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Trotter Prepares For The Next Chapter At Cal Expo
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity – Cal Expo

Bob Johnson had Jack Coffey’s stakes-winning 3-year-old trotting colt Final Chapter out for a comeback spin last week at Cal Expo in preparation for the second round of Sire Stakes action for the division that gets underway next week.

The Website homebred had to settle for second prize behind Im So Sulky in the first three big-money races for the sophomore trotting males last winter, but got his revenge in the November 20 Championship with Rich Wojcio giving him a perfect drive that evening.

Making his seasonal debut last week over a sloppy track, Final Chapter turned in a solid runner-up effort that should help him get nice and tight for the richer assignments.  He sped from the gate for Wojcio in that return, sat the pocket and while no match for older mare C Miracle Mary, did overtake another stakes winner in Thatssomebracciola to complete the exacta.
“He had a nice, quiet time off, and he filled out some,” related Johnson when asked about the dark-hued performer.  “He was a little bumpy in the race and might have been hitting his bike, but it was his first start on an off track and his first race back.  He’ll have one more time to get tighter before the stakes start up again, and hopefully we’ll catch a fast track for those races.”

The late Dr. Gary Budahn and the outstanding performers Oprah and Rowdy Yankee were inducted into the California Harness Hall of Fame in a ceremony last Sunday (March 27).
Don and Barbara Arnstine received the Lifetime Commitment Award for their dedication and support to harness racing in the Golden State, while the stallion awards found MacKenzie Farms received the top breeding award for trotters with Panama Hanover and JJJ Stables and Alan Anderson’s Power of Art was named top pacing stallion.

Claudius Augustus Commands The Thursday Spotlight At Cal Expo

Claudius Augustus, who overcame an early miscue to prove an impressive winner of the Jim Grundy Trot last weekend over a sloppy track, looks to add another score to his resume at Cal Expo in Thursday night’s (March 31) $4,500 headliner for the trotters.

A 7-year-old son of Angus Hall, Claudius Augustus has $265,000 in his bank account and sports a 1:53.3 mark that was established two years ago.  He carries the banner of Debra Budahn with Bob Johnson the conditioner and Lemoyne Svendsen in his usual position in the sulky.

A winner of eight of his 26 trips to the post last year, the classy performer was making his seasonal debut in the aforementioned Grundy and was sent off the slight 9-5 favorite in that affair.  A break before the start put him last for a half, but he came a huge last half to prevail by three-quarters of a length over pace-setting Alpine Hawk in a super return.

Alpine Hawk is a 10-year-old New York-bred son of Movie Mogul who is owned by Jim Winske, takes his lessons from Gordie Graham and has Rich Wojcio giving directions.  He is just shy of the $150,000 earnings plateau with a 1:56.4 standard from three years ago.

The hard-hitting bay has returned to greet his connections after five of his eight appearances on the season, including back-to-back scores at this level on March 3 and 10.  On both occasions he made a strong move to the lead at the half, got a serious challenge into the stretch, but dug in for the drive to get there by a length.

In the Grundy, Alpine Hawk was sent right to the lead by Wojcio was able to carve out the early fractions without dispute.  He battled it out bravely when engaged by Claudius Augustus turning for home, finishing a length clear for third.  Rounding out the cast are Jam And Jelly, Franks Best, Meringue, Berkshire and Big Baller.
A 10-race card is on tap, with the main event going as the seventh on the evening.
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (March 31) and continues through Saturday (April 2).  Post-time on Thursday is 5:30 p.m. (PDT).  Post-time on Friday (April 1) & Saturday is 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 with the Late Pick-4 having a $10,000 gross guaranteed pool.  Additionally, 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.