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Friday, November 29th, 2012 - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

One of the new names on the program at this meeting is Evan Coblentz, who is making his first California invasion after spending the majority of his career in the Midwest.

The 53-year-old Ohio native got the harness bug at an early age and it’s been a passion ever since. “I was about 8 when my did bought his first horse and they were racing at Lebanon and on the fairs. I knew right away it’s what I wanted to do and I was jogging them by the time I was 11 or 12.”

At 14, Evan was able to drive in matinee races and he was literally off to the races at that point, eventually competing at the fairs for real just two years later. One of his father’s two trainers was Chuck Peters, and Coblentz credits him with providing a valuable education in the sport.

“Chuck was about 15 years older than me and kind of like an older brother,” Evan explained. “He was a driver and a trainer and he taught me about the game from the ground up. I learned a lot from him.”

For the most part, Coblentz has raced on the Ohio fairs in the summer and then gone to Chicago for the winters, while making himself a Minnesota staple of late. He has campaigning a string of good, hard-knocking trotters and pacers without any stars.

While he loves the racing and it has been career, he admits that his wife and two daughters were always his main focus. “Now that we’ve raised our daughters and they’re both married, my wife and I decided to come out here and try something new. It had always been in the back of our minds, and we plan on taking in all the sights.”

Evan has brought out seven performers, six of which carry his banner, and is very happy with the reception he’s received from management and fellow horsemen. “Everything has been great so far, especially the weather. Right now we’re just playing it by ear, but I have three young trotters that I might bring out after the start of the year.”

A reminder that Sunday, December 23, has been added to the live racing calendar here at Cal Expo and there will be a special first post of 2:35 p.m. for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday programs that week (December 21-23).


The opening legs of the Dr. Gary Budahn Trotting series and the Bob Gordon Pacing series and the first round of $10,000 Sire Stakes action for the 2-year-old pacing males are the featured attractions at the Watch and Wager LLC meeting at Cal Expo on Saturday evening.

Bob Gordon trained many of the best trotters and pacers to ever compete in the Golden State and was a staunch spokesman for the horsemen throughout his career, while the Dr. Gary Budahn is named for the veterinarian/owner/breeder/driver who like Mr. Gordon was so important to California harness racing on the racetrack and behind the scenes.

There are two divisions of first leg of the Gordon series, set as the 3rd and 12th events on a 16-race program that gets underway at 5:30 p.m., while the Budahn series has one division with a full field of 10 facing off in the 6th race on the card. The Sire Stakes will go as a non-betting affair prior to the regular program.

The strong program also features an excellent conditioned pacing contest that finds Pancetta looking to remain unbeaten at the meeting for trainer Liberio Pacheco and driver Luke Plano, while some classy trotters will do battle in an optional/claiming trot that has lured the likes of Franky Provolone, Alpine Hawk and Claudius Augustus.
The Vickie Desomer barn is strongly represented in the first stakes clash for the 2-year-old pacing males with the team of Bit Player and Daring Do in the line-up. They are coming off a solid one-two finish last weekend with Steve Wiseman and Scott Cisco reprising their respective roles in the sulky for this get-together.