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REDUCED TAKEOUT HELPS SPARK HUGE PAYOFFS
Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Last Saturday night saw huge payoffs in both the 50-cent Pick 5 and 10-cent Super High 5 wagers, which along with the $1 Pick 4 feature a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. The Pick 4 also sports a $20,000-guaranteed pool on Fridays and a $25,000 guarantee on Saturdays.
 
In last Saturday’s Pick 5, the winning 50-cent ticket was worth $8,380, due in large part to Clint Warrington Jr. guiding Larry Clark to an $83 upset. In the evening’s finale, the 10-cent Super High 5 returned a cool $10,255 as price horses dominated the first five spots.

To put things into perspective, using the regular takeout rate, the Pick 5 payoff would drop from $8,380 to $7,482, while that Super High 5 would have returned $9,156 instead of the $10,255 payday.
 
The Pick 5 is conducted nightly on the third through seventh events; the Pick 4 with the guaranteed pool is decided on the penultimate four races on the card, while the Super High 5 puts an exclamation mark on the night’s action in the finale.

JIM GRUNDY, SHELLY GOUDREAU FINALS SET

The $15,800 final of the Jim Grundy Trotting Series; the $19,200 Shelly Goudreau Pacing Series finale and a pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes are the highlights on Friday night’s Cal Expo program.

I Love New York is a 5-year-old Broadway Hall homebred who carries the banner of Jack Coffey, Patricia Waldeck and Bruce Clarke with Clarke doing the driving and training. After runner-up efforts in his first two efforts since coming in from the East Coast, he made every pole a winning one in last week’s penultimate Grundy leg in a sharp 1:55 2/5 performance.

El Azteca had to settle for second in that affair after rattling off a five-race winning streak for owner/breeder/trainer Marco Rios and driver Scott Cisco. Included in that skein were two Sire Stakes decisions and a victory in the first leg of the Grundy in a lifetime-best 1:56 flat clocking.

Looking at the Goudreau, Gold Deuce was third in a division of the first leg and then came back with an impressive two and a quarter-length tally last week while lowering his mark to 1:54 1/5 in the process. Kathy Plestad and Tyler Wiseman own with Steve Wiseman reining and training.
 
The Sire Stakes are going as non-betting races. The contest for pacing fillies finds Babe Ridge eyeing back-to-back trophies, while the trotting event combines both fillies and colts and Its Not Over is the one to beat in that affair.

KENNEDY EYES CROWN WITH PHANTOM DAN

James Kennedy has his sights set on Saturday’s finale of the Jim Dennis Pacing series with Phantom Dan, a 5-year-old son of Little Steven that he describes as a perfect gentleman and a pleasure to drive and train.

Phantom Dan has turned in big efforts in the opening legs of the Dennis, doing his work in first-over fashion and finishing a close second to heavy favorite Jovial Joker in the initial gathering and then getting the job done on the front end in that rival’s absence last weekend.

Jovial Joker is back in the cast this weekend and the veteran will obviously be very tough, but Kennedy has confidence in his pacer and is ready for the challenge. Last year was an awfully good one for Phantom Dan, with 10 trips to the winner’s circle from his 27 appearances, and he’s started off 2013 in sharp fashion.

“I’ve had this horse for about two years now,” James related. “I originally had him for his breeder Alan Kirschenbaum, who was a great man and I always appreciated that he gave me the opportunity with this horse.
 
“When I first got him he had EPM and he was pretty difficult to train, but he eventually came around and now he does everything easily. That was a huge race for him to go first-over against Jovial Joker in the first leg, and last week I didn’t plan to take the lead, but that’s the way it came up. I’d never raced him on the front end before, because I normally prefer to have my horses race from behind, but he was very strong.”