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Sunday, December 23rd, 2012 - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

The $13,850 Dr. Gary Budahn Trotting series finale is the featured attraction on a special Wednesday evening of harness racing at the Watch and Wager LLC meeting at Cal Expo. First post is 5 p.m. and the racing action will continue this week with Friday and Saturday night programs.

Stars and Glides, who has turned in some big miles at this meeting since coming in from Pocono, gets the top billing in the Budahn finale for owner/breeder Jack Coffey and driver/trainer Bruce Clarke.

The 3-year-old son of Master Glide and the Website mare Starlet’s Web won a conditioned event by nearly nine lengths on December 8, then came back the following week to prove a punctual even-money choice in the second leg of the Budahn. He came home with three and a half-lengths to spare in that contest over a sloppy racetrack.

El Azteca will be one of the main rivals after accounting for the opening leg of this series on December 1 in a game, first-over performance. The multiple stakes-winning son of Panama Hanover is owned, trained and was bred by Marco Rios and Scott Cisco will be handling the lines.
Rounding out the field are a pair of Bob Johnson trainees in Tangram and Chevie Balboa; Try This with Chip Lackey; Connie’s Lady, to be guided by James Kennedy; Earls Dreamofglory with David Siegel; and the Frank Petrelli-trained Claim Jumper from the outside slot.


This week will find the finals of the Dr. Gary Budahn Trotting series on Wednesday; the Bob Staats Pacing series for fillies and mares on Friday and the Bob Gordon Pacing series on Saturday.

The Dr. Gary Budahn Trotting series finale is named for the mainstay of California harness racing for over 30 years who passed away in April of 2009 at the age of 58 at his home in Sacramento.

Dr. Budahn was born in St. Paul, Minn., and while growing up in that state his father introduced him to harness racing. He attended the University of Minnesota and soon after graduating made the move to California, along with his wife Debra.

Dr. Budahn served on the Board of Directors of the California Harness Horsemen’s Association (CHHA) for over 12 years, including a stint as president of the organization for three terms. He was a strong voice in California harness racing and was always there for the horsemen, helping them in any way he could.

Along with Debra, Dr. Budahn started The Gusty Stable, which campaigned some of the best trotters and pacers to ever compete in the Golden State. They included Doodlin and Claude’s Last Lady, who both represented the Budahns in Breeders Crown Events. The Gusty Stable also raced such top performers as Wilder Echo, Alfa Star, Amazing Glide, Claudius Augustus and bred and developed Direct Flight.

Rick Kuebler drove many of the aforementioned stars and acknowledged Dr. Budahn’s contribution to the sport. “He was also the finest all-around horseman I’ve ever known and the most sought-after veterinarian in the state when it came to diagnosing the problems of a horse.”
Watch and Wager LLC is proud to present the Dr. Gary Budahn, Bob Staats and Bob Gordon series finals this week, with more special events scheduled in the coming months to honor those who have been so important to harness racing in California.

The racing action will continue this week with Friday and Saturday programs (December 28 and 29), while next week will find the trotters and pacers competing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (January 4-6).