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The Cal Expo harness racing meet concludes Saturday evening with Hi Ho's Little Rev and Ragin's Flight among the major players in the featured Connie Matlock Memorial Pace. The headliner will go as the third on a nine-race program presented by Watch and Wager LLC and first post will be 6:40 p.m. This being closing night, there will be mandatory payouts in all wagers. Hi H's Little Rev is looking to close out the stand with a hat trick for owners Vanessa Gilliam and Audrey Clifton, trainer Bob Johnson and pilot Mooney Svendsen. The 6-year-old son of Hi Ho Silverheel's set a new lifetime mark of 1:52 25/ when he got the job done two weeks ago in a game performance, then made every pole a winning in his last tour in coast-to-coast fashion as the 3-2 favorite last Friday evening. Ragin's Flight should hit hard with this caliber after tackling tougher company of late. He was a 1:52 1/5 victor as the 2-5 choice back on March 30 and competes for Scott Ehrlich, George McCrystal and Kathie Plested with Plested the conditioner and Steve Wiseman in the sulky. Completing the field are Fire On The Water from the Steve Nichols barn; Fly Away, who gives the Plested shedrow two looks at the outcome; the Robin Clements-trained Lincoln; and He Grins Again, who takes his lessons from George Reider. The trotters and pacers are scheduled to return to Cal Expo in the fall and the CCHA and Watch and Wager have agreed to an 8 percent purse increase and an enhanced horse incentive program. Race pays tribute to Connie Matlock Saturday night's third race is named in honor of Connie Matlock, a longtime fixture with the California Harness Horse Breeders Association and CHHA who passed away on April 16 at the age of 85. Connie began working as secretary for the CHHBA in 1994 and was a staunch supporter of the Breeders and Sires Stakes. She then went to work for the CHHA in the early 90s, again as secretary. In 2005, Connie was awarded the Presidents Award by the CHHA for her meritorious service to the horsemen and the Sire Stakes program. "She was loved by many horsemen, who considered here a second mother," said Robin Clements. "She was warm, caring and a great lady." Said Vickie Desomer, "Connie was always there for the horsemen, all of them. Her kindness was boundless. Connie was beautiful inside and out. She has been greatly missed since her illness took her from us." Connie and Donald Matlock had five children and she is survived by son Charlie and daughters Kim and Cindy and 10 grandchildren. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Windsun Galaxie put his class and speed on display last week at Cal Expo when he proved a punctual favorite in a conditioned trotting event, giving young trainer Jessie Pacheco his second of three victories on the card. An 11-year-old son of Kadabra owned by Ronald Rettig-Zucchi, the win by Windsun Galaxie was third from his last six starts and put his career bank close to the $480,000 plateau with a 1:52 4/5 mark that was established six years ago. Windsun Galaxie has been unbeatable of late when getting away from the top trotters on the grounds and joining forces with veteran Chip Lackey. They waltzed home by 14 lengths on April 6, then got away from the razor-sharp Pridecrest for his most recent assignment and made every pole a winning one with five lengths to spare. As mentioned earlier, it the middle of a hat track for trainer Pacehco, who has really made a name for himself at this meet with a steady stream of visits to the local winner’s circle. Jessie is the 25-year-old son of conditioner Lino Pacheco and has apparently learned his lessons very well. “Everything I know about this sport I learned from my dad,” he said. “I also want to thank the owners, who have been very supportive.”   Delightfully Wild gets marquee treatment Delightfully Wild, fresh from a victory in last week’s Kirk Breed Pace, aims for her eighth win on the season in Friday night’s featured $5,500 Filly and Mare Open. A nine-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:40 p.m. There will also be six California Sire Stakes events decided as non-betting events prior to the regular card. Delightfully Wild is a 5-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight out of the Western Ideal mare Wild Ride Hanover who races for Richard Morita and David Yamada with Lino Pacheco training and James Kennedy at the helm. The bay mare set a new lifetime mark when he captured the March 16 Open, rattling off a 1:53 2/5 mile that evening en route to a length and a half score. Sent off the 3-5 choice in last week’s Kirk Breed Pace, Delightfully Wild did not disappoint her many backers as she came first-over to get the job done over Kiss On The Lips in another solid performance. Delightfully Wild will leave from the assigned outside slot and taking her on are the aforementioned Kiss On The Lips, Bettor Lady, Moonshinenmonkeys and Shark Festival. With Saturday being closing night of the meet, there will be mandatory payouts in all wagers. Going into the final weekend of racing here, Luke Plano will be the leading driver with Steve Wiseman completing the exacta, while Kathie Plested will be a comfortable winner of the trainer’s race.   Mark Ratzky Cal Expo Harness

Track record holder Pridecrest, who has won eight of his nine starts at the meet, looks to put an exclamation mark on his California invasion in Friday night's harness racing featured $10,000 Stan Bergstein Trot at Cal Expo. A 10-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:40 p.m. The co-feature is the $6,000 finale of the Watch and Wager Loyalty Pace and there will also be two California Sire Stakes for 3-year-olds decided as a non-betting events prior to the regular program. Pridecrest is a 6-year-old son of Angus Hall who races for Heather Matthews with Luke Plano driving and training. He made an immediate impact in his first start coming in from the Midwest on November 3, making every pole a winning one while setting a new course standard with his 1:53 2/5 clocking. The Matthews colorbearer followed that impressive mile with five more straight scores, the last four being registered from the demanding No. 10 post position. Pridecrest tasted defeat locally for the first time on March 3 when he was beaten a neck by Talkin Tootsie, but has returned to his winning ways in his last two appearances. Plano romped home with the sidewheeler on March 16 while leaving from the No. 5 slot, then had that 10 hole assignment last week and it proved to be no obstacle as he went wire-to-wire with a length and three-quarters to spare at the wire. Talkin Tootsie is the only trotter to have finished ahead of Pridecrest at this meet, hanging that neck decision on him in early March, and completed the exacta last week. The Cantab Hall mare is owned by Martin Garey and Henry Wieseneck with Bob Johnson training and Mooney Svendsen in his usual spot in the sulky. Completing the Bergstein field are Windsun Galaxe, Silverlode, Franky Provolone, Dougs Hobby Horse and Franks Best. Races honor memory of Bergstein, Arnold Lloyd Arnold and Stan Bergstein, two legendary figures in harness racing, have races named in their honor this weekend at Cal Expo. The Lloyd Arnold Pace will be decided on Saturday night, while the Stan Bergstein Trot headlines Friday's program. Lloyd Arnold was an owner and track operator of the highest caliber. