Dave Goldschmidt Pace entices strong cast

The $10,000 Dave Goldschmidt Pace holds centerstage Friday night at Cal Expo, with Allmyx’sliventexas getting the top billing while leaving from the cozy rail slot in the field of nine.

Watch and Wager LLC has carded 10 races Friday night with things getting underway at 6:45 p.m. The co-feature is a $5,300 Open III Pace for fillies and mares that finds Life Isa Shortwalk eyeing her third straight victory after capturing last week’s Bill Vallandingham Pace.

Allmyx’sliventexas had a brutal trip as the 1-5 favorite last week in a conditioned event and will be looking to rebound in the Goldschmidt as he goes from the outside to the inside post for this outing.

The Hi Ho Silverheel’s homebred races for Wayne and Rod Knittel, is conditioned by Bob Johnson and Nick Roland has the return drive.

Allmyx’sliventexas comes into this assignment with 51 wins from his 154 appearances, $282,000 in his bank account and a 1:50 career standard that was established at Hoosier Park over a sloppy track three years ago.

The Knittel colorbearer scored a coast-to-coast decision two weeks ago and held safe gamely that evening in his return from Chicago, then was parked the mile from the outside in last week’s tour through rapid fractions and gave way.

Taking him on Friday are a trio from the Kathie Plested barn in Dislocator, Bombay Hanover and Thisishowedoit; the Gerry Longo reined-and-trained A Major Omen; Nathalie Tremblay’s Buddy’s Hope; Its Pointless and Contemporary Legend from the Gordie Graham shedrow and the Rick Bertrand-conditioned Frewil Dakota Sven.

Lighthill, Goldschmidt remembered with races

This week’s feature races are named in honor of longtime racing official and California harness booster Dave Goldschmidt and the outstanding driver/trainer Joe Lighthill.

Joe Lighthill, who passed away at age 78 in 2006, was a mainstay in the Golden State for decades and one of the most respected horsemen to ever compete in the sport.

Joe Lighthill, who began his career in the mid-1940s, drove 2,272 winners for purse earnings just shy of $7 million and reined and/or trained some of the most outstanding performers of their generation.

Included in that illustrious group were Meadow Skipper, Countess Adios, Tender Loving Care, Hickory Pride, Peter Lobell, Try Scotch and BC Count.

Dave Goldschmidt, who passed away in July of 2018 was born in New York City and developed a passion for harness racing in his early teens.

He attended the University of Denver where he was a sports writer on the newspaper, but after hearing about the new Race Track Management Program at the University of Arizona, he knew he had to transfer to that school and was in that first graduating class.

Among Dave’s extensive resume in the sport, he was racing secretary at Los Alamitos and Cal Expo and co-racing secretary at Bay Meadows; assistant racetrack manager at Hollywood Park and a founder, president and major financial backer of the Premier Harness Meet at Los Alamitos in the 1990s.

Joe Lighthill Trot brings out Pridecrest

Pridecrest, the track record-holder here at Cal Expo who has posted two dominating wins at the meet, gets the marquee treatment in Sunday night’s featured $10,000 Joe Lighthill Trot.

A 10-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 5 p.m. There will also be three elimination heats for the Alan Horowitz Memorial Pace on the program.

A 9-year-old son of Angus Hall from the Westgate Crown mare Spilled Milk, Pridecrest is owned by Chris Schick, takes his lessons from Kathie Plested and will once again be guided by Mooney Svendsen.

He comes into this assignment with 47 wins from his 192 starts, $410,000 in his account and a 1:53 2/5 mark from four years ago, which also happens to be the fastest mile ever trotted over this layout.

Pridecrest has been the heavy favorite in both his outings at this meet and has not disappointed his many backers, scoring back-to-back victories in coast-to-coast fashion and most recently coming home with 12 lengths to spare.

Silverhill Volo should prove to be the main rival for owner/trainer/driver Chip Lackey as he’s had a race over the track now. This 10-year-old Muscle Hill gelding is eying his 30th career snapshot from 154 trips to the post and is working his way to the $200,000 earnings plateau.

