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Silver Spir easy on himself, tough on foes
Thursday, May 1st, 2014 - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Silver Spir comes into this week’s action having rattled off back-to-back victories for owner Maureen Pittaro and trainer Gretchen Smith, equaling his lifetime mark of 1:54 1/5 on both occasions.
 
The 5-year-old Michigan-bred son of Cheyenne Rei was handled by Tim Maier in the first of those scores, with Gretchen’s son Sean Smithpeters handling the lines in the most recent outing.
 
 “I can’t say enough nice things to say about this horse,” Gretchen related. “He is such a pleasure to have in the barn. He is very quiet for a stud and he takes very good care of himself. He takes his morning nap everyday as well as one in the afternoon. He doesn't get in much of a hurry jogging either.
 
“I’m certain that is the reason for his soundness. He only puts out an effort when duty calls. Even right after a race he just moseys back down to the paddock to be hooked back to the jog cart for his return to the barn area.”
 
According to Smith, Silver Spir is the kind of horse that makes a very difficult job much easier. “He is every trainer and owners’ dream because what you see from him on the track is all him. No expensive vet bills, no fancy rigging, he isn't even a picky eater. How can anyone ask for any more than that? He’s definitely a special kind of horse.”
 
Silver Spir will step up in class for Saturday night’s Open Pace with Smithpeters once again doing the honors. Don’t let those easy-going ways around the barn fool you, he’s all business when it’s starter call for the pacers.
 
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NEXT WEEK WILL FIND RACING ON SATURDAY, MAY 10, WITH THAT PROGRAM BRINGING DOWN THE CURTAIN ON THE WINTER/SPRING WATCH AND WAGER LLC MEETING.
 
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Open Pace entices Shax, Smith pair
 
Shax, a winner of two straight for trainer Tim Brown; and the sharp Gretchen Smith-trained pair of I’m An Athlete and Silver Spir get the marquee treatment in Saturday evening’s $5,000 Open Pace.
 
Shax races for Kc C Carvalho and David Siegel will once again handle the 6-year-old Florida-bred son of Red River Hanover. He got the job done two weeks ago under Open 3 conditions stalking the pace to the lane and then finding a path along the cones to motor through for the score.
 
Racing at the Open 2 level last week while racing over a sloppy track, Shax sat last in the early stages, rallied second-over to the stretch and hung a neck decision on Haggin Oaks, who was making the final start of her career.
 
I’m An Athlete is a 4-year-old son of Art Major who carries the banner of Ronald Retting-Zucchi and will have the services of Tim Maier. The Smith trainee is looking for his fourth trip to the charmed enclosure from his last seven trips to the post.
 
His most recent decision came on April 11 in the Open 3 with Pat Galbraith at the controls, with his 1:53 2/5 clocking not only being the night’s fastest but a new lifetime standard. He was second to One And Only at next asking and third as the 4-5 choice behind Shax at most recent asking.
 
Silver Spir gives the Gretchen Smith barn two solid looks at the outcome. He has captured his last two starts in sharp style, doing the track-and-attack to perfection on both occasions with identical 1:54 1/5 final clockings. Sean Smithpters has the return assignment.
 
Rounding out the field are A Real Miracle, who leaves from the cozy rail slot with Chip Lackey giving directions; and Laissez Moi Passer with Williams Hernandez in the bike. First post is 6:15 p.m.