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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Cal Expo Friday Advance

Knittel, Johnson loaded for Sire Stakes
By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Owner/breeders Wayne and Rod Knittel and trainer Bob Johnson are sitting pretty in both male pacing Sire Stakes divisions here at Cal Expo, with Allyx’sliventexas heading the 4-year-old contingency and the promising Army Of One eyeing this weekend’s first stakes dance for the 3-year-old colts.

Allmyx’sliventexas made a shambles of the initial stakes gathering for the 4-year-old males last weekend, demolishing the field by 11 lengths while shaving a cool three seconds off his lifetime standard with the 1:51 4/5 clocking for Mooney Svendsen.

“That was the biggest mile he’s ever gone,” Johnson related after the score. “I thought he’d be set for a good one, because he’d had an outside post in his last couple and had been making up a lot of ground, but I have to say the time surprised me.

“He’ll get a week off now and just point for the last three stakes races here. Then we’ll go from there.”

Like Allmyx’sliventexas, Army Of One is a homebred son of Hi Ho Silverheel’s who races for the Knittels and Johnson and looks to have a world of potential. He was a 1:57 3/5 victor in just his second lifetime start, then came back last week to turn in a bang-up second to heavily-favored Indiana invader Gorgeous For Real in a 1:54 3/5 tour.

“I was very impressed by his last race, because I know Junior (trainer Jim Wilkinson) is very high on the winner. For a 3-year-old to turn in a mile like that in just his third start, that’s saying something.”

Army Of One is set to make his stakes debut Saturday night with Svendsen at the controls, and a repeat of either of his last two efforts is going to make him tough to deny as he attempts to follow in his stablemate’s footsteps.

One And Only, I’m An Athlete battle

A $6,600 Open Pace and the first California Sire Stakes of the season for the 3-year-old trotters are the main attractions on Friday night’s Cal Expo program.

Watch and Wager LLC will present 13 races on Friday, with first post set for 5:55 p.m. The Open Pace will go as the seventh race on the evening, while the Sire Stakes is a non-betting affair decided prior to the regular program.

One And Only and I’m An Athlete were assigned the outside two slots in the Open, with the former leaving from the No. 9 post while I’m An Athlete will depart from the outside in the field of 10.

One And Only is a 9-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight out of the Western Hanover mare Gallie Too who is owned by Richard Morita and David Yamada, is conditioned by Lino Pachecho and will be guided by Luke Plano.

The hard-hitting performer comes into this assignment with $245,000 in his account and a 1:51 2/5 mark that was established three years ago. Sent off the 3-2 choice in the most recent clash at the head of the class, One And Only did not disappoint the chalkplayers as he made every pole a winning one with Plano while prevailing by two lengths in a 1:53 1/5 tour.

I’m An Athlete was the runner-up that evening and will be looking for a little revenge this weekend. The 7-year-old son of Art Major goes about his business for Ronald Rettig-Zucchi with James Kennedy reining and training.

A 1:51 2/5 victor over this layout last season, I’m An Athlete captured nine of his 35 trips to the post last year and started 2017 with a game neck decision over One And only in the January 13 Open Pace while taking the field start to finish in that contest. With the outside assignment, the journey into the first turn will obviously be very important.