Sunday, November 13, 2011 - by Scott Ehrlich, Publicity – Cal Expo
Two $15,000 California Sires Stakes at Cal Expo were in the Saturday night (November 12) spotlight, on which Shamderock & Im So Sulky continued their dominance.
In the event for the pacers, a non-wagering race held prior to the betting card, Shamderock made it ten for ten in Sires Stakes appearances over his first two years of racing.
Starting from post-position three in the field of five, trainer Luke Plano chose not to leave. Was this the plan?
"I didn't have an official plan as my horse is pretty handy," said Plano. "But with Spoons (Steve Wiseman) pushing the gate pretty hard - - I elected to duck and see how things panned out."
Coming away in third, Plano was on the move past a snappy opening stanza.
"I figured off the quarter in :27.4, and with Spoons not being as his best in his last Sires Stake - - I thought Steve would really be looking for a breather, so I elected to move to the front."
Heading toward the lead, but with Spoons going on to stretch him, Shamderock didn't make the point until after 7-16ths of a mile into a :56.1 opening half-mile. Was Plano concerned that his charge had to pace a :27.3 second panel?
"I thought it was a hard used quarter to get to the top and it concerned me a little because I didn't expect Spoons to be pushing the front that hard."
With the field now on the final-turn, Plano chose not to shut down the engine.
"I had my horse pretty much in gear at that point and figuring he's a better horse than these, I kept him pacing in the third-quarter as I didn't want to take a breather and put anyone else in the race."
Pacing a :28.1 third-quarter while reaching the three-quarter mile station in 1:24.2, Plano's foes wouldn't keep to the plan.
"He still felt okay at the three-quarters, but even though I went the fast third-quarter, I felt that I didn't shake anyone, and I still had some concerns."
With the field now at the head of the lane, Plano's charge briefly forced him to be alert.
"When we straightened out, I whacked him and he bobbled a little because I think I surprised him. I had to grab him and he may have lost some momentum, but once he gathered himself, he picked right back up where he left off, and that was in high gear."
Not being urged from there, but being driven, the gelding showed his class.
"He fought right down to the wire and I felt he kept everyone at bay."
Bred & owned by D & E Racing, Shamderock held pretty firm to win by 1-1/4 lengths, in 1:54.3, his 13th win on the year. Spoons was a nice second, and Badger Creek (Harold Herrera) finished a good third, another half of one-length back.
"He raced hard, he never gave in, and he raced well - - I was happy with him,” finished Plano, who had four winners on the program, giving nine triumphs over the last two cards.
In the event for the trotters, also a non-wagering mile, Im So Sulky made it seven for eleven over the last two seasons.
Making an easy lead from post-one in the field of five for driver Steve Wiseman, the gelding trotted a :30.1 opening quarter, then a very easy :31.3 second-quarter while reaching the half-mile juncture, timed in 1:01.4. Getting well rated in a 31.4 third-quarter, Im So Sulky was more than prepared for the challenge of the pocket sitting Final Chapter (Rich Wojcio) when that opponent pulled at the three-quarter mile pole, timed in 1:33.3. Going on with 3-16ths of a mile to go when Final Chapter got to his wheel, Im So Sulky drew clear and put Final Chapter away with an eighth of a mile to go while Wiseman's whip rested on his shoulder - - then coasted home for a very easy score while totally wrapped up.
Bred in part by owner/trainer Alan Anderson, Im So Sulky, in repeating, won by 4-1/2 lengths, in 2:03.1. Final Chapter finished in second, and Lodi Nickolus (Pierre Girard) finished two-lengths farther back, in third.
"He got his own way on the front-end and was tough to beat," stated Wiseman. "It was a very easy race for him and he's getting better and better each week.
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (November 17) at 5:30 p.m. (PST) and continues on Friday (November 18) & Saturday (November 19) 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.
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.