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Featured Trot Brings Out Alpine Hawk At Cal Expo
Friday, September 2, 2011 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity -- Cal Expo

Things get off to a fast start at Cal Expo this Saturday night (September 3) with Alpine Hawk returning to action in the opening race for trotters, while Got The Giggles looms the one to catch in the co-featured second event for the pacing set.
Alpine Hawk is a 10-year-old son of Movie Mogul out of the Sir Tauras mare Lion Queen who is owned by Jim Winske, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and will as usual have Rich Wojcio in the sulky.  He comes into this assignment with 37 wins from his 167 lifetime appearances and is just shy of the $150,000 earnings plateau.
Alpine Hawk has ended up in the charmed enclosure following half of his 10 starts this year, the most recent coming on March 10 when he made what proved to be the winning move at the half for Wojcio.  He had to settle for a pair of seconds and a third in his final three starts at that meet, but it should be noted that he chased home the classy Claudius Augustus on each of those occasions.
The hard-hitting veteran had a solid qualifier here last week, as he sat patiently in the early stages before going to the top down the backside.  He came to the wire with a length and a quarter advantage while getting a :29 final quarter in a mile that should have right on edge for this return to the evening wars. 
Rounding out the line-up are Twice The Ruckus, who leaves from the rail with James Kennedy; Dudis Angel, to be handled by Luke Plano; Franks Best with Jim Lackey; Noble Way for Gene Vallandingham; and Giles L S Hanover, who has the outside slot with Steve Wiseman in the sulky.
In the co-featured pace, Got The Giggles will attempt to record her eighth win of the season from 24 outings for owner/trainer Robley Johnson and driver Luke Plano.  The 10-year-old daughter of Grinfromeartoear set her 1:54 standard when she won here back in early June.
Wojcio Continues To Add To Impressive Resume
Rich Wojcio comes into this week’s action having made 3,708 career trips to the charmed enclosure while banking over $22 million in the process.  Since Rich moved his sulky and whip from the East Coast to California late in 2003, he has become a mainstay in the local room.
One of the performers Wojcio is looking forward to joining forces with again at this stand is Alpine Hawk, who turns up in Saturday’s second race.  The 10-year-old trotting son of Movie Mogul has accounted for 37 of his 167 starts with a 1:56.3 mark and the next check he picks up will put him over the $150,000 earnings plateau.
“We pretty much stayed here in Sacramento and took care of Alpine Hawk,” Rich related when asked about the break between weeks.  “He hasn’t started since April, and we’ve worked on getting him ready.”
Wojcio’s first career snapshot in his third start at Freehold back in 1978, guiding a pacing filly named Hiding Place to victory.  In was in the late 1980s that he recorded the richest win of his career, that coming over the storied Yonkers layout.
“It was the Art Rooney and it was worth $300,000 at the time,” he recalled.  “It was a pacer named Whiteland Trouble and he was trained by Luca Derrico.”
It was in January of 2010 that Rich was involved in a serious spill here that saw him suffer a concussion, a broken left arm and facial injuries that sidelined him for much of that year.
“I don’t remember a thing about the race, just waking up and being all banged up.  It was the worst accident I’ve had in 35 years of driving, and I was just grateful that nobody else was hurt.
“I’ll always remember the support that I got from everybody, because it meant a lot to me.  As far as this meeting goes, it’s real nice to be back and I just hope that everybody has a good and safe one. “
By the way, Wojcio’s 3,700-plus victories puts him first among the pilots who competed here on opening week.  Jim Lackey is other driver here in the 3,000 club, with 3,225 tallies and over $14 million in earnings.  Gene Vallandingham currently sports $2,914 wins, while fellow veteran Steve Desomer has made 2,596 trips to the circle.  Luke Plano is working his way to 2,000 in a hurry, as he now has 1,902 photographs in the scrapbook. 
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Friday (September 2) & Saturday (September 3) at 6:00 p.m. (PDT).  Carryover on Friday in the Early Pick-4 (Races 2-5) is $3,940.33.  Total estimated pool is $15,000.  Also on Friday, Cal Expo offers Happy Hour between 6:00-8:30 p.m., where $2 Beer, $2 Wine & $2 Buffalo Wings an order is offered.  On Saturday, its Dollar Night, on which hot-dogs; beer, soda, and wine will be sold for one dollar from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Beginning September 10, Cal Expo will offer a reduced 15 percent takeout rate every Saturday for both Pick 4's.  In addition, there will be a 0% takeout on successful Late Pick 4 tickets made on track or at