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Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

K D Amazin Spirit lived up to his name last weekend, overcoming some interference at the head of the stretch to reel in heavily-favored Franky Provolone with new best friend Scott Cisco giving directions.

The 7-year-old son of Thadrow is going strong as ever these days, and you can say the same thing about his 78-year-old owner/trainer/breeder Keith Willey, who is thrilled with the way his trotter is flying home on a regular basis. Willey had also been his regular pilot up until this meet where Cisco has assumed those duties.

“Scott has done a great job with Spirit and he absolutely loves the horse,” Keith related. “I actually prefer to drive, but I have all those memories from last winter of the cold and the mud and asking myself, ‘What am I doing out here?’ This way has worked out real well.”

K D Amazin Spirit was sitting a second-over trip to the drive in last week’s outing and looked poised to pounce when Claudius Augustus made a break directly in front of him and briefly impeded the Willey colorbearer. Shaking it off like a pro, he went about his business and posted a length and a quarter score.

“I have to think most other trotters would have gone off stride at that point, but he gathered himself and got the leader,” Willey noted. “I think he may have impressed me the most a few weeks ago in a race he didn’t win. He was fanned extremely wide to the stretch and came a :27 and change final quarter and just missed that night.”
This hard-knocking trotter is one of many performers to carry the K D initials for Willey over the last two and a half decades. “We had so many of the names we were putting it get turned down, my wife Debbie and I decided to start using our initials in front of the names to get them through,” Keith explained. Mission accomplished and carried proudly by this trotter.


Franky Provolone, who rattled off three straight wins earlier in the meet but has had to settle for the runner-up prize in his last three appearances; and K D Amazin Spirit, who flew home to deny him last weekend, get a rematch in Friday’s $5,000 trotting headliner.

A 15-race card is on tap at the Watch and Wager LLC meeting at Cal Expo with first post set for 5:45 p.m. The feature will go as the second event on the evening with Franky Provolone and K D Amazin Spirit drawn right next to each other in the inside posts.

Franky Provolone is a 6-year-old son of Armbro Scribe who is owned by Robin Clements, hails from the Vickie Desomer barn and will once again have Tim Maier giving directions. He was a 15-time winner in 2012 while banking over $55,000 and establishing a 1:57 1/5 mark at Running Aces.

The hard-hitting gelding put his versatility on display when he pulled off a hat trick here between November 23 and December 7 and then completed the exacta behind the classy invader Fort Valley As in his next pair. He was 2-5 in last week’s outing, was hard-used to the lead turning for home and was unable to hold off the charging K D Amazin Spirit when push came to shove.

The latter is a 7-year-old Thadrow homebred who is owned and trained by Keith Willey with Scott Cisco in the sulky. The long-fused California-bred was bothered while making his bid at the head of the lane last week, but recovered quickly and streaked home to win going away by a length and a quarter.

Rounding out the cast are K D Nicol, who gives the Willey barn two looks at the outcome; the Tim Brown-trained High Tech Tony; Lost In The Fog for Bruce Clarke; and Giles L S Hanover, who leaves from the outside with Mooney Svendsen at the helm.

The action will continue this week with a Saturday night program featuring the second leg of the Joe O’Brien Pacing series.