Reduced takeout wagers offer true value
By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness
Value players should pay special attention to the Pick 5 and the Pick 4 here at Cal Expo, both offering a reduced 16 percent takeout rate.
The Pick 5 is a 50-cent wager conducted on the first five races on the card, while the Pick 4 is a 20-cent bet that includes the final four contests on the evening.
To give you an idea just how much value is available, you need only check out last Saturday night’s Pick 5. The winners in the sequence were 7/5, 4/5, even-money and 5-2, combining with 18-1 upsetter Lincoln for a $1,161 return for the half-buck investment.
Using regular takeout, the payout would have been $1,036, which means $125 more was put in each winning player’s pocket.
The second leg of the Pick 5 found My Little Susie picking up her third stakes trophy at the meeting, with her only Sire Stakes setback coming over a sloppy track, which just so happens to be right in arch-rival Kissed The Boys’ wheelhouse.
Of course, really sweetening the payoff was that $38 surprise by Lincoln in the final leg for trainer Lino Pacheco and pilot James Kennedy. After back-to-back trying journeys over off tracks, the pacer caught firm footing and worked out a pocket trip to pick up his second snapshot at the meeting.
James Kennedy and his brother Mark Kennedy were involved in something special in Friday’s third race, when they dead-heated while guiding Smash and La Diva De Rosa, respectively. There’s something you don’t see every day.
Sire Stakes for 4-year-olds hold spotlight
A pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes head the marquee Saturday night at Cal Expo, with Sandy’s Song and Zoeys Delight getting top billing in the contest for trotters, while Avila Beach eyes another stakes trophy in the $10,000 event for pacing mares.
There will be 11 races offered under the Watch and Watch LLC banner with a first post of 6:15 p.m. The Sire Stakes for trotters will be the third race, while the stakes for pacing mares will go as a non-betting event prior to the regular program.
Sandy’s Song and Zoeys Delight could not be separated the last time they conducted a stakes dance for the 4-year-old trotters one month ago, finishing in a dead-heat for the top prize in that affair.
Sandy’s Song is a 4-year-old daughter of Claudius Augustus out of the Sacramento mare Ahh Saundra who is owned by Bob Johnson and Hank Wieseneck, takes her lessons from Johnson and will have Steve Wiseman at the controls.
A multiple stakes winner last season, Sandy’s Song was overpowered late as the 1-9 favorite in the first Sire Stakes of 2016 in February, then finished in that dead-heat with Zoeys Delight in that March 5 race that was conducted over a sloppy track.
Avila Beach is looking for back-to-back trophies in the big-money race for the pacing distaffers. A Wayne and Rod Knittel owned-and-bred daughter of Hi Ho Silverwheel’s, she is conditioned by Bob Johnson and has regular pilot Mooney Svendsen at the controls.
Sent off the 2-5 choice in the most recent stakes gathering last month, Avila Beach made every pole a winning one over the sloppy track, coming home with three and a half-lengths to spare over Smash that evening.