With his victory in last Saturday night’s opener, V Mack became the first six-time winner at the meet for trainer George Reider and pilot Luke Plano.
The 4-year-old Iowa-bred son of Voracious Hanover is owned by Reider in partnership with Dave and Rob Haness and has been putting both his gameness and versatility on display during the course of the opening weeks of this stand.
“What a nice find this one was on the last night of racing in Minnesota,” Reider explained. “I split a horse transportation truck with Luke Plano coming back to California and there was one spot left on it.
“Nolan Van Otterloo is one of the mainstay breeders out there and told me he had V Mac for sale, so I went over to the barn to check him out. I liked what I saw and purchased him. Dave Haness was a little surprised that I bought the horse so fast, but he believes in me and I believed in the horse.”
V Mack won with Plano at the controls on opening night, had traffic troubles at next asking and was unable to threaten, and has since rattled off five straight victories while just missing his 1:54 4/5 mark in a couple of those scores.
“Luke says a horse like Mack helps in races that don’t necessarily set up the way you plan. He’s just so versatile, and whenever you call on him he’s there and you can use him a couple of times during a race.”
V Mack will make his next appearance in Saturday night’s 10th race. With Plano having a horse from his barn in the line-up, veteran Gerry Longo will be at the controls this time around.
Robert Gordon Final gets marquee treatment
The $9,200 Robert Gordon Final for pacers holds the spotlight at Cal Expo Saturday night, with last week’s elimination winners Outlawsparkthewind and Dickies Motel heading the cast.
A 13-card is on tap with a first post of 6:15. In addition to the Gordon final, there is a $5,000 Open I Pace and a $5,000 Open for pacing fillies and mares. The racing action will continue Sunday evening with a 4:45 starting time.
Getting back to the Robert Gordon, Outlawsparkthewind is a 4-year-old Canadian-bred son of Blue Burner who comes into this weekend’s assignment having posed for pictures following four of his last five trips to the post. He’s owned by Drew Anderson, hails from the Bob Johnson barn and will be handled by William Hernandez.
Outlawsparkthewind kicked off his hot streak with a tally in a elimination for the Bob Staats Pace, then finished sixth in the final after being hard-used early. Since that setback, he has rattled off three straight victories on the front end with Hernandez at the controls on each occasion.
Sent off the 8-5 second choice in last week’s Gordon elimination, the Anderson colorbearer went right to the top, set the fractions without challenge and came to the wire three-quarters of a length on the pocket-sitting favorite Crusin For You while completing a 1:55 3/5 tour.
Beginning with the Saturday, December 26 program, purses at Cal Expo will be raised by 10 percent across the board.
Ben Kenney, Cal Expo CFO said, “The purse pool was in good shape coming out of the last meet, with each live race up 19 percent over the previous season. This meet is off to a good start and the horsemen deserve this purse increase.”