Completing the field are Boaster Coaster from the Jenna Cornelison barn; the Marco Rios-trained pair of Hot Chapter and Hypocrisy; Major A-Mar from Rick Berrand’s shedrow; the Richard Schneider-trained Jesse’s Student and the Gerry Longo reined-and-trained Mandeville.

Hay Hay Alright sets sights on bigger prize

Hay Hay Alright, who suits up in one of three Alan Horowitz eliminations on Sunday night, is fresh from lighting up the board at 37-1 in his second appearance since coming in from Century Downs in Canada.

The 6-year-old son of Vertical Horizon is owned, trained and driven by Ryan Grundy, who is now setting his sights on bigger game with last week’s upsetter.

“He had a good summer in Alberta, but I could see how he would be a longshot leaving from the outside post the other night if you just look at his first race here. Often times they need a race after shipping down and missing a few starts, and that’s what happened with him.”

In last week’s conditioned affair, Hay Hay Alright lagged last for the opening half, rallied off cover to the drive and ignited when it counted with a :27 3/5 final quarter to seal the deal by three-quarters of a length.

“It looked like there was some speed in there, so we just took back and looked for some kind of flow. It all worked out and he had a real good kick when I asked him in the stretch.”

The water gets deeper now for Hay Hay Alright, as he looks to land a berth in the Alan Horowitz Memorial with hard-knockers set to line up this weekend in the first of two weeks of elimination heats for that $20,000 contest.

As for Grundy, he has brought six performers down from the North and is looking to pick up as many catch drives as possible. Ryan spent four winters here before missing the last two meetings, the most recent due to restrictions in crossing the border.

Closer look comments for Sunday program

1st race

#1 WIZZEL STIX …Bertrand trainee came 3rd over on the cover train behind Life Isa Shortwalk and could match the top pair when push came to shove. Figures to pick up another minor share in this final.

 #2 LIFE ISA SHORTWALK … Made an eye-catching California debut for Roland in last week’s Vallandingham Prep, making a huge move off cover into the stretch to win going away as a 6-1 shot. Will get a lot more respect at the windows this time around.

#3 BROOKLYN MOONSHINE … Assumed pace-setting duties for Luke, showed the way to the lane under pressure and gave way when things got serious. Was making her first start since September and should be much tighter for this assignment.

#4 CASA MIA … Found herself with too much work to do while coming from last at the head of the lane in the Prep, but did put in a solid late with Kennedy to round out the exacta. She’s a 30-time winner who has to be respected from a closer range.

#5 HELEN’S GIRL … Well-backed in the Prep after a solid runner-up finish on opening week, sat the pocket early, then ran into traffic troubles behind the tiring leader in the stretch and lost her best chance. Could get her revenge with a clean journey.

#6 MACHET TIME … Gives Bertrand barn two looks at the outcome. Was hard-used first over vs. these last week and paid the price in the stretch. Needs a softer trip if she is going to seriously threaten for the top spot.

#7  SHES A LIVE WIRE … She was sent off the 8-5 choice in last week’s Prep, was shuffled by the half and was never able to make an impact. Had a race over the track now and odds figure to be a more attractive here.

Race 2

#1 LITTLE EMMA … Making first start since April for driver/trainer Goulet. Pretty much went around the track in the same place in last week’s qualifier and there are readiness concerns. Rail helps cause.

#2 CENALTA GLORY … Went evenly in needed outing opening week after coming in from Canada, then had some traffic issues last week and lost her best opportunity. Lands inside again and certainly fits well with this company.

#3 ROYAL MISTRESS … Comes in from Fraser Downs in Canada and will be making first start since early November. Went a 1:53 tour over this strip last season and barn is more than capableof  having them ready off the bench.

#4 BLUE GEM … Start No. 280 for this hard-knocking Cal-bred with sights on her 34th snapshot. Had a first-over assignment in her initial try off the seven-week vacation and paid the price in the stretch. Rebound would be no surprise.

