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Thursday, May 23, 2013




By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Cal Expo is giving a tip of the cap to Alan Horowitz Saturday night, naming the closing-night main event for the executive secretary of the California Harness Horsemen’s Association. He will be leaving the post at the end of the month after 36 years of service. 

Horowitz had been an owner for some seven years when he joined the board of directors of the CHHA in the early 70s, and two years later he was hired as the executive director of the organization. He held that position until 2005, then returned as the executive director in 2010.

“I guess you could describe the job as everything from chief cook and bottle washer to administrator,” Alan related. “We represent the owners, trainers, breeders and drivers and are involved in the negotiation of all contracts. It’s often been an uphill battle for harness racing in California, but it’s a testament to our horsemen that we’ve survived.”

Horowitz, who has a home in Boise, is looking forward to his retirement. “I will be getting an apartment in Los Angeles and plan to spend a lot of time with my new granddaughter,” he said.


Doc’s Zippy, who made every pole a winning one at most recent asking, gets the top billing in Saturday night’s $4,200 Alan Horowitz Retirement Pace, which will bring down the curtain on the Watch and Wager LLC harness meeting at Cal Expo.

First post for the 14-race card is 6:10 p.m., with the headliner going as the fifth event on the evening and a ceremony honoring outgoing CHHA executive secretary Horowitz to follow. This is also fan appreciation night, with $1 beer, wine and hot dogs.

Doc’s Zippy is 4-year-old son of Cams Eclipse from the Jate Lobell mare Awesome Viking who is owned by Toman Enterprises, takes his lessons from George Anthrop and will again be handled by Gene Vallandingham. He will be one of three Anthrop trainees in the cast, with Mobil Big John and Sea Bug also representing the shedrow.

Doc’s Zippy had been knocking on the door with runner-up finishes behind Gold Deuce and Emery Vern when he suited up for his most recent assignment on May 11 and this was sent off the 8-5 second choice from the cozy rail slot. Vallandingham took command at the half and was never threatened thereafter, reporting to the wire with two lengths to spare in a 1:53 3/5 tour.

Mobil Big John gives Anthrop another big look at the outcome. The 6-year-old, who also carries the Toman Enterprises banner, has been mixing it up with some solid company of late and is a nice fit under these conditions. He was a 1:53 victor last season at Colonial and is looking for his second snapshot on the year.

Ra Ra Steven is coming off a third-place finish behind Rich Native at this level last weekend and helps making things interesting. The Little Steven homebred races for Billie Schwartz, David Rachford and Junior Wilkinson with Wilkinson the conditioner and Rich Wojcio handling the lines. His most recent score came with a slightly softer group on April 13 off a stalking journey.

Rounding out the field are the mares Hi Fidelity, who hails from the Rick Cisco barn and leaves from the cozy rail post; and La Madawna De Rosa, who has the No. 2 slot for trainer Robert Bell.

This being closing night of the meeting, there will be mandatory payouts in all wagers. A reminder that the 50-cent Pick 5, $1 Pick 4 and 10-cent High 5 all feature a reduced takeout of 16 percent, with the Pick 4 coming attached with a $25,000-guaranteed gross pool.


Plans call for the trotters and pacers to return to action here with Saturday racing in October, pending CHRB approval.