UPDATE, March 24 — Cal Expo Harness heard from the California Horse Racing Board again, after conditional approval to race Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The board altered that conditional schedule. The racetrack, which will remain closed to the public, will race its usual Friday—Saturday evening programs, starting March 27. 28, with a post time of 3:05 p.m. Pacific, 6:05 p.m. Eastern.
As promised, TwinSpires harness blog is dedicating itself to the Cal Expo programs March 24th and 25th and the remaining programs on those days until the scheduled end of the meet on April 25.
The Weekly Update will be posted on Sunday, covering the previous action we supported that week. Watch for it, other Cal Expo previews and lots of other harness-related material.
Cal Expo / Races 1—10
Friday / March 27
In that same race, Gunny Wilson went a long, hard overland journey at 7-1, taking a brief lead in the stretch. Being overtaken by three others to finish fourth is a sharp effort worth a strong look here.
At 6-1, Fear Factor, our contender on March 21, left hard to duel early before settling in fourth. From there Richard Bertrand’s pacer was passed and forgotten. The burst of speed invites us back for another shot.
Cenalta Express sat a cool second around the oval in a qualifier and shows up in this conditioner fresh for trainer/driver Rene Goulet. Her foes here have all been busy racing this season and show little in the earning column.
Rocket Power put in a good mile over the weekend for us but strained to keep third. Budgie Smuggler fooled the crowd in his last with a win at 8-1 and that will attract bettors. They are exotic partners, for sure.
A sextet of claimers joust, with the highest tag, Al’s Briefs, on the outside. He was the favorite at this level last week, also on the outside, but there were 10 involved. He lost to Richard Bertrand’s Best Dream Seeker.
From the majority of $5k tags, “Seeker” is the biggest earner and sharpest finisher. He finished first or second nine times of a dozen. Those two should share the bulk of the win pool.
Danger looms for them, however, from Gerald Longo’s Key Word. Though this one finished ninth at 32-1 in the same 10-horse field, he was among the eight charging late to be within 3 lengths of the winner. The best-upset chance to win and get some high exotic prices is here.
Another six go in a straight $3k claimer. Fly Away was a co-favorite on March 13, finishing second for Steve Wiseman. In 11 starts, Fly Away glided to a 3-2-3 line of finishes, collecting $3k more than his foes.
Who Dat Love comes from a claiming/handicap where at 7-1 he finished fifth while still gaining ground in the crowded field of 10 won by Seeker (see Race 3). Gordon Graham has got this one primed for a good payday here.
Looking good though finishing 10th last week, Ethan Hanover dug in the first half, brushing 6 lengths first over to challenge the leader. Robert Corbin’s pacer is in a good spot from post 4 to save ground and use his best brush for an upset, with a price that might be better than his 6-1 loss.
This is a tight field of mares, a good race to catch an outsider.
Big winning favorite Lookslikewemadeit returns for Richard Schneider, against a few mares she has put away recently. She has to take on Royal Mistress, who the crowd might find more appetizing this time around if they appreciate her March 20 effort at 4-1. As well, Sing Along, a beaten choice, is often in the mix and sure to make her foes work for the spot where they finish.
We cannot dismiss Hi Fidelity, who finished third at 11-1 with a strong effort and for price and purpose is the courageous win bet and abover-the-rest exotics leader.
Nine mares line up in this conditioner and one of them has been in our sites recently. Jacob Cutting’s Casey N Grinegan was our top contender on March 20 and she almost rallied to win, finishing a close second to That’s How It Goes at 11-1. That one made a single move at three-quarters to just get up. “Casey” traveled farther through the mile, in which the favorite, Rue Hanover (in post 8 here) raced a mediocre mile, finishing seventh.
Nightgirl comes here from a win, meeting a bit better with the rise. She has won the most of the field being 4-3 in a dozen starts.
Hagginatthebeach broke off the gate and was eliminated but with a smooth gait should be an exotic factor.
Bunkerhill Bill’s recent pair of claiming/handicap races forced him to leave from far outside and even breaking in one of them could not refuse him a paying position in the end. He’s in a conditioned here with only six foes and no excuse to find the best path home. However, there might be very little money involved in his win (though very low can still be an overlay here).
On tap for exotic action is China King, Jennifer Sabot’s mare that might not be hampered leaving from the outside. In a triple, using Giggle Monster seems obvious but may add a few bucks to the payoff.
Greekona’s most recent effort was short probably only due to a duel early. At 7-1, Steve Weiseman’s mare was all out to wire the field but got caught by Dontcloseyoureyes. That one can handle post 10 here but for a few steps, Greekona might be able to hold on at a better price. Dancers Fancy could escape the chaos of straining late closers and be in the triple, hoisting the price.
He Grins