottagobuybye, fresh from a smart victory, are among the major players in Friday nights trotting headliner. A 13- race card is on tap, with the feature set as the fourth on the evening and first post is 5:55 p.m. The action continues Saturday night with two divisions of the second leg of the Bob Gordon Series and an Invitational Pace as the marquee events. Getting back to Fridays Trot, Sharpshootennorris has made his last three appearances at the Invite level, chasing home powerhouse stablemates Franks Best and Inside Broadway in those ventures. He figures to be much more at home with Fridays crew. A 10-year-old Canadian-bred son of Earl, he is owned and trained by Bette Jean Calice with Steve Wiseman in his usual position in the sulky. He comes into this assignment with $422,000 in his account and a 1:54 mark that was established three years ago. Since dead-heating with Axle in a conditioned contest on November 22, he has been in very tough while coming away with a third and two fourth-place finishes. Hellogottagobuhbye looked good getting the job done last week in his second start at the meet and looms large right back. Owned by Daniel Maier and conditioned by father Tim, Tyler Smith will handle the lines after using a second-over trip to victory. The son of Dream Vacation sports a 1:54 2/5 mark from last season at Pocono Downs. Silverlode figures to be a solid factor for Team Desomer. The 4-year-old daughter of British Sterling is a Sire Stakes victress and made every pole a winning one to capture the Joe Lighthill Series finale on November 22. Veteran Steve Desomer is in the sulky. Sky Keeper looks for back-to-back for owner Barry Farber and driver/trainer James Kennedy. He has clicked in three of his five outings here since coming in from New York and was a 1:58 victor at Balmoral Park last year. Completing the field are K D Amazin Spirit, Bloomfieldcantfly, Donna Letsgo and Rich Dessert. By Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness  

Tyler Smith, who this summer at age 20 became the youngest driver in harness racing history to reach 1,000 victories, is scheduled to drive here at Cal Expo for at least the next couple of months beginning Friday night. Smith, who will turn 21 in January, was the leading driver at the recently-concluded Hooiser Park meeting in Indiana and is currently plying his trade on a Monday-through-Thursday night basis over the half-mile Northfield Park oval in Ohio. That leaves his weekends free to catch a plane to California and try some Cal Expo action. I was driving for Bob Johnson this summer and he suggested I look into it, Smith related. After talking with (General Manager) Chris Schick I was very encouraged and excited about the opportunity. I actually prefer driving over a mile track. On a half-mile, post position can be a big handicap and you almost always have to be moving. I like the chance to be patient and think a little more out there. Smith has been making headlines for quite some time. When he was 12 he became the youngest to win a sub-2:00 race, driving Look Likely to victory in 1:59 1/5 in a matinee at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in his home state of Ohio. Smith began his career in 2009 and earned the Peter Haughton Memorial Award, which is bestowed to up-and-coming stars in the business. He recorded victory No.1,000 at Hoosier in August, eclipsing the record of Doug McNair who had notched his two weeks shy of his 21st birthday. Capturing the recent Hoosier Park crown was especially gratifying for the young pilot. I never dreamed of winning that meet going in, but everything came together perfectly and I was fortunate to be driving first call for some top barns. Invitational Trot, Sire Stakes head the program An Invitational Trot that finds Inside Broadway eyeing his fourth straight victory and a $10,000 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old trotters headed by Freedombird share the spotlight at Cal Expo Friday night. In an effort to even out the playing field a bit in the Invite Trot, racing secretary Fred Kuebler has assigned Inside Broadway the demanding No. 10 post position for this go-around, with his four rivals filling out the inside spots. Inside Broadway is going in razor-sharp form at the moment for his owner/trainer/breeder Bob Johnson and regular pilot James Kennedy. The 4-year-old son of Broadway Hall eyes the hat trick this weekend and has been putting his class and versatility on display during the streak. His first two decisions were on the front end, including a dead-heat with his half-brother Franks Best who will again be among his rivals. Kennedy changed