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Wednesday, December 26th - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

The $9,700 finale of the Bob Staats Pacing series for fillies and mares is the featured attraction here at the Watch and Wager LLC meet at Cal Expo Friday night with opening leg winners RD Iou and Don’t Hurry Love heading the marquee. First post for the 13-race program is 5:55 p.m.

RD Iou is a 4-year-old Iowa-bred daughter of Armbro Khaki and the Niatross mare Brettatross who has accounted for nine of her 25 trips to the post this season with a 1:54 1/5 career standard that was established this summer at Running Aces. Denise Maier is the owner and Tim Maier does the driving and training.

The chestnut miss was runner-up to Don’t Hurry Love in the first leg of the Staaats on November 30 as the pace-setting 3-5 favorite, then turned the tables on that rival two weeks ago as she played the role of stalker and motored by when it counted to post a clear-cut two and a quarter length score.

Don’t Hurry Love is a 3-year-old Florida-bred miss who carries the banner of Ed Actkinson, takes her lessons from Bob Johnson and has Mooney Svendsen handling the lines. She was first-over in that Staats opening leg and had little trouble overhauling RD Iou that evening, then was first-over once again in the second stanza of this event and made a clear lead at midstretch, but it was RD Iou who came up with the late heroics to earn the decision.
Completing the field are Drawing Dead for trainer Dario Solares and driver Williams Hernandez; In Regal Attire for driver/trainer Dan Gassien; and Twentyone Guns, who gives the Johnson barn a pair of chances with Scott Cisco guiding from the outside slot. The action continues Saturday night with the final of the Bob Gordon Pacing series holding the spotlight.


This weekend will find the Bob Staats series final on Friday night, followed by the Bob Gordon series finale on Saturday, as two of the major players in California harness racing over the last several decades are honored.

In addition to being an outstanding trainer, Bob Gordon was a very important link between horsemen and management, earning respect from his peers on both the backside and frontside during his career.
Steve and Vickie Desomer worked alongside Mr. Gordon and are high in their praise. “Bob Gordon was a very good horseman and not only a great friend to Steve and myself, but a friend to the owners and caretakers alike,” Vickie said.

Bob Staats, along with his wife Loretta, was a prominent owner/breeder beginning in the early 1970s and had some of his greatest success with Gordon as his trainer. One of their most popular performers was the brilliant New Zealand racemare and producer Stand By N, who put the Staats stable on the map with a 1:52 career standard, over $250,000 in earnings and an induction into the California Harness Hall of Fame in 2010.

Other outstanding Staats performers included Stand By’s son Moxie, a 1:49 3/5 pacer with more than $40,000 in earnings; Nemisis, a 1:48 victor; the popular mare Reno Rose; Bells To Be Rung and BG’s Prodigy, with the latter being named after trainer Gordon.

“Bob Staats was one of the top owners and breeders we’ve had in the sport,” said racing secretary Fred Kuebler. “He was very important to California harness racing and one of the first to bring horses over from New Zealand. He had a great partnership with Bob Gordon that produced some outstanding racehorses over the years.”
In coming months, there will be series named in honor of owners Lonnie Beck, Richard Staley, Lloyd Arnold, Bill Conlin and Marvin Shapiro; driver/trainers Joe Lighthill, Joe O’Brien, James Grundy, Shelly Goudreau and James Dennis; steward Michael Corley and author and racing historian Stan Bergstein.

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