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 Pacing co-features, mandatory payouts
Featured on Sunday’s closing-night program
Friday, May 1st, 2015 - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

A pair of $4,400 Pacing co-features and mandatory payouts on all wagers are in the spotlight on Sunday’s closing-night Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo.
 
There will be a nine-race card to down the curtain on the winter/spring meet, with a first post of 5 p.m. and mandatory payouts in all wagers. The trotters and pacers are scheduled to return to action on Saturday, October 24, which will also include a simulcast of the full Breeders Crown program from Mohawk.
 
A field of nine will line-up in the Open III Pace for the males, which goes as the finale on the card and finds Mar Dream among the major players for the potent combination trainer Bob Johnson and driver Mooney Svendsen.
 
The Open III Distaff Pace goes as the seventh of the night and has Perfect Pitch and Lexie’s Delight being assigned the outside two post positions for that affair.
 
There are four wagers offered with a reduced 16% takeout rate and there will be mandatory payouts in all of them. They are the Jackpot 6 and Hi-5, which are both 10-cent bets; the 50-cent Pick 5; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which comes with a $25,000-guaranteed pool as part of the USTA Strategic Wagering Program.
 
Coming into the final two nights of action here at Cal Expo, Steve Wiseman holds a six-length lead in the driver standings over the fall/winter champ Luke Plano, while Bob Johnson will easily claim the training title over fall/winter leader Tim Brown.
 
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 Speak English makes up for lost time
 
After missing the first few Sire Stakes, Speak English has streaked to the head of the sophomore filly pacing class by accounting for three of the final four added-money gatherings for the division.
 
A homebred daughter of Power Or Art who races for Frank Nevarez and is conditioned by Gordie Graham, Speak English completed this stand by making every pole a winning one in last Sunday’s Sire Stakes in a dominating performance.
 
The dark-hued filly was 15-1 when she made her debut in a March 15 stakes, but looked more like a 1-5 shot as she overpowered the leaders in eye-catching fashion with Tim Maier at the controls. She set her mark of 1:55 2/5 winning a Sire Stakes two weeks later, then was the beaten favorite in the next one before rebounding to prevail last weekend.
 
“She actually qualified last June at Balmoral and then we got a qualifier into her here in December, but she came up with a virus and we didn’t want to rush her back,” Graham explained.
 
“I was a little surprised she was such a big price for that first start, because we knew she had plenty of talent. She came her back half in :55 3/5 that night, which is awfully impressive, especially for a first-time starter.”
 
Gordie noted Speak English’s lone setback on April 12 was likely due to a cough she had earlier in the week, and she certainly exerted her dominance in the following start while changing tactics to the front end with new pilot Luke Plano. “I told Luke he was on his own as far as tactics and he went right to the front with her,” Graham said. “She had always been a little lazy on the front end when she was training, but she was strong that night and Luke came back and said she was a real nice filly.”
 
Her mentor reported Speak English will now “get lots of green grass” and be readied for a return to stakes action when this meet starts up again in October. It should be fun, unless you’re one of her rivals.