#5 LA MADAWNA DE ROSA … Veteran mare went evenly last week in what was obviously a needed effort, her first foray since July at Running Aces. Likes to do her best work from off the pace.

#6 FUTURE DELIGHT … Making her first start since late August here last week, she was used to a good early position, tracked to the drive and kept to her task to round out the show spot. Every right to move forward with that one under her belt.

#7 ODDS ON MARIA … Things didn’t work out for her on opening week, then she lagged early in last week’s venture was unable to make an impression. Gets a bit easier assignment now with Lackey back in the sulky.

3rd race

#1 DANCING LANCE … Unable to make an impression last week while going off at long odds, now actually steps up to face some tougher competition. Would be a surprise.

#2 HE GRINS AGAIN … Left well to the top, accepted the pocket by the quarter, sat a good trip thereafter and lacked the needed punch behind a sharp winner. Will be looking to work out another sweet trip.

#3 NORTHBROOK RON … That was an awfully game try last week with veteran Lackey, coming first-over and fighting it out the length of the stretch and being third in a blanket finish. That was the first appearance since September, but he must deal with a couple of very tough customers to his outside.

#4 IT’S POINTLESS … Has won 14 of his 20 starts and he’s proven his versatility. Dominated late in his opening-night score, then found himself with too work to do from last behind Frewil Dakota Sven through moderate fractions to settle for the show spot. Main threat to the favorite.

#5 BOMBAY HANOVER … After handling softer on opening week, he as able to work out a nice journey behind Frewil Dakota Sven last time was going well enough at the end to complete the exacta. Svendsen will no doubt try to duplicate that trip tonight.

#6 BETTOR’S PROMISE .. Did it the hard way last week with his conditioner in the sulky, coming first-over into the winner and paying the price when things got serious. Switch to meet’s leading pilot noted.

#7 ALLMYX’SLIVENTEXAS … Knittel homebred/Johnson trainee was winning for 51st time (with a 1:50 mark) last week with Roland and was able to hold off the charge from the pocket sitter in his first evening appearance since early July. Always the one to beat when he suits up at Cal Expo and now extra tough with that tour under his belt.  

Race 4

#1 WESTERN DEVIL … Sat close to the drive and faded while going off at long odds in the first start in from Kentucky. Had race now, gets some class relief, lands rail and trainer Roland will do the honors.

#2 HI HO’S LITTLE REV … After a needed outing on opening week, this guy was ready to rock and roll in the most recent and took complete control after working his way to the top down the backside. Up a notch, but figures to be tough right back no matter how things shake out early.

#3 DASHBOARD … Made a break in the first start in from Minnesota, then was in a tough position last week, came wide to the drive and was unable to menace. Needs to mind his manners and get a better early position this time around.

#4 FOX VALLEY TRITON … Had early trouble opening week, then came first-over to challenge in his last tour and was unable to follow through in the drive. Needs to race back to that August winning line at Hawthorne.

#5 PADDY MURPHY … Took some serious heat up front in the first start at the meet, then came with cover in last week’s outing behind Allmx’sliventexas and flattened out in the drive behind that juggernaut. Looks like a good fit with this group.

#6 SOME PLAYA … Hammered down to even-money last week off a needed outing, shot right to the front, was covered up on the backside, was out and moving again on the turn into tonight’s rival Hi Ho’s Little Rev and faltered late. Odds will drift now.

Race 5

#1 JUPITER JOHNNY … First of a Pacheco-trained pair. Hasn’t seen action since late August at Hawthorne, but did get a perfect tightener in last week’s qualifier with his conditioner in the sulky.

#2 PANCETTA … The other Pacheco charge recently went over the half-million dollar mark with a 1:51 1/5 mark. Like his barnmate, he’s been idle since August in Chicago, but love the way he streaked home with Plano in his qualifying mile and he was once a tiger over this layout.

#3 HAULIN OATS … Making his first start since the last meet and was obviously in need of that practice mile last week where he tired badly behind tonight’s rival Pancetta.

