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Race honors memory of Dr. Gary Budahn
Friday, January 2nd, 2015 - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Sunday’s Dr. Gary Budahn Trot is named for a mainstay of California harness racing for over 30 years, who passed away in April of 2009.

Dr. Budahn served on the Board of Directors of the California Harness Horsemen’s Association (CHHA) for over 12 years, including President of the CHHA for three terms. He was a strong voice in California Harness Racing for many years and was always there for the horsemen, helping them in any way he could.

Dr. Budahn was well known in harness racing for being one of the best veterinarians to grace the backside and was well respected throughout the country.

Along with his wife Debbi, Dr. Budahn started The Gusty Stable, sending out some of the best horses to ever race in California, including Doodlin and Claude's Last Lady.

Each represented The Gusty Stable in Breeders Crown events and were two of the best mares to ever campaign in the Golden State on the pacing and trotting side. Along with those two outstanding mares, The Gusty Stable raced many more top performers such as Wilder Echo, Alfa Star, Amazing Glide, Claudius Augustus and was the breeder and developer of Direct Flight.

“Gary Budahn was a man of integrity and probably the best horseman I ever met,” said former driver Rick Kuebler, who guided many top performers for The Gusty Stable over the years.

“When it came to diagnosing the problem of a horse, he had no equal. He had an intimate knowledge of the Standardbred and harness racing in that he was a top trainer and even spent time in the sulky. I miss his advice, encouragement and friendship.”
   

Sire Stakes, Dr. Gary Budahn Trot set
 
A $10,000 California Sire Stakes for the newly-turned 4-year-old pacing distaffers headed by Brewski and J’s Littlerockstar; an Open Trot rematching Its Not Over and El Azteca and the $7,200 Dr. Gary Budahn Trot headline the Sunday night program at Cal Expo.
 
An 11-race card is on tap with first post set for 4:45 pm. The Open Trot is the first on the night; the Sire Stakes occupies the fourth-race slot and the Budahn Trot will be race eight on the program.
 
Brewski comes into the feature with a number of stakes trophies on her mantle, including one from the most recent added-money clash for the division on December 7. The Little Steven homebred races for Billie Schwartz and Junior Wilkinson with Luke Plano handling the lines.
 
In that last Sire Stakes, the bay distaffer was parked to the lead at the quarter, then took control of things and prevailed by a length over J’s Littlerockstar. She set a new mark when she won the following week in 1:57 1/5, then dropped a head decision to J’s Littlerockstar when they met last weekend.
 
The latter is another Little Steven offspring who is owned, trained, driven and was bred by James Kenndy. She is also a multiple stakes victress, with her most recent big-money score coming back in April over a sloppy track.
 
After finishing second behind Breski in her first two appearances in December, J’s Littlerockstar was able to get some revenge in their most recent meeting last week. Kennedy sat the pocket with his protégé to the final bend, was out to the lead in the lane and gamely held safe by a head over her arch-rival in a lifetime-best 1:55 2/5 clocking.
 
Its Not Over and El Azteca, who are developing one of the best rivalries on the grounds, get another chance to settle the score in one of the co-features. There have been six Open Trots decided at this meet and Its Not Over and El Azteca have equally divided those clashes at the head of the class.