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Luke Plano Notches No. 2,000
Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity -- Cal Expo

Last week at Cal Expo was one to remember for Luke Plano. In addition to recording Sire Stakes victories with Thatssomebracciola for his dad Rick, and Shamderock for D&E Racing Inc., the 31-year-old earned driving victory No. 2,000 with Natty Lite on Friday evening (December 9).

Shamderock’s victory in the sophomore colt pace was his 11th from the 12 added-money events decided for this group. The only hiccup came on November 26, when he was overpowered by Live A Little, but he left little doubt in that last stakes gathering as he did the track and pounce to perfection for Luke while rewarding the chalk players at 70 cents on the dollar. The Hi Ho Silverheels homebred sizzled a mile in 1:52 over the summer at Vernon Downs in New York for his career standard.

Like Shamderock, Thatssomebracciola has established herself at the top of the 3-year-old trotting fillies by posing for snapshots following three of the four Sire Stakes decided at this meeting. Luke sat patiently with this gal for a half, took aim on arch-rival Flea Flicker turning for home and overpowered Mark Anderson’s gutsy distaffer by three-quarters of a length.

“This filly has been in great shape, she raced well and has a bright future,” Plano related. In addition to this victory and the milestone No. 2,000, he had three other winners on that 13-race program last Friday.

At the beginning of the meet, Luke had stated that he wasn’t sure if he would be joining his father in Florida when the Sire Stakes action was concluded, but related he will indeed be staying put for the time being.

“I’m very happy with the way our horses have been racing and how I’ve done at the meet,” he explained. “The plan now is to stay here until at least March or April, and then we’ll go from there.”

Alpine Hawk, Giles L S Hanover Clash On Thursday Night At Cal Expo

Bob JohnsonAlpine Hawk and Giles L S Hanover, fresh from a one-two finish at this level, get another chance at Cal Expo to settle the score in Thursday night’s (December 15) featured $3,600 headliner for the trotters.

Alpine Hawk recorded a game victory in last week’s outing, which was his first evening appearance since September 23 for owner Jim Winske, trainer Gordie Graham and pilot Rich Wojcio. The 10-year-old New York-bred comes into this assignment with $154,000 in his bank account and a 1:56.4 career standard that was established three years ago.

Leaving from the No. 8 post in that return mile, Wojcio used his charge hard to make the top just past the quarter. He raced with favored Giles L S Hanover in the two-hole, fought it out bravely when that one came calling in the stretch and held safe by a head.

Giles L S Hanover is a 6-year-old S J’s Photo offspring who carries the banner of Marty Garey, Hank Wieseneck and Bob Johnson with Johnson training and Steve Wiseman handling the lines. He is looking for his sixth win on the year to go with seven runner-up finishes and nine thirds.

Dropping out of the Winners-over ranks for last week’s mile, he pushed the issue early from his rail slot before settling into the pocket behind Alpine Hawk. He attacked in the drive, but came up just short. He goes from the inside to the outside for Thursday night’s main event.

Rounding out the field are Twice The Ruckus from the George Reider barn; D Man for trainer Larry Hastings and pilot James Kennedy; the Kennedy Lindsey-conditioned Meringue; and Larry Alterman’s Winsom Kelly with Luke Plano giving directions. The race goes as the third on a nine-race program.

Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (December 15) at 5:30 p.m. (PST) and continues on Friday (December 16) & Saturday (December 17) 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.

Cal Expo now offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on all Pick 4’s (Thursday/Friday nights in partnership with the USTA Strategic Wagering Committee). In addition, all Late Pick 4’s will come with a $10,000-guaranteed pool. On Saturday nights, there will be a 0% takeout on successful Late Pick 4 tickets made at Cal Expo or at Twinspires.com.