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Ruiz Doubles His Pleasure With Winners At Cal Expo
Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity – Cal Expo

Matias Ruiz posed for pictures twice last Thursday night (April 28) at Cal Expo, as the 3-year-old pacer King Carver romped home in his California debut with Luke Plano, while the trotting mare Bit O Lavec made it two in a row with new best friend, James Kennedy, at the controls.
 
King Carver is a son of Riverboat King who was his own worst enemy back East, making frequent breaks and failing to hit the board in five outings.  It was a different story here last week, as put in a big rally for Plano to win going away by nearly six lengths in an encouraging local bow.
 
“I got him from Lou Pena,” explained Ruiz.  “He was making a lot of breaks, but he was racing on the half-mile track at Freehold and Lou thought he could do some good out here on the mile track.
 
“After he qualified, Luke told me he had a lot of pace at the end, and in his race he looked strong all the way around and I was pretty confident when they got to the stretch.  He still has plenty of conditions, so we’ll see how it goes.”
 
Bit O Lavec’s back-to-back scores have been particularly welcome in the Ruiz barn, as the dark-hued mare had to settle for eight runner-up awards from her first 14 trips to the post this year before finally breaking through two weeks ago.
 
“When we claimed this mare, her trainer told me I wouldn’t like her, because sometimes she tries and other times she doesn’t,” Matias related.  “She definitely has a mind of her own, and I’ve just tried to keep her happy.  She’s not an easy trotter to drive, but James seems to get along great with her and it’s made a difference.”
 
Looking at Thursday night’s featured seventh race, Ruiz is well represented with the uncoupled pair of Grandpa Stevie and Satire in the cast.  The $3,400 contest is designed for pacers carrying base claiming tags of $10,000 down to $6,000 and there are several hard-knocking performers set to suit up in this affair.
 
 
Pick 4's Are Offering Real Value At Cal Expo
 
Through the end of the meet, Thursday nights will find both Pick 4’s featuring a reduced 15 percent takeout, while the Late Pick 4 comes with a $10,000 guaranteed gross pool.
 
On Saturdays, both Pick 4’s also have the reduced 15 percent takeout and the Late Pick 4 guarantee was recently raised to $15,000.  Saturdays also find a 17.65 bonus paid to winning Pick 4 tickets that are purchased on track at Cal Expo or at TwinSpires.com.
 
Last Thursday’s program saw the Early Pick 4 returning $665, due in large part to a $52 upset by Sa Sunset; while the Late Pick 4 came back $1,017, with He’s Country getting that sequence off to a healthy start with a $22 tally.
 
By comparison, the old payout on the first Pick 4 from last Thursday would have been $590, instead of the $665 with the reduced takeout; while tickets with the winning combination in the Late Pick 4 would have been worth $900, instead of the $1,017 that was cashed.
 
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This weekend will see the third round of Sire Stakes for the 3-year-olds, with the filly trotters and pacers in action on Friday evening (May 6), while the colt trotters and pacers will decide things on Saturday (May 7).
 
Shamderock will be looking to continue a clean sweep among the pacing males, having captured all four big-money events last season while posting two more authoritative stakes scores this season.  The homebred son of Hi Ho Silverheels carries the banner of D&E Racing and hails from the Rick Plano barn.
 
Im So Sulky, Lodi Nickolus and Final Chapter are all stakes victors among the trotting colts; Whip And A Prayer and Poor House are the leaders in the pacing filly division and Team Desomer’s Claim Jumper is the one to beat when the trotting distaffers get together for the trophy miles.
 
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (May 5) and continues through Saturday (May 7).  Post-time on Thursday is 5:30 p.m. (PDT).  Post-time on Friday (May 6) & Saturday is 6:00 p.m.  On Thursday and every live card, Cal Expo offers free admission, as well as free preferred & general parking after 4:30 p.m.  Also on Thursday night from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Cal Expo offers a complete Lasagna dinner, which includes salad and bread, for just $3.00.  Additionally on Thursday, beer & wine can be purchased for $3.00 each as well.