Day At The Track

Curtain rises on Cal Expo harness meet

05:54 AM 09 Nov 2019 NZDT
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Curtain rising Cal Expo.jpg

Harness racing under the Watch and Wager LLC banner returns to Cal Expo Saturday night with a 12-race program headed by the opening leg of the Bill Conlin Series.

First post will be 6:10 p.m. and beginning next week there will be Friday and Saturday action each week.

The wagering menu includes the return of the low 16% takeout Pick-4 and Pick-5 wagers. Last season's Pick-4 pool averaged over $46,000 nightly. In addition to the Pick-4, fans will able to wager on the Pick-5 this season in 20-cent denominations.

The Bill Conlin will go as the fourth race on the program with a field of seven set to face the starter and a solid case can made for each of the pacers.

California Rock has been facing tougher company at Hoosier Park this summer and had a solid tune-up in a qualifier last week with Luke Plano at the controls. The son of Rockin Image is owned by Billie Schwartz, Jim Wilkinson and Ivan Axelrod with Wilkinson the conditioner.

Red N Hotallover has the cozy rail post for owner Edmund Martin Knapp and driver/trainer Nick Roland and this 4-year-old mare looms a major player. Completing the cast are Custards Dungeon, Fox Valley B Gump, Brooklyn Moonshine, Nightgirl and Lakota Law.

On track fans will be treated to a special Family Value night on Saturday. Hot Dogs, Beer, Wine, and Soda are each $2 from 6 to 9. As always, parking and admission are free after 4:30.

Rebuilding process for Robin Clements

Robin Clements sent four performers to Running Aces this summer, eventually selling two and retiring the other pair, and now starts off this meet with a new quartet under her direction.

"I claimed Crusin For You for $10,000 in Minnesota because he's a hard-knocking little horse who seems to do well both at Running Aces and Cal Expo," Clements related.

A familiar name in the barn is Shock N Awe, who has been with trainer Bruce Clarke for many years back east. "I just happened to call him and say I was looking for a mare to race at Cal Expo and he had her for sale. She was a barn favorite of Bruce's wife Megan, so they were a little fussy about her going to someone they knew would take good care of her."

Using an on-line auction site called On Gait, Robin was able to find a mare named Plain Old Jane who she felt would be a good addition to the barn. "I went into her past history and noticed she seemed to like the bigger track, having taken her 1:53 1/5 mark at The Meadowlands as a 3-year-old."

Looking for a gelding to round out the shedrow proved to be a more difficult task for Clements. "I didn't really see anything worth claiming until I found Marced Magic," she noted.

"He had been racing at Yonkers. I reached out to a friend of mine who owns a full brother and he loved the horse and told me to check out the history. Being an Iowa-bred, he fits into the DHA program and I was able to buy him because they were dissolving a partnership."

Robin added she was pleased with the way each pacer qualified last weekend and is looking forward to finding out more about her new proteges on the opening night program.

By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

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