Chha LogoLogo
Sophomores Shine On Championship Night At Cal-Expo
Sunday, December 21, 2008 - by Scott Ehrlich, Publicity -- Cal-Expo

Three year-olds on both gaits were featured at Cal-Expo on Saturday night (December 21) in four $25,000 California Horsemen's Classic Sires Stakes, on which some seasonal honors were decided, and some possibly weren’t.

In the first feature for the filly pacers, Cat Burgler would come away in third position into a :28.4 first-quarter for driver Etienne Desomer from post-position four in the field of five.

Under a nice hold in the second-quarter through a first-half mile, timed in :58.2, Desomer was able to wait to pull his charge until just before the three-quarter mile station, timed in 1:27.4, while now first-over at the same time the pace-setting My Fanny (Luke Plano) opened up.

Now motoring forward with the field just into the stretch, Cat Burgler would take over the lead to mid-stretch while on her way to a one-length victory ($4.00). Bred and owned by the Desomer Stables and trained by Vickie Desomer, Cat Burgler would stop the timer at 1:55.1. Blue Note (Lemoyne Svendsen) made a nice late close to be second, and My Fanny finished just a neck back, in third.

"I was very impressed with how she was in the stretch, especially since I was a little concerned with how she would be given she had been off four weeks because of a virus,” said Desomer. "But, everything worked out well and she was victorious."

Next in line were the trotting boys, on which Meringue never looked back.

Firing out for the lead from post-six in the field of the same number, Meringue would clear to the front for driver Luke Plano as the field entered the first-turn while on his way to a :29 opening quarter.

Under a decent hold to the 7-16ths mile pole into a first-half mile, timed in :59.3, Plano would have good logic when he popped the earplugs of his charge just past the 9-16ths mile station.

"Every time I go slow, Stars And Sites (Bruce Clarke) seems to out-sprint me," noted Plano. "So I thought I'd keep the pace a little more legit and see what happened."

Chasing after his trotter on the final-turn and now on top by 2-1/2-lengths at the three-quarter mile pole, timed in 1:29.1, Plano wouldn't let up on his gelding - - especially when the pocket sitting Stars And Sites got closer with a sixteenth of a mile to go.

"My horse gets a little lazy on the front, so I kept after him pretty good to keep his attention. Around halfway down the lane, out of my respect for Stars And Sites, I pulled the blinds on the pull-up bridle and my horse, who was good, was then able to keep Stars And Sites at bay," concluded Plano.

Refusing to be caught, especially when Stars And Sites got bumpy late to take away any outside chance he had to catch his archrival, Meringue would go on to win ($4.20) by 3-1/4-lengths. Owned by Dawn Evango and trained by Hans Rynningen, Meringue, in winning his 11th race of the year, would stop the timer at 1:59.2, thus pushing his career earnings to $107,301. Stars And Sites finished in second, and Chrome Coquette (Rick Plano) finished another 4-1/4-lengths farther back, in third.

It was now on to the pacing boys, on which Rod's Famous Ribs would win by the hair on his chinny chin chin.

Making the lead an eighth of a mile after the start from post-five in the field of six, driver Lemoyne Svendsen would slow up the second eighth of the first-quarter while reaching the quarter-pole, timed in :28.2.

Getting an easy :30.1 second-quarter while reaching the half-mile marker, timed in :58.3, Svendsen would let out a notch on his pacer and pop the earplugs to the three-quarter mile pole, timed in 1:27.3. all while Themaninthewindow (Luke Plano) tracked in the pocket.

Now drawing clear into the stretch when it looked like Themaninthewindow needed to do more, Rod's Famous Ribs would now have to deal with Themaninthewindow who had now found his best gear with an eighth of a mile to go, thus making it a match-race.

With both drivers going to work on their horses, Themaninthewindow would put in one last desperate surge, but Rod's Famous Ribs was able to just last by a nose in a tight photo. Owned by Hei and Pam Mitchell in partnership with trainer Bob Johnson, Rod's Famous Ribs would win ($7.80) in 1:55.4, a lifetime mark. Star Time Kid (Rick Plano) finished another 2-1/2-lengths back, racing improved while third.

In the final feature of the night, this for the trotting fillies, Sad Parting would clearly be the pocket-rocket.

Getting the lead for owner/trainer Gilbert Herrera just after an eighth of a mile from post-three in the field of a half-dozen, Herrera, after pushing the pace some, would yield the lead to Letter Of Intent (Bruce Clarke) just past the quarter-pole, timed in :29.2.

Now sitting in the pocket, but appearing to be sitting a three-hole shortly as Smooth Jazz (Tim Maier) was moving up for the lead. Luck would be on Herrera's side as Smooth Jazz, who was trying to get back on the winning track after suffering her first career loss in her last after winning twelve straight, would break past the three-eighths mile pole, thus assuring Sad Parting of a perfect trip.

Remaining of course in the garden-spot through a first-half mile of 1:00.2, and a three-quarter time of 1:30.2, Herrera would move his filly to the outside at the head of the lane.

Now flying into the lead to the seven-eighths mile pole, Sad Parting would pour it own and draw away in the final sixteenth of a mile to win ($4.20) by three-lengths while barely urged in a lifetime best, 1:59. Letter Of Intent finished in second, and Little Tracer (Steve Wiseman) finished a very distant third, sixteen lengths farther back.

Live racing resumes at Cal-Expo on Friday (December 26) and continues through Saturday (December 27). All post-times are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. (PST). On Friday, Cal-Expo offers Happy Hour between 6:00-8:00 p.m., where $1 Beer, $2 Wine & $3 Buffalo Wings an order is offered.