Kennedy’s tracking tactics net three-bagger
By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness
James Kennedy recorded a consecutive driving hat trick here last Friday, guiding his own trainee I’m An Athlete to victory in the Open II pace, followed by a score behind Scooters Lady and then completing the triple with The Bearded Lady in the featured Annette Funicello Final.
Interestingly, all three wins came from a tracking journey and each race saw Kennedy coming away at the end while rewarding the chalkplayers on each occasion.
I’m An Athlete races for Ron Rettig-Zeucchi and was getting come class relief after racing in the Open I in his previous three outings here; Scooter Lady is owned and trained by Marco Rios and was graduating in her eighth start; while The Bearded Lady put in her patented late move to prove clearly best in the Funicello at 60 cents on the dollar.
“I’ve had I’m An Athlete for two years now and while it helped to get some class relief, he went a real strong mile. It should give him some confidence when we move back up to the top level.
“I’d only driven Scooters Lady once before and she gave me a real good finish that night, so I thought we had a great chance with the right trip. It worked out for her to be second over and she delivered.”
Kennedy kept the momentum going with The Bearded Lady in the evening’s feature while making it two in the row with the daughter of Mach Tree. “Let’s just say she’s unique, because she is very mouthy and needs the softest touch possible.
“If you noticed, I kept her off the gate so she would be able to relax, because she isn’t nearly as good on the front end. She gave me another strong finish and was pretty impressive.”
Flameon, Silverlode battle in main event
Flameon and Silverlode, who have been trading punches at the head of the class, get another chance to settle the score in Friday night’s featured $6,000 Open Trot.
A 13-race card will be presented under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. The headliner will go as the third event on the evening.
Flameon and Silverlode have been assigned the outside two posts in the field of six, respectively, with Chip Lackey once again guiding the former while Silverlode will again have the services of Luke Plano.
The hard-hitting pair have met twice at this young stand, with Silverlode going coast-to-coast in the October 29 Open and holding safe by a head, while Flameon prevailed by a neck after a first-over trip in the most recent top dance two weeks ago.
Flameon is a 6-year-old son of Angus Hall who is owned by Mark Anderson and hails from the Gordie Graham barn, while Silverlode is Desomer Stables homebred daughter of British Sterling.
Rounding out the field, from the rail out, are the Kennedy Lindsey-conditioned Kickinitwithkohler; The Lehigh Legend from the Gene Vallandingham shedrow; the Sparky Clarke-trained Zoraze; and Windsun Galaxie, who takes his lessons from Lino Pacheco.
There are two wagers here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5, which is conducted on the first five races of the night; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which is decided on races 9 through 12 on Friday.