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Luke Plano Hopes To Get Ticket For Speeding At Cal Expo
Thursday, March 10, 2011 – by Mark Ratzky, publicity --- Cal Expo

Luke Plano will be driving the hard-knocking Split Ticket in Saturday night’s (March 12) main event at Cal Expo, and there is no shortage in the confidence department when he talks about this 7-year-old pacer.


 “He’s classy and a pleasure to drive,” said Luke, who has guiding the son of Bettor’s Delight to some big wins at the head of the division over this racetrack. “As far as style, he can leave or he can sit and come at them, so he can do it all.”


Split Ticket finished up last year in style, dominating the best on the grounds through the middle of November, but then was away from the wars for over three months. The Open Pace wasn’t being written, so his connections decided to give him a little time off before kicking off the 2011 campaign.

Since coming back, he has had to be happy with minor awards, but each of his three appearances has resulted in an improved mile. Last week he checked in third behind Haggin Oaks, who will not be suiting up this weekend.

 “He’s the type of horse who doesn’t get all that much out of his training, so it figured that he would need some racing before he got back to his best form,” Plano explained. “He had a real easy qualifier, then he was definitely short for his first race and a little tighter for the next one.

Last week saw the Liberio Pacheco trainee stalking the pace set by Ivegotwhatuneed, coming home with a :27 flat quarter to miss by a length and a half to the two mares Haggin Oaks and Red Star Ruffles, with the latter missing from this weekend’s line-up.

 “Last time was certainly his best mile since he’s come back,” his pilot noted. “He left out of there some and he gave me a real good finish. Considering the race comes up a little softer this time and now he has another start, he should be right there.”
 
Red Star Ruffles Vs. Talented Stablemates In Cal Expo Feature

Red Star Ruffles, who flew home last week to miss by a neck at nearly 35-1; and the swift Bob Johnson trainees Lily’s Hi Ho and Ivegotwhatuneed are among the major players in Saturday evening’s (March 12) $4,500 main event at Cal Expo.

Red Star Ruffles is a 7-year-old by Rustler Hanover who is owned and trained by Robley Johnson with Sue Boyce at the controls. She posted a career-best 1:53 4/5 decision at the start of the year, but has had to settle for minor awards of late, including last week’s flying finish as a 34-1 shot.

Lily’s Hi Ho and Ivegotwhatuneed will represent the Bob Johnson barn with Mooney Svendsen handling the former and Rick Plano guiding Ivegotwhatuneed. Lily’s Hi Ho, owned and trained by Johnson, had rattled off nine straight victories going into last week’s appearance, but saw the skein snapped when checking in fourth after making a first-over bid.

That torrid streak including a clean sweep of the Denali series and it was in the February 11 finale that Lily’s Hi Ho established his lifetime mark of 1:4 1/5. Two weeks ago he proved a punctual 1-5 shot in a performance that was much easier than the length margin would indicate, while last time he bid first over and had to settle for a fourth-place finish.
                                                                                                                               Ivegotwhatuneed competes for Johnson and Marty Garey and has three wins and three seconds from his nine trips to the post this year. His most recent score came on February 19 when he got the golden journey and really turned it on for the stretch to win clear by a length and a half. He was second at next asking and fifth last week after having pace-setting duties.

Split Ticket should be sitting on a top effort as he goes postward for owners Richard Morita, David Yamada and David Ohara with Luke Plano in the sulky for trainer Liberio Pacheco. This 7-year-old won 12 of 33 starts last season, including a blazing 1:50 score at Indiana Downs, and is looking to add to a $152.000 bank account.

Hoping for an upset on Saturday are Larry Horse, who has the rail with Ralph Silvestri III; Arch Nemeses, to be handled by Steve Wiseman; She Is So Glad with Rich Wojcio; and Western So, doing his work from the outside slot with James Kennedy giving directions.
 
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 at 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.