For Opinion, click here for View from the Racetrack Grandstand

Friday, May 17, 2013

CalX1 - Friday Barn Notes

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

With her 11 trips to the charmed enclosure from 18 starts this season, Cherry Tree Nicole is tied as the winningest trotter in the nation going into this week’s action with only one performer of either gait sporting more victories.

The long-fused mare will attempt to add to her total when she suits up in Saturday night’s fourth race, where she will meet a familiar rival in Dreaming Of Amy. These two have been trading blows much of the season, with the latter snapping Cherry Tree Nicole’s three-race winning streak in last week’s clash.

A 7-year-old daughter of British Sterling out of the Cumin mare Yankee Reflection, Cherry Tree Nicole races for Tim and Denise Maier and has banked over $120,000 with a 1:57 4/5 standard while reporting to the wire first  in 50 of her 153 lifetime outings.

Meanwhile, Dreaming Of Amy has proven to be a solid claim by Kc C Carvalho and trainer Tim Brown and is eyeing her seventh win on the year from 17 attempts with regular pilot Luke Plano. She had some traffic trouble two weeks ago, then turned in a big mile last time to romp by two and a half-lengths in a lifetime-best 1:57 3/5 clocking.

“Both Dreaming Of Amy and Cherry Tree Nicole are real nice mares and kind of stand out with this group,” Plano related. “It’s really all about position and the trip. My mare is handier, because she can leave, while Cherry Tree Nicole can take an awful lot of air and gives you a real strong finish.”



Mobil Big John, who has been mixing it up with the likes of One And Only, Gold Deuce and Split Ticket in his last several appearances, gets some class relief and deserves the edge in Saturday night’s $3,400 pacing feature at Cal Expo. Fist post is set for 7:20 p.m.

Mobil Big John is a 6-year-old by On The Ribs Again who carries the banner of Toman Enterprises LTD, takes his lessons from George Anthrop and will once again have the services of Gene Vallandingham. He was a 1:53 victor at Colonial last season and has a 1:54 4/5 score here earlier in the meeting.

As mentioned earlier, the Anthrop trainee has been doing his recent work with some pretty tough rivals, with the last three outings coming at the Open I level where has been following One And Only and Gold Deuce home, respectively. He should be much more comfortable in this spot and will likely makes his presence felt no matter how things shake out early.

Mystery Card is fresh from a runner-up finish behind Doc’s Zippy under these conditions for owner/trainer/driver Clint Warrington Jr. The 5-year-old Alberta-bred son of As Promised has a 1:53 3/5 tally at this session and is looking to reconnect after posting two seconds and two thirds from his last four trips to the post.

Rich Native got the show money in that Doc’s Zippy affair last week and helps make things interesting. Steve Wiseman reins and trains the son of Allamerican Native for James Covemaker and he established his 1:54 1/5 career standard earlier at this session. He has been making some menacing noises and may be ready to get back to the charmed circle.

Ra Ra Steven had the tough No. 9 slot in last week’s outing and was never able to get into the action, but his best effort puts him right in the thick of things. The homebred son of Little Steven races for Billie Schwartz, David Rachford and Junior Wilkinson with Wilkinson the conditioner and Rich Wojcio in his usual spot in the sulky.

Rounding out the cast are Silver Spir, who will be handled by Mooney Svendsen; and Smiling Major, who has David Siegel at the helm. There is a 10-race card on tap Saturday night, with the feature going as the fifth event.



There will be no racing here on Friday, May 24, with closing night of the Watch and Wager LLC meet set for Saturday, May 25.