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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Cal Expo Saturday Advance

Shark Festival is on the attack
By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Shark Festival has rattled off back-to-back impressive victories here for Medinah Racing and Scott Ehrlich, with Kathie Plested and Steve Wiseman taking care of business on the training and driving end.

“Medinah Racing is the partnership of George McChrystal and Mark Kremen,” related Ehrlich. “We’re all Chicago born and raised guys who met up at the Chicago harness tracks. For me and George, it was in the early 80s, which also included Fairmount Park.”

After a couple of needed efforts to start off the meet, Shark Festival has been all Jaws as she has done the stalk-and-pounce to perfection for Wiseman while working her way closer to the $100,000 mark in career earnings.

“George and I watch races from everywhere in hopes of finding a diamond in the rough,” Scott explained. “One of the tracks George was watching was Century Downs in Alberta. What caught his eye was her breeding, her ‘look of a real horse’, her spurts of talent and that she was using an older race bike.

“He called me one day asking me to watch the replays of her most recent races. After I did, we felt if he we could obtain her and get her into the Wiseman stable and their program, that between Steve and Kathie and their fine crew, that would be a good fit.

“Since we’ve gotten her, especially here at Cal Expo, she’s gained quite a bit of weight and really looks the part. And from that has come two straight wins. We know she gets her toughest test stepping up to the filly and mare Open this week, but she did win the filly and mare Open at Century over some quality mares and did it handily in first-over fashion.”

Ehrlich added, “We have high hopes for her.” So far, so good.

Open Trot brings out Silverlode, Flameon

A $5,500 Open Trot that finds Silverlode and Flameon continuing their rivalry and a $6,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace that has lured some very sharp distaffers headline Saturday night’s program at Cal Expo.

There will be 12 races on the Watch and Wager LLC card with first post set for 6:10 p.m. In addition to the two Opens, there will be an elimination heat for next week’s final of the Robert Staats Series.

The Open Trot will go as the third race on the evening with Silverlode doing his work from the assigned outside post in the field of five, while arch-rival Flameon departs from just to his inside. Zoraze, Windsun Galaxe and Winsom Kelly complete the cast.

Silverlode and Flameon have met three times at this meeting, with the former capturing the first and third meetings which were contested over off tracks, while Flameon prevailed in between those two races on a fast track.

Silverlode is a 7-year-old homebred daughter of British Sterling and the Website mare Charlotte’s Web who is owned by Desomer Stables, takes her lessons from Vickie Desomer and will have Steve Wiseman giving directions after Luke Plano did the honors in the first three outings at this session.

Flameon is 6-year-old son of Angus Hall who carries the banner of Mark Anderson with Gordie Graham the conditioner and Chip Lackey handling the lines. He is looking for his 11th win on the year from 21 trips to the post and will be drawn inside Silverlode for the first time at the meeting.

The Filly and Mare Open brings out a solid field of eight with Strings, Shark Festival, Directing Traffic and Stable Eyes among the major players in what shapes up as a very interesting contest.