A mixture of conditioned and claimers distaffers, racing for a purse of $3,600, were featured at Cal Expo on Friday night (February 24), on which Frankly Scarlett won for the 28th time.
In advance of starting on the outside in the field of six, trainer Steve Wiseman knew what he needed and where he needed to be.
"I thought I had a decent shot if I got the right trip - - which as it turns out didn't happen," stated Wiseman. "As far as strategy, I figured Blue Note (Luke Plano), who hadn't raced since November 18, needed a start. So I figured I could leave to try to take a shot and get in front of her."
Leaving and tucking in fourth as the field just entered the first-turn, Wiseman didn't mind that he may have to sit, or come first-over.
"I was quite content with the intention of trying to flush out Majestic Lass (Lemoyne Svendsen)."
Remaining in the cleanup spot through a deliberate wind-aided second-quarter into a :58.3 first-half, Wiseman's plan needed some different bait.
"I was trying to get Mooney (Lemoyne Svendsen) to pull a couple of times to the half, but I couldn't get him to bite, so I figured I had to be first-up. I, however, wasn't really concerned because she felt pretty good and strong on the bit at that point."
Moving first-over to the five-eighths mile pole and pacing nicely, the eight year-old gained to the wheel of the pace-setting Sleigh Belle (Scott Cisco) to the three-quarter mile pole (1:28), thus prompting Cisco to pop the earplugs of his charge.
"I figured Sleigh Belle would be tough once we straightened out because I know her best game is in the lane - - which meant my mare would have to work hard to get by her. But my horse still felt pretty good at that point."
With Sleigh Belle leading and maintaining a 1-1/2 length lead in the stretch, Wiseman went to work on his mare at mid-stretch.
"She did everything I asked of her when I got after her, then really got going in the last sixteenth of a mile, which is her, because she likes to race, and she was able to get up in the last steps."
Surging late into a headwind, Frankly Scarlett got up at the wire to win ($6.60) by a half of one-length, while pacing a :27.3 final-quarter. Owned by Robert Bacon, the daughter of Little Steven-Romantic Music stopped the timer at 1:55.4. Sleigh Belle had to settle for the place honors, and Bewareofthisaffair (James Kennedy), who never had much room, finished 1-1/4 lengths farther back, in third.
"She's a tough old mare for the problems that she has and never ceases to amaze me. She fought all the way to the wire and raced super - - it was a very good race for her," finished Wiseman.
On Friday night, driver Lemoyne Svendsen not only started off the 15-race program with a winner behind Dudis Angel, but the triumph was his 2,700th career victory.
Live racing continues at Cal Expo on Saturday (February 25) at 6:00 p.m. (PST). On Saturday, Cal Expo offers Happy Hour from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on which Beer; Well Drinks & Wine are offered at $4 each, while Hotdogs, Fries & Sodas are offered at $2 apiece.
Cal Expo currently offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on all Pick 4’s (Friday nights in partnership with the USTA Strategic Wagering Committee). Beginning February 24, all Late Pick 4’s will now come with an increased $15,000-guaranteed gross pool. Also starting this weekend, the Friday Late Pick 4’s will offer a 0% takeout on all winning wagers made on track or at Twinspires.com, while the Saturday Late Pick 4 will be broadcast on TVG.