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McKellar Getting That Welcome Feeling At Cal Expo
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity -- Cal Expo 

David McKellar, who notched his first Cal Expo victory last week, is a 45-year-old Toronto native who is making his first venture to California.
 
“I’m really enjoying myself,” he related.
 
For McKellar, a love for the trotters and pacers came when he was 8 years old, and he knew then he wanted to make it his career.
 
“My step-dad owned some horses and once I got the chance to see the backstretch and jog one or two, I was hooked.”
 
David got his first real hands-on experience while working with top trainer Keith Linton in British Columbia, then spent 11 years in Alberta under the wing of another fine conditioner in Keith Clark.
 
“I went out on my own in the mid 90s, and then in 2007 I got a great opportunity when I trained for the late Robert Murphy,” McKellar said.  “I had 26 horses for him, including Duca, who set a couple of track records, and Regal Beauty, who won quite a few top races for the mares.”
 
When Murphy passed away last year, his stable was dispersed and McKellar pretty much found himself back to square one.
 
“I basically had to start over, and I had a choice of going to Alberta or trying California.  I figured my horses would fit better out here, and so far I’m loving it.”
 
Pacing Fillies Battle In Sire Stakes At Cal Expo On Friday
 
A $15,000 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacing fillies is the main attraction at Cal Expo on Friday night (May 13), with Whip And A Prayer, Math Wiz and Poor House heading the cast.
 
Whip And A Prayer looms the favorite as the Frank Nevarez homebred daughter of Hi Ho Silverheels has been firing bullets in all the big-money gatherings for the division this season.  Gordie Graham trains and Rich Wojcio will once again be handling the lines.
 
Whip And A Prayer picked up one stakes trophy last season, then came flying late to account for the first Sire Stakes of 2011 on April 8.  Two weeks later in the next added-money affair, the dark-hued mare moved to the lead in the stretch, then was collared on the money by Poor House.  She was second in last week’s elimination, beaten a head by Math Wiz.
 
The latter is a homebred daughter of Distinguishedbaron who carries the banner of Wayne and Rod Knittel with Rick Plano training and Luke Plano in the sulky.  She will be making only her fourth trip to the post, earning her graduation papers at first asking on April 21 and then posting a $19 upset in last week’s elimination heat off a second-over journey behind Whip And A Prayer.
 
Poor House figures right in the battle as she makes her third start since being purchased privately by trainer George Reider, Rick and Marlene Thomas and Dave Haness.  James Kennedy guides the Little Steven offspring, who ignited late to earn her first stakes score in the April 22 get-together and was third in the aforementioned elimination after a first-over journey.
 
Rounding out the cast are Swing Vote, who has the rail with Jim Lackey giving directions; Dine N Wine and Steve Wiseman; Diamond Player with Scott Cisco; Racetrack Diva for Tim Maier; Moximum with Lemoyne Svendsen; Hi Fidelity, who gives the Plano barn two looks at the outcome with her trainer at the controls; and Feetdontfailmenow with David Siegel.
 
The co-feature is a $4,500 event for pacing distaffers and brings out a solid cast including Biggest Big Bertha, Castle Oaks and Haggin Oaks.  A 14-race card is on tap, with the Sire Stakes going as the 10th on the evening and the distaff-conditioned affair is set as the second race on the program.
 
Looking ahead to Saturday night, Rick Plano will have two of his big pacing guns on display in back-to-back races.  Pacinello looms a major player in the featured third on the card, while the streaking Shamderock eyes his seventh straight win in the next race as he prepares for next week’s final stakes dance of the spring. 
 
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (May 12) and continues through Saturday (May 14).  Post-time on Thursday is 5:30 p.m. (PDT).  Post-time on Friday (May 13) & Saturday is 6:00 p.m.  On Thursday nights through the end of the winter-spring meet, Cal Expo offers the Late Pick-4 with a $10,000 guaranteed pool.  The wager will be conducted on races six through nine. Further, the takeout for the Late Pick-4 will be lowered to 15 percent, as it will also be on the Early Pick-4.  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 $15,000 gross guaranteed pool.  Additionally, for winning wagers made on the Late Pick-4 online at TwinSpires.com or on track at Cal Expo, a bonus payout of 17.65 percent of the gross Late Pick 4 mutuel payoff will be paid.