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Lilly Has Been Cruising For Fraser At Cal Expo
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 – by Mark Ratzky, publicity Cal Expo

Lillybrookecruiser has proven to be a welcome addition to the Amanda Fraser barn, coming away with three wins and a second from her last four appearances. The mare will suit up again in Friday’s (April 1) opener at Cal Expo with James Kennedy giving directions.

“I’ve her since early February,” related Fraser when asked about the 4-year-old Ohio-bred daughter of Yankee Cruiser, who carries the banner of Richard Michael and Lawrence Keethe. “When I first got her, I thought she might be a tricky mare to train, but she’s proven me wrong.”

It turns out the key to getting Lillybrookecruiser to chill and do her best work is a trotting mare named Victory Felicia, who came down last year with Amanda from north of the border. “That’s her little buddy, and they get along great and love to play.”

Lillybrookecruiser gave an indication of things to come when she romped home by eight lengths over a modest cast on March 5, then stepped up a level and did an encore the following week with Luke Plano doing the honors. Kennedy has been her pilot for the last pair, both in the slop, with a strong close two weeks ago that resulted in a runner-up finish and then a pocket journey for a neck score at most recent asking.

“Luke quarter-moved with her in those first two wins and she seemed to like it,” Amanda noted. “James took her back in the next start and I really loved the way she finished that night. He asked me what the game plan was last week and I left it up to him, and he decided to leave with her and gave her a perfect trip.”

Lillybrookecruiser has been facing mostly males in these outings while catching a variety of track conditions. “It doesn’t seem to matter a bit to her that’s she facing the boys, although it would probably be an easier field if it was all mares. As far as the condition of the track, she seems to be just as good in the mud as she is when it’s fast.”

Sweet Treats Puts Streak On The Line At Cal Expo

Sweet Treats, an 11-time victress last season who has already recorded six wins this year with a hat trick in tow, gets the top billing in Friday night’s (April 1) $3,400 feature at Cal Expo. The race is designed for pacing fillies and mares.

With the exception of a miscue over a sloppy track last month, Sweet Treats has been firing nothing but bullets for owner Linda Magnusson and driver/trainer Tim Maier. She is looking to add to a $110,000 bankroll and has a 1:54 3/5 lifetime standard.

The dark-hued 6-year-old established her mark on March 3 while doing her work with $6,000 sellers, sitting the pocket for a half and then attacking strongly for a two-length tally and the new mark. She has come back to add two more scores to her 2011 resume.

She did the stalk and pounce to perfection in her March 10 mile for Maier, then stepped up to this level for last week’s tour and proved a punctual 3-2 favorite in the slop. Unhurried early, Sweet Treats came first over on the final bend, took aim on the leaders once straightened for home and drew off to a three-length victory in very impressive fashion.

Persuade Me is another member of the cast who likes to have her picture taken, with 14 trips to the charmed enclosure last season and two this year. Bob Johnson owns and trains with Mooney Svendsen once again set to give directions.

The 5-year-old daughter of Crisis Situation will be trying to snap a string of three straight runner-up finishes, completing the exacta behind Sweet Treats on each occasion. Her most recent win came in coast-to-coast fashion on February 12 and she has proven she can get the job done from any early position.

Biggest Big Bertha is the most accomplished mare in the line-up with her $355,000 in earnings and a 1:51 1/5 standard. Rick Plano reins and trains the Little Steven veteran and she most recently clicked when taking a field at this level all the way on March 3. She has been second, third and sixth in her last three attempts.

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 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.