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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Open Trot, Pace heading the marquee

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

A $5,500 Open Trot that rematches current divisional leaders Flameon and Silverlode and a contentious $5,500 Open Pace share the spotlight Friday night at Cal Expo.

There are 14 races on tap on the Watch and Wager LLC program with first post set for 6:10 p.m. The Open Pace is scheduled as the fifth race, while the Open Trot goes as the 13th event on the evening.

Flameon and Silverlode have been putting on quite a show here trading blows at the head of the trotting class, with each coming away with two victories from their four meetings. Three of those clashes were decided by a neck, a head, and last week by only a nose.

Flameon is a 6-year-old son of Angus Hall who is owned by Mark Anderson, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and will once again have the services of Chip Lackey while leaving from the assigned outside post in the field of five.

He was on the winning end of last week’s extremely close finish in the Open Trot, gamely prevailing after a first-over journey on a sloppy track. It was the 11th win on the season from 21 appearances for the Anderson colorbearer.

Silverlode is a 7-year-old homebred daughter of British Sterling who races for the Desomer Stables and has Steve Wiseman in the sulky while leaving from just inside her arch-rival. She has returned to the winner’s circle following six of her 18 trips to the post this year.

Completing the field are Zoraze, who will have the services of Tony Succorotte; Windsun Galaxe, to be guided by Mooney Svendsen; and Kickinitwithkohler, who leaves from the cozy rail slot with Luke Plano giving directions.

Reduced takeout wagers offer great value

Both the 20-cent Pick 4 and 50-cent Pick 5 here at Cal Expo featured a reduced 16 percent takeout rate, and looking at the Saturday December 3 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 $1,004 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 program.


Looking at the holiday schedule here at Cal Expo, the trotters and pacers will be in action on Friday and Saturday this week.

The next racing program will be a special Monday, December 26 card, to be followed by racing on Friday, December 30 and Sunday, January 1 The December 26 and January 1 programs will have an earlier 4:45 p.m. first post.

Racing will then return to the regular Friday and Saturday night schedule beginning Friday, January 6 through the end of the month.