tactics with Inside Broadway for the most recent score, as they sat a stalking trip before coming first-over for a two and a half-length victory. He set his mark last season with a 1:55 3/5 tour at Harrahs Philadelphia. Taking him on are his stablemate and half-brother Franks Best, who will have Mooney Svendsen giving directions; Axle with Dave Siegel guiding; Sharpshootennorris, to be handled by Steve Wiseman; and K D Amazin Spirit, who leaves from the cozy inside slot with Tim Maier in the sulky. Freedombird holds the aces in the Sire Stakes, which will go as a non-betting event prior to the regular program. The son of Panama Hanover is out of the popular mare Kimmie Girl and races for Melissa Erzene, trainer Gordie Graham and driver Luke Plano. Rounding out the field are Lightning Of Lodi, Tour Guide, More Tequila and Jewel Of Lodi. By Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness  

Stueben Jumpinjack continues to do solid work at this meeting for Gretchen Smith, as the Pacific Fella gelding has now posed for pictures following four of his last five trips to the post with James Kennedy giving directions on each occasion. The water gets a quite a bit deeper for the 5-year-old this weekend, as he steps up to the Invitational ranks. Looking to deny the sharp pacer are such heavyweights as It's Getting Hairy and One And Only and well-regarded invaders Pancetta and Somethinginthewind. Stueben Jumpinjack is owned in partnership by Smith and Maureen Pittaro and has been money in the bank when competing for a claiming tag at this session. He used his patented track-and-attack method to prove a punctual favorite last weekend and has earned a ticket to the rarified air of the Invite for this week's go-around. "Stueben is an awesome animal," Smith related. "We bought him at a sale last November He had two starts for us, one being a win, before he tore a suspensory. We turned him out and gave him almost six months to heal. We brought him back slowly and it has paid off." Smith makes it clear that co-owner Pittaro is the secret weapon in this winning equation. "Maureen has been a partner with me on a few horses over the past several years. She comes to the barn every single day and feeds Stu carrots and swears that is the secret to his success. It's all in the carrots and love. "She truly loves her horses and coming to visit them. Stueben has to be one of the easiest horses to work with I have ever had in my barn, from the stall all the way to track. He's just a pleasure to be around." It's Getting Hairy faces solid invaders in headliner Saturday's Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo finds the razor-sharp It's Getting Hairy taking on a couple of classy invaders in Pancetta and Somethinginthewind in the featured Invitational Pace. A 14-race program is on tap and first post is 5:35 Pacific Time. Since running into serious traffic problems and losing all chance in his local debut, It's Getting Hairy has posted three straight impressive victories for Tim and Denise Maier. The 4-year-old son of Relentless Yankee was haltered from a $6,000 claimer in August at Running Aces and set his 1:52 3/5 mark 10 days later over that track. He is looking for his 10th win on the year from 22 appearances. It's Getting Hairy came from last to prove a powerful winner in a conditioned affair on November 2, was scratched from his next scheduled outing and then got to the job done at the top rung two weeks ago. Sitting next-to-last until the final bend, he swung out to take aim on the leaders turning for home and rolled by for the two and a quarter-length score. Leaving from the outside slot in a field of six for his most recent appearance, the dark-hued performer sat last early, made a big move to the stretch and won going away by a length and a half while stopping the timer in 1:53 3/5 that evening. He is obviously very sharp at the moment. One And Only took advantage of the absence of It's Getting Hairy last weekend and picked up his first win of the meeting for owners Richard Morita and David Yamada, trainer Lino Pacheco.. He was runner-up behind his main rival in his previous two appearances and the 5-year-old son of Bettor's Delight has a number of big miles over this layout on his resume. Chip Lackey takes over the lines. Pancetta and Somethinginthewind are the new faces in the cast and should be given plenty of respect. Pancetta has posed for snapshots following 15 of 51 outings with a 1:51 2/5 mark and over $190,000 in earnings, while Somethinginthewind has clicked in 10 of his 51 starts, including a lifetime-best 1:51 1/5 tour. Luke Plano will drive Pancetta, while Gene Vallandingham will guide his trainee Somethinginthewind. Rounding out the cast are Stueben Jumpinjack with James Kennedy and Giant Sculpture, to be guided by Steve Wiseman. By Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness      

