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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Cal Expo Saturday Advance

Mysharona Bluechip blazes the once-around
By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

The fastest mile of the meet belongs to Mysharona Bluechip, who made his Cal Expo debut a memorable one two weeks ago when he covered the journey here in a sparkling l:51 4/5 with Tony Succarotte in the sulky.

The 4-year-old pacing son of Rock N Roll Heaven is owned by A Piece Of The Action LLC and trained by Gene Vallandingham, and was coming in from the East where he had a 1:49 3/5 tour at Pocono Downs earlier in the season.

“He had trained giant and I expected that kind of mile from him,” Vallandingham related after the score. “Before the race, I told Tony that he just might be the best horse he’d ever sat behind, and he didn’t disappoint us.

“I can tell you one other thing, there’s a lot more where that came from and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Gene, who celebrated his 76th birthday in September, is currently training 30 performers and while he has over 3,500 victories in his career as a driver, he hasn’t seen evening action in the sulky for over a year and a half.

“I broke my hand and had it operated on, and it really hasn’t come back 100 percent,” Vallandingham explained. “To be honest, the training has become a full-time job so I don’t know if I’ll get back to driving as long as I have this many horses.”

Gene was asked if he gets more nervous watching a race from the sidelines, as opposed to be being in the bike. “I don’t get nervous,” he said without missing a beat. “If something happens and the horse ends up in trouble, it could have just as easily happened if I was driving.”

Mr. Pearl eyes encore in featured pace

Mr. Pearl, who overcame the No. 10 post to win at this level last week, heads the cast for Friday night’s $4,200 pacing feature.

There will be 13 races conducted under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10. p.m. The headliner goes as the 10th race on the evening with a full field set to face the starter.

Mr. Pearl is a 4-year-old son of Always A Virgin who races for A Piece Of The Action LLC with Gene Vallandingham training and James Kennedy once again handling the lines. He closed from last to win by a head with this group last weekend and leaves from the No. 7 slot for this assignment.

Prodigal checked in third that night and has to be respected for owner Mark Anderson, trainer Gordie Graham and pilot Mooney Svendsen. He was a 1:53 4/5 winner at Running Aces this summer.


Both the 20-cent Pick 4 and 50-cent Pick 5 here at Cal Expo feature a reduced 16 percent takeout rate, and looking at last Saturday night’s Pick 5 payout shows just how much value that equals.

The winners of the Pick 5 that kicked off the program were 6-5, 5-1, 9-5, 17-1 and 5-1, respectively, with each winning ticket returning a hefty $10,336 for the 50-cent investment.

Using the regular takeout rate, the payoff would have been $9,229, a difference of a cool $1,007 for each ticket holder. Now that’s value. The 50-cent Pick 5 will once again get the card started here Friday evening, while the 20-cent Pick 4 is decided on the penultimate four contests on the 13-race program.