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 83. Originally the owner of Arnold Cattle Co. in Iowa, Mr. Arnold raced hundreds of horses in Illinois and across the Midwest throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. During that era, Mr. Arnold raced horses like Warm Breeze, who earned more than $250,000 in two seasons of racing in the mid-1970s, and Dancing David, who earned more than $200,000 in the 1960s. Warm Breeze took Mr. Arnold to racing's pinnacle for the first time when he set the all-age world record over this track, then known as Golden Bear Raceway. His top horses in later years included the pacing mare Sanabelle Island, who earned $1.6 million lifetime and won 57 of 110 starts. Also of note was Bagel Beach Boy, who won the 2001 Messenger and Matron stakes. In August 2003, Mr. Arnold bought Chevie Duramax, who then went on to set world records for 2-year-old pacing geldings on both mile and half-mile tracks. The fastest 3-year-old pacer in North America in 2004 belonged to Mr. Arnold as Quik Pulse Mindale won in 1:48 at Balmoral. In addition to being a prominent Standardbred owner, Mr. Arnold operated this track during those Golden Bear Raceway years and also bought Los Alamitos in the late 1980s, eventually selling the track to his partner, Ed Allred. Mr. Arnold was inducted into the California Harness Hall of Fame in April of 2008. He also enjoyed personal honors in 2001 when he was feted by the Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters at their annual awards dinner and received the Owner of the Year Award from the U.S. Harness Writers' Association. Chris Bardis said, "Harness racing was one of Lloyd's great passions. He accomplished so much for the sport not only in California, but nationwide. He was 'Mr. Harness Racing.' "He conducted race meetings at Cal Expo, Bay Meadows, Golden Gate Fields, Del Mar, Pomona, Hollywood Park and Los Alamitos. I know of no one else who has had a greater impact on the harness world." Friday's Stan Bergstein Trot is named for the legendary figure in harness racing who passed away in 2011 at the age of 87. Mr. Bergstein was a harness racing titan who advocated for cooperation between the Standardbred and Thoroughbred industries to solve the sports' common problems. He stepped down in 2011 after many years as the executive vice president of Harness Tracks of America, the Standardbred industry's trade association. He was immediately appointed as the organization's first executive emeritus, and continued to advise the association and write guest columns for the Daily Racing Form until the weeks before his death. The only person to ever be inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame and its Communicators Hall of Fame, Mr. Bergstein worked in a wide variety of roles at racetracks, auction houses, announcer's booths, and racing publications, and he maintained extensive collections of harness-racing books and artwork. He was widely respected not only in the harness industry, but also in the Thoroughbred industry, and he served as a mentor to generations of young racing professionals through a close association with the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, located in Tucson, for the past 40 years. Mr. Bergstein was a forceful proponent of forging closer ties between the Standardbred and Thoroughbred industries, most notably in tackling medication abuse and problems with drug testing. In dozens of commentaries, Mr. Bergstein maintained that the Standardbred industry's problems were, or would be, those of the Thoroughbred industry, and that neglect of a problem in one sport would damage the other. Mr. Bergstein borrowed from the Thoroughbred industry early in his career, incorporating claiming races as a racing secretary while working at the Chicago tracks in the 1950s. At the time, the harness racing industry did not run claiming races, and they are now as commonplace in Standardbred racing as they are in Thoroughbred racing. Mr. Bergstein also spearheaded the creation of Standardbred Investigative Services, a security agency modeled after the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau. A native of Illinois, Mr. Bergstein attended harness races as a young man and received a journalism degree from Northwestern University. He was the former executive editor of Hoof Beats magazine, and the former vice president of publicity and public relations for the United States Trotting Association. Cal Expo trackman/program director Marty Bridges credits Stan Bergstein with bringing him into harness racing as a profession. "After college and two years in the Army, I was employed by the small business association. At night, after work, I was a regular patron at Sportsman's Park and Maywood in Chicago. "My supervisor, a former sportswriter for the Chicago Daily News, knew of my interest and called Stan to set up a meeting. Surprisingly, I was to meet him at Du Quoin on Hambletonian Day. Watching Stan call the races from a slightly elevated booth on the infield adjacent to the finish line was thrilling and between races we talked about racing, horses, drivers and trainers. "His knowledge of the sport was amazing and I had never met anyone like him, and still haven't. He introduced me to John Tinsley, the program director for all the Chicago tracks and John hired me on the spot. It's been a great ride, doing something I love." Gene Vallandingham first met Stan Bergstein in 1959 when he was working for the legendary Joe O'Brien. "Stan came to Joe's farm every spring for the annual Camptown racing weekend, when all of Shafter would be there for a day of racing. Stan was the true voice of harness racing, he was liked by all and I miss him." Chris Schick said, "Stan was foremost a kind and compassionate person. He was a true visionary in the harness racing industry. In 1979, well before simulcasting, he so rightly stated the future of the industry was in how well we brought the product to the public. He was also very vocal of the industry for being reluctant to embrace change. Our industry lost a giant when he passed." By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

