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COG HILL STILL IN THERE PITCHING
Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

One of differences between standardbreds from their thoroughbred counterparts is their racing longevity, and Cog Hill is a perfect example of how the pacers and trotters are often in it for the long haul.

Still posing for pictures at age 13, Cog Hill got the job done last weekend for the combination of owners Richard and Marlene Thomas, conditioner George Reider and driver Luke Plano. The victory put the pacer over the $360,000 earnings plateau and he has a sparkling 1:50 4/5 decision in his scrapbook from a 2004 tour.

“I’ve had this horse about six months now,” Reider said. “The Thomas’ actually bought him off the internet when he was racing at Buffalo, because they remembered him from when he was at Hoosier Park. They saw him win a couple of late-closing series there and knew how good a horse he was.

“He’s a very nice aged gelding and that back class shows each and every time he goes to the track. A horse doesn’t win that much money by accident and even though it would have been nice to have him when he was a 3-year-old, he’s been a welcome addition to the stable.”

With the mandatory retirement age for harness horses being 15, Cog Hill still has a good year and a half to add to the resume and George related that the plan is turn him out for the summer and then point for a fall return when things start up again here at Cal Expo. “With some TLC, I think this horse wants to race for another year,” he added.

SIRE STAKES, OPEN PACE HOLD SPOTLIGHT

A pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes headed by Strings and More Tequila and a $6,000 Open Pace featuring Lloyd Arnold winner Cycle Power are the main events at Cal Expo Friday night.

The Sire Stakes for the pacing fillies will go as third on the 14-race program, while the Open Pace is the fourth event on the evening and the trotting Sire Stakes will be decided as a non-betting race prior to the regular card.

Strings is a daughter of Hi Ho Silverheels out of the No Nukes mare Sharps N Flats who is owned and was bred by Wayne and Rodney Knittel with Bob Johnson the conditioner and Bruce Clarke in the sulky. She has won half of her 16 lifetime appearances with a 1:54 mark that was established here in a March 29 romp.

The Knittel colorbearer has definitely taken over leadership of her division as she guns for her fourth straight Sire Stakes decision on Friday. Her first two were accomplished in facile fashion, then she had to work harder to hold safe over Show Runner two weeks ago after holding a clear advantage to the lane. Strings was beaten a nose by the by colt A Real Miracle in an Open 3 event last week and is now back with distaffers.

Looking at the stakes events that combines sophomore filly and colt trotters, More Tequila holds the aces as she goes for her fourth straight added-money score. The Eager Seelster hombred competes for Frank Nevarez, takes her lessons from Gordie Graham and will once again have Luke Plano handling the lines.

Cycle Power has the outside slot in the Open Pace. He is a 7-year-old son of Cambest who is owned and trained by Nathalie Tremblay and will have Scott Cisco at the helm. He has $96,000 in the bank and established his 1:53 3/5 career standard over this track when capturing an Open Handicap on March 30.

In his most recent appearance in the Lloyd Arnold, Cycle Power found himself sixth of the eight performers down the backstretch. Cisco wheeled him out first-over at the half, he ranged up on the leaders once straightened for the wire and was up by three-quarters of a length over longshot Phantom Don that evening.

There are three wagers offered here at Cal Expo with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate and a carryover provision. They are the 50-cent Pick 5 that begins on the third race; the $1 Pick 4 on the penultimate four races on the evening with a $20,000-guaranteed pool on Fridays and a $25,000-guaranteed pool on Saturdays; and the 10-cent High 5 on the finale.