For Opinion, click here for View from the Racetrack Grandstand

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Cal Expo Sunday Barn Notes

Cantoria proving to be very photogenic
By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness  

If you’re keeping track, when Cantoria proved a punctual favorite last week it was the seventh time at this meeting that the trotting mare has put in a winner’s circle appearance.

A 4-year-old daughter of Mr Cantab, Cantoria goes about her business for the partnership of Mark Benvenga, Larry Barker, Steve Wiseman and Kathy Plested with Wiseman doing the reining and training.

The bay miss has shown a preference for sitting back and playing the role of stalker and doing her best work in the stretch, which was the case in last week’s two and a quarter length decision in a lifetime best 1:58 clocking.

Nobody is happier about the development of the sidewheeler than co-owner Benvenga. “It’s been awesome to see her grow up since we purchased her last summer in Minnesota,” he said. “She’s filled out nicely, but still has a ways to go and is learning to be a real nice horse.”

As mentioned earlier, Cantoria hails from the Steve Wiseman shedrow, with that barn currently atop the standings at this meet. “Steve and Kathy have done a wonderful job with her, just as they have with all the horses,” Benvenga noted.

Cantoria gets a pretty stern test in Sunday’s fourth race, as she moves up to the Open III level and is taking on some tough customers in Big Baller, Franks Best, Commandergalleon and Winsome Kelly.

A reminder there are two wagers here that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5, which features a 25 percent minor pool payout; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which comes with a $40,000-guaranteed gross pool on Saturdays and $25,000 on Sundays.

Trotting Sire Stakes lures My Little Susie

A $15,000 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old trotters is the main attraction at Cal Expo Sunday night with My Little Susie looking to pick up another trophy.

The Sire Stakes will go as the fifth event on a 12-race card under the banner of Watch and Wager LLC. The action is set to get underway at 5:05 p.m. .

My Little Susie is a 3-year-old daughter of Claudius Augustus who competes forA Piece Of The Action LLC, takes her lessons from Gene Vallandingham and will once again be guided by Chip Lackey from the cozy rail slot.

The promising performer won three of her 10 starts last year, with a 1:59 mark over the Red Mile in Lexington. She made her seasonal debut finishing third here in the Alan Kirschenbaum, had a tough trip at next asking and then accounted for the first Sire Stakes for this group two weeks ago.

Sent off the 9-5 second choice in that affair, My Little Susie sat a tracking trip to the stretch, ignited when Lackey asked the question and won going away by two lengths while lowering her lifetime standard to 1:58 1/5 in the process.

Kissed the Boys was runner-up that evening after making breaks in her previous two outings. She accounted for the Alan Kirschenbaum Trot at 33-1 in an eye-catching debut back on January 17 for her owner/breeders Team Desomer and Steve Desomer will as usual be in the sulky.

Lodi Bank Robber is looking to make amends after settling for third in the February 14 stakes after carving out all the fractions. Mary Harris and Pierre Girard own and bred the New Age Hanover gelding, with Girard training and Luke Plano handling the lines. Completing the field are Sixstringsandapick, Delta Breezeoflodi and CW Raisinette.