After playing a supporting role in the first three stakes dances at Cal Expo for the sophomore pacing fillies, including breaks in the first pair, Glad to Meet Ya was the star of last Saturday night's harness racing get-together with a six and a half-length romp with Luke Plano. Sent off the 4-1 second choice behind the 1-5 Goturnumber, who had crushed her rivals in the previous two Sire Stakes, Glad to Meet Ya is a Disco Devil homebred who goes about her business Billie Schwartz and co-owner/trainer Junior Wilkinson. This group will get another chance to settle the score in a couple of weeks, with the four big clashes having seen three different winners, with Brigitte Bordeaux having accounted for the first one back on March 10. Last Saturday night was also a big one for owners Richard Morita and David Yamada and trainer Lino Pacheco as they made three trips to the winner's circle. They started off the hat trick with Bettor's Promise in the co-featured Open II Pace to kick off the program, then added victories with another Bettor's Delight offspring in Bettor Lady in the seventh stanza and also had Lincoln posing for snapshots following the evening's penultimate 10th affair. Speaking of landing in the charmed enclosure, the trotter Manley Stanley made it five wins from the last six appearances for owner/trainer Lisa Capioso and pilot Rene Goulet with a facile tally. Manley Stanley, who has been known to accompany Lisa to her day job as teacher, was on his best behavior for this go-around after making a rare early miscue in his previous start and missing by a nose. Trio of Opens get the marquee treatment Three Open races are featured on Saturday night's program at Cal Expo with Pridecrest, I'm An Athlete and Delightfully Wild heading the Open Trot, Open Pace and Distaff Open, respectively. There will be 10 races decided under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:40 p.m. Pridecrest is a 6-year-old son of Angus Hall who races for Heather Matthews with Luke Plano reining and training. He has won seven of his eight starts at this meet, with four of them coming from the demanding No. 10 post position. Pridecrest established a new track record in his first start at the meet on November 3, going coast-to-coast while posting a 1:53 2/5 clocking. He followed that with five more straight scores, the last four from the 10 slot. The Matthews colorbearer tasted defeat for the first time here on March 3, when he was beaten a neck by Talkin Tootsie, then got his revenge at most recent asking as he waltzed home by almost six lengths while making every pole a winning one from the outside slot in a field of five. He has the 10 post this weekend. I'm An Athlete, who has rattled off back-to-back victories at the head of the class, including a life-time best 1:51 mile at most recent asking, looks to keep the momentum going in the Open Pace. An 8-year-old son of Art Major out of the Cam's Card Shark mare Female Champs, I'm An Athlete carries the banner of Ronald Rettig-Zucchi with Jessie Pacheco doing the training and James Kennedy in his usual spot in the sulky. The hard-hitting veteran has posed for pictures following five of his 10 starts on the year after capturing 7 of his 30 trips to the post last season. He will do his work from the outside post in the field of seven. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

A $5,100 Carryover in the Pick 6 with a $10,000-guaranteed pool highlights Friday night's Cal Expo harness racing program. The Pick 6 will cover races 5 through 10 and first post for the Watch and Wager LLC program is 6:40 p.m. There are also two wagers offered each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 50-cent Pick 5 on the first five races and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 4 features a $50,000-guaranteed gross pool on Saturdays and $30,000 on Fridays. Looking ahead to the Saturday program there will be some important prep races for next week's Lloyd Arnold Pace and Stan Bergstein Trot. The Open Trot will find track record holder Pridecrest getting much of the attention, while I'm An Athlete and Allmyx'sliventexas have top billing in the Open Pace. There will also be a Filly and Mare Open which spotlights the razor-sharp Delightfully Wild squaring off against a solid cast. Remillard, Cruisin For You delight longshot players Richard Remillard lit up the toteboard last weekend with Cruisin For You, guiding the Lester Smith-trained pacer to a three-quarter length victory while rewarding his backers to a $67 payoff. The Juan Pacheco colobearer had actually won two back as the 4-5 favorite, but was coming off a poor effort and just wasn't getting any love at the windows this time around. Remillard is a 62-year-old native of Winnipget Manitoba is about to complete his first season of competition at Cal Expo, noting "It's been nice to get away from the cold." Richard fell in love with the trotters and pacers when introduced to harness racing by his brother-in-law as a teenager. He has spent most of his time over the last 40 years dividing his time between his day job as a meat cutter and market manager while maintaining a ranch in Winnipeg. "It was only two years ago that I decided to concentrate solely on the horses," he explained. "My partner Val recently retired and after talking to Quentin Schneider, we decided to come down to California and give it a try before we get too old." By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Luke Plano and Steve Wiseman continued their domination at head of the driver standings last week, with each harness racing pilot registering a four-bagger on the Friday Cal Expo program, while James Kennedy was the driving star of the show last Saturday with four wins of his own. Wiseman started things off capturing the Friday opener with Chilma, then Plano countered by taking the second with Winsom Kelly and the fourth with Hi Fidelity. Not to be outdone, Steve recorded back-to-back tallies with Ragin's Flight and Totally Racy in the fifth and sixth contests, with Luke and Oh Yeah evening the score in the seventh. To complete their respective four-win nights, Wiseman clicked with Kiss On The Lips and Plano ended up in the winner's circle with Eastender in the feature. On Saturday's program, Wiseman registered a double and Plano has one winning drive while retaining his margin in the standings over his arch-rival at this meet. It was Kennedy who had the starring role on this program, as his four wins included a victory with I'm An Athlete in the Open Pace and Delightfully Wild in the Filly and Mare Open. Sire Stakes, Open II Pace atop marquee A $6,500 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacing fillies featuring Goturnumber and an Open II Pace headed by Bettor's Promise are the main events on Saturday night's Cal Expo program. The 11-race card is set to get underway at 6:10 p.m. Goturnumber is a homebred daughter of Kent's On Nuke out of the Ira mare Kb's Midnight who is owned by Mark Anderson, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and will once again have James Kennedy in the sulky. The dark-hued filly has proven clearly best in the last two stakes dances for the division, going coast-to-coast on both occasions while never looking like a loser. In the March 17 clash, Goturnumber waltzed home with nearly 10 lengths on Brigitte Bordeaux in a lifetime-best 1:57 mile, then showed the way home by two and three-quarter lengths over that same rival at most recent asking. Taking her on this weekend are Brigitte Bordeaux with Mooney Svendsen; Glad To Meet Ya, Luke Plano; Rhythm, to be guided by William Hernandez; and Lucky Seven Oflodi, who has the outside slot with Tony Succarotte in the bike. Looking at the co-featured Open II Pace, Bettor's Promise is coming off a solid runner-up effort to the razor-sharp I'm An Athlete in last week's Open Pace and should get plenty of respect at the windows while getting away from that rival. Richard Morita and David Yamada are the owners, Lino Pacheco trains and James Kennedy has the assignment. There are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 50-cent Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 4 comes with a $50,000-guaranteed gross pool on Saturdays and a $30,000 guarantee on Fridays. By Mark Ratzky, publicity- Cal Expo Harness

