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Whip And A Prayer Has Eye On The Prize This Weekend At Cal Expo
Tuesday, April 5, 2011 – By Mark Ratzky – publicity, Cal Expo

Whip And A Prayer, one of the major players in last year’s big-money events for the pacing fillies, is ready to get back to work this week as the next round of Sire Stakes for her division get underway this Friday (April 8) at Cal Expo.


Gordie Graham conditions the Frank Nevarez homebred daughter of Hi Ho Silverheels and Rich Wojcio is the only driver she’s known. The diminutive distaffer came away with one stakes trophy last season while recording a second, a third and a fourth in the other three added-money gatherings.


“She’s not very big, but she’s a fighter and gives everything she has each and every time,” Graham related when asked about the filly, who hasn’t seen action since the Sire Stakes Championship back in November.


“She had a real laid-back vacation after that race,” her mentor noted. “Because of the weather, we haven’t been able to get as ready as we would have hoped, and she’ll come into that first stakes with the two qualifiers.


“I expect her to be a little short, but talent-wise I certainly think she stacks up against any of them. She figures to be much tighter by the second stakes, because she’ll have two races under her belt when that one rolls around.”

Whip And A Prayer didn’t show much early interest in last year’s outings, but she came home in a hurry and used that solid late kick to handle her peers in the November 5 stakes test. She was third behind Racetrack Diva in the aforementioned Championship before going to the sidelines.

“She has shown that she likes to come from off the pace, and we won’t change her style,” Gordie said. “As far as the competition goes, to be honest I haven’t really been scouting them, so we’ll just have to see how things shape up when they get together.”

JAM AND JELLY IN CAL EXPO TROT

Jam And Jelly, who has been mixing it up with the likes of Claudius Augustus and Alpine Hawk of late, gets some class relief and has top billing in Thursday night’s (April 7) $3,400 trotting headliner.

A 7-year-old Indiana-bred daughter of New And Notable, Jam And Jelly is conditioned by George Reider, who also co-owns the mare with Marlene and Richard Thomas. Luke Plano will be in his usual spot in the sulky.


The classy distaffer has banked $145,000 in her career and sports a 1:56 1/5 mark that was established over this track last season. She has two victories to her credit in 2011, the most recent coming over a sloppy track on February 24 off a pocket journey. She should appreciate getting away from the big guns of the division here.


Berkshire packs a strong punch in the lane and has to be respected as he goes postward for owner Ron Lingle, trainer Frank Petrelli and regular pilot Steve Wiseman. He clicked six times last year, including a 1:56 1/5 career-best tour, and will also appreciate the class drop.

Meringue is a stakes winner of $190,000 who carries the banner of Dawn Evango with Kennedy Lindsey doing the training. The 6-year-old son of Jonathon Lobell demolished his rivals with a huge mid-race move on March 18 and has been knocking heads with Claudius Augustus and Alpine Hawk in his last pair.


Completing the field are Giles L S Hanover with Mooney Svendsen; Forever Bachelor for Rick Plano; Rompaway Brandon and Tim Maier; Aston Boko with Rich Wojcio; Foxy Lady De Vie and Steve Wiseman; Putoneonnetformom from the Rocky Stidham barn; and Dirty Dog, who leaves from the outside with Chip Lackey.

Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (April 7) and continues through Saturday (April 9). Post-time on Thursday is 5:30 p.m. (PDT). Post-time on Friday (April 8) & 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.

A reminder that on Saturday nights, the guaranteed gross pool for the Late Pick 4 has been increased to $15,000. The early and Late Pick 4’s on Saturday feature a reduced takeout of 15 percent, with a winner’s bonus payout of 17.65 percent on the Late Pick 4 to winning tickets that are purchased on track at Cal Expo or on TwinSpires.com.