For Opinion, click here for View from the Racetrack Grandstand

Friday, May 10, 2013

CalX1 - Friday Barn Notes


 By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness 

After doing all the heavy lifting in last week’s gathering at the head of the class and yielding to a second-over One And Only, Bruce Clarke will attempt to turn the tables in Saturday’s featured Open Pace with the talented Fine Fine Fine.

The 5-year-old carries the banner of Patricia Waldeck, Deborah Tull and his driver/trainer Clarke and has the credentials to be a top performer being a son of Cam’s Card Shark out of the Western Hanover mare Marthas In Town.

Fine Fine Fine sports a 1:51 4/5 mark that was set at Pompano as a 3-year-old and was a sharp winner at the Open II level here on April 26 before last week’s game first-over mile that yielded that exacta completion behind heavily-favored One And Only.

“We own the dam and I’ve had him since he was a yearling,” Clarke related. “He’s a real nice horse, but he’s done his best racing back East. When he set his mark at Pompano, it was just a couple of ticks off the track record for a 3-year-old gelding, and he has a 1:51 win at Pocono. He’s also got a full brother who has a 1:49 mark.”

Pompano and Pocono are both five-eighths tracks, leading to an obvious question. “I do think he’s a little better on a five-eighths than a mile,” Bruce responded. “That said, he has come back with two real good races since we gave him a little break in January. I actually thought we had a chance to beat One And Only going in last week, but he ended up getting a nice second-over trip behind us.”

It should be noted that this time around, Fine Fine Fine moves from the rail to the No. 2 slot, while racing secretary Fred Kuebler has assigned One And Only the tricky 10 post as he attempts the hat trick. Can Clarke and Fine Fine take advantage? Stay tuned.



One And Only, fresh from back-to-back victories at the top rung, will be asked to do his work from the demanding No. 10 post position as he looks to keep the momentum going in the $6,000 Open Pace on Saturday night at the Watch and Wager LLC meet at Cal Expo.

A 5-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight out of the Western Hanover mare Gallie Too, One And Only carries the banner of Richard Morita and David Yamada, takes his lessons from Lester Smith and will once again have Luke Plano giving directions.

In his April 26 decision, the bay performer was four lengths back as the field made the swing for home, ignited when the question was asked in the lane and flew late to win going away by two and three-quarter lengths. The 1:53 1/5 final clocking shaved a tick off his career standard.

In the most recent tour, One And Only was sent off as the 1-2 choice and did not disappoint his many backers. He was reversed early, rallied with cover to the lane and ignited when it counted for Plano to prevail by a length and three-quarters in another solid mile.

Fine Fine Fine took the measure of a softer group two back and then completed the exacta behind One And Only in last week’s gathering at the top rung. The 5-year-old son of Cam’s Shark races for Patricia Waldeck, Deborah Tull and Bruce Clarke with Clarke doing the driving and training. He sports a 1:51 4/5 mark from two years ago and is helped by his main rival having the handicapped 10 slot for this go-around.

Completing the field are Mobil Big John with Gene Vallandingam guiding from the rail; Split Ticket, Chip Lackey; Gold Deuce for Steve Wiseman; Emery Vern, Clint Warrington Jr.; and At Last with Mooney Svendsen at the controls. There are 14 races Saturday with the headliner set as the penultimate event on the program.


There are three wagers offered here at Cal Expo with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate and a carryover provision. They are the 50-cent Pick 5; the $1 Pick 4 with a $20,000-guaranteed pool on Fridays and a $25,000 guarantee on Saturdays; and the 10-cent High 5 on the finale.