One And Only is in receipt of a little class relief in Saturday night’s co-feature, getting away from the razor-sharp It’s Getting Hairy, and could very well be posing for pictures for owners Richard Morita and David Yamada and trainer Lino Pacheco. The 5-year-old son of Bettors Delight has gone a number of big miles over this layout during his career, but his career standard came in August during a Vernon Downs invasion when he stopped the timer in a snappy 1:52 4/5 under Luke Planos direction. We bought Only and Only at the Meadowlands sale in January 2011, Morita related. He had tried to qualify twice at Freehold, but made breaks in both starts. We figured Steve Elliott was a top trainer back east, so he was brought along the right way and one of those not destined for stakes. Just the kind of horse my partner Dave and I could take a chance on. One And Only had spent his entire racing career in California up until the end of the last meet, when Morita and Yamada decided the time was right to hit the road with the gelding. We hooked up with Luke, who had done well driving the horse and was headed to Running Aces. Luke's dad, Rick, was the one who was at the sale and did the inspection of One and Only and made the winning bid. One And Only got sick at Aces and just raced okay. Luke wanted to try Vernon Downs, so we went for the ride. In August, he found a field to his liking, and Luke gave him a winning drive, stopping the timer in a lifetime best of 1.52 4/5. Right before he left Vernon, we were coming strong first over in a fast mile, and I think he would have been right there. Unfortunately, he made an uncharacteristic break when clearing the leader in a mile that went 1.51 flat. One And Only was given a few weeks off following his return to California, and according to his co-owner enjoyed being home and in the care of Pacheco. He has recorded two seconds and a third in his three trips to the post at this meet and gets away from one of his main rivals in Its Getting Hairy for this weekends assignment. We have been bringing him back slowly, Morita noted. I thought his last mile was a very good one on a track where front speed was not holding at all and he was meeting a very sharp horse in Its Getting Hairy. A Stitch In Time solid Sire Stakes favorite Saturdays Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo features a $10,000 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacers with A Stitch In Time looming the overwhelming favorite in that affair. A 14-race card is on tap Saturday evening, with the Sire Stakes going as the ninth on the program. The co-feature is an Open 2 Pace with Phantom Dan and One And Only among the major players and it will be the third race on the card. A Stitch In Time is a homebred son of Kents On Nuke out of the Power Of Art mare Sheza Gimmie Girl who is owned by Mark Anderson, conditioned by Gordie Graham and will have Mooney Svendsen giving directions. He is looking for his 11th win from 16 career trips to the post. The dark-hued performer set his lifetime standard of 1:53 3/5 last month at Fraser Downs, and suited up for the first Sire Stakes here for the division two weeks ago having captured four of his previous five outings. Sent off at 1-5 in that affair, he sat a tracking trip for Svendsen for a half, brushed to a clear advantage on the final bend and went on to a 10-length romp. Bit Player was along for second that night while no threat to A Stitch In Time. The Desomer Stable homebred son of Moxie is a multiple stakes winner with a 1:55 standard that was set here earlier in the season and Steve Wiseman will handle the lines for trainer Vickie Desomer. Completing the field are Orlandos Express with James Lackey at the controls; Hi Ho Disguise, to be handled by Dave Siegel; Me Tarzan with James Kennedy; and Kablooie, who leaves from the outside with Luke Plano at the helm. Looking at the Open 2 Pace, One And Only has completed the exacta behind Its Getting Hairy in his last two miles and should appreciate getting away from the razor-sharp performer. The Richard Morita and David Yamada colorbearer is conditioned by Lino Pacheco with Luke Plano guiding and established his 1:52 4/5 mark this summer at Vernon Downs. Phantom Dan should be the main rival for driver/trainer James Kennedy.   By Mark Ratzky,for Cal Expo Harness  

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