Friday Distaff Open Pace lures Ain’t She Special

Ain’t She Special, going in razor sharp form at the moment, eyes her third straight snapshot in Friday night’s featured $7,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace.

There will be 10 races decided Friday under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:45 p.m.

A 5-year-old daughter of American Ideal, Ain’t She Special is owned by Dave Haness and Luke Plano with Plano doing the driving and training.

The bay miss is coming off back-to-back scores while making every pole a winning one on both occasions, the most recent from the outside slot.

Crazy Cute was Ain’t She Special’s most immediate victim in last week’s clash and will be looking for some revenge for owners Arnstine, Chambers and Plested, trainer Kathie Plested and regular pilot Mooney Svendsen.

Set to take her on are Velocity McSweets with James Kennedy; Starzznstripes, to be handled by Sean Smithpeters;Give Me This Dance, Jake Cutting and Graceful Horizon, who leaves from the outside slot with Nick Roland at the controls.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s card, a pair of $20,000 California Sire Stakes for the 4-year-old pacers will command the spotlight.

The first round of Sire Stakes action for this group saw Cenalta Token posing for pictures following the contest for the mares while it was Polar Storm who got the job done in the event for the males.Both will be back in action on Sunday in hopes of picking up another trophy.

Mile by Urkillnmesmalls has Ehrlich amazed

When the horses hit the wire and announcer Scott Ehrlich comes with “Are you kidding me!”, you know we just witnessed something unusual.

That was the case last week when Urkillnmemalls, leaving from the outside post in a field of eight, was parked the mile for driver/trainer Jesse Pacheco and just kept on keeping on to prevail by three-quarters of a length to the tune of a $75 payoff.

“I went into the race figuring him the longest shot on the board, especially since Nick Roland chose off of him and the fact that he drew the outside post,” Ehrich related.

“Then he parks the mile fighting throoughout added to my mindset that he would have to tire. So despite the fact that he had the lead with an eighth to go, I unintentionally overlooked him.

“All the while I was scanning the other horses across the track, trying to find the one with the most pace.

“When I saw Urkillmesmalls prevailing in deep stretch, I simply exclaimed what I couldn’t believe – ‘Are you kidding me!’”

For the record, Scott has returned to the booth here at Cal Expo this season after having called from September of 2005 until January of 2013, and he also has announced at Cumberland in Maine since April of 2021 and will return there in May.

Pair of Sire Stakes, Open Pace atop Sunday marquee

A pair of $20,000 California Sire Stakes headed by Polar Storm and Cenalta Token and an Open Pace that brings out Kamara are the highlights on Sunday evening’s Cal Expo program.

Watch and Wager LLC will present 10 races and things will get underway at 5:35 p.m.

Looking at the Distaff Sire Stakes, Cenalta Token is a homebred daughter of Mystery Chase who races for Gordon, Helen and Myrna Empey with Rene Goulet training and Jake Cutting handling the driving duties.

In the aforementioned February 10 Sire Stakes, Cenalta Token proved a punctual 3-2 favorite by coming first-over and prevailing by a length over Made Of Misschief that evening.

The latter looks like her main rival once again for owner/breeder Lanae Hernandez, trainer Bob Johnson and pilot Luke Plano.

In the male division, Polar Storm is a homebred son of Wind Me Up who carries the banner of Alan and Cheryl Sandbulte and is reined and trained by Nick Roland.

Sent off the 9-5 second choice in the initial stakes square-off at this meet for this division, he sat patienly to the lane and ignited when it counted for Roland to prevail by a length and three-quarters that evening.

Dougsmonkeybusiness was the 1-2 choice in that affair, brushed to the lead down the backside and showed the way until late in the game before being overpowered by Polar Storm.

Made of Misschief gets another shot at big money

After finishing second to Cenalta Token in the first Sire Stakes clash of the year for the 4-year-old pacing mares, Made Of Misschief will be gunning for some revenge in Sunday’s $20,000 co-feature.

A 4-year-old homebred daughter of Vlot out of the Artsplace mare Miss Stacee, the dark-hued distaffer is owned by Lanae Hernandez and is currently under Bob Johnson’s care after being conditioned by Eddie Hernandez in Minnesota.

Made Of Misschief put in a solid effort for the second money in the aforementioned February 10 stakes gathering and rallied off live cover to fall a length short with Luke Plano at the controls.

Wheeled back the following week in a much softer conditioned spot, she looked every part the 1-9 shot as she romped by nearly six lengths, then returned with another strong mile to finish second on last Sunday night’s card.

“She’s a real nice one to be around at the barn and she’s still learning with every race,” Johnson related at entry time.

Can Made Of Misschief turn the tables in this week’s big dance for the 4-year-old pacing mares? Stay tuned.

California Sire Stakes moving in right direction

This meeting features a total of $420,000 in California Sire Stakes events, including a pair of $50,000 finales for 4-year-olds to be decided on May 3.

To give you some idea how things have improved, in 2017 there was a total of $54,000 paid out for the Sire Stakes with a pair of $10,000 finals.

The California Sire Stakes program was on the verge of extinction when legislation was passed in 2017 that opened up these races to horses bred in other jurisdictions.

Eligible now are horses from Alberta, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Maine and from only a dozen horses that were able to compete in 2016 there are now 60 eligible performers this year.

This was all due to the hard work of Watch and Wager, the Sire Stakes Committee and the California Harness Horseman’s Association working diligently with the state legislature.