Freshmen fillies, on both gaits, were featured at Cal Expo on Friday night (November 18) in a pair of $15,000 California Sires stakes.
In the division for the pacers, Diva Las Vegas "appeared" to be a longshot, but pilot Steve Wiseman disagreed.
"I thought it was a wide open event," said Wiseman. "But with the way my filly won her qualifier last week - - I thought I had a little bit of a shot - - otherwise I wouldn't have left out of there like I ended up doing."
Firing out and getting the lead after a sixteenth of a mile, Wiseman pushed the pace some before yielding for the pocket to Pismo Beach (Bruce Clarke) after a quarter, timed in :29.1.
"I was sitting right up where I wanted to be."
With the pace now slowing up, Diva Las Vegas had her nose right on the helmet of Clarke through a first-half mile, timed in :59.1.
"I was quite content right where I was and just figured it would be a sprint from the head of the lane home. And with the headwind in the stretch - - I wanted to be up close."
With Pisno Beach and Twentyone Guns (Lemoyne Svendsen) now hooking up in a duel on the final-turn, a confident Wiseman and his charged eventually moved to second-over position just to the three-quarter mile station, timed in 1:28.2.
"I thought I had a good shot because when I came out on Mooney's (Lemoyne Svendsen) back, my filly had a good hold of me."
Wasting no time in moving three-wide very late in the final-turn, Wiseman had good reason.
"I knew I had Pismo Beach and Twentyone Guns put away, I just had to see who was coming from behind."
Moving fast to the lead with less than 3-16ths of a mile to go and going on to the seven-eighths mile pole when urged once, Wiseman now had to deal with Little Anna Mae (Tim Maier), who was gaining while only 1-3/4 lengths behind.
"She fought on when Little Anna Mae came on and raced very good through the stretch to hold her off."
Holding on late while being driven, the daughter of Hi Ho Silverheel's-Prettylittlerebel won ($25.20) by a neck. Bred in part by owner/trainer Denise Maier in partnership with Wayne Knittel, Diva Las Vegas stopped the timer at 1:58.2, establishing a lifetime mark. The Denise Maier trained Little Anna Mae finished in second, and Pismo Beach finished 4-1/2 lengths farther back, in third.
"Denise said she was getting better each week, I thought she was getting better each week, and it was a very good race for her," finished Wiseman.
In the division for the trotters, this a non-betting affair held prior to the wagering card, Vari Forgetful won her fourth straight, all Sires Stakes, this event in a walkover. Bred & owned by Jack Coffey, the Bob Johnson trained youngster trotted fractions for Bruce Clarke of :31, 1:01, 1:31 while on her way to a 2:01.1 final time.
Winners-Over pacers went at it for a purse of $4,500, on which Myra's Hi Ho got the hat-trick.
Cutting out fractions for Jim Lackey of :28.1, :57.3 & 1:27.2, the five year-old was game down the lane to win ($12.20) by one-length. Owned by Hank Wieseneck & Marty Garey in partnership with trainer Bob Johnson, the gelding paced the mile in 1:55.2. Shamderock (Luke Plano) finished in second and pushed his career earnings in just two years of racing over $100,000, and Cycle Power (Steve Wiseman) finished nicely late to be third, another three-quarters of one-length farther back.
Live racing continues at Cal Expo on Saturday (November 19) at 6:00 p.m. (PST). On Saturday, Cal Expo offers free admission, as well as free preferred & general parking after 4:30 p.m. Also on Saturday, its Dollar Night, on which hot-dogs; beer, soda, and wine will be sold for one dollar from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Cal Expo now offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on all Pick 4’s (Thursday/Friday nights in partnership with the USTA Strategic Wagering Committee). In addition, all Late Pick 4’s will come with a $10,000-guaranteed pool. On Saturday night, there will be a 0% takeout on successful Late Pick 4 tickets made at Cal Expo or at Twinspires.com.