#4 LIVINONTHEBEACH … Worked out a sweet trip to pick up an exacta completion opening week, then failed to threaten while taking on a bit swifter group in last week’s tour. Re-united with James for this go-around.

#5 GENE EUGENE … The three efforts this summer up in Canada were dull and he went evenly in last week’s qualifier. Does own a 1:52 3/5 lifetime best over this layout from three years ago.

#6 KEYSTONE CHARLES … Hard to get excited about either of his efforts at this session. Perhaps Plano will be able to get this pacer motivated.

#7 GUNNY WILSON … Sent off at 71-1 while racing against a better group in his first start since April and was merely a bystander. Had a race now, but didn’t get any breaks landing in the outside box.

Race 6

#1 COWBOYS DIRTYBOOTS … Really gave his backers at 46-1 a thrill last week as he carved out all the fractions, held a clear advantage at midstretch but was overpowered late while holding the place spot; up in class now, but lands cozy and will get more respect at the windows.

#2 RIDONKULOSO … Has gone two huge miles at the meet, but has had to settle for second money behind two of the best pacers on the grounds in Allmy’xliventexas and Frewil Dakota Sven; Plano reined-and-trainer performer looms large from an up-close-and-personal position.

#3 ROCKINSCIENCE … Gives Plano barn two solid looks at the outcome with leading driver Roland taking over the controls; gets some class relief tonight after having his work cut out in the two tries at this meet, attempting to come from well back against some solid pacers; looms large.

#4 GEAR UPN GO MOE … Just missed in a huge first-over effort on opening week, then had too much ground to make up behind Allmyx’sliventexas last time but turned in a :27 1/5 final quarter to rally for the show spot; will be looking to work out a comfortable journey.

#5 IMPRESSIVE ART … Got a tightener in the first one here, then went the long mile last week behind cover and had to be happy with a minor share; seems more likely for another slice only.

#6 MARCED MAGIC … Taken back early last week from the outside slot, was fanned very wide to the drive and was making some late headway with Kennedy taking over the reins; a 1:52 3/5 victor here at the last meet, so you know he’s capable of getting it done.

#7 HAY HAY ALRIGHT … Making first start since coming in from Canada last week, he came with second-over cover to the lane, kept to his task but was unable to come up with the needed kick while narrowly losing the show to inside neighbor Marced Magic; will be tighter now.

Race 7

#1 CHANGING COLORS … Mooney couldn’t have mapped out a better trip for this mare last week as left into the pocket, brushed to command into the final bend and went on to a convincing victory while lowering her lifetime standard; moves to the rail and looms large right back in a very contentious affair.

#2 D VIGILANTE… Wasn’t quite keeping up with her cover, but found her best stride late in the game and rallied to be right in the blanket finish while racing at this level; note her 3 wins to go with 23 places and show finishes from the 53 starts.

#3 STREET PARADE …Gives Cisneros barn two looks at the outcome and rounds out the three mares in the cast; came up with a nice finish on opening week to complete the trifecta, then was always outpaced from the rail last time; needs to turn things around.

#4 MYSTICAL STORM … Hasn’t seen action since the end of the last meet in April and set the fractions before settling for second in a slowish qualifier last week; seems to be up against it tonight.

#5 MAJOR MAC … Took the short away around last week, loomed at midstretch but was no match for tonight’s foe Spectacular Sunset while earning the second-place check; will be tightner now, as that was his first start since mid-August, but will have to pick up his game in this contentious field to turn the tables.

#6 SHERWOOD … Had a rough trip opening week and had to settle for second at 60 cents on the dollar, then got a sweet journey last week and weakened, beaten by both Spectacular Sunset and Major Mac in there; odds will certainly drift up now.

#7 SPECTACULAR SUNSET … Perfect in two starts since coming in from the East for driver/trainer Roland, doing the stalk-and-pounce to perfection while drawing away with ease on each occasion; the one to beat once again no matter how things shake out early.

