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Placer puts reputation on the line
Friday, December 12th, 2014 - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

We’ll find out Sunday if there is going to be a changing of the guard at the head of the 3-year-old trotting class here at Cal Expo.
 
The first Sire Stakes of the meeting for this division is set, and while Placer was pretty much the dominating sidewheeler when the last added-money races were being decided earlier in the year, at least a couple of serious challengers have emerged in the interim.
 
Placer is a 3-year-old son of Panama Hanover out of the Website mare Charlotte’s Web who picked up five stakes trophies at the last meet for his owner/breeders Steve and Vickie Desomer, including a lifetime-best 2:00 2/5 score back in April.
 
He comes into this $10,000 contest a bit rusty when compared to main rivals Bank Of Lodi and Ahh Panama, however. “I’m afraid Placer is the victim of a big heart and a bad gait,” Vickie related when asked about the gelding. “He does keep trying, though.”
 
Meanwhile, Bank Of Lodi suits up for Sunday’s stakes having posed for snapshots following three of his last four starts for his owner/breeders Mary Harris and Pierre Girard and new best friend Luke Plano.
 
“She’s catching up with those other 3-year-olds now and the experience is really helping,” Girard explained. “This filly is a natural puller, and even though we’ve tried different types of bits and bridles, that’s just the way she likes it. I can tell you that jogging her is like a visit to the gym.”
 
Ahh Panama is the only other member of the field with a stakes trophy on her mantle, having taken advantage of a miscue by heavily-favored Placer in the March 28 get-together for this group. She makes things very interesting if she comes with her best race for Bob Johnson and pilot Steve Wiseman.
 
Sire Stakes matches 3-year-old trotters
 
A $10,000 California Sire Stakes for 3-year-old trotters is on tap at Cal Expo Sunday night, with Bank Of Lodi, Placer and Ahh Panama among the major players in the field of eight.
 
The headliner goes as the 10th event on the 12-race card with a first post of 4:40 p.m. Racing is now being conducted on Saturday and Saturday nights under the Watch and Wager LLC banner, with Fridays being added to the mix beginning December 26.
 
Bank Of Lodi is a homebred daughter of New Age Hanover and the Armbro Rotary mare Bankers Babe who is owned by Mary Harris and Pierre Girard, is conditioned by Girard and will have Luke Plano at the controls.
 
The bay miss rattled off three straight wins here between November 9 and 23, making every pole a winning one on each occasion. She stepped up in class and was fifth in her most recent appearance last week after doing her work from the tough No. 9 post position.
 
Placer is already a multiple stakes winner for her breeder Desomer Stables Inc. with Vickie Desomer training and husband Steve handling the lines. She established her 2:00 1/5 career standard in a March Sire Stakes and should appreciate getting back with her peers.
 
Ahh Panama was also a Sire Stakes heroine on March and looms large this weekend. Bob Johnson trains the daughter of Panama Hanover and is co-owner along with Henry Wieseneck and Martin Garey and Steve Wiseman will be in the sulky.
 
Rounding out the cast are Rather Be Playing, who gives the Girard barn two looks at the outcome with the trainer at the helm; Snuff N Beer, Bruce Clarke; Manley Stanley, to be handled by Tim Maier; Panama Lady, Mooney Svendsen; and Dreaming of Kaui, who leaves from the outside with Mike Jarvis.