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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Cal Expo Saturday Advance

Gorilla Monsoon pins his rivals
By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness            

After failing to make the exacta in his first 11 starts this season, Gorilla Monsoon got the job done last weekend when ending up on the right end of a nose photo.

Owned by Ron Rettig-Zucchi, trained by Lino Pacheco and handled by veteran Chip Lackey, the 5-year-old son of Cam’s Card Shark was a 1:52 winner last year at Running Aces.

You could say that at the wire in last week’s assignment, this pacer got his foes in a submission hold

Wresting fans with a few years on their driver’s license will no doubt recognize the name Gorilla Monsoon, as he was one of the most popular participants in the sport for many years before becoming a commentator and backstage manager during the 1980s and 1990s.

Known to his friends and family as Robert James Marella, he died on October 6, 1999 at the age of 62 but lives on through this Pennsylvania-bred pacer who got back to business in his most recent trip to the post.


A reminder that there are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate, offering great value for the players.

They are the 50-cent Pick 5, which is decided on the first five races; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which also features a $30,000-guaranteed pool on Fridays and a $40,000-guaranteed pool on Saturdays and is decided on the penultimate four races on the program.

Trot brings out Lodi Dorian Blues

Lodi Dorian Blues, who has been knocking heads with Silverlode and Fort Valley AS in his last two starts, gets some class relief and a cozy rail draw in Saturday night’s featured Trot.

The main event will go as the fifth event on an 11-race card under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post at 6:15 p.m. There will also be a pair of California Sire Stakes for 4-year-old pacers to be decided as non-betting events prior to the regular card.

Lodi Dorian Blues is an 8-year-old son of New Age Hanover who races for Scott Ehrlich and George McChrystal, hails from the Kathleen Plested barn and will have Steve Wiseman doing the honors.

The hard-knocking performer recorded his most recent victory on March 3, as he sat a tracking trip to the stretch and then put in his patented last move to win going away by two and a quarter lengths that evening.

His last two starts have come at the Open level, where he finished fourth behind Silverlode two back and then checked in third behind Fort Valley As last week while competing over a sloppy track.

In the Sire Stakes for the pacing males, the very talented Allymx’sliventexas will look add to another trophy to his mantle. A homebred son of Hi Ho Silverheel’s, he races for Wayne and Rod Knittel, hails from the Bob Johnson barn and will as usual have Mooney Svendsen giving directions.

He has dominated his Sire Stakes rival this season, including a sizzling 1:51 4/5 romp by 11 lengths in the February 4 big money dance for the division. He cruised home by nearly 10 lengths in the most recent Sire Stakes, and has since added a conditioned victory and a runner-up finish behind the red-hot Barbarian in last week’s Open Pace.