An Open Pace featuring I'm An Athlete and Allmyx'sliventexas and a Filly and Mare Open Pace that brings out Delightfully Wild and Directing Traffic that head the harness racing marquee on Saturday night at Cal Expo. I'm An Athlete and Allymx'sliventexas put on quite a show at the head of the class last week and get another chance to settle the score in the co-feature while leaving from the No. 6 and 7 outside post positions, respectively. I'm An Athlete is an 8-year-old son of Art Major who carries the banner of Ronald Rettig-Zucchi, is trained by Jessie Pacheco and will once again have James Kennedy giving directions. He has four wins from nine starts on the year with a 1:51 1/5 lifetime standard. After some tough trips from difficult posts in his previous two miles, I'm An Athlete returned to his winning ways last week. He was able to leave into a pocket trip behind the odds-on Allymx'sliventexas, tracked that one to the drive and was up by a nose in a 1:52 mile. Allymx'sliventexas is a 5-year-old homebred who competes for Wayne and Rod Knittel, takes his lessons from Bob Johnson and has main man Mooney Svendsen back at the controls. The hard-hitting performer had three straight victories going into last week's Open, including a head-heat in the Glen Holt Memorial and a career-best 1:50 4/5 mile in his next outing despite being parked the mile that evening. In last week's clash, the Knittel colorbearer shot right to the front for Svendsen, opened a lengthy lead at midstretch but could not quite hold off the pocket-sitting I'm An Athlete in another strong outing. Veteran mare Silverlode continues good fight Silverlode added another victory to her resume last weekend as she dead-heated with Silverhill Volo in an Open II Trot, pushing her lifetime bankroll near the $175,000 mark. A 9-year-old homebred daughter of British Sterling who races for Steve and Vickie Desomer and has been handled of late by Steve Wiseman, Silverlode is out of the top racemare and producer Charlotte's Web. The latter has had a very impressive group of performers on the racetrack. In addition to divisional leader Silverlode, she has had divisional leaders in Placer and Cadet; the takes-winning Kiss The Girls and a promising pair in Pay Dirt and Shudabinaclaudius. Charlotte's Web, who celebrated her 16th birthday this year, is a daughter of Website who was a multiple stakes winner as a 2-year-old and was retired in the midst of her sophomore campaign. There are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 50-cent Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 4 comes with a $50,000-guaranteed gross pool on Saturdays and a $30,000 guarantee on Fridays. Last Saturday night's Pick 4 returned a nifty $1,922 for each correct 20-cent ticket and would have paid $1,716 using the regular takeout. That's $206 bonus for each ducket. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Getter Queen Flush is coming off back-to-back solid efforts while joining forces with harness racing pilot Steve Wiseman for the first time, the most recent resulting in a head victory last weekend. The 6-year-old pacing daughter of Jk Royal Flush is owned by Geoge Reider, Dave and Rob Haness and Richard Thomas with Reider doing the training. She set her lifetime mark of 1:53 1/5 here in February with Mooney Svendsen in the bike. Two starts back, Getter Queen Flush ended up in a tough spot at the back of the pack early and found herself with too much to do in the lane while eventually finishing second, then had clear sailing in last week's tour and prevailed as the 3-5 favorite. "I was driving her for the first time two weeks ago and I outthought myself and got her locked in," Wiseman related. "This last mile we got a good trip and she dug in after that horse got past her nearing the wire." As for Reider, he's became a real fan of this hard-knocking performer. "There isn't anything I don't like about this mare," he noted. "She's a pleasure to be around and she tries hard every time." George also noted that Getter Queen Flush didn't know what a carrot or an apple was when she came to his barn, "But now she's a carrot and apple eating machine." She's also turned into quite a machine over the Cal Expo layout, posing for snapshots following four of her 12 races on the year. Will she add to that total in the coming weeks? Stay tuned. Eastender has top billing in featured Pace Eastender, who has been knocking heads with the top pacers on the grounds, gets some class relief and heads the field for Friday night's main event. Watch and Wager LLC will present 12 races with first post set for 6:10 p.m. There will also be a trio of California Sire Stakes for the 4-year-old pacers and trotters decided as non-betting events prior to the regular card. A 7-year-old son of Cheyenne Rei out of the Abercrombie mare Eastside Becky, Eastender is owned by Maryann Plano and Nikki Hudson and is reined and trained by Luke Plano. Eastender will be looking for his first win on the year in his seventh trip to the post, but has been doing the majority of his work at the Open level while taking on the likes of division leaders Allymx'sliventexas and I'm An Athlete. He made nine trips to the winner's circle last season, including a lifetime-best 1:52 2/5 score over this layout and should hit very hard in Friday's softer spot. He will do his work from the No. 6 post in the field of seven. Gordie Graham will send out a solid pair in Bettor in the Bank and Prodigal and they will both have a serious say in the outcome with their top miles. Rounding out the cast are Dontdoubthelakers, who takes his lessons from Lester Smith; the Lino Pacheco-conditioned Pancetta; Julerica from the Richard Remillard shedrow; and the Rene Goulet trained-and-driven Blue Star Maverick. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

