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Meringue Puts His Class On Display At Cal Expo
Thursday, March 22, 2012 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity -- Cal Expo

James KennedyTrainer Kennedy Lindsey, along with a good percentage of the betting public, expected Meringue to prevail last week at Cal Expo. The hard-knocking trotter did not disappoint, as Luke Plano worked out a perfect two-hole journey over the sloppy going to be up over a game Dudis Angel.

Dawn Evango’s 7-year-old color-bearer, who recently went over the $200,000 earnings plateau, was getting some welcome class relief in last week’s optional selling event and had the extra advantage of proven form over an off track. Add in the pocket trip and anything but a win from Meringue would have qualified as a surprise.

“He’s been going back and forth chasing some good ones and I thought he was a real nice fit in that spot,” Lindsey related. “It also didn’t hurt that he’d raced well before in the slop, so it was all good.”

Kennedy explained that Plano was actually named on two horses in the race at entry time, which prompted a phone call from the trainer to Florida.

“Luke was driving in that series down at Pompano, so I got hold of him and asked which horse he was going to choose. He said mine, because he had missed out on driving him the previous week.”

As mentioned earlier, Plano sat a gorgeous trip behind pace-setting second choice Dudis Angel and overpowered that rival when it counted by three-quarters of a length.

“I don’t give Luke instructions, because he’s driven this horse a gazillion times. When they went out on the track, I just told him I’d see him back in the winner’s circle.”

As far as personality goes, his trainer explained that Meringue is as nice a horse as you would want to be around, although he does have a preference when it comes to people.

“He doesn’t really care for men, but he absolutely loves women.” Apparently he merely tolerates Lindsey and Plano.

Marlin Hanover, Haggin Oaks in Friday Night Spotlight At Cal Expo

Marlin Hanover, who has clicked in four of his nine starts on the year, including a coast-to-coast decision in last week’s top dance; and Haggin Oaks, who had a tough trip as the favorite in that affair, head the cast for Friday evening’s (March 23) $4,500 Winners-Over Pace at Cal Expo.

Marlin Hanover is a 5-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight who races for Richard Morita and David Yamada, takes his lessons from Liberio Pacheco and will again have Luke Plano handling the lines.

The bay performer rattled off three straight victories at the head of the class between January 21 and February 3, putting his versatility on display during the course of that streak, then had to settle for minor awards in his next three outings.

Marlin Hanover returned to his winning ways at most recent asking, zipping right to the front for Plano and posting a length and a quarter decision while equaling his career standard with the 1:53.4 final clocking. He will be tough no matter how things shake out early this weekend.

Haggin Oaks was hung the mile while checking in fourth as the 4-5 favorite and will be looking for some revenge here. The only mare in the cast, the 6-year-old daughter of Hi Ho Silverheels is owned and was bred by Shari Burns, Ferris Funk and Gerald Cimini with James Kennedy doing the driving and training.

The classy distaffer has recorded three wins from eight appearances on the year, with her most recent tally coming on February 25. She was sent hard in that mile and made the lead midway on the first turn, took control of things on the backside and then held safe by a neck. One And Only, Cycle Power and Amigo De Garcia complete the field.

Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Friday (March 23) & Saturday (March 24) at 6:00 p.m. (PST). On every live card, Cal Expo offers free parking & free admission after 4:30 p.m. On Friday, Cal Expo offers Happy Hour from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on which Beer; Well Drinks & Wine are offered at $4 each, while a Burger with fries is offered at $5.

Cal Expo currently offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on all Pick 4’s. Additionally, all Late Pick 4’s now come with an increased $20,000-guaranteed gross pool. Also, the Friday Late Pick 4 will offer a 0% takeout on all winning wagers made on track or at, while the Saturday Late Pick 4 will be broadcast on TVG.