By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness
While owners Richard Morita and David Yamada suffered a tough beat last Saturday when One And Only was nailed on the line in the Open Pace after doing all the heavy lifting from the 10 post, it was smiles all around a couple of hours later when their veteran Split Ticket got the job done in a conditioned affair.
The 10-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight, who like One And Only is conditioned by Lino Pacheco and was handled by Luke Plano, recently went over the $200,000 earnings plateau and sports a 1:50 mark that was established four years ago.
“It's always a thrill for Dave and I to see the ‘old man’ Split Ticket getting a chance to strut his stuff,” Morita related. “At 10, time is catching up with him, but in his mind I think he still believes he’s the King.
“It’s amazing that he is still racing considering he had stem cell surgery on both his front legs early in his 3-year-old campaign about three months after we bought him at the Meadowlands sale. Ticket has been responsible for most of our success today, since he basically carried the barn and made enough money to buy other horses. Every win he gets is a special thrill.”
As for One And Only, he is having a solid season with five wins from his eight trips to the post, including a 1:52 career-best performance, and he’s on the verge of reaching a $100,000 bank account.
“One and Only has been as tough as nails all year,” his co-owner beamed. “He has met all comers, and in his earlier losses, he was gapped way behind the leaders and had no chance.
“With the 10 hole, you can't leave every week. As you saw this last time, they pushed hard from the inside and kept him out going :26 4/5 to the quarter. Even with that, he put in a terrific effort. Congratulations to Phantom Dan, who raced very well from the back, as did Doc Zippy.”
While Morita lauds the pacers, he is also quick to point out the human connections. “Credit to our trainer Lino Pacheco for keeping our horses in great shape all year long. We've also been fortunate to have Luke driving for us, as he certainly knows Split Ticket the best, and has always driven One And Only very well.”
Doc’s Zippy, Native’s Revenge headline co-features
Doc’s Zippy, third in a blanket finish in last week’s Open Pace; and Native’s Revenge, a well-regarded invader from the Bob Johnson barn, are top billed in Saturday evening’s co-features at the Watch and Wager LLC meet at Cal Expo.
A 13-race card is on tap with first post at 5:45 p.m. Doc’s Zippy will suit up for the eighth race on the program, while Native’s Revenge makes his California debut in the following event.
Native’s Revenge is a 4-year-old son of Allamerican Native who takes his lessons from Bob Johnson and will have Mooney Svendsen giving directions. Last season he established his lifetime mark when he toured the five-eighths Pocono Downs oval in a snappy 1:51 4/5 tour.
The Johnson representative should be nice and tight after last weekend’s qualifier, where he blitzed the field by 16 lengths with a 1:54 1/5 clocking. An early lead of three and a half-lengths turned to nearly 10 on the final bend and he came to the wire with 16 lengths on his nearest rival, the $347,000 earner Pacinello.
Doc’s Zippy was third while beaten only a neck by One And Only and Phantom Dan in last week’s Open and looks nicely spotted in his race for owner Toman Enterprises Ltd, trainer George Anthrop and driver Patrick Galbraith.
Split Ticket returned to his winning ways last week and this classy 10-year-old looks dangerous right back to loom the main threat. He races for Richard Morita and David Yamada with Lino Pacheco training and Luke Plano at the helm.
The son of Bettor’s Delight enters this weekend with $205,000 on his card and a 1:50 standard that was set five years ago. He made every pole a winning one in last week’s 9-1 score and has that back class to draw upon.