#8 CAL’S HOPE … Definitely needed that outing on opening week when setting the pace, then changed tactics last time sat early, came charging past the half and was a game 26-1 upsetter; water gets deeper now and didn’t get any help in the post position department.

#9 JOLTIN JOE … Stablemate of Sherwood will have to do his work from the tough No. 9 slot; sped to a clear lead last week vs. several of these rivals, showed the way to the stretch without pressure and was no match when things got serious; what’s the game plan tonight?

Race 8

#1 BUDDY’S HOPE … A game victor opening week after returning from Hawthorne, then came with cover to the lane last week and had no response; best of the draw, but needs to race back to that first one here to get the job done in this line-up.

#2 PRODIGAL …First of a Graham-trained pair; sat a nice trip and completed the exacta behind Buddy’s Hope in the first start at this session, then was just a bystander behind Frewil Dakota Sven at this level in the most recent; must do better.

#3 DISLOCATOR … First of two Plested trainees; has put in two big efforts since arriving from Dayton Raceway in Ohio, making big moves on both occasions to come away with a win on opening night and a tough beat to tonight’s rival Contemporary Legend in the most recent; lots of respect.

#4 THISISHOWWDOIT … The other Plested charge will be making his first start since being claimed at Yonkers in early September; turned in a solid qualifier last week behind Pancetta and looking to find the right level at his new home. This is Svendsen’s choice.

#5 CAPTAIN TERMINATOR … Seeing action for the first time since a mid-October outing in Kentucky; finished up his Running Aces campaign with a couple of victories, including a new mark, but will more than likely need one before we see his best.

#6 CONTEMPORAY LEGEND … Gives Graham two looks at the outcome; has been huge in both the appearances at this stand, finishing second to barnmate Its Pointless on opening night and then igniting when it counted to be up time in the most recent; deserves the top billing.

Race 9

#1 TIME FOR T … Making first start since mid-September at Running Aces, he took the short way around and finished evenly in a slowly-paced mile; will be tightner now and once again gets the inside as the only 2-year-old in the cast.

#2 GO WITH FLO … Been favored in both starts at the meet for Plano but has had to settle for a fourth and a second-place finish; had to work hard opening week, then had a perfect journey with some trouble for the rivals behind her; looking to leave into another good trip.

#3 WITCH HUNTER … Outperformed her odds last week as she followed cover to the drive and completed the exacta without being a threat to the winner; would seem headed in the right direction.

#4 COOKIESNCREAM … Put in a real nice effort in her first start since April on opening night in a pretty fast mile for the level, then was scratched from last week’s action. Roland sticks with her and Johnson trainee has to be respected

#5 ARNIE’S ARMY … Stablemate of Cookiesncream has been away from the wars since the end of the last meet in April and likely got a nice tightener from last week’s qualifying mile; presence of Svendsen a plus.

#6 MIBWEST KID … Making his first start since September action in Minnesota; came home well enough in that qualifier last week and would appear to be a pretty good fit with this kind if ready for his best.

#7 DEVILS BROTHER … No factor from a rough post on opening week, then made a bad break when 2-1 last time and that was that; no surprise to see a rebound with a mistake-free mile.

#8 HONGKONG B … Making initial start since coming in from Canada last week, he was eliminated soon after the start when tonight’s inside neighbor made a break and scattered some foes.

#9 CRACKERJACKOUTLAW … Made a huge move down the backside to the lead on opening night and stopped in the drive, then made a mild bid first over in the most recent and flattened out; draw doesn’t help cause.

#10 CENELTA FIREDRAGON … Will have to deal with the marooned No. 10 post for this assignment; had a tough trip from the outside opening week, then was impeded by the breaker in the most recent and lost his best chance.

Life Isa Shortwalk heads Sunday’s Vallandingham Pace

Life Isa Shortwalk, a sharp 6-1 upsetter last week, figures to get a lot more respect at the windows in Sunday night’s $15,000 Bill Vallandingham Pace for fillies and mares.

The Vallandingham headlines a nine-race Watch and Wager LLC card that is set to get underway at 5 p.m.

