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Freshmen Fillies Score For Plano At Cal-Expo
Saturday, November 15, 2008 - by Scott Ehrlich, Publicity -- Cal-Expo

California Sires Stakes for two year-olds on both gaits highlighted the Friday night (November 14) card at Cal-Expo, on which Sheila's Dream and Silver Bloom were solid winners for Rick Plano.

In the first of the two $15,000 events, this one for the trotters, Sheila's Dream would overcome traffic for an impressive triumph.

Leaving to push the pace from post-position one in the field of six, Sheila's Dream would yield the lead just before the field had traveled 3-16ths of a mile into a :29.1 opening quarter-mile.

Sitting a loose pocket until closing up at the 7-16ths mile marker, Plano would elect to not pull first-over at the half-mile pole, timed in 1:00.2.

"I didn't pull because I didn't think Prenup Agreement (Bruce Clarke) would relinquish the lead that easy," stated Plano. "But once she did to Dani California (Tim Maier) and another horse got out behind Dani California, I was forced to stay where I was. As a result, there was a pretty big concern that Dani California was going to get away."

Getting pushed-back on the final-turn while Dani California opened up, Plano caught a no pun intended break.

"Fortunately for me, Firewall (Rich Wojcio) made a break next to me and I was able to get out."

Free midway through the final-turn and first-over with four-lengths to reel in Dani California into a 1:31 three-quarters, Sheila's Dream would have a lot of momentum late in the final-turn.

"When you're back three or four-lengths, it's hard to know whether you're going to catch them or not, especially being these are two year-old trotting fillies. But when I got to the head of the stretch - - she just hit another gear and that was when I was pretty sure she was going to win fairly handily in there."

Getting her earplugs popped to the top of the stretch and now just 2-1/2-lengths from the lead, the daughter of Website would quickly pick up Dani California and lay her down with a power move past the seven-eighths mile pole, all while Plano's whip rested on his shoulder. From there, Sheila's Dream would draw away to win ($6.80) very easily by 4-1/2-lengths. Owned by Maurice Sigmon in partnership with trainer George Reider, Sheila's Dream would establish a lifetime mark when she stopped the timer at 2:00.3. Dani California was clearly second-best, and Cherry Tree Nicole (Jason Maier) would be a distant third, another 13-3/4-lengths farther back.

"She got a good trip, she got lucky to get out, and she won it handily," finished Plano.

Co-featured on the card were the pacing gals, on which Silver Bloom was given an excellent middle-half rating that sealed the deal.

Firing out for the lead while six-wide from post-ten in the field of the same number, Silver Bloom would already clear to the front after just an eighth of a mile into a quick :28.2 first-panel.

Slowing down the middle-half while reaching the half-mile pole in 1:00.1, and the three-quarter mile station in 1:30, Plano still didn't feel he was home free despite the soft 1:01.3 mid-race breather.

"I knew Make Me Late (Jim Lackey), who was on my back, had beaten me once before off the same trip, so you're always concerned a bit about the pocket-rocket."

Now under some urging at mid-stretch, the daughter of Hi Ho Silverheel's would send a message to her pilot that he liked.

"When we got to mid-stretch - -I knew she wasn't losing."

Clearly holding firm while not urged from past mid-stretch on, the Sparky Clarke trained young lady would win ($2.80) by 1-1/2-lengths. Bred and owned by Wayne Knittel, Silver Bloom would cover the mile in 1:58.1. Make Me Late was a good second, and Artilda (Etienne Desomer) finished another 5-1/4-lengths farther back, in third.

"It raced like you want it to go, in that sometimes 'Plan-A' works, and in this case, it did - - which was to go to the front, get easy fractions, and sprint home," finished Plano.