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Gene Still Wild About The Game
Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity -- Cal Expo

Gene Vallandingham claimed Red Star Wild One for his longtime friend and client Michael Silber last month at Cal Expo, and the purchase bore fruit last week when the 8-year-old pacer did the track-and-attack to perfection to record his third snapshot on the season.
For the 70-year-old Vallandingham, it was victory No. 2,901 in his career as he continues to add to a bankroll of over $13.1 million.  Those red, white and blue colors have been a West Coast fixture for five decades and continue to grace the winner’s circle, if not as regularly as they once did.
“I claimed Red Star Wild One because I liked the way he was always closing at the end of his races,” Gene related.  “He went a real nice mile the other night and it’s certainly still fun to win races.  You know I got my first one back in 1966.”
Making the victory even more special is the fact that the pacer goes about his business under the Silber banner, as Gene and Michael go way back in this sport and have had lots of success over the years.
“Michael is like a son to me,” Gene explained. “I’ve known him since the late 70s and he’s just a great guy.  He’s one of the few people I know that everybody likes, and it’s great to have him as a friend.”
Razor-Sharp Pacers Meet In Friday Cal Expo Headliner
Satire, Grandpa Stevie and Star Time Kid, who between them have already won nine races this season, get the marquee treatment at Cal Expo in Friday night’s (March 18) $3,400 feature and it should be very interesting.
Satire and Grandpa Stevie will compete as uncoupled members of the Matias Ruiz barn with Lemoyne Svendsen and Luke Plano guiding, respectively.  The former is a 6-year-old Pennsylvania-bred who races for William Hernandez and Lauriano Alvarez and has been firing bullets in his last three trips to the post here.
The first two of those appearances came with Tim Maier at the helm and the February 26 mile saw him do the stalk-and-pounce for a three-quarters of a length score at 7-1.  After completing the exacta at next asking, Satire got a second-over journey with Svendsen last week and came home smartly to prevail by a neck over barn-mate Grandpa Stevie.
The latter is a 9-year-old son of Little Steven who has $133,000 in the bank and sports a 1:52.2 standard from three years ago.  David Siegel, Greg Robinson and Robert Thronson own the veteran is he is looking for his third snapshot on the season from 10 tries and has been narrowly beaten in his last pair.
A game, first-over winner in 1:53.3 three back, Grandpa Stevie was once again in that tough position in his next try and could not quite match Western So that evening.  Last time, he brushed to command at the half, showed the way to deep stretch with a clear advantage and just failed to hold off Satire.
Star Time Kid is another son of Little Steven who races for Sheldon Perry and Maryann Plano with trainer Rick Plano at the controls.  He captured four of his five starts between February 3 and March 5, working his way up the class ladder in the process and setting a new mark of 1:52.4 during the streak.
Taking another bump up the ladder for last week’s venture, Star Time Kid was sent off the 8-5 choice. He was shuffled on the final bend, came a strong last quarter but was spotting Satire and Grandpa Stevie too much ground and had to be happy with a third-place finish in that affair.
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (March 17) and continues through Saturday (March 19).  Post-time on Thursday is 5:30 p.m. (PST).  Post-time on Friday (March 18) & 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. 
On Saturday, Cal Expo offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on both the Early & Late Pick-4 wagers with the Late Pick-4 having a $10,000 gross guaranteed pool.  Additionally, on Saturdays, 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.