For Opinion, click here for View from the Racetrack Grandstand

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Cal Expo Saturday Advance

Chip Lackey maintains driving ambition
By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Chip Lackey comes into this week’s action with 3,524 wins and over $15 million in earnings, and the 64-year-old pilot has been adding nicely to those totals of late.

“It’s been a good year,” Lackey related. “I had to make a decision after the meet closed here last spring whether I was going to Minnesota or Chicago, and I decided on Chicago because I knew a good farm where I could take my horses.”

Lackey explained that for several years he stayed here during the break in racing to take care of his ill mother, who passed away in September of 2014. He spent last year’s “summer vacation” in Pennsylvania and had a very good session at Hawthorne this summer.

“I don’t want this to come off the wrong way, but I’ve always taken care of myself and have confidence in my skills,” Chip explained. “I took four horses when I went to Chicago and they did well. I was very pleasantly surprised with the way the meet went.”

In addition to driving as much as possible, Lackey has a half-dozen performers under his care here and is due to have some more ship in shortly from Indiana. “I still love it,” he added.


Now that Thanksgiving is over, how about feasting on the two reduced 16 percent takeout wagers offered each night on the trotting and pacing events here at Cal Expo.

The 50-cent Pick 5 is decided on the first five races of the evening, while the 20-cent Pick 4 will be conducted on Races 8 through 11 on Saturday’s program.  Jump right in, the pool is fine.

Open Pace brings out Windsong Jack

Windsong Jack, nailed on the wire in his most recent appearance at the top rung after carving out all the fractions, heads the cast for Saturday night’s $5,500 Open Pace.

The feature will go as the third on a 12-race that is conducted by Watch and Watch LLC and will get underway at 6:10 p.m.

A 6-year-old son of Santanna Blue Chip out of the Million Dollar Cam mare Milliondollarsmile, Windsong Jack is owned by Little Bapa LLC, takes his lessons from Gene Vallandingham and will once again have Mooney Svendsen in the sulky.

The dark-hued performer comes into this assignment with $624,000 in his bank account and a sparkling 1:49 2/5 mark that was established two years ago. He was making his first start since July when he suited up here on November 12 with a pair of solid qualifiers under his belt.

Sent off the 4-5 favorite that night, Windsong Jack set all the pace in that affair and was collared on the wire by Just Bettor, who will not be in the cast this time around. He will leave from the No. 3 post in the compact cast.

Barbarian was third behind Just Bettor and Windsong Jack in the most recent Open and looms large for owner Robert Orr, trainer Sparky Clarke and pilot Tony Succarotte. He was an impressive winner here opening weekend off a stalking journey and he has the No. 2 slot this weekend.

The field is completed by Stable Eyes, who leaves from the cozy rail slot for driver/trainer Tim Clevenger; American Venture, who calls the George Reider barn his home; and the James Kennedy reined-and-trained I’m An Athlete, who is back up in class after a victory last week.