There are two harness racing bets offered here at Cal Expo each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate, those being the 50-cent Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 5 is offered on the first five races each night, while the Pick 4 is held on the final four races on the card. In addition, on Saturday nights there is a $50,000-guaranteed pool for the Pick 4, with a $40,000 guarantee on Fridays. To give you some idea how this low takeout translates into real money, last Friday evening's Pick 4 contested over a sloppy track saw favorites struggling and resulted in a $4,408.96 payoff for each correct 20-cent ticket. Using the regular takeout rate, the payoff would have been $3,936, a difference of a cool $472 per winning ducket. The tone for last Friday's sequence was set by Rockinaroundheaven, who appeared to have his work cut out from the No. 8 post, but Chip Lackey let his charge fall well back early and then made a steady first-over move to the lead in the stretch while obviously loving the off going. Directing Traffic likewise came from well back to capture the featured Filly and Mare Open for trainer Junior Wilkinson and pilot Luke Plano, while Laissemoipicoler used late heroics to post an $18 upset in the penultimate leg. That set the table for Cordees Fantasy in the nitecap at 12-1 for the Richard Remillard/Gary Clark combination. Like the other winners in the sequence, she left from an outside post and took her time through the early stages, then rolled late through the slop to get the job done. Sire Stakes, Distaff Open atop the marquee The first $6,500 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacing fillies and a $5,500 Filly and Mare Open Pace get the spotlight treatment Saturday night at Cal Expo. Things get underway at 6:10 p.m. under the Watch and Wager LLC banner, with the Sire Stakes going as the second on the 11-race card, while the Distaff Open occupies the 10th-race slot. The field for the Sire Stakes will line up this way: Glad to Meet Ya from the Junior Wilkinson barn with Luke Plano guiding; the Robin Clements-trained Pep Rally with Steve Wiseman; James Kennedy will guide Goturnumber for Gordie Graham; the Pierre Girard reined-and-trained Lucky Seven Oflodi; and Brigitte Bordeaux for trainer Bob Johnson with Mooney Svendsen handling the lines. Directing Traffic, who last week added her name to the distaffers who have captured a Filly and Mare Open Pace at this meet, looks to do an encore in the co-featured Open. Directing Traffic is a 6-year-old daughter of Real Desire from the Park Place mare Park It Ashley who is owned by Junior Wilkinson and Billie Schwartz, takes her lessons from Wilkinson and will once again have Luke Plano giving directions. In last week's clash at the head of the class over a sloppy racetrack, the bay mare was reserved early and sat double digits off the leader in the opening stages. She began to pick up some momentum from the outside on the final bend, then stormed home in the stretch to win going away by two and a half lengths. Shesamysterytome will be looking to make amends after checking in third as the 6-5 favorite in last week's Distaff Open. She was hard used on the front end on an off track that favored closers as the night progressed and looms large for owners Ashlee Sluggett and Trevor Williams and driver/trainer Ryan Grundy. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Harness racing driver James Kennedy was able to work out a perfect trip from the rail with Walker Meister in last weekend's Shelly Goudreau Final at Cal Expo, rewarding his backers to the tune of $27 while lowering his lifetime mark to 1:52 3/5 in the process. Walker Meister goes about his business for George Reider and Rob, Kim and Dave Haness with Reider doing the conditioning, and it was a very special win for all involved. "I knew Shelly Goudreau and he drove a few horses that I paddocked back in the early 80s," Reider noted after Walker Meister's score. "I'll never forget when he won on a horse for me named Dalmead. "He was bigger than life to me as a kid back then, and I used to say that he had more talent in his baby finger than most people have in their whole body." George was paddocking a horse named Tajamon the night that Shelly Goudreau lost his life in a tragic accident in a race at Hollywood Park on August 27, 1982. "That was one of the saddest nights of my life," Reider recalled. "Shelly Goudreau was a great man and a great driver." As for Walker Meister, Reider said, "He's a tough horse with a bad wheel, and a lot of the credit has to go to his groom Jose Castillo, who we call Chicky, because he has to work very hard to keep that leg together." Open Trot, Pace getting marquee treatment A $6,000 Open Trot headed by the streaking Pridecrest and a $6,600 Open Pace that has enticed a contentious cast of 10 are the highlights on Saturday night's program at Cal Expo. There will be 11 races presented under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. The Open Trot goes as the second event while the Open Pace occupies the 9th-race slot on the card. Pridecrest comes into the Open Trot having captured all four of his starts at this meet in impressive fashion since coming in from the Midwest. The 5-year-old son of Angus Hall is owned by Mark Hinshaw and is reined and trained by Luke Plano. Pridecrest established a track record when he won his local debut on November 3 in 1:53 2/5 and he has added three more victories, including the last pair while doing his work from the demanding No. 10 post, from which he will once again leave this weekend. Taking him on from the rail out are Majestic Lady Jo, Windsun Galaxie, The Evictor, Silverhill Volo and Talkin Tootsie. The Open Pace looms a wide-open affair with a full field set to face the starter. Eastender took the most recent clash at the head of the class on December 26 and will depart from the outside slot in the co-feature. A 6-year-old son of Cheyenne Rei, Eastender is owned by Maryann Plano and Nikki Hudson and will attempt to give driver/trainer Luke Plano a sweep of the featured events on Saturday's program. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness  

David Siegel recently recorded his 500th victory in the sulky here and was reflective when speaking afterwards about that score, his day job and the state of harness racing in California. "I turn 60 next year, so I know that 500 will be the only driving milestone I will achieve," Siegel said. "I was really hopeful to get it done this meet, and the horse I got it done with was appropriately named 'Beacon of Hope.' While I have achieved one of my life's objectives, I would like to believe that perhaps a Beacon of Hope will shine upon the other horsemen at Cal-Expo with regard to their futures." By day, David is the President of TrackMaster, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Equibase, which is the Thoroughbred industry's official source for racing information. "We service both the Standardbred and Thoroughbred industries providing electronic information for handicapping,' Siegel explained. " We have thousands of consumers as our customers as well as a number of racing institutions including every ADW in North America. "I am involved in every aspect of our business including a number of special projects for Equibase. One that is currently taking much of my time is using GPS technology for the tracking of horses during races. This will eventually provide more information for