Chha LogoLogo

Trotter


Interested in a bit of California Harness Racing History? - Click Here







Vanessa Gilliam believes in a Second Wind
Thursday, January 29th, 2015 - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Vanessa Gilliam is the owner of the promising 3-year-old pacing colt Hi Ho’s Little Rev, the Bob Johnson trainee who was runner-up in the first stakes race for his division earlier this month and will suit up once again in Saturday night’s opener.
 
She is also the operator of Second Wind Rescue, Inc., doing a terrific job giving horses the second chance they deserve.
 
”I didn't grow up with horses,” Vanessa explained. “I was a competitive volleyball player, and my parents encouraged me to pursue athletics instead of equines, because they felt horses were not only dangerous, but wouldn’t pay for college.”
 
Gilliam ended up playing college volleyball for five years and for a short period some professional volleyball in Greece, eventually buying her first horse in 2007.
 
“It was a 4- year-old Overo APHA mare,” she related. “In March of 2008, I starting rescuing by purchasing three unbroken 2 year olds Quarter Horse type horses for $150 apiece.”

Fast forward to the summer of 2010, when Vanessa met veterinarian Dr. Audrey Clifton in Paso Robles at a restaurant where she was working a couple of nights a week. “ She vacations at Lake Nacimento every summer with her family.  We got to talking about our occupations and instantly become friends.  She offered to help me with dental work and stock me with essential medical supplies at cost when she was down here. 
 
“We stayed in touch and I went up to Cal Expo to visit her in 2011.  During my visit, I got to jog two horses around the track on a Saturday morning and I was hooked!  Later that year she called me to see if I had room for three pregnant mares at my ranch.  I was able to take two of them, Prettylittlerebel and Sharps and Flats.  Both mares were bred to Hi Ho Silverheels.”
 
Hi Ho's Little Rev, who is out of Prettylittlerebel, was born at Second Wind Rescue, Inc. in 2012.  When he was getting close to turning 2, Gilliam contacted Clifton to help her get the ball rolling with his harness training.
 
“Audrey has been very instrumental in making this journey possible,” Vanessa noted.   “She got him a spot in Leon Smith's barn for the first half of training. With all the groundwork I did with him at my place, Rev was ground driven his first day there and hooked up to a cart by the end of the week. It also goes to show the great minds that this breed possesses.
 
”Being part of this process has been a huge learning experience which will help me better understand the industry and also the horses that are involved.  It's stressful being a racehorse owner, but I'm enjoying the excitement of the journey.”
 
As for Second Wind, it has been a 501(c)3 non-profit organization since 2011.  Vanessa has had 62 horses, representing 20 different breeds, come through the rescue facility over the last seven years. 
 
“After owning a few Standardbreds,” she noted, “I'd put them as one of my top three favorite breeds, along with Friesians and Mustangs. “
 
In addition, she currently owns a cleaning business called Mo Betta Cleaning Services, waits tables a couple nights a week, and runs the rescue. 
 
“ I care for 15 horses, four llamas, two sheep, two goats, a potbelly pig, three dogs, two cats, nine chickens and 14 ducks, pretty much all by myself.  On occasion, I have volunteers here helping with ranch chores and training. 
 
“Our goal at Second Wind is to take unwanted, abused, and/or neglected horses, get them healthy, add value to them with training, and adopt them out to forever homes.”
 
Noble work, indeed.
 
Open Pace, sophomore Sire Stakes in spotlight
 
An Open Pace that rematches St Lads Lotto and China King and a $10,000 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacing colts get the marquee treatment Saturday night at Cal Expo.
 
The Sire Stakes goes as the first and the Open Pace as the fourth event on a 14-race card that is scheduled to get underway at 6:10 p.m. Four wagers are offered at a reduced 16% takeout rate, including the Pick 4 that comes with a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool.
 
Looking at the Sire Stakes, Urungoodhands, a powerful winner of the first added-money event for the 3-year-old males pacers; and Hi Ho’s Little Rev, his most immediate victim that evening, loom the major players.
 
Uringoodhands is a homebred son of Kent’s On Nuke who campaigns for Mark Anderson, is trained by Gordie Graham and will once again have the services of James Kennedy.After finishing second in his debut, the dark-hued performer suited up for the first stakes engagement for the division two weeks ago. He sat a tracking trip for Kennedy, exploded off the final bend and won going away by three lengths in a 1:57 1/5 mile.
 
Hi Ho’s Little Rev is a son of Hi Ho Silverheel’s who is owned by Vanessa Gilliam with Bob Johnson the conditioner and Mooney Svendsen in his usual position in the sulky. He was a powerful winner of his second trip to the post on January 4, then had to settle for second in the aforementioned January 17 Sire Stakes after looming large at midstretch.
 
********
 
Racing will be conducted this week on Friday and Saturday nights, with no racing on Super Bowl Sunday, February 1. Next week, there will be Saturday and Sunday night programs, February 7 and 8.
 
Following that, there will be back-to-back three-night weeks with cards on Friday through Sunday, February 13, 14, 15; and Friday through Sunday, February 20, 21, 22.