By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness
A $5,600 Open 2 Pace is the featured attraction Saturday night, as the curtain falls on the winter/spring Watch and Wager LLC meeting at Cal Expo.
“We want to thank the horsemen and the fans for their support,” said General Manager Chris Schick. "We look forward to returning in October for our third year of racing and are planning to implement some exciting new things, including a Jackpot Pick Six.”
I’m An Athlete gets top billing in the main event. The 4-year-old son of Art Major is owned by Ronald Retting-Zucchi with Gretchen Smith the conditioner and Tim Maier handling the lines.
The hard-hitting gelding has posed for pictures following four of his 18 appearances on the season. His most recent victory came in an Open 3 event on April 11, where he prevailed by two and a quarter lengths with Patrick Galbraith at the controls and lowered his lifetime mark to 1:53 2/5 in the process.
Since that outing, I’m An Athlete has had to settle for a second and a pair of thirds, including a show finish behind Shax in last week’s Open Handicap Pace. He should be very much at home in this line-up.
Taking him on are Lady’s Art with Chip Lackey’ Lifetime Louie, David Siegel; Gold Duece for Gene Vallandingham; Scarboro Hanover; Silver Spir, Sean Smithpeters; Split Ticket, Mooney Svendsen; Oompa Loompa; Laissez Moi Passer, Williams Hernandez; and Ideal Smile, Steve Wiseman.
A 13-race card is on tap with first post set for 5::45 p.m. with the feature going as the seventh event on the evening.
Axle taking his show on the road
Axle finished up this meet strongly for trainer George Reider, handling a conditioned field two weeks ago and then just missing to Sharpshootennorris in the Open Trot at most recent asking.
“He’s going to Running Aces in Minnesota along with 11 of his barnmates,” Reider said. “That’s where we claimed him last year and he won his first start for us back there. He really seems to like that track, because it’s five-eighths with a different surface.”
While assistant trainer Kim Hines was on site last year at Running Aces, George explained that he will be joining her for this summer’s assault. “I’ve decided to come along this year and hopefully we’ll have a good meet.”
In the meantime, Reider reports that he will have plenty of performers remaining in California and they will be eyeing the return of racing here in October.
“I’ve leaving a half-dozen 2-year-olds and some race horses at the farm here, and I’ll be back in August to resume their training schedule. I’m really looking to forward to coming back and getting them ready for the next meet.”
THIS IS CLOSING NIGHT, WHICH MEANS THERE WILL BE MANDATORY PAYOUTS IN ALL WAGERS. A REMINDER THERE IS A REDUCED 16 PERCENT TAKEOUT RATE ON THE 50-CENT PICK 5; THE 20-CENT PICK 4 AND THE 10-CENT HI-FIVE ON THE NIGHTCAP.