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Svendsen Gets No. 2,500 With Veteran Trotter
Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity – Cal Expo

Lemoyne “Mooney” Svendsen got his 2,500th driving victory in flashy fashion last Thursday night (March 3), lighting up the tote-board at $39 with the trotter Mighty Kicker in the evening’s finale.

Mighty Kicker, who is owned and trained by Robert Bell, is one of those performers who has seemingly been around forever.  The 8-year-old Iowa-bred son of Kickin B has earned his $86,000 bankroll the old fashioned way, sporting a 1:58 career standard from four years ago.

“I’ve had Mighty Kicker for about three years now,” Bell related.  “He tries to act mean around the barn, but he’s really a sweetheart and just likes to play around.  On the track, he’s easy to drive and what you would call a grinder.”

Even with the one-hole for his most recent assignment, Bell felt his veteran trotter might be in a bit deep, as this race came up extremely contentious for the level, and the public obviously felt the same way as they sent him off as an 18-1 shot.

“I told Mooney just to leave out of there and try to follow along, and as it turned out, he was in the two-hole basically cutting out his own mile.  He got brave when the leader came back to him and was able to get there in a pretty tight one.”

Bell and Svendsen see quite a bit of each other in the mornings, as they toil around the same shedrow.
“Mooney and I both work with the Bob Johnson barn, and he’s a real good guy.  The fact that he got 2,500 on this horse made the win all the more special.”

The 52-year-old Svendsen got into the game in his native Minnesota when he was 16 years old, and cut his teeth on the trotters at the insistence of his father.  He dedicated last week’s milestone win to his dad and his wife Jodi, who is currently fighting breast cancer.
Alpine Hawk, Big Baller Clashing On Thursday At Cal Expo

Alpine Hawk, who has posed for pictures following four of his six trips to the post this season; and Big Baller, his arch-rival of late, get the top billing at Cal-Expo in Thursday night’s (March 10) $4,500 headliner for the trotting set.

A 10-year-old son of Movie Mogul who was bred in New York, Alpine Hawk carries the banner of Jim Winske with Gordie Graham the conditioner and Rich Wojcio in the sulky. He has $145,000 in the bank and sports a 1:56.4 career standard that was established three years ago.

The hard-knocking veteran has been putting his versatility and class on display throughout 2011, getting the job done on the lead and from a stalking position.  He came from off the pace to prevail by a head despite slow fractions in his February 10 score, then took matters into his own hands in last week’s victory.

Sent off the 8-5 second choice in that affair while Big Baller was the chalk, Alpine Hawk made two moves to the lead at the half.  Wojcio took control of things from that point, fighting off a challenge from Big Baller to prove a length best that evening while coming a solid :28 flat final quarter.

Big Baller represents Team Desomer and is looking for his fourth tally from eight trips to the post this season.  The Panama Hanover homebred recorded his most recent decision at this level on February 3, making every pole a winning one that night while setting a new mark with the 1:57 4/5 clocking.

Since that outing, he has had to settle for three straight runner-up finishes, twice behind Alpine Hawk and dropping the other to Jam And Jelly, who will again be among his rivals on Thursday.

That 7-year-old mare is trained by George Reider, who also co-owns the distaffer with Rick and Marlene Thomas.  Jam And Jelly, a lifetime earner of $144,000 with a 1:56.1 mark,  prevailed over this group two weeks ago off a pocket journey with Luke Plano and checked in third in the most recent gathering at this level.

Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (March 10) and continues through Saturday (March 12).  Post-time on Thursday is 5:30 p.m. (PST).  Post-time on Friday (March 11) & 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.
On Saturdays, Cal Expo offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on both the Early & Late Pick-4 with the Late Pick-4 having a $10,000 gross guaranteed pool.  Additionally, for winning wagers made on the Late Pick-4 online at or on track at Cal Expo, a bonus payout of 17.65 percent of the gross Late Pick 4 mutuel payoff will be paid.