Chha LogoLogo
Sophomores Battle Weather In Sires Stakes Finals At Cal-Expo
Sunday, December 13, 2009- by Scott Ehrlich, Publicity -- Cal-Expo

Four $25,000 California Sires Stakes Championships were contested at Cal-Expo on a rainy Saturday night (December 12), on which adverse weather might have played a role in a couple of cases.

In this first of the four championships all contested over a sloppy track, of which the first three were non-wagering events held prior to the races, Dani California got the job done in the filly trotting division with perhaps lady luck on her side.

Coming away in fourth position with trainer Tim Maier from post-four in the field of five into a :30.2 first-quarter, the filly gapped two-lengths from the first-turn until closing the gap and going first-over at the 7-16ths mile pole.

Racing third by 2-3/4-lengths at the half-mile marker, timed in 1:00.4, Dani California edged up on the final-turn until getting into a vacated loose pocket to the three-quarter mile pole (1:31) when Firewall (Bruce Clarke) lost ground.

Out for the drive with less than 3-16ths of a mile to go, but with pace-setting Sheila's Dream (Rick Plano) still having to be caught while seeking her fourth in-a-row, the task for Dani California became quite easy when her rival made a very costly break at the seven-eighths mile marker.

Taking over the lead with less than an eighth of a mile to go, there'd be no catching Dani California as she'd win by 2-1/2-lengths while urged little. Owned by Denise Maier in partnership with breeder Alan Kirschenbaum, the filly stopped the timer at 2:03.1. Only In Lodi (Luke Plano) inherited the place honors, and Cherry Tree Nicole benefited by the break of Sheila's Dream and finished in third, another five-lengths farther back.

Second division action saw the trotting colts & geldings, on which K D Amazin Spirit upset.

Coming away in fourth from post-position four in the field of five and gapping 2-3/4-lengths in the first-turn for trainer Keith Willey, the colt gapped a quarter of a length less past the quarter-mile pole, timed in :30.4

Closing the gap and boldly pulling behind the lead seeking Credit Score (Bruce Clarke) just past the three-eighths mile station, K D Amazin Spirit was left first-over at the half-mile pole when the brushing Credit Score, who was gunning for his fifth in-a-row, made the lead at that point, timed in 1:02.3.

Courageously attacking Credit Score at the 9-16ths mile pole, K D Amazin Spirit took a slim parked-out lead past the five-eighths mile station, but while Willey was urging his charge past the midway point of the final-turn while Clarke was sitting chilly.
Leading by three-quarters of one-length while still parked at the three-quarter mile pole, timed in 1:34.2, K D Amazin Spirit still maintained his lead into the stretch, but now with Clarke urging Credit Score.

Never letting an all-out Credit Score get to close, K D Amazin Spirit, while only urged a little late, held firm to win by three-quarters of one-length. Bred and owned by Willey as well, the colt won in 2:06. Credit Score had to settle for being second-best, and Try This (Gilbert Herrera) finished another three-quarters of one-length farther back, in third.

Pacing fillies were next, on which Castle Oaks did the best work.

Getting around a breaking Haggin Oaks (James Kennedy) from post-six in the field of the same number for trainer Tim Maier, the filly tucked fifth after an eighth of a mile into a :30.2 opening quarter.

Pulling first-over just past the 7-16ths mile pole and moving nicely into a 1:01 first-half, Maier popped the earplugs of his charge past the five-eighths mile marker and soon found, at that same point, a two-length loose two-hole to the pace-setting Silver Bloom (Rick Plano) when the former pocket sitting Persuade Me (Lemoyne Svendsen) got tired.

Now 1-1/2-lengths back at the three-quarter mile station, timed in 1:29.1, the match-race was on as Silver Bloom and Castle Oaks raced well ahead of the field.

On the move with just under 3-16ths of a mile to go, and with both drivers urging their pupils on, Castle Oaks took over the lead with just under a sixteenth of a mile to go, then would edge clear on the wire to win by 1-3/4-lengths.

Owned by Denise Maier again with breeder Alan Kirschenbaum, Castle Oaks stopped the timer at 1:59.2. Silver Bloom was clearly second-best, and Cinnamon (Luke Plano) finished another 6-1/4-lengths farther back, in third.

Featured on the wagering card were the colt and gelding pacers, on which Pacinello won as expected.

Choosing not to leave and coming away in fourth position from the pole, driver Luke Plano points out this was the plan.

"I figured there'd be a bunch of guys leaving, plus the footing wasn't real good in the one-path - - so I didn't want to rush my colt out of there if I didn't have to," stated Plano.

Gapping three-length to the top three in the early quarter, Plano wasn't worried.

"They were moving pretty quick the first eighth, and I figured they'd come back to me in the second eighth."

Very quickly closing up the gap and going first-over past the quarter mile pole, timed in :29.2, Pacinello motored into the lead past the three-eighths mile marker. Did the young Plano use his charge?

"I might have used him a little but, but Glad To Be Back (Rich Wojcio) was slowing down the pace on the front - - so I wasn't concerned."

Rated in the third-quarter off of a :58.4 first-half mile, Pacinello reached the three-quarter mile station, timed in 1:28.2.

"I obviously hadn't used him much at that point and he was very comfortable and still had a lot of pace left."

With the field now about an eighth of a mile from home, Plano pushed the button.

"I popped the earplugs around the seven-eighths and asked him to pace and he was very comfortable down the lane and pretty strong all the way down to the wire."

Responding when asked and leading by two-lengths with an eighth of a mile to go, Pacinello only needed one wheel-disc urge and two line urges in the last sixteenth of mile to pour it on and draw away with pace to spare on the wire by 4-1/4-lengths. Bred and owned by D & E Racing, the Rick Plano trained pacer won ($2.10) in 1:56.4. The victory gave Pacinello the hat-trick and pushed his seasonal earnings over $100,00 to $105,970. Glad To Be Back finished in second, and Gee Gee Cyril Lee (Rick Plano) finished another 4-1/4-lengths back, in third.

"He's a very nice colt who is maturing and getting better all the time," finished Plano.

Live racing continues at Cal-Expo on Sunday (December 13) at 5:40 p.m. (PST). On Sunday the popular Bal-Cal Pick-4 Challenge is offered with a mandatory payoff. The Bal-Cal Pick Four is a $1 minimum bet offering a $10,000 guaranteed pool and consists of the last two races (Races 11 & 12) from Balmoral and the last two races (Races 9 & 10) from Cal Expo. Post-time for the first-leg of the Bal-Cal is scheduled for 8:06 p.m.

Trot Line