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It's Ups And Downs For Wojcio At Cal Expo
Thursday, January 19, 2012 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity -- Cal Expo

Last week started out pretty rough for driver Rich Wojcio, as he was unceremoniously dumped in last Thursday night’s (January 12) opener, but the week ended on a high note as he guided the popular 11-year-old trotter Alpine Hawk to his fifth straight victory.
Wojcio was handling Style Element in that aforementioned first race on Thursday when the trotter jumped off stride before the start and went down in what could have been a very serious incident.
“The mare choked down, couldn’t get her air and eventually collapsed,” Wojcio explained. “I ended up on my feet, thank God, and we were all very fortunate it wasn’t worse.”
As a precaution, Rich took off the remainder of his drives that night, but did return to action for Friday’s (January 13) program. On Saturday (January 14), he didn’t disappoint those who took Alpine Hawk at 1-2 in an optional claimer as he tracked the leaders, pounced in the stretch and got the job done by a head over a gutsy Twice The Ruckus.
“Alpine Hawk is just a kind, professional and classy animal whom I look forward to driving whenever he can race,” his pilot noted. A New York-bred son of Movie Mogul, Alpine Hawk is owned by Jim Winske, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and has $161,000 in the bank with a 1:56.4 lifetime mark.
As for Wojcio, the victory was No. 3,743 in his career with over $22 million in earnings. And counting, we might add.
Shelby County Eyes The Hat Trick At Cal Expo
Shelby County, off to an excellent 2012 with back-to-back victories at the head of the class, looks to keep the momentum going in Friday night’s (January 20) featured $4,500 Winners-over trot at Cal Expo.
A 5-year-old daughter of Chip Chip Hooray out of the Whiteland Somolli mare Rowdy Somolli, Shelby County is owned by Ben Kenney, takes her lessons from Rocky Stidham and will once again have Tony Succarotte giving directions.
The chestnut miss kicked off her recent streak at 8-1 in the January 6 gathering at this top rung. Succarotte left smartly with his charge, was covered up on the backside by stable-mate Putoneonnetformom, then rallied nicely to win going away by a length and three-quarters while establishing a new lifetime mark with the 1:57.1 final clocking.
In the most recent outing, Shelby County was actually sent off the 2-1 choice and delivered in style. Last of the half-dozen to the half, she circled rivals turning for home and stormed to the line with a :28 final quarter to prevail by a length and a half that evening.
The aforementioned Putoneonnetformom was third in that affair and looms large. The Trot For Joy homebred competes for Jeff, Gerald and Diana Cimini and James Kennedy has the return assignment. He had a solid 2011 with seven wins from his 27 appearances, including a 1:57.2 lifetime-best tour, and figures to be up close and personal in this line-up.
Franks Best is looking to turn things around after three disappointing tries. Bob Johnson owns, trains and bred this Armbro Scribe offspring with Lemoyne Svendsen at the controls. A multiple stakes winner of $116,000 with a 1:57 mark, he crushed these late last year in back-to-back November and December outings, but hasn’t been firing his best shot of late.
Completing the cast are Giles L S Hanover, who gives the Johnson barn a second look with Steve Wiseman guiding; and Carpathian Hooray, who leaves from the rail and has Jim Lackey at the controls. A 14-race card is on tap, with the headliner set as the second on the evening.
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Friday (January 20) & Saturday (January 21) night at 6:00 p.m. (PST). On Friday, Cal Expo offers free parking & free admission after 4:30 p.m. Also on Friday, Cal Expo offers Happy Hour from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on which Beer, Well Drinks & Wine are offered at $4 each, while a Burger with fries is offered at $5.
Cal Expo now offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on all Pick 4’s (Thursday/Friday nights in partnership with the USTA Strategic Wagering Committee). In addition, all Late Pick 4’s will come with a $10,000-guaranteed pool. On Saturday night, there will be a 0% takeout on successful Late Pick 4 tickets made at Cal Expo or at