Life Isa Shortwalk is an 8-year-old daughter of Keystone Rodeo who carries the banner of Set The Pace Racing LLC and is reined and trained by Nick Roland. She comes into this assignment just shy of the $200,000 earnings mark with a 1:52 4/5 standard that was set at Plainridge Racecourse.

Leaving from the No. 2 post last week, she was unhurried early and then came second-over down the backside. Roland made a sweeping move with his mare off the final turn to grab command and she went on to a two and a quarter-length decision while stopping the timer n 1:55 3/5.

Casa Mia put in a solid late bid to complete the exacta in that affair for owner Gretchen Smith, trainer Nathalie Tremblay and pilot James Kennedy and will be looking to turn the tables on Sunday.

The 9-year-old Driven To Win mare has clicked in six of her 30 trips to the post this season, with the most recent snapshot coming in mid-September over the Hawthorne course. Her 1:53 2/5 lifetime mark came three years ago over a sloppy track at the Meadowlands.

Taking them on in the Vallandingham are Wizzel Stix, Brooklyn Moonshine, Helen’s Girl, Machet Time and Shes A Live Wire.

Delightfully Wild adds another snapshot

For owners Richard Morita and David Yamada, the 8-year-old pacing mare Delightfully Wild is the gift that keeps on giving.

When she captured her first start at the meet last week for trainer Jessie Pacheco and pilot Ryan Grundy, it was her 42nd victory from 169 lifetime trips to the post with over $220,000 in her account and a 1:51 1/5 mark.

“She really surprised us,” Morita said following the score, which came in her first appearance since late August.

“She had a full summer campaign and then returned for a little rest. We turn out our horses with Sheri Burns in Wilton, and she does a great job giving the horses their rest and rehabilitation.

“We’ve been doing this for years, which may account for why our aged horses have been so productive.”

For the record, those performers include Delightfully Wild and the likes of Pancetta, Bettor’s Promise and One and Only.

In last week’s score, Delightfully Wild tracked the leaders for a half, came first over at that point and showed her class through the stretch to win clear in a 1:54 2/5 tour of the oval.

“Plenty of credit to Jessie for having her ready and Ryan for a nice drive. By the way, it’s great to have Ryan back at Cal Expo this season,” Morita added.

Races honor memory of Arnstine, Vallandigham

This week’s feature races are named for Bill Vallandingham and Donald Arnstine, who both had a major impact on harness racing in California.

Bill Vallandingham passed away earlier this year at age 74 due to complications from a lung transplant performed in 2014, while Donald Arnstine passed away in September of last year at the age of 85.

“Billy V”, as Vallandingham was affectionately known, was the starter here at Cal Expo for 20 years before health issues forced him to leave the job seven years ago, but he did return to limited duties in 2018.

He wore many hats around the racetrack, including groom, paddock judge, horse identifier and horse tattooer before assuming his stint as the starter in 1994. Bill Vallandingham was a veteran of the Army who served in Vietnam.

Donald Arnstine was a longtime owner and industry activist who along with his wife Barbara campaigned harness horses in California for five decades. They claimed their first horse, Big Time, in 1973 with the Desomer Stable and over the years they had many stars with that barn, including Quaker Byrd.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Arnstine was active in the Western Standardbred Association, now known as the California Harness Horsemen’s Association.

 He served as president of the organization in 1978, overseeing the legislation that created the state’s sire stakes program and he also helped negotiate horsemen’s agreements with Los Alamitos, Hollywood Park, Bay Meadows and Cal Expo.

While Donald Arnstine had a full and successful life in academia, including a long and accomplished university teaching career and author, his passion was always his wife of 56 years, his children, his grandchildren and harness racing.

Nick Roland registers win No. 2,000

Nick Roland joined the 2,000-win club Friday night at Cal Expo when he guided Hi Ho’s Little Rev to victory in the second race.

Roland has two more wins on the Friday program and then made five trips to the winner’s circle on Sunday evening, giving him 13 wins for the first three nights of racing and the lead atop the driver standings.