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It's Unlucky Thirteen For Smooth Jazz At Cal-Expo
Saturday, December 6, 2008 - by Scott Ehrlich, Publicity -- Cal-Expo

They say that all good things must come to end, and that was the case for the talented filly Smooth Jazz as her quest to win her 13th consecutive career start wasn’t in the cards.

Three year-old fillies, on both gaits, were featured at Cal-Expo in $15,000 California Sires Stakes on Friday night (Decemebr 5), on which Sad Parting and My Fanny were victorious.

On the trotting side, it looked like a done deal for the 1-9 shot Smooth Jazz, who had gone unbeaten in her first twelve races, but driver Gilbert Herrera knew his filly Sad Parting was no slouch.

"In her last stake race I knew how good she was getting," said Herrera. "So my goal tonight was to put her on the front and hope that either Letter Of Intent (Bruce Clarke) or Smooth Jazz (Tim Maier) would want the lead. If that happened, I would have been glad to sit second or third because I know my horse has a good kick home."

Making the lead to the first-turn from post-five in the field of a half-dozen, Sad Parting would cut out first-half fractions of :30 and 1:00.2.

With Herrera taking a look back with 7-16ths of a mile to go and seeing that Smooth Jazz was underway, Herrera knew that rest-time was over.

"When I saw Smooth Jazz coming, I popped the earplugs of my horse to make sure she was alert and ready to go. Then at the five-eighths I started to roll her."

Reaching the three-quarter mile pole, timed in 1:30, Herrera was optimistic despite Smooth Jazz being only 1-3/4-lengths back.

"I was feeling pretty good at that point because she felt strong. Then at the top of the lane when I drew clear - - I knew I was home free because I took a look back and it appeared I had put away Smooth Jazz. And as it turned out, Smooth Jazz would break at that point anyway."

Gradually opening up in the stretch until the field had less than a sixteenth of a mile to go while being urged a bit, Herrera would urge his charge stronger to the wire when the pocket sitting Letter Of Intent started to get closer, but the wire came up and there were no problems for Sad Parting.

Owned and trained by Herrera, Sad Parting would win ($26.00) by 1-1/2-lengths, in 1:59.2, a lifetime mark. Letter Of Intent finished in second, and Ailene's Last (Lemoyne Svendsen) was placed third. Smooth Jazz never got back on stride and finished in third, some 17-1/2-lengths farther back, but was disqualified and placed fifth for violation of the breaking rule in the stretch.

"My horse raced very well," concluded Herrera.

On the pacing side, My Fanny and drive Luke Plano would change tactics.

"She didn't race her best in her last start on the lead, so I decided to race her off the pace and take it as easy as I could," said Plano.

Coming away in third position in the field of five into a :29.4 opening quarter-mile, Plano, while having his filly under a good hold, would have a good reason to sit in a slow :30.4 second-quarter, and into a 1:00.3 first-half.

"In her last start when she was on the front, she was trying to jump over shadows again, plus my father (Rick Plano) said she was doing the same thing training this week. So I really didn't trust her on the front - - which is why I sat."

Pulling first-over at the five-eighths mile station and moving nicely, My Fanny would take a parked-out lead to the three-quarter mile marker, timed in 1:29.4.

"When I moved her she felt real strong. I thought I was in a pretty good spot with a quarter of a mile to go."

Now under urging in the stretch, My Fanny would not draw clear. Was Plano concerned?

"No, because we had been walking and it turned into a sprint. As a result, I didn't think I was going to blow by anybody."

Hanging tough throughout the stretch-drive with foes at both flanks, My Fanny wouldn't be denied while winning ($3.80) by three-quarters of one-length. Owned by Maryann Plano and trained by Rick Plano, My Fanny would win in 1:57.1. Beach Beach Beach (Steve Wiseman) finished in second, and the pace-setting Blue Note (Lemoyne Svendsen) finished just a nose back, in third.

"It was a nail-biter all the way to the wire, but she fought all the way and raced strong," finished Plano, who had four wins on the card.

Live racing will resume at Cal-Expo on Saturday night (December 6) at 6:00 p.m. (PST). On Saturday night at Cal-Expo, its Dollar Night, on which hot-dogs; beer, soda, and wine will be sold for one dollar. The estimated total pool in the $1 Pick-6 (Races 4-9) is $17,500,00.

Cal-Expo now offers a minimum $1 Super High-Five wager on the last race of every card. If no one selects the top five finishers, that pool is carried over to the next card’s Super High-Five.