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Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Big Better Best certainly lived up to his name in his division of last week’s opening leg of the Bob Gordon Pacing series, doing the track-and-attack to perfection for pilot Dave Siegel.

The 3-year-old son of Pro Bono Best goes about his business for owner Bernie Wolin and trainer Raul Escobedo and was making his second Cal Expo appearance after shipping in from Indiana. He has now stamped himself as one of the pacers to beat when the finale rolls around in two weeks.

Big Better Best did his work from the second tier in his local debut and finished fourth with Bruce Clarke handling the lines. With that effort under his belt, he made a nice move forward to get his picture taken last week while competing over a sloppy racetrack with Siegel at the helm.

“He was a little rough down the lane in that first start here,” Siegel explained. “Bruce made some suggestions and Raul and Bernie made some equipment tweaks during the week to eliminate the issue, which they did.

“The horse was racing better and better each week for Bernie at Indiana Downs, so it did not surprise me that he was up to the task last time, even with the tough rain and wind conditions and taking on so much air during the race. He’s a really nice horse to drive and I think he’ll continue to improve as he acclimates to the weather and the track.

The Bob Gordon series is named for the popular owner, trainer, breeder, driver and activist who was so important to harness racing in the Golden State for several decades. “Bob Gordon is a legacy in California harness racing history,” Siegel noted. “While I did not know him well personally, it was an honor to win a race named for his Hall-of-Famer.”


A $6,000 Open Trot featuring the streaking Franky Provolone and a pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes for 2-year-olds are the main events on Friday night’s Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo.
The Open Trot will go as the third on a 16-race card with a solid field set to face the starter, while the two Sire Stakes clashes will be non-wagering events decided prior to the regular program.
Franky Provolone is looking to continue a strong year and a super meet to this point as he guns for his 15th victory on the season and his third score from fourth score from five appearances at this stand. The 5-year-old son of Ambro Scribe is owned by Robin Clements, is conditioned by Vickie Desomer and will once again have Tim Maier in the sulky from the cozy rail slot.

Taking him on are Hi Tech Tony with Luke Plano; Lost N The Fog for Bruce Clarke; Giles L S Hanover with Steve Wiseman giving directions; and Parkhill Fantasia who leave from the outside slot for Rocky Stidham.

Looking at the Sire Stakes, one race will combine the filly and colt trotters and the other is restricted to pacing distaffers. It’s Not Over appears the one to beat in the trotting affair for owner/breeder Debra Budahn, trainer Bob Johnson and driver Mooney Svendsen after an easier-than-looked score two weeks ago.

The first added-money clash for the 2-year-old pacing fillies looks pretty wide open. Blue Gem and Stiletosilverheels were second and third, respectively, behind a nice prospect at most recent asking and figure to be right in the thick of things. Harold Herrera owns, trains, drives and bred Blue Gem, while Kennedy Lindsey conditions Stiletosilverheels for owner/breeder Dawn Evango and Chip Lackey will once again handle the lines.
A reminder that there is a reduced 16 percent takeout rate and a carryover provision on three wagers here at Cal Expo. They are the 50-cent Pick 5 that begins on the third race; the $1 Pick 4 with a guaranteed gross pool of $25,000 that kicks off on the 13th race; and the 10-cent Super High 5 conducted on the finale.