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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Cal Expo Saturday Barn Notes

Little Emma targets first stakes trophy
By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

After settling for second in the first Sire Stakes for her division two weeks ago, Little Emma looks to correct that oversight in Saturday night’s second big-money dance for the 3-year-old pacing fillies.

A homebred daughter of Little Steven, Little Emma races for the partnership of breeders Rick and Marlene Thomas, Dave and Rob Haness and George Reider, with Reider doing the training. She comes off a sharp conditioned victory last weekend in the first teaming with Luke Plano that should set her up perfectly for Saturday’s main event.

“She’s got the right name, that’s for sure,” said Reider. “She’s very little, just like her dam, who was a hard-trying New Zealand mare that I trained for awhile for the Thomas family.

“She was a feisty little thing to break, and even though she’s little, she has a lot of power and spunk. She’s still learning, but she’s definitely getting better with each start. It’s interesting when you train down a baby and see the characteristics of the mother come through like they do with this filly.”

George added that while both Little Emma and her dam Elegant Emma were feisty on the racetrack, they were both complete sweethearts around the barn.

“I’m happy for all the connections as far as how things have gone to this point, and I also want to give credit to Alex Alaga at Hawthorne Ranch, who does a breat job and brings them back looking fantastic.

“As far as the spring goes, it’s going to be exciting to see how much more she can progress. If I could ask for one thing, it would be that gets just a little taller,” Reider added with a smile.

Sophomore Sire Stakes get marquee treatment

A pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacers head the Saturday program, with Allmyx’sliveintexas and Midnight Adventure leading the colt division, while Little Emma and Moonstone Beach square off in the filly contest.

There will be a 12-race card on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with a first post of 6:15 p.m. The colt stakes will go as the third event on the evening, while the filly stakes will be contested as a non-betting race prior to the regular program.

Looking at the stakes for the males, Allmyx’sliveintexas won the initial stakes for this group on February 13 over Midnight Adventure, who was the 4-5 favorite that evening.
The former is a homebred son of Hi Ho Silverheel’s who races for Wayne and Rod Knittel, is conditioned by Bob Johnson and will once again have Mooney Svendsen guiding.

Sent off the 9-5 second choice in that first Sire Stakes, Allmyx’sliveintexas was used early for the lead by Svendsen, was covered up on the backside, then came with a nice kick in the stretch to win going away by a length and a half in a sharp 1:54 3/5 performance.

Midnight Adventure is a son of Kent’s On Nuke who is owned and was bred by Mark Anderson and Debra McCarthy, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and has James Kennedy back at the controls. He accounted for the Lonnie Beck Series finale on January 30.

Moonstone Beach captured the first stakes get-together for the sophomore pacing fillies for the team of owner/breeders Wayne and Rod Knittel, trainer Bob Johnson and pilot Mooney Svendsen. She rallied with cover that night and proved a punctual 3-5 choice.

Little Emma was her most immediate victim in that mile, but came back to win a conditioned event last weekend in a solid come-from-behind effort. George Reider trains the Little Steven offspring and co-owns along with her breeders Rick and Marlene Thomas and Dave and Rob Haness and Luke Plano guides. Plain Awesome completes the cast with James Kennedy in the sulky.