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Franky Provolone Gets The Cheese At Cal Expo
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity -- Cal Expo

Franky Provolone, he of the Sopranos-like name and sometimes steppy nature, was on his best behavior last weekend at Cal Expo and was rewarded with a victory to the delight of those who took 6-5 on the trotter.
 
Rick Plano conditions the son of Armbro Scribe while son Luke was doing the honors.  It was the fifth lifetime trip to the winner’s circle for this 4-year-old, who last year turned in a strong 1:58 tour of the seven-eighths Vernon Downs layout in New York for his career standard.
 
Franky Provolone is one of those side-wheelers that has his backers holding their breath every yard of the mile, while at the same time realizing that a mistake-free mile is likely to yield a victory when doing his work at that level.
 
“My dad gave this horse to my wife Nikki and I as a wedding gift,” Luke related.  “He’s got talent, you can see what he did last year back East, but he hadn’t been finishing like he should in his races.  Dad drove him the race one back and then did a little work on his feet, because he felt they were bothering him.  He was much better last week.”
 
Interestingly, the closest thing to a possible miscue by Franky Provolone came when Rick’s other horse in the race, Bobby Baccala, made a break while on the lead and forced pocket-sitter The Goose and Franky Provolone to alter course to get around him.
 
“There was a little brushing with the bikes, but my horse kept his cool,” Luke informed.  “He made a real nice move to the lead at the head of the stretch, and actually won easier than the margin will show.  He never saw that other horse (Heavy Pockets) coming, and a 1:59 and change mile is pretty good for this level.”
 
 
Denali Series Brings Out Streaking Pacers At Cal Expo
 
Hi Ho Steverino and Lily’s Hi Ho, who between them have rattled off nine straight victories, get the marquee treatment at Cal Expo in Friday night’s (January 28) opening leg of the Denali Series for the pacers.
 
Hi Ho Steverino is a 4-year-old homebred son of Hi Ho Silverheels and the Beach Towel mare Bj’s Beach Fire who races for Rod Knittel, with Rick Plano training, and Luke Plano handling the lines, and comes into the Denali riding a four-race winning streak while leaving little doubt in any of those scores, going virtually wire-to-wire on each occasion.
 
The last pair have been by identical four and a half-length winning margins, with last week’s coast-to-coaster resulting in a lifetime-best 1:53.1 clocking in extremely impressive fashion.  This will be his toughest test of late, but he certainly appears to be up to the task.
 
Lily’s Hi Ho has sights set on his sixth straight trip to charmed enclosure for owner/trainer Bob Johnson and regular pilot Lemoyne Svendsen.  Another son of Hi Ho Silverheels, he has been showing complete disdain for his rivals, with the smallest margin at the wire in those last five scores being two lengths.  That came in the finale of the Courageous Red series over a sloppy track.
 
Sent off at 50 cents on the dollar in his most recent outing, Lily’s Hi Ho actually made that price look like an overlay.  He zipped right to the top for Svendsen, carved out the fractions without challenge and came home with two and a quarter lengths to spare.  He established his 1:54.1 mark the week before in another solid mile.
 
The last time Hi Ho Steverino and Lily’s Hi Ho did battle was in that November 27 Courageous Red final, as the former had pace-setting duties and weakened to third as Lily’s Hi Ho came calling in the stretch.  It will be very interesting to see what happens Friday as both pacers are in sensational form at the moment.
 
Looking for an upset are Still Stylin, Mighty Fine Hi Ho, Double L Jammer, Natty Lite, Amigo De Garcia, Marlin Hanover, Dancing Barry and Charlie Beans.  A 14-race card is set, with the feature going as the 10th on the evening, and the action continues here on Saturday with another 14 events on tap.
 
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (January 27) and continues through Saturday (January 29).  Post-time on Thursday is 5:30 p.m. (PST).  Post-time on Friday (January 28) & 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.