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Thursday, December 6th, 2012 - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

When Don’t Hurry Love captured the first leg of the Bob Staats Pacing series last weekend, it marked a victorious return to racing for owner Ed Acktinson, who was watching his first starter in some 15 years. For good measure, he added a tally with the trotter Chevie Balboa a bit later on the same program.

“Ed is retired now and called me and said he wanted to get back in the game,” trainer Bob Johnson related. “We had a lot of very nice horses over the years, Bonefide Boy being one of our favorites, and won our share of stakes races together. He also had a lot of awfully good ones that came in from Australia and New Zealand.”

When Johnson head that Denny Shetler had some horses for sale in Indiana, he figured the timing was right to get Actkinson back into the sport. “The Indiana horses usually do very well out here, and it’s especially nice when they still have lots of conditions like these two. So far it’s worked out pretty well.”

Despite shipping in from Indiana Downs, missing a couple of starts and catching a sloppy track, Don’t Hurry Love was ready to rock and roll in the opening leg of Staats with Mooney Svendsen at the controls. She came out to attack favored pacesetter Rd Iou past the half, collared that one at midstretch and came away by a length and three-quarters when all was said and done.

“She had trained real well, so I wasn’t concerned about the missed time,” Johnson said. “You always have to worry when they catch an off track, but it really wasn’t all that bad that night. Mooney said afterwards he thought she was a real nice filly.”

Johnson mentioned that it was also very gratifying to win a race named after the late owner/breeder Bob Staats, a mainstay in California for many years and a client in the Johnson barn. “Bob was a good guy with a lot of very nice horses and he was one of those people who always thinking about what was in the best interest of the game.”


A conditioned trot that brings out the classy veterans Claudius Augustus and Alpine Hawk and the first $10,000 California Sire Stakes for the 2-year-old pacing colts headline the Saturday night Watch and Wager LLC action at Cal Expo.
The featured trot will occupy the third-race slot on the evening with the Sire Stakes set as a non-betting event prior to the regular program. Between them, Claudius Augustus and Alpine Hawk have banked nearly $500,000 and have established themselves as two of the most popular performers on the grounds.

Claudius Augustus is an 8-year-old son of Angus Hall who is owned by Debra Budahn, hails from the Bob Johnson barn and will have Mooney Svendsen guiding. He is still racing while preparing to start his third year of stud duty next season. Alpine Hawk will be celebrating his 12th birthday in January and competes for Jim Winske, trainer Gordie Graham and driver Rich Wojcio.
In the Sire Stakes for the pacing males, the Desomer Stables looks to be holding a nice hand with the pair of Bit Player and Daring Do representing the barn, while Hi Ho Disguise is a promising prospect and helps make things quite interesting.

Bit Player and Daring Do are both Moxie homebreds who finished one-two in a solid contest two weeks ago, with Steve Wiseman and Scott Cisco reprising their driving roles, respectively, for conditioner Vickie Desomer.
Hi Ho Disguise made 3-5 look like a gift two weeks ago in his second lifetime trip to the post with Luke Plano guiding and would appear to have a very bright future. The son of Hi Ho Silverheel’s races for owner/breeders James Mascola, Dan Tulio and Matias Ruiz and takes his lessons from Dario Solares.

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 12th race; and the 10-cent Super High 5 conducted on the finale.