By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness
Robin Clements was a frequent visitor to the winner’s circle last Saturday, sending out Cheryls Surprise, Quality Sport and Serious Art for victories on the opening-night program.
Quality Sport and Serious Art both carry the banner of Ron and Tammy Wells, while Cheryls Surprise goes about her business for Benvenga Racing LLC, Tyler Wiseman and Kathie Plested.
All three pacers had been campaigning at Running Aces in Minnesota, with Mooney Svendsen guiding Cheryls Surprise and Serious Art, while Quality Sport prevailed with Nick Roland in the sulky.
“Serious Art came back from Aces, where he had done well with the bottom claimers,” Clements related. “He’s more effective on a mile track with a longer stretch as he’s more of a grinder.
“Quality Sport had a lot of bad luck back there this summer. He’s now back healthy and was very sharp in that race. I was happy that both horses were able to get a win on opening night for Ron and Tammy.”
Cheryls Surprise got the hat trick started by going coast-to-coast for Svendsen while returning $21.40 to her backers. “She was purchased this past spring here by Mark, Tyler and Kathie, knowing she could race at Aces and had raced there before,” Robin noted.
“She had a decent meet in Minnesota in the upper filly and mare conditions and she’s a rugged and tough mare, yet a diva in the barn. The crew did a great job for opening night and it showed in the results.”
Trotting, Pacing Opens head the marquee
A pair of $6,600 Open Handicaps headline the Saturday night program at Cal Expo, with Flameon getting top billing in the trotting event and Just Bettor looming a major player in the pacing contest.
A 14-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. There will two more weeks of Saturday-only racing, with the schedule expanding to Friday and Saturday cards beginning on November 11.
Flameon has been assigned the outside post in the field of seven for the Open Trot and comes into this assignment having captured nine of his 17 starts on the year. He is owned by Mark Anderson, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and will have Chip Lackey at the controls.
The 6-year-old son of Angus Hall set his career mark of 1:55 3/5 over this track last season and spent the past summer at Running Aces in Minnesota, where he did his work successfully at the head of the class. He posted a nice qualifying victory last weekend with Lackey guiding.
Just Bettor is a 6-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight who campaigns for A Piece of the Action LLC with Gene Vallandingham the conditioner and will have Mooney Svendsen handling the lines.
The gelding has won 21 of 122 lifetime appearances with $266,000 in his account and a 1:50 3/5 standard that was established over the five-eighths Dover Downs course two years ago. He posted a sharp 1:54 3/5 win over conditioned company last week and will be facing tougher now from the outside slot.
Saturday’s action will include a simulcast of the complete Breeders Crown program from The Meadowlands.