Saturday, November 12, 2011 - by Scott Ehrlich, Publicity – Cal Expo
Sophomore ladies, on both gaits, were featured at Cal Expo on Friday night (November 11) in a pair of $15,000 California Sires stakes.
In the first division for the diagonally gaited specialists, Flea Flicker proved too tough.
Starting from post-five in the field of a half-dozen, was driver Rich Wojcio concerned that his filly hadn't raced in two weeks after breaking behind the gate in her last and spotting the field many lengths before coming back to be second?
"No, my biggest concern was getting away from the gate on the trot," stated Wojcio.
Floating out off the wings and tucking in second well after an eighth of a mile while being used a little bit, the pair sat in the pocket through first-half fractions of :29 & :59.4. Under whip-tap urging midway through the final-turn, then on the move with pretty good authority to the three-quarter mile pole, timed in 1:30.3, Wojcio had a logical explanation for the pull.
"I just didn't want to take a chance and get locked in."
Taking over the lead with less than 3-16ths of a mile to go, Wojcio would go to pretty good work on his charge at mid-stretch.
"I think once she's on the lead that she sort of loses her concentration - - so I had to keep her busy and keep her mind to what she was doing."
Under a drive until late, the daughter of Armbro Variable-Benn's Fire won ($4.60) pretty firmly by two-lengths. Bred, owned & trained by Mark Anderson, Flea Flicker stopped the timer at 2:00.2. The pace-setting Claim Jumper (Steve Desomer) finished in second, and Thatssomebracciola (Luke Plano) finished 5-3/4 lengths farther back, in third.
"She got the job done and put in an excellent effort. My thanks to Mark Anderson for letting me drive her," finished Wojcio.
In the division for the pacers, Dine N Wine was a solid victress.
Lagging the gate 2-1/2 lengths, yet leaving on the delay, driver Steve Wiseman had good reason.
Racetrack Diva (James Kennedy), Hi Fidelity (Scott Cisco) and Feetdon'tfailmenow (Jim Lackey) had all left fast and there was a big four-hole, so I went for it," said Wiseman.
Leaving quickly a sixteenth of a mile past the start, the duo dropped in fourth an eighth of a mile past the start into a :29 opening quarter. Getting flushed out first-over to the 7-16ths mile marker into a tepid pace, Wiseman simply wanted to give his filly a chance.
"I pulled because I didn't want to get locked in. Once I pulled I figured I could clear before we hit the turn - - and if that happened I would just take a shot from there."
Moving fast into a :59.3 first-half, Dine N Wine cleared to the point past the 9-16ths mile pole and continued to roll with a :28 third-quarter while reaching the three-quarter mile station, timed in 1:27.3.
"I thought I was sitting pretty at that point because she still had a lot of pace."
Under wheel-disc urging in the upper-stretch and opening up to the seven-eighths mile marker, Dine N Wine expanded her lead a little more at mid-stretch and wouldn't be caught in a no doubter.
"She was very strong down the stretch."
Bred & owned by the Desomer Stables and trained by Vickie Desomer, the daughter of Power Of Art-Bordeaux Franco N reported home a winner ($9.20) by 3-1/4 lengths, in 1:57. Whip And A Prayer (Rich Wojcio) finished in second, and Math Wiz (Lemoyne Svendsen) finished just a neck farther back, in third.
"She was very good and it was a very good race for her," concluded the meet's leading driver, who had a driving triple.
Also getting driver accolades is Luke Plano, who piloted five winners on the 12-race program.
Live racing continues at Cal Expo on Saturday (November 12) 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.
Beginning this week, all Pick 4’s on Thursday, Friday (both nights in partnership with the USTA Strategic Wagering Committee), and Saturday nights will feature a reduced 15 percent takeout rate, with the Late Pick on each of these programs coming with a $10,000-guaranteed gross pool. In addition, on Saturday nights there will be a 0% takeout rate on the Late Pick 4 for winning wagers made on track or at Twinspires.com.