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Thursday, January 24th, 2013 - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

The 4-year-old trotters and pacers will be in the spotlight Saturday night at Cal Expo in a pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes, with El Azteca and Right After Disbeer heading the trotting contest while Ra Ra Steven is the one to beat among the pacers.

El Azteca and Rite After Disbeer have accounted for most of the big-money races for their division and both are coming off facile conditioned victories last weekend. El Azteca is a son of Panama Hanover who is owned, trained and was bred by Marco Rios with Scott Cisco in the bike, while Rite After Disbeer is a Mary Harris homebred who hails from the Kennedy Lindsey barn and has Chip Lackey at the helm.

El Azteca went coast-to-coast in that last stakes clash in the slop on December 21, waltzing home with nearly five lengths to spare over Rite After Disbeer. He turned up for this assignment with a crushing win at 4-5 last weekend, while his arch-rival also had little trouble getting the job done a bit earlier on that same program.
The trotting stakes is set as the second event on a 13-race card that is scheduled to begin at 6:05 p.m., while the pacing affair goes as a non-betting event prior to the regular program.

Ra Ra Steven is a homebred son of Little Steven and Ra Ra Rosa who carries the banner of Billie Schwartz, Junior Wilkinson and David Rachford who is conditioned by Wilkinson and as usual has Rich Wojcio at the controls. He comes into this assignment with $56,000 in his bank account and a 1:55 4/5 mark that was established here last season.

In the most recent Sire Stakes gathering for his group on December 23 over a sloppy track, Ra Ra Steven gave his supporters some anxious moments when he made a break on the final turn and seemingly dropped out of contention. He gathered himself, however, and once straightened for home ignited for Wojcio to overhaul the leaders and motored by for a two-length score.


Oompa Loompa, who has rattled off five consecutive victories for owner Kc C Carvalho and trainer Tim Brown, looks to keep the streak going in Saturday’s eighth race at Cal Expo with Luke Plano at the helm.

The winning skein began at the $3,000 claiming level on December 21 and the gelding has steadily worked his way back up the ladder to the optional $15,000 level. He established his lifetime mark of 1:54 3/5 two weeks ago with Plano, who has been in the sulky for all but one of the recent scores.

Trackman Marty Bridges doesn’t use the comment “amazing mile” very often in the past performances, but it certainly applied to Ra Ra Steven’s victory in the last Sire Stakes for his division back on December 23 over a sloppy track. The 4-year-old suits up for another stakes assignment Saturday night with regular pilot Rich Wojcio.

Ra Ra Steven made a break turning for home in that late December affair and went from looking like a winner to no chance when they straightened for home. Miraculously, the Junior Wilkinson trainee made up a double-digit deficit in the stretch to prevail by two lengths in one of the more sensational recoveries we’ve ever witnessed.

“I was actually very disappointed with myself in that race,” related Wojcio. “I thought I had given him plenty of room, but he hit the back of Mooney Svendsen’s bike with his knee on that last turn and made a break.

“Obviously, I thought we were out of it for sure at that point, but he landed and paced right by them. Needless to say, I was relieved and impressed by the talent and determination he showed to overcome my mistake.”