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Trotter


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Featured race honors memory of Jim Grundy
Friday, February 20th, 2015 - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Sunday night’s $7,200 feature is the Jim Grundy Trot, named for the driver/trainer harness racing fixture in California harness racing for over 30 years who passed away in 2009 at the age of 74.
 
Jim Grundy made 2,617 trips to the charmed enclosure as a driver, with more than $10.3 million in career purses. Originally a hockey player in his native Canada, a knee injury forced Jim to hang up his skates and stick in 1958. Going into the family business of harness racing, he found his second niche in life as a driver/trainer.
 
Grundy apprenticed under famed horsemen Eddie Cobb, Clint Hodges and Frank Popfinger before going out on his own in the early 1960s. He was the leading driver at Monticello for three straight years beginning in 1971 before heading west with his wife Deborah, a former schoolteacher and bookkeeper for the stable.
 
It was here that Grundy blossomed into one of the state’s top harness horsemen. Teaming with owners like Chris Bardis, Lloyd Arnold and Ron Zumbrun, he won countless stakes races with the likes of Googie, Hugabear, Steam and Easel. He was especially noted as an outstanding trainer of young trotters.

Steve Desomer, Gene Vallandingham and Rick Kuebler competed against Grundy for many years and have high praise for his skills.J im was not only our friend, but partners with us on many memorable horses,” Desomer said. “He was an exceptional horseman and that resulted in a long and successful career.”

Vallandingham related, “I knew Jim from the time he came to California. He was a nice guy and a great horseman and I always enjoyed his company.”

Kuebler also did battle with Jim on many occasions at Cal Expo, Hollywood Park and Los Alamitos. “I’d have to say he was the most accomplished trainer of young trotters we’ve ever had in the state. Even after his retirement, horsemen would seek him out to get advice in shoeing and balancing a trotter. It was all about his expertise and passion.”

Brussel Sprout heads Jim Grundy Trot
 
Brussel Sprout, an overpowering winner of the prep for this race two weeks ago, looms a solid choice in Sunday evening’s $7,200 Jim Grundy Trot at Cal Expo.
 
There will be nine races on Sunday with a first post of 4:55 p.m. The main event is set go as the sixth contest on the evening with a field of six facing starter Kenny Fowler.
 
Brussel Sprout is a 6-year-old son of Glidemaster out of the Prakas mare Elana Hanover who races for Clint Lugar and Matias Ruiz, is conditioned by Ray Burt and will have Luke Plano at the controls.
 
Sent off the 3-5 favorite in the Jim Grundy Trot prep in his most recent appearance on February 8, Brussel Sprout did not disappoint his many backers. He was used early and again at the half, took command for good once straightened for home and went on to a three and a quarter length decision over the sloppy going.
 
Taking him on Sunday are Vari Forgetful with Bruce Clarke; Silverlode, who will have Steve Desomer in the sulky; Hooray Katie with Steve Wiseman; Timmy T, Steve Farrell Jr; and Lodi Dorian Blues with Pierre Girard guiding.
 
A reminder that there are four wagers offered here each night 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 comes with a $25,000-guaranteed pool on Sunday.
 
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Next week will find the trotters and pacers in action on Saturday and Sunday nights, February 28 and March 1.