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Aston Boko Rolls When It Counts At Cal Expo
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity – Cal Expo

Aston Boko is going in peak form at the moment at Cal Expo for owner/trainer Marco Rios, as the 4-year-old trotting son of Windsong’s Legacy has posed for pictures following three of his last four appearances with Rich Wojcio in the sulky.
 
The streaking performer has been rewarding his backers quite nicely in the process, with his last two scores coming at 5-1 and 6-1, respectively, while bumping up a notch in class for those outings.
 
There was a new challenge thrown at Aston Boko last week, as he caught a sloppy track that proved to be troublesome for a number of side-wheelers, but he had absolutely no problem as he did the track-and-attack to perfection for Wojcio and collared Rompaway Brandon by a neck.
 
“He’s very good right now,” Rios said after the victory.  “His race one back, he may have only won by a half-length, but it was a lot easier than it looked if you just saw it in the program.
 
“As far as the sloppy track, I was pretty confident, because back when I was qualifying and driving him, he caught some off tracks and went over them the same way he does the fast tracks.  Rich said after the race that this horse has a lot of speed, and he can really trot at the end.”
 
Aston Boko will attempt to improve even more on his 2011 batting average when he suits up in Thursday’s (February 24) eighth race from the cozy one-hole with Wojcio once again doing the honors.  No matter how things shake out early, he figures to make his presence felt when the serious racing starts.
 
 
Big Baller, Alpine Hawk Have Spotlight On Thursday At Cal Expo
 
Alpine Hawk, a winner of four of his last five starts; and Big Baller, who has prevailed in four of his last six appearances, loom the main rivals in Thursday night’s (February 14) $4,500 headliner at Cal Expo for the trotting set.
 
A 10-year-old New York-bred son of Movie Mogul, Alpine Hawk comes into this assignment with $143,000 in his bank account and a 1:56.4 mark that was established three years ago.  Jim Winskie owns, Gordie Graham trains and Rich Wojcio will take his usual spot in the sulky.
 
The hard-hitting veteran won nine of his 27 trips to the post last season and is off to an excellent start this year with three snapshots and a second from his four attempts.  He kicked off 2011 with a pair of sharp scores, then was hard used early and could not quite contain Big Baller in their January 28 meeting.
 
Alpine Hawk got his revenge at most recent asking, however, as Wojcio stalked the pace, got his trotter to ignite when it counted and was up by a head over Big Baller, who had been battling for command the length of the drive.
 
The latter is a homebred son of Panama Hanover and the Rowdy Yankee mare Charming Spirit who carries the banner of the Desomer Stables with Vickie Desomer training and Steve Desomer handling the lines.  He’s gunning for his 11th snapshot from his last 26 starts and has a 1:57.4 standard.
 
Big Baller, who likes to race up close and personal, set his mark when he proved a very impressive winner two back on February 3.  He was used very hard, but had plenty left for the lane and pulled away by two and a quarter lengths that evening in an eye-catching once-around on this oval.
 
The Desomer charge was bet down to 90 cents on the dollar for his last outing, while Alpine Hawk was the 3-1 second choice in that mile.  Big Baller left smartly for the top, yielded at the half, came back for more in the stretch and battled it out gamely to lose a heartbreaker to his archrival.  He could easily turn the tables in Thursday’s headliner.
 
Completing the field are Jam And Jelly, who hails from the George Reider barn and will have the services of Luke Plano; the Bob Johnson’s Franks Best with Lemoyne Svendsen giving directions; Broadway Victory, who is owned, trained and driven by John McKeon Jr.; and K D Nicol, with his owner/conditioner Keith Willey at the helm.
 
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (February 24) and continues through Saturday (February 26).  Post-time on Thursday is 5:30 p.m. (PST).  Post-time on Friday (February 25) and 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 Saturdays, Cal Expo offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on both the Early & Late Pick-4 wagers with both Pick-4’s having a $10,000 gross guaranteed pool.  Additionally, on Saturdays, 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.