He hadn't been able to get the better of his archrival Franks Best the last three times they faced each other, but on this night, Putoneonnetformom was the better horse.
Winners-Over trotters, racing for a purse of $4,500, were featured at Cal Expo on Thursday night (October 27), on which Putoneonnetformom continued his 1st-2nd cycle, for the fourth straight time - - this being the win cycle.
Prior to starting from post-five in the field of five, with Franks Best (Lemoyne Svendsen) starting from post-six (there was a scratch and post-positions were assigned), the race clearly appeared to come down to strategy.
"I really wasn't sure what I was going to do strategy wise, I wasn't sure at all - - it all depended upon what Franks Best was doing," said driver James Kennedy. "I knew, however, at worst, that I'd be second - - but as far as winning - - that depended on what happened behind the gate."
Firing out for the lead while Franks Best lagged the start one-length, Putoneonnetformom got an easy lead into the first-turn, but a looped out of the gate D Man (Jim Lackey) was front-end minded.
"I had multiple thoughts - - should I leave him out there or let him go. Since I wasn't sure, I did hang him out there a little because I was weighing my choices as to what to do."
Pushing a little at the quarter-mile pole, time in :30, D Man wasn't able to clear until the three-eighths mile pole. Was this because of Kennedy or because D Man wasn't going forward enough?
"It was a little bit of both. I was kind of pushing and he was just kind of hanging out there - - but I wanted him to clear because if he stayed out there he'd end up battling and killing my horse."
Content to sit in the pocket and not reclaim, Kennedy, at the half-mile juncture, timed in 1:00, was prepared to make sure there were no problems.
"I was just watching my back for anybody to come to possibly lock me in - - which I wasn't going to let happen."
Pulling the pocket at the five-eighths mile marker while Franks Best advanced very quickly up the inside after sitting in at the 9-16ths mile pole, Kennedy edged up his in-hand charge to the three-quarters, but now had company at the three-quarter mile station, timed in 1:30.
"I didn't have to look back, I knew it was Franks Best breathing hard down my neck and I was nervous because I know he can out-kick me down the lane. Having said that, I was coming real slow and wasn't using my horse because I was saving everything for the end."
Taking a parked out lead at the head of the stretch, then drawing clear seconds later when his earplugs were popped and when urged, the seven year-old was under an all-out drive at the seven-eighths with Franks best only 1-1/2 lengths back.
"I just said to myself, 'Keep driving son because you can beat him.' I went to work on him and he was responding every step of the way. In deep-stretch I thought I had it because Franks Best didn’t look like he could get to my horses head and he didn't - - he got to his neck and that was as far as he got."
Refusing to let Franks Best reach, the gelding won ($3.80) by a long neck. Bred & owned by Jeff, Gerald & Diana Cimini, the Rocky Stidham trainee stopped the timer at 1:58.2, equaling a seasonal mark. Franks Best has his three-race win streak come to and end while finishing in second, and D Man finished 4-1/2 lengths farther back, in third.
"It was a fun race that was a little challenging because I had to do a little bit of thinking - - but it was a great win," finished Kennedy.
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Friday (October 28) & Saturday (October 29) night at 6:00 p.m. (PDT). On Friday, Cal Expo offers free parking & free admission after 4:30 p.m. Also on Friday, Cal Expo offers Happy Hour between 6:00-8:30 p.m., where $2 Beer, $2 Wine & $2 Buffalo Wings an order is offered.
On Saturdays, Cal Expo offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on both the Early & Late Pick-4 with the Late Pick-4 having a $10,000 gross guaranteed pool. Additionally, for winning wagers made on the Late Pick-4 online at TwinSpires.com or on track at Cal Expo, a bonus payout of 17.65 percent of the gross Late Pick 4 mutuel payoff will be paid.
On Saturday (October 29), the entire 12-race Breeders Crown card from Woodbine card can be wagered on at Cal Expo as well as at all California wagering outlets. Many of the top pacers and trotters will be in action on this outstanding program with $6 million in purses on the line. There will also be a pair of $100,000-guaranteed Pick 4 pools. First-race post-time is 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time.
Additionally this Saturday, there will be second leg action of the Bronte Epilepsy Research Foundation Amateur Series. The Amateur series is being sponsored by Lou Pena and some of his owners. Between their generosity and the driver fees, a total of $7,000 beyond the purse monies will go to the Bronte Foundation. In addition, driver George Brennan has pledged an additional donation that will significantly augment that figure.