Two year-old Colts & Geldings, on both the pace and trot, were featured at Cal Expo on Saturday night (October 22) in a pair of $15,000 California Sires Stakes.
In the pacing division, Bloom N Doom made a successful debut.
Before starting from post-position two in the field of five, driving Lemoyne Svendsen was fairly confident.
"He was fresh off of an excellent qualifier, but I still didn't know how he'd be because he's so green," stated Svendsen. "I still was pretty sure I could be second and thought I had a shot at winning."
With the field sent on their way, Svendsen had some unexpected racing luck which landed him behind the 3-5 favorite Ra Ra Steven (Rich Wojcio).
"All I was trying to do was to keep him quiet and calm while wanting to be in the pocket. When Down Holme (Steve Wiseman) raced green and very wide in the first-turn after leaving - - that obviously helped my positioning."
With Down Holme making a inexperienced right turn into the first-turn, Bloom N Doom was able to enjoy a perfect trip through first-half fractions of :30.1 & 1:00.3. With the field now on the final-turn and Wojcio asking Ra Ra Steven to go on past the five-eighths mile station, Svendsen was pleased his gelding stayed right with that pacer through three-quarters of a mile, timed in 1:30.
"I thought I had a shot at him because I hadn't asked him to pace yet, plus when he qualified - - he was very strong coming home."
Drafting until on the move with less than 3-16ths of a mile to go, Svendsen had to feel good since he only tapped his charge at the seven-eighths mile pole while Wojcio went to work on his.
"When I pulled him out I wanted to get him straight because we were going fast enough that I didn't want him to get him twisted around. Once he was straightened, I pulled the earplugs and he took right off."
With youngsters, especially those making their first start, there are always learning issues to contend with, and Bloom N Doom was no exception.
"He was pacing real hard, but he still doesn't really know how to pace real hard yet because he started getting steppy on me and I had to keep grabbing him all the way down the stretch on and off. In the final sixteenth, however, he finally flattened out, I laid the whip on his tail, and he paced right by Ra Ra Steven."
Closing in willing fashion while only under very light whip-taps, Bloom N Doom won ($7.60) by three-quarters of one-length. Bred & owned by Wayne & Rod Knittel, the Bob Johnson trained gelding stopped the timer at 1:58.3, establishing of course a lifetime mark. Ra Ra Steven had to settle for the place honors, and Little Tor (Luke Plano) finished eight-lengths farther back, in third.
"It was a very nice race for a first-time ever," finished Svendsen.
In the division for the trotters, raced prior to the betting program in a non-wagering event, El Azteca made it back to back Sires Stakes triumphs in as many career starts.
Coming away second from post-two in the field of four and gapping 2-1/2-lengths after 3-16ths of a mile, the colt narrowed the margin at the 5-16ths mile pole, then sat a loose pocket at the three-eighths, then gapped two-lengths at the half-mile juncture, timed in 1:04. Back on and first-over just to the midway point of the final turn, trainer Marco Rios had good logic to pull.
"I tried to do the same thing as I did two weeks ago which was to pull him out of the pocket because he felt good," said Rios. "Since he showed me a good kick in the last quarter that night, and since he felt good tonight, I chose to pull him when I did and he was good again."
Taking a parked-out neck lead at the three-quarter mile pole, timed in 1:36.2, Rios shouted and chased after his pupil at the head of the lane and the freshman responded and opened up by 1-1/2-lengths before opening up more in the last sixteenth of a mile while urged little, if that. Bred & owned by Rios as well, El Azteca won by 3-3/4 lengths, in 2:06.1, a lifetime mark. Lees Persuader (Steve Wiseman) finished in second, and the pace-setting Light Red (Lemoyne Svendsen) finished 1-1/2 lengths farther back, in third.
"He's one of those horses that when you sit behind him you know he's going to be a nice horse and it sure makes you feel good about him. I think he's going to turn out to be a nice racehorse," concluded Rios.
In the Winners-Over pace for a $4,500 purse,
's Hiho (Jim Lackey) was a game and terrific first-over winner ($25.00) despite being headed in the lane. Owned by Hank Wiesneck & Marty Garey in partnership with trainer Bob Johnson, the five year-old gelding won by a head in 1:54.4, a lifetime best. Haggin Oaks (James Kennedy) closed nicely to be second, and the Johnson trained Ivegotwhatyouneed (Lemoyne Svendsen), who did have the lead late, had to settle for third, just a nose farther back. For the leading trainer Johnson, the conditioning victory was the middle portion of a consecutive training triple. On the 15-race program, Dave Siegel had a driving grand-slam while Matias Ruiz trained four winners. Myra
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (October 27) at 5:30 p.m. (PDT) and continues through Saturday (October 29). Post-time on Friday (October 28) & Saturday is at 6:00 p.m. On Thursday and every live card, Cal Expo offers free admission, as well as free preferred & general parking after 4:30 p.m. Also on Thursday night from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Cal Expo offers a complete Lasagna dinner, which includes salad and bread, for just $3.00. Additionally on Thursday, beer & wine can be purchased for $3.00 each as well.