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Cal-Breds In The Spotlight At Cal-Expo
Sunday, November 16, 2008 - by Scott Ehrlich, Publicity -- Cal-Expo

Freshmen boys on both gaits were featured at Cal-Expo on Saturday night (November 15) in a pair of $15,000 California Sires Stakes, on which Credit Score and Glad To Be Back were victorious.

In the first of the two features, this an early non-wagering race, Credit Score and trainer Bruce Clarke would have to deal with a first-turn breaker while initially coming away sixth and last from post-position five. As a result, the pair would inherit a spot, but would also be held up a bit an eighth of a mile past the start, thus now four lengths off the four horses in front of them into a :30.4 first-quarter.

Now cutting his own mile, Credit Score would narrow that margin to 2-1/2-lengths at the three-eighths mile pole, and down to a couple of lengths at the half-mile station, timed in 1:01.3, but while now parked.

"I think my horse is a very good colt and I had him out at the half because I just wanted to make sure he stayed out of trouble in case someone made a break," said Clarke.

Racing uncovered and beginning to move forward as the field entered the final-turn, Clarke would move his charge three-wide at the five-eighths mile pole while Try This (Gilbert Herrera), who was clearly the horse to beat, was in a pickle.

"I saw that Try This was locked in the hole and I thought I could circle the field and get away from him before he could get out."

With Credit Score moving nicely to the midway point of the final-turn, Gilbert Herrera was taking back with his gelding in an attempt to "try" and get out, but a parked the mile K D Amazin Spirit (Tom Parris) stayed next to him and kept him locked in.

Now with Credit Score racing first-over to the three-quarter mile marker, timed in 1:33.2, Try This was now advancing forward and would soon move to the outside very late in the final-turn to follow Credit Score - - who had just taken over the lead. Clarke, however, wasn't concerned.

"I had a lot of horse. I just wanted to hold him together to make sure he didn't make any mistakes."

Now with Try This charging up three-wide to the seven-eighths mile pole and about to all but draw even, Clarke remained optimistic.

"Even though Try This was coming at me, I was pretty confident that I was going to win because my horse still had a lot of trot and I hadn’t even touched him, plus I saw Gilbert (Herrera) was all-out with his horse."

Bred and owned by Jack Coffey and Heath Knolls Investments with Jack Toth and Clarke, Credit Score would dig in on his own and wouldn't be denied while winning by a head, in 2:03.2, all while Clarke's whip was over his shoulder. Try This had every chance to win in the lane, but had to settle for second, and Lodi Cooper (Lemoyne Svendsen) finished another 3-1/2-lengths farther back, in third.

"This colt means a lot to me and I was very happy with him. He was well-in-hand and raced awesome," finished a proud Clarke.

On the pacing side, Glad To Be Back and driver Rich Wojcio would leave and race five and four-wide to the first-turn from post seven in the field of the same number. Racing three-wide into the turn, and two-wide after an eighth of a mile, Glad To Be Back would head to the front into a :28.3 opening-quarter, but wouldn’t get the lead until what appeared to be a testy 5-16ths.

"Making the lead with him isn't the problem, and it wasn't tonight," said Wojcio. "It's being able to rate him and control him at any point."

Hitting the breaks once on the lead, Glad To Be Back would reach the half-mile pole, timed in :58.1.

"He was comfortable at the half, which I attribute to trainer Jim Wilkinson Jr. making some equipment chances. These changes were made because he was hitting the bike the week before and was a runaway that I couldn't control."

Receiving some prompting on the final-turn by Artless (Steve Desomer), Glad To Be Back would trip the beam at the three-quarter mile pole, timed in 1:26.4.

"I knew I had Artless beat, so my concern was obviously on Pacinello (Luke Plano) - - who was on my back."

The concern for Wojcio, however, was very short-lived, as the 9-5 Pacinello would break at the three-quarters, thus knocking out the 8-5 Holme Invasion (Etienne Desomer). All this, though, may not have made that much of a difference, as Glad To Be Back, in the blink of an eye, would open up 2-1/2-lengths just into the stretch, all while looking for more.

"Being able to rate him saw him respond well when I asked him at the top of the stretch and he'd be very comfortable to the wire."

Continuing to open up the lead in the lane while being urged, Glad To Be Back would roll out to a 5-1/4-lengths triumph ($7.80). Owned by Jay Rosenberg, Billie Schwartz, JW Standardbreds and Hans Karge, Glad To Be Back would stop the timer at 1:54.3, a lifetime best. Rude Awakening (Jim Lackey), another Wilkinson trained youngster, finished in second, and Artless was two-lengths farther back, in third.

"I know he's a very fast horse and I'm glad Junior (Jim Wilkinson Jr.) made the necessary changes that showed his ability," concluded Wojcio.