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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

CalExpo Friday Advance

Lodi Dorian Blues ignites when it counts
By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

The long-fused trotter Lodi Dorian Blues continued his every other race a winner pattern last week, doing the track-and-attack to perfection to score going away with Steve Wiseman in the sulky.

The 8-year-old California-bred son of New Age Hanover goes about his business for Scott Ehrlich and George McCrystal with Kathleen Plested the conditioner and Lodi Dorian Blues was shaving a full second off his lifetime mark with the 1:56 1/5 clocking.

“I've owned horses since 1988,” said McCrystal. “From the very first time I started playing the races, I always liked closers, especially trotters that could close.  He caught my eye early on because he always seemed to try hard.

“Since my association with Steve and Kathie, I've had a lot of success.  When looking for a trotter, this little guy seemed to fit the bill.

“I've owned faster horses, but in the 29 years I've been an owner, I've never had one that tries as hard as he does every time he gets to race.  Because of that, he's my favorite horse.”

As for Wiseman, who has been at the controls for two of Lodi Darian Blues’ last four victories, he notes the trotter is a workmanlike individual with the right attitude. “He's an honest little horse who gives his all on the track He's a pleasure to be around and great in the barn.”

Can the Ehrlich/McCrystal colorbearer make it two straight trips to the charmed enclosure? Stay tuned.

Barbarian eyes encore in Open Pace

Barbarian, fresh from a coast-to-coast score at the head of the class, looks to keep the momentum going in Friday night’s featured $6,600 Open Pace.

There will be 13 races presented under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 5.55 p.m. The feature will go as the eighth race and there will also be a non-betting California Sire Stakes for 3-year-old trotters decided before the regular program.

A 6-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the Western Ideal mare Righteous Renee, Barbarian is owned by Robert Orr, takes his lessons from Sparky Clarke and will be handled by Luke Plano.

Plano climbed behind the pacer for the first time two weeks ago and it proved to be a great combination. Sent off as the 7-2 third choice, Barbarian zipped right to the front and rattled off modest fractions of :28 3/5 and :57 4/5 without pressure before picking up the pace.

The Orr colorbeared turned things on in the stretch, motoring away by four and a half-lengths over Why Ask Why while stopping the timer in 1:52 4/5 that evening. He set his lifetime mark of 1:51 3/5 as a 3-year-old.

Why Ask Why has been knocking on the door with runner-up efforts in the last two dances at the head of the class for the pacers. The 7-year-old son of No Pan Intended races for Windy City Farm and is reined and trained by Chip Lackey, with his most recent victory coming in an Open II event here on January 21 as the 6-5 choice.

Completing the field are Jazzmanian Devil, Doc’s Deal, Bettermeboy, China King, Pancetta and McFoolery, with Barbarian leaving from the outside slot in the field of eight.