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Mooney Svendsen savors stakes double helping
Thursday, April 17th, 2015 - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Last Sunday night was a good one for Mooney Svendsen as he guided Zoeys Delight to her first Sire Stakes victory, then came back less than an hour later to pick up another stakes score with Avila Beach.
Both fillies hail from the Bob Johnson barn and they were pulling off minor upsets in the process. Zoeys Delight was getting the advantage on powerful stablemate Sandy’s Delight for the first time in the trotting event, while Wayne and Rod Knittel’s homebred Avila Beach prevailed in a very contentious pacing affair while returning $15 to her backers.
“Zoeys Delight has been coming around since adding Lasix,” Svendsen related. “She just hadn’t been able to get close to Sandy’s Song and wasn’t coming up with that pop. This time I noticed something different around the middle of the last turn, and when I wheeled her out she marched right by.”
Up until this point, it was Sandy’s Song who had hogged the spotlight by prevailing in the first six stakes dances for the division, but last weekend was Zoeys Delight’s turn to shine and earn the barn bragging rights.
Two races later, Mooney was back in the winner’s circle following the Sire Stakes for the sophomore pacing distaffers with Avila Beach, who was winning for the second straight time and recording her fourth win from seven appearances for Team Knittel and Johnson.
“We lucked out and got the best possible trip and she really fired when I asked her,” Svendsen noted. “She showed she was starting to come around the previous week when she won for Steve (Wiseman), and she’s obviously getting much better.”
There will be one more Sire Stakes opportunity for this group next week and then they’ll have to wait until the fall for the California stakes action to start up again. As for Mooney, at the conclusion of this meet in three weeks he’ll be headed home to Minnesota for the trotting and pacing action at Running Aces.
 High Bet Hanover, Part Time Lady do battle
High Bet Hanover, fresh from a sharp score last weekend; and Part Time Lady, who hits very hard at this level; get the marquee treatment in the featured Distaff Open on Sunday night at Cal Expo.
A 10-race card is on tap with first post set for 5 p.m. and through the end of the Watch and Wager LLC meet purses have been raised 10 percent across the board.
High Bet Hanover is a 7-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight out of the Artsplace mare Highland Dextar who is owned by Kc C Carvalho with Tim Brown the conditoner and Luke Plano once again at the helm.
The bay mare was a sharp victress when she prevailed here on March 1, then had to settle for minor awards in her ensuing five appearances before returning to the charmed enclosure after last week’s Distaff Open in a powerful performance.
Sent off as the 3-1 second choice in that affair, High Bet Hanover was reserved early by Plano, rallied with second-over cover to the stretch and ignited when it counted to hang a neck decision on favored Love Live Laugh while lowering her mark to 1:52 4/5 that night.
Taking her on are Part Time  Lady, who has the outside slot for Steve Wiseman; Rag Doll with Mooney Svendsen; Blue Gem for Harold Herrera; Country Jewel, who will have the services of David Siegel; and Lady’s Art, who has the cozy rail post.
A reminder that there are four wagers offered each night that come with a reduced 16% takeout rate. They are the Jackpot 6 and Hi-5, which are both 10-cent minimum bets; the 50-cent Pick 5; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which has a $25,000-guaranteed pool as part of the USTA Strategic Wagering Program.