players as well as enhance the broadcast of races at reasonable cost to the tracks." Back in 2001, David I took a ride in the starting gate at Pompano Park. That lead to his getting involved on the ownership side and eventually he took part in the USTA's amateur driving school. "Since much of my life follows the 'go big or go home' philosophy, I really got into the driving and over time, began to drive every racing day working my way up the licensing ladder," he related. "It was not easy living two hours from the track and being away from my wife every weekend for six months. But I got it done and still thoroughly enjoy the driving. "My first trainer was Ed Hensley. After he moved Lou Pena and Ray Burt are the guys that really helped me out about driving and getting mounts. After they left, Gilbert Garcia and Bernie Wolin were my go-to trainers. Are you seeing a pattern here? It seems the guys who help me leave soon afterwards!" And has Siegel modeled himself after any particular driver over the years? "There is no one in particular I try to mirror stylistically. I try to do my homework and drive safely and give every horse the best chance I can. "While I would say I have been pretty well accepted by the drivers, I know I am not viewed by many trainers the same way other drivers are and therefore don't get the drives I might if I were a full time horsemen. "This part gets frustrating at times, but I would not trade my life with any of the other drivers. I am so fortunate to have a good job and still get to excel at one of my keen interests. I have the best of both worlds." Goudreau, Gordon Eliminations headline card Two divisions of the Robert Gordon eliminations and two divisions of the Shelly Goudreau elminations get the marquee treatment on Saturday night's Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo. There are 11 races on tap with first post set for 6:10 p.m. The Gordon eliminations will go as the third and fifth events on the evening, while the Goudreau eliminations will occupy the 6th and 9th-race slots on the card. The top five finishers from each of these heats will advance to next week's respective finals, named for two legends in California harness racing. He Grins Again and West for Gold finished one-two last weekend in a solid mile and go in separate divisions of the Gordon. The former is a 3-year-old son of Place To Be who races for George Reider and Dave, Rob and Kimberly Haness with Reider training and Steve Wiseman guiding and will be gunning for his third straight trip to the charmed enclosure. Finishing just a neck in his wake last week was West For Gold, who goes about his business for Santiago Quintana with Edwin Quevado doing the conditioning and Mooney Svendsen once again handling the lines. He recorded a 1:53 4/5 lifetime-best victory here on November 24. There are two wagers that are offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5, which is decided on the first five races on the evening; and the 20-cent Pick 4, on the penultimate four races. The Pick 4 comes with a guaranteed gross pool of $30,000. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

George Reider admits his barn "hasn't been lighting them up so far" at this Cal Expo harness racing meeting, but he's optimistic that things are headed in the right direction. "We had a good meet this summer at Running Aces," Reider noted. "At the end of that meet we purchased a few horses and now it's just been a case of getting to know them." One pacer in the barn that George is really pinning his hopes of is a 2-year-old who answers to the name of Pride of the Sierra. "I think he's going to be a real nice colt. We'll be qualifying him in a few weeks." Meanwhile, the Reider barn of 14 is starting to warm up and you can look for him to bemaking his share of winner's circle appearances in the near future and through the end of this session in the spring. George also mentioned that he's very pleased that his good friends Nick Roland, Jessica Johnson and Terry Kaufman are among the new connections competing here at Cal Expo "They've really added to our races and I'm so glad to see them competing here." Pair of Opens sit atop the marquee A $6,600 Open Pace featuring Jazzmanian Devil and Firedrake and a $5,500 Distaff Open Pace headed by Sparkin Your Fire and Capitol Hill are the main events on Friday night's Cal Expo program. Jazzmanian Devil is a 6-year-old son of Sand Shooter from the Artsplace mare Artbeat who is owned by William Condon, takes her lessons from Kathie Plested and will have Mooney Svendsen giving directions. The long-fused performer looped the field to prevail at 6-1 in the November 4 Open, had to settle for the show money at this level the following week, then got back to his winning ways at most recent asking as he came home in a sizzling :26 flat to get the job done by a neck. Firedrake also has two Open victories to his credit at this meeting for Set The Pace Racing LLC and driver/trainer Nick Roland. The Dragon Again gelding has posed for snapshots following 11 of his 20 starts on the year with a 1:51 2/5 lifetime standard that was recorded at Running Aces over the summer. Firedrake accounted for the October 28 top dance despite a tough trip from the demanding No. 10 post and also captured the November Open as the 3-5 favorite, but has had to settle for a third and fifth behind Jazzmanian Devil in the other two contests for the top pacers on the grounds. Looking at the Filly and Mare Open, Sparkin Your Fire carries the banner of Peg Hoffman with Gerry Longo the conditioner and Mooney Svendsen handling the lines. She got a nice prep race in her local debut in the November 25 distaff Open, then stormed home to prevail at 9-2 in the most recent clash at the top level for the pacing fillies and mares while taking the measure of favored Capitol Hill. The latter mare won three of her four outings at this Open level between November 4 and November 25 and had to settle for second in the most recent clash after being hard used on the front end. George McChrystal and Kathie Plested own, Plested is the trainer and Steve Wiseman will be in the sulky. There are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate, affording players the chance to gets some real value. They are the 50-cent Pick 5, which is decided on the first five races of the evening; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which covers the penultimate four contests on the program. The Pick 4 comes with a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Everybody should get a call as good as the one harness racing trainer Luke Plano got from owner Mark Hinshaw last month. "He said he was looking for a winter home for his trotter Pridecrest and asked if I was interested," Plano related. "I'd seen him race a little at Hawthorne and didn't waste any time saying yes." All Pridecrest has done in two starts at Cal Expo is win back-to-back Open Trots by a combined 16 lengths, including a track-record 1:53 2/5 tour of the Sacramento oval two weeks ago. "He's a big