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Race HonorsMemory Of Cliff Shurman At Cal Expo
Thursday,December 15, 2011 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity -- Cal Expo

Race HonorsMemory Of Cliff Shurman At Cal Expo
Thursday,December 15, 2011 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity -- Cal Expo

Cliff ShurmanSaturday night’s (December 17) Cal Expo feature is the Cliff Shurman Memorial Pace, named in honor of the popular owner who passed away last week after a brief illness. The $3,600 pacing event will match Ivegotwhatuneed, Stanza, Hi Ho Hi Ho, Nittany Linebacker, Western Ho and Marlin Hanover.

Among the popular performers campaigned by Shurman was Devilish Donnie, the 2008 Horse of the Year owned in partnership with Rocky Stidham.

“I trained for Cliff for seven years,” Stidham related. “We met here at the track, and Cliff had a way of meeting you.”

In recent years, Rocky related that Cliff was spending more and more time around the barn.

“Cliff was old school, a $2 bettor who really loved the horses. When he came to the barn, he always wanted to help out and be part of the team.”

Announcer Scott Ehrlich said, “Cliff's love for our sport, from the horses that competed, to the horsemen, to anyone who shared his compassion, was very genuine. He appreciated the joy that harness racing gave to him, and gave it back, whether it was by being at the barn every morning, being at the track every night, or being in the winner's circle with one of his horses or a friend’s horse.

“You couldn't help admire Cliff for all that, which is why I always gave him a shout out in the winner's circle, for which he always called to show his appreciation. So long my friend!”

Looking at the feature, Marlin Hanover is gunning for his third trip to the charmed enclosure from his last four outings for owners Richard Morita and David Yamada, trainer Liberio Pacheco and pilot Luke Plano. He set his mark of 1:54 when he took the measure of an optional $10,000 claiming group on November 19, then had traffic troubles at next asking and had to settle for a fourth-place finish.

Marlin Hanover got back on the beam last week as a 6-1 shot at the Winners-Over level with Plano at the controls. He sat a dream two-hole journey, then had the right response when asked in the lane and took the measure of Cycle Power by a length and a quarter that evening.

Ivegotwhatuneed and Hi Ho Hi Ho give the Bob Johnson barn two nice looks at the outcome. The former, with Lemoyne Svendsen giving directions, is owned by Johnson and Marty Garey. The 8-year-old son of Givemewhatineed recorded his most recent decision on October 8 and has a 1:52 lifetime mark that was set two years ago. He is looking to add to a $287,000 bankroll while doing his work from the outside slot.

Hi Ho Hi Ho, with Tim Maier driving, carries the banner of Lisa Ehrlich and trainer Johnson and rattled off three straight wins between October 21 and November 4 in sharp style. He is on the verge of reaching the $100,000 earnings plateau and sports a 1:53.1 career standard.

Western So is coming off a game, dead-heat tally last week for owners Jaymes Latch and Lillian Merrick, trainer David Merrick and driver Tony Succarotte. He was first over in that last mile and battled it out gamely to share the victory with One And Only in that affair.

Stanza figures right in the thick of things with his top mile for owner Mark Benvenga and driver/trainer Steve Wiseman, while the Jim Wilkinson Jr. conditioned Nittany Linebacker completes the line-up with Rich Wojcio in the sulky. A 12-race card is on tap, with the Cliff Shurman Memorial set as the fourth on the evening.

The eighth race is named for Luke Plano, who scored the 2,000th driving victory of his career when he guided Natty Lite to the winner's circle last weekend.

Harness Racing Returns Friday, December 30 At Cal Expo

There will be no live racing at Cal Expo next week, with the trotters and pacers back in action on Friday, December 30, followed by a special New Year’s Eve program on Saturday (December 31) with a first post time of 5 p.m.

The January schedule finds racing on Friday and Saturday the first week; Thursday-through-Saturday cards on the 12th through 14th; Friday and Saturday racing the following week; and the regular three-night a week schedule for the 26th through 28th of January.

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 night, there will be a 0% takeout on successful Late Pick 4 tickets made at Cal Expo or at Twinspires.com.