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More Sire Stakes Action This Weekend At Cal-Expo
Thursday, May 8, 2008 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity Dept., Cal-Expo


The third round of Sire Stakes for the 3-year-olds trotters and pacers will take place this weekend at Cal-Expo, with the fillies doing battle on Friday night (May 9), while the colts hold the Saturday night (May 10) spotlight.

Smooth Jazz is certainly the star attraction among the trotting fillies, as Tim and Denise Maier’s performer has made a clean sweep of the six stakes races for her division and is perfect in eight overall trips to the post.

The homebred daughter of Tulane is actually bred on both sides for pacing, but has excelled on the trot.

The bay miss crushed her rivals by 11 lengths in the first big money of this season on April 11, establishing a new mark of 2:00.4 in the process. She then came back in the most recent Sire Stakes gathering to waltz home with five lengths to spare as the prohibitive 1-9 favorite with Tim in the sulky.

Among the colt trotters, Stars and Sites won two of the four stakes last season and has a win and a second in the two added-money contests that have been decided this year. Jack Coffey and Traci Camilli’s Website colt proved three-quarters of a length best over arch-rival Meringue with Bruce Clarke in the bike in that last rich dance two weeks ago and the 1:59.4 clocking shaved three-ticks off his career standard.

Meringue was impressive capturing the initial stakes of 2008 for owner Dawn Evango and conditioner Hans Rynningen, and was a game runner-up in that last stakes. He returned with a sparkling conditioned victory last week in a race where Stars and Sites was used up on the lead while parked.

The Rick Plano barn dominates the 3-year-old pacing colts with Star Time Kid and Themaninthewindow representing the shedrow. The former is six-for-seven this season for owner/breeders Alan Kirschenbaum and Sheldon Perry and has accounted for both of the year’s Sire Stakes, while Themaninthewindow took three of the four big dances last year and has been an unlucky runner-up behind his barn-mate in the last pair.

Plano is also strong in the filly pacing ranks with My Fanny. This gal swept the four Sire Stakes at 2, was second behind upsetter Wooski in the first stakes this year, then got her revenge two weeks ago when she prevailed out of the pocket as the odds-on choice with Luke Plano at the helm.

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Thursday night’s feature at Cal-Expo is a $6,300 contest that matches high-priced claiming pacers. Mac Jonathan VP is fresh from a coast-to-coast victory for trainer Lou Pena at this same level and will try for his seventh snapshot of the year. He goes about his business for the partnership of Dave Siegel, Bob Thronson, Greg Robinson and Richard Michael and is closing in on the $100,000 earnings plateau. Taking him on are Blissful Winds, Clambake, Machine Maker, RD Khaki and Top Topper.


Meringue Is Hitting His Best Stride

Sometimes you approach a driver for an interview and aren’t sure what they’re going to say, and other times you can pretty much guess the response.

The latter was certainly the case when Luke Plano was asked about the most recent mile by the sophomore trotter Meringue, who trounced his rivals by almost five lengths and shaved a second and two-ticks off his mark with the 1:58 flat tour.

“I was awfully happy with his race, he really stepped it up,” related Plano, who guides the Dawn Evango color-bearer for trainer Hans Rynningen. “He’s handy enough now that you can pretty much do anything you want with him.”

Meringue is currently locked in a battle for division leadership with Stars and Sites. The young trotters have split the two Sire Stakes decided this season, with Meringue drawing first blood and Stars and Sites getting the nod two weeks ago. They go at it once again on Saturday night (May 10).

“It does look like these two are much best of this group,” Luke said. “That last stakes race, I think I should have made Stars and Sites work a little harder when he came out to retake on the backside. Both horses came home in :28, but he had a length on us into the stretch and that was the difference.

“I’m hoping that we draw inside him again, because that gives us the tactical advantage of being in control of what happens early. They’re both real nice trotters, and it should be another good race," Plano finished.

Live racing will resume at Cal-Expo on Thursday (May 8) and continue through Saturday (May 10). Post-time on Thursday is at 6:15 p.m. (PDT). Post-time on Friday is at 6:25 p.m. (PDT). Post-time on Saturday is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. (PDT). On Thursday, Cal-Expo offers a complete Lasagna dinner, which includes salad and bread, for just $3.00.