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By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

After leaving harness racing for about 12 years, Ed Actkinson once again has trotters and pacers carrying his banner and according to the owner, “so far, so good.”

With good friend Bob Johnson doing the training, Actkinson is campaigning the pacing mare Don’t Hurry Love, who accounted for the Bob Staats Series final earlier in the meeting and goes in Friday night’s second race; and the hard-knocking trotter Chevie Balboa
Ed originally got into the game some 40 years ago, following in the footsteps of his father, Paul. “My dad had quarter horses at Los Alamitos and after a few years of watching him race, I got into the quarters for about six years.”\

It was the elder Actkinson who eventually switched over to harness racing and once again after seeing the fun he was having, Ed decided to do the same. He was a steady owner for nearly 20 years while having Johnson, Bobby Gordon, Paul Blumenfeld and Frank Sherren as his trainers.

“We never had any big name horses, but we did pretty well,” Actkinson related. “Two of my favorites during that period would be Bonnie Bo Scott, who was from New Zealand, and a horse named Wrangler Hanover.”

The Downey native decided to disperse his stable about a dozen years ago, around the same time the trotters and pacers stopped competing at Los Alamitos and moved up to Cal Expo on a full-time basis.

“I still stayed good friends with Bob, and several months ago I mentioned I was getting a little bored and asked him to see if he could find me some horses. We ended up buying Don’t Hurry Love and Chevie Balboa from Indiana, and wouldn’t you know it, they both won their first starts for us on the same night.”


A pair of $4,500 Open 2 pacing events are the featured attractions on Friday’s Cal Expo program, with Doc’s Zippy getting top billing in the first while Rd Iou attempts a curtain call in the contest for the distaffers.

Doc’s Zippy is a 4-year-old son of Cams Eclipe who races for Toman Enterprises Ltd, is conditioned by George Anthrop and will once again be handled by Gene Vallandingham. While he is still seeking his first win on the season, he has been knocking heads with the best pacers on the grounds and finds a good spot on Friday.

In his most recent appearance, the Anthrop traineecarved out all the fractions while racing under these same conditions and was unable to hold off heavily-favored Gold Deuce when that one came calling in the stretch. That rival has moved on to Saturday’s Open I and Doc’s Zippy should have plenty of supporters in his absence.

Lining up against him are Emery Vern, who gives the Anthrop barn another look at the outcome; the Junior Wilkinson-trained pair of A Real Miracle and Ra Ra Steven; and Silver Spur, who takes his lessons from Nathalie Tremblay and leaves from the outside slot.

Rd Iou is seeking a repeat in the filly and mare event for owner Denise Maier, trainer Tim Maier and pilot Chip Lackey. The Armbro Khaki 5-year-old put on a furious late charge to win going away by a length and a half in a 1:54 4/5 performance while showing the way home over stablemate Castle Oaks, who will again be among her rivals with her trainer in the sulky.
Rounding out the cast are Bewareofthisaffair with Clint Warrington, Jr.; Don’t Hurry Love, Mooney Svendsen; Sea Bug, Gene Vallandingham; and Scooter Babe, Steve Wiseman.