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Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Posey Patch has done some solid work here at Cal Expo for owner Gregory Gardner and trainer Gretchen Smith since shipping in from Michigan, recording a pair of runner-up efforts before getting her picture taken last week with Luke Plano in a conditioned event.

The 6-year-old daughter of Nobleland Sam accounted for five of 21 appearances last season and appears to have found a nice home here at Cal Expo with back-to-back solid efforts to kick off the new year. In last week’s tour, the pacer made a sustained first-over bid for Plano, cleared once straightened for home and went on to a 1:55 4/5 decision with a length and a half to spare.

Posey Patch’s recent heroics snapped a winning streak for second-place Don’t Hurry Love, who had recorded three straight scores coming into that affair, including a victory in the Bob Staats Series final.

While Smith noted that Posey Patch can be a handful, at the same time she pointed out it’s worth the effort. “She’s can be tough as nails at the barn and on the track, but she gives her all every start. You never have to question the size of her heart and I wish I had 10 more just like her to train.”

Gretchen noted that owner Gardner teaches at Montcalm Community College in Sheridan, Michigan. Along with his mother, they have bred and raced some very nice horses in the Great Lakes State under the Gardner Farms LLC banner, with a pacer named Special Report being one of their favorites.


Oompa Loompa, who has rattled off four straight victories for the team of Kc C Carvalho, Tim Brown and Luke Plano; and El Azteca, who has posed for snapshots following three of his last six appearances for Marco Rios and Scott Cisco, head the co-features on Friday night’s Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo.

Oompa Loompa has been a tiger since getting some class relief on December 21 and dropping into a $3,000 claiming affair. He romped that night and came right back to crush his rivals for the same price at next asking, then jumped back up to the $10,000 optional claiming level and circled the field to win going away in his December 6 outing.

Off the strength of that mile, the Carvalho colorbearer was sent off the 9-5 choice for his most recent trip to the post last Saturday and kept the streak alive. Plano made a huge move with the 5-year-old pacer past the half, opened up on the field turning for home and waltzed home with four and a half lengths to spare while shaving a tick off his career standard with the 1:54 3/5 final clocking.

El Azteca is a multiple stakes-winning son of Panama Hanover who is owned, bred and trained by Rios with Cisco once again handling the lines from the cozy rail slot. The hard-knocking trotter has a Sire Stakes and Budahn Series leg victory to his credit at this session along with a victory in a December 8 conditioned affair.

In his last effort, the bay performer came out of the clouds in the middle of the track to fall nose share of catching Earls Dreamofglory in another strong tour. He is looking add to a $56,000 bank account and should be right in the thick of things no matter how the early fractions come up.

Tangram was third in that Earls Dreamofglory race and will have his share of backers. Jon Erdner, Marty Garey and Bob Johnson own, Johnson trains and Mooney Svendsen handles the lines. The son of Chip Chip Hooray was a winner here on December 21 over a sloppy track.

A 13-race card is set for Friday and first post is 6:15 p.m. El Azteca will do his thing in the eighth race on the program, while Oompa Loompa will attempt to make it five straight in the evening’s eleventh contest. The action will continue Saturday with the Joe O’Brien Series finale in the spotlight.

A reminder that there is a trio of wagers offered here every night with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5 that beings on the third race; the $1 Pick 4 that covers the last four races and comes with a $25,000-guaranteed gross pool on Saturday, a $20,000 guarantee on Fridays and $15,000 on Thursday; and the 10-cent High 5 on the finale.