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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cal Expo Saturday Advance

Barbarian has 10 post for Open Pace
By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Barbarian, in razor-sharp form with a hat trick in tow, will now be asked to do his work from the assigned No. 10 post position in Saturday night’s Open Pace at Cal Expo.

There will be 12 races decided under the Watch and Wager LLC banner and things will get underway at 6:15 p.m.  The Open Pace occupies the eighth-race slot on the card and there will also be a pair of California Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacers going as non-betting contests before the regular card.

Barbarian is a 6-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the Western Ideal mare Rightous Renee who carries the banner of Robert Orr, is conditioned by Sparky Clarke and will once again have Luke Plano at the controls.

The hard-hitting performer was 7-2 when he made every pole a winning one in the February 24 Open as Plano was able to carve out the fractions without challenge and came to the line with four and a half-lengths on his nearest rival in a sparkling 1:52 4/5 mile.

In his March 10 tally, Barbarian left from the outside slot in a field of seven and was dispatched as the 6-5 favorite. Once again they were able to set the tune up front, this time with fairly modest splits, and held safe by a neck over a fast-finishing Doc’s Deal that evening.

In his most recent appearance, the Clarke colorbearer was dispatched as the even-money choice and once again did no disappoint as he made every pole a winning one in a 1:53 2/5 mile. It will be interesting to see how things shake out now that he has the testing No. 10 slot.

Taking him on this weekend are Allymx’sliventexas from the Bob Johnson barn, the Chip Lackey-trained pair of Why Ask Why and Doc’s Deal; Lodi Machette Man from the Kathleen Plested barn; and the Lino Pacheco-conditioned Bettormeboy.

Reduced takeout wagers offer great value

There are two bets here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate – the 50-cent Pick 5 on the first five events and the 20-cent Pick 4 on the penultimate four races on the program. The latter also features a $40,000 guaranteed gross pool.

Last Friday night, despite the Pick 4 kicking off with Barbarian proving a punctual even-money favorite in the Open Pace, three nice-priced winners followed and the 20-cent ticket returned a whopping $32,756.

To put things in perspective, using the normal takeout rate, the Pick 4 would have returned $29,246, a difference of a cool $3,510. Now that’s value.

Driver Chip Lackey had a lot to do with that healthy payoff, as he piloted Cenalta Diesel ($29) and Cantholdmebackmack ($17) for trainers Edwin Quevedo and Lino Pacheco, respectively in the two middle races.

The icing on the cake came when David Siegel guided V Mack to a $46 upset for trainer George Reider in the final leg, also triggering a large exacta, trifecta and superfecta in the process.

Whether favorites, longshots or a mix of those complete the Pick 4 and Pick 5, you are assured of getting maximum value with that reduced takeout in place.

Jump right in, the pool is fine.