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Alberto Pacheco Getting His Chance In The Sulky At Cal Expo
Friday, March 30, 2012 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity -- Cal Expo

Alberto Pacheco Getting His Chance In The Sulky At Cal Expo
Friday, March 30, 2012 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity -- Cal Expo
           
Alberto PachecoAlberto Pacheco is one of the new faces in the bike at Cal Expo, as the 24-year-old attempts to make his mark in the local driving colony.
 
Pacheco has pedigree connections to the sport, as his father Juan is an owner and his uncle Lino is one the top conditioners on the grounds.  He arrived here from Mexico six years ago and was immediately mesmerized by the trotters and pacers.
 
“In Mexico I had worked with quarter horses, but this was the first time I saw harness racing and I knew this is where I wanted to be,” Alberto explained.  “The way these horses move so smoothly and the chance to drive them got me hooked right away.”
 
Pacheco spent four years under the watchful eye of Lou Pena, while the last two have seen him working for Jim Wilkinson Jr.
 
“Both of them have been great teachers.  I learned quite a bit with Lou Pena, and now Jim Wilkinson is showing me even more.
 
“I also got a lot of help from Matias Ruiz and Gretchen Smith, who helped me with getting horses for my qualifying drives, and Scott Cisco and Rich Wojcio have been giving me plenty of tips about what to do and what not to do out there.  They also made sure I had the right equipment for driving in the rain.”
 
Pacheco’s normal day at the Wilkinson shedrow finds him arriving around 6:30, as he tends to the five horses under his care while making sure each one does their appointed rounds on the racetrack. He is also gaining valuable experience helping train the babies with Wilkinson.
 
“It’s a great education, and you keep learning every day,” Alberto noted.  “My goal is to eventually get my own barn and be driver and trainer.  I’d like to have it all.”
 
 
Sharp Pacers Square Off In Saturday Cal Expo Headliner
 
Cycle Power, who is going in career form at the moment with back-to-back victories in impressive style; and Albion, who has gone some monster miles of late at Cal Expo, are among the major players in Saturday’s (March 31) $4,500 Winners-over Pace.
 
Set to take on this sharp pair are the classy mare Haggin Oaks, One And Only, Marlin Hanover and Amigo De Garcia.  The race goes as the third on a 15-race program.
 
Cycle Power is a 6-year-old son of Cambest and the Life Sign mare Life Cycle who is owned and trained by Nathalie Tremblay.  He came into his March 17 assignment in an optional seller having clicked just one in his first eight appearances on the year, but has really come around in the few weeks.
 
He exploded late over a sloppy track to collar heavily-favored Albion that night with James Kennedy guiding, then returned to pull an $18 surprise at the top rung at most recent asking.  Lemoyne Svendsen handled the reins in that last decision and will be back for Saturday’s joust.
 
They sat patiently for a half, made a huge move while wide off the final bend and proved clearly best through the lane with two and a quarter lengths to spare.  It will be interesting to see if Cycle Power can keep the streak alive this weekend.
 
Albion is a son of The Panderosa who carries the banner of Dan Tullio, James Mascola and trainer Matias Ruiz.  The dark-hued performer has returned to the charmed enclosure following five of his 11 appearances on the year, including a seven-length romp at most recent asking with Luke Plano handling the lines.  He is closing in on $100,000 in earnings and recorded his 1:52.4 mark here in February.
 
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Congratulations to Jim Lackey, who has been nominated to represent the United States Trotting Association in the 25th International Harness Drivers Championship that will be raced at the historic Moscow Hippodrome on April 14 and 15.
 
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Friday (March 30) & Saturday (March 31) at 6:00 p.m. (PST).  On every live card, Cal Expo offers free parking & free admission after 4:30 p.m.  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 currently offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on all Pick 4’s.  Additionally, all Late Pick 4’s now come with an increased $20,000-guaranteed gross pool.  Also, the Friday Late Pick 4 will offer a 0% takeout on all winning wagers made on track or at Twinspires.com, while the Saturday Late Pick 4 will be broadcast on TVG.