strong horse with a tremendous gait and he doesn't waste any action," Plano explained. "Going into that first start here he had that solid resume and had trained well, but I can't say I was expecting a mile like that one. "He was pretty aggressive that night and was setting some strong fractions, but I wasn't sure how he was going to be in the stretch, and it turned out he was super." Pridecrest wheeled back in last week's top dance for the trotters and was equally impressive getting the job done from the outside post in a field of nine. He was first-over to command going to the final bend and went on to another romp at 40 cents on the dollar. "I wanted to see if he would be manageable and he was, although we did get stuck behind some poor cover for a bit there. Once again, he was very strong in the stretch and very impressive." Annette Funicello Pace brings out distaffers The $8,200 Annette Funicello for pacing fillies and mares headed by Cenalta Call Girl highlights the program on Friday night at Cal Expo. First post under the banner of Watch and Wager LLC will be 6:10 p.m. and the action will continue on Saturday evening with the $20,000 Alan Horowitz Memorial being the main event. Friday's featured contest is named for actress/singer Annette Funicello, who passed away in April of 2013 at the age of 70. Annette Funicello was married to harness horsesman/breeder Glen Holt from 1986 until her death and was a strong supporter of the sport. Cenalta Call Girl is a 3-year-old daughter of Allamerican Merlin who is owned by Rene Goulet and Helen and Myrna Empey with Goulet doing the driving and training. She comes into this assignment having captured two of her six lifetime appearances. Cenalta Call Girl recorded her first decision at Northlands Park in late September, surging on the money to be up in the final strides, then made her Cal Expo debut a winning one in the Funicello Prep last weekend as she did the stalk-and-pounce to perfection and drew off to a length and three-quarters score as the 3-2 favorite in a 1:55 2/5 performance. Free Radical completed the exacta in that affair at 13-1 to make a nice move forward in her second outing over this layout since arriving from Minnesota. The Hot Pans offspring competes for Set The Pace Racing LLC and is reined and trained by Nick Roland. Rounding out the cast are Be My Lucky Girl with Steve Wiseman; Alwaysalittlemore, Luke Plano; Rockin Repeat, David Siegel; My Hearts Conquest with William Hernandez; and Nat-A-Katt, who will be guided by Edward Hernandez. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Harness racing trainer/driver Nick Roland is a new face on the scene at Cal Expo, and you can look for him to be a frequent visitor to the winner's circle as evidenced by his three victories on opening night. Including among those scores was a win by Firedrake in the featured Open Pace from the demanding No. 10 post. Roland shows up with several driving and training titles to his credit at Running Aces, where he has plied his trade since the Minnesota track debuted 10 years ago. "My grandparents on both sides have been involved in harness racing going back to the 1950s, and my parents actually met at the racetrack," said the 35-year-old native of Iowa City, Iowa. Despite the fact his parents Royal and Lisa are also involved in the sport, they insisted that Nick get his college degree and he found himself working in the insurance business following his graduation. "I was miserable and after one year I had to come back to the racetrack," he explained. "It was at that point that my sister Tessa and I showed up at that first Running Aces meet with a few horses that we or our family owned." It's been a slow building process for Roland, but he eventually got to the position where he had owners knocking on his door and the ability to expand the stable to the point where he has led the meeting as both a driver and a trainer. "I've been very fortunate to have some great owners over the years and they give me the freedom to do what I want." While Nick normally has raced at Prairie Meadows and the Iowa fairs following the end of the Running Aces meet, this year the decision was made to come out and give Cal Expo a try. "We've got 20 horses and that's just about the right number," Roland explained. "I couldn't do it without my girlfriend Jessica Johnson and my right hand man Terry Kauffman, and so far so good." In addition to piloting his own performers, Nick is looking forward to competing in as many races as possible as a catch driver. That should result in a lot of pictures. Pair of Opens get the marquee treatment An Open Pace headed by Firedrake and a Distaff Open that provides a rematch between Capitol Hill and Lil Miss Knuckles are the main attractions on Saturday night's Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo. There will be 10 races decided with first post at 6:10 p.m. Firedrake has been assigned the outside slot among the six pacers set for the fifth race as he seeks a repeat score for owner Set The Pace Racing LLC and driver-trainer Nick Roland. A 4-year-old son of Dragon Again from the Artsplace mare Everything's Easy, Firedrake proved a punctual 4-5 favorite in his Cal Expo debut on opening night. From the difficult No. 10 post position, he was hard used to the early lead before being covered up, then re-rallied in the drive to prevail by a neck over Ragin's Flight in a 1:53 3/5 mile. Set to line up inside him on Saturday are the Kathie Plested-traned pair of Jazzmanian Devil and Ragin's Flight; Almost Cut My Hair from the Bob Johnson barn; and the Richard Remillard reined-and-trained Baylor Out. Lil Miss Knuckles and Capitol Hill get another chance to settle the score in the Filly and Mare Open after finishing one-two in last week's clash at the head of the class in this division. Lil Miss Knuckles posted a 12-1 surprise in that affair for owner Fabiola Quevedo, trainer Edwin Quevedo and pilot William Hernandez, getting the job done by three-quarters of a length over Capitol Hill. The latter is a Badlands Hanover mare who goes about her business for George McCrystal and trainer Kathie Plested and lost a tough one last week after going a first-over journey. Steve Wiseman guides. Capitol Hill departs from the outside post in the field of seven with Lil Miss Knuckles just to her inside. Blue Note, Coastal Treasure, La Madawna De Rosa, Moonshinenmonkeys and Smash round out the field. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

David Siegel got a solid start to the Cal Expo meet last Saturday night while guiding a pair of harness racing pacers into the winner's circle. Native's Revenge, who is co-owned by Siegel and trainer Bob Johnson, got the job done in the third race on opening night card, with Walker Meister posting a $38 surprise in the 12th race with Siegel handling the lines for trainer George Reider. "Bob (Johnson) has had nice success with Native's Revenge here after a challenging campaign at Running Aces," Siegel noted. "He's a classy horse and seems to really like the track. "I was looking for a reliable horse to buy a piece of in Bob's barn to diversity my holdings and Native's Revenge fit the bill. So when he returned to the left coast, I purchased a piece of him and was fortunate that he fit the bottom conditioned class in his first start and returned to his old winning form here." David added that Native's Revenge is being pointed for the Alan Horowitz series, with the opening leg of that event scheduled for Saturday, November 11. A few hours after prevailing with Native's Revenge, Siegel once again got his picture taken after working out a pefect trip with Walker Meister and lighting up the toteboard in the process. "It's somewhat similar in that he had not been racing in great form at Running Aces," Siegel said. "It seems like Walker Meister has fared best here in California. "George approaches the return of his horses with a long-term view, that is six months of racing ahead, and he also wanted to give the barn a nice breather after Aces. So, as expected, most of his horses were a little short last week. "I had a conservative plan for Walker Meister, but when I looked left from the seven hole, there were very few that had that 'leave' look so I jumped out of there along with the horse I thought I had to beat in Hi Ho's Little Rev. "Mooney (Svendsen) did the right thing with that horse and retook. At that point I knew Bobby Johnson's horses were all ready to rock and roll on opening night and I thought I could be good enough to be second. "But Walker Meister kept right up at the half and that's when I thought I just might get there. By the three-quarter pole I had a good feeling I would win and the gelding was solid. "I use Speed Ratings and his 77 was about 10 points up from his recent Running Aces efforts. No doubt he likes the Cal Expo surface and maybe just likes being home. He'll have to step up now, but the way he raced I expect him to be quite competitive." Open Trot, Pick 5 carryover in spotlight A $6,600 Open Trot and a Pick 5 carryover of $4,400 with a $20,000-guaranteed pool head the program Friday night at Cal Expo. The trotters and pacers are now in action on Friday and Saturday evenings under the banner of Watch and Wager LLC with first post set for 6:10 p.m. There will be 10 races on both Friday and Saturday. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent wager which is conducted on the first five races each night and features a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. That low takeout is also offered on the 20-cent Pick 4 that covers the penultimate four races on the card. Looking at the featured Open Trot, racing secretary Robin Schadt has assigned the Luke Plano trained-and-driven Pridecrest the outside post in the cast of seven, with the other six sidewheelers drawing their slots. A 5-year-old son of Angus Hall, Pridecrest carries the hopes of Mark Hinshaw and invades from the Midwest having met some solid company at Hawthorne and Hoosier Park this season. He scored his most recent victory in an Open event on August 26 over a good track at Hawthorne, as he set a stalking journey that evening and ignited in the stretch to win going away by 2 1/4 lengths while rewarding his backers as an 11-1 shot. Taking him on, from the rail out: Agrestores Comet with Chip Lackey; Becky Badger Baby, Nick Roland; Itzaziam, to be handled by Sean Smithpeters; Talkin Tootsie, Mooney Svendsen; and Silverlode with Steve Desomer. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

The 2017-2018 Watch and Wager LLC harness meeting at Cal Expo gets under way Saturday night with a pair of Open Pace events headlining the card. First post for the 13-race program is 6:10 p.m. There will be Saturday racing this week and beginning next week there will be Friday and Saturday night action on tap. The seventh race on the card is a $6,600 Open Pace with a full cast of 10 set to face the starter, while a half-dozen fillies and mares are set for the fourth race co-feature. "Fans can look forward to a number of new faces this season," said Cal Expo general manager Chris Schick. "The talented Nick Roland stable is in from the Midwest, and the in the next few weeks we can expect to see Ryan Grundy, Gary Clarke, Richard Remillard and Rene Goulet from Canada. "This new dynamic should provide a highly competitive product with good wagering value." Speaking of Nick Roland, he will be well represented in the co-featured seventh race with Firedrake coming in from Running Aces and Cowboy Mathis shipping in from Hawthorne to represent his shedrow. ******** Saturday's action will include a simulcast of the full Breeders Crown program from Hoosier Park in Indiana. Jenn Bongiorno joins Cal Expo broadcast team Watch and Wager LLC is pleased to announce that Jenn Bongiorno has joined the broadcast team here at Cal Expo. Jenn will team with Hall of Famer Gary Seibel with nightly analysis of the popular Cal Expo Pick-4. She will replace Dave Brower, who has returned to the Meadowlands on a full time basis. Jenn is fourth generation harness racing, as her great uncle was Stanley Dancer and her grandfather was Harold "Sonny" Dancer. After graduating from Monmouth University with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing, Bongiorno started working at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment in New Jersey, where she was marketing coordinator, handling the social media and was also a member of the on-air talent. After five and a half-years, Jenn left the Meadowlands this April as she began to own more horses. "I felt I was more focused on them and wanted to take a more hands on approach with them. I received my trainers license in June and have a stable of 15 horses that my brother and I run together. I race primarily at Yonkers Raceway. "I'm absolutely loving being a trainer. It's more work than I ever could have imagined, but every morning when I walk into the barn, I feel a sense of passion and love that I've never felt. I said after winning my first race, I never felt that level of gratification before. "The TV portion of my job definitely became my favorite part at the Meadowlands and is something I truly miss, which is why when Watch and Wager presented me with this opportunity, I absolutely could not turn it down!" "I'm so looking forward to following Cal-Expo racing and giving the fans my handicapping opinions. Harness racing is such a great sport and through TV, I've gotten to interact with so many fans via social media and look forward to doing the same with the Cal-Expo fan base." "We were so impressed with Jenn's work at the Meadowlands" said Chris Schick, General Manager of Cal Expo harness. "Her knowledge and passion for our sport is very evident. We also want to publicly thank Dave Brower, and wish him well on his return home to the Meadowlands. Dave has agreed to make appearances to keep the California fans up to date on trends at the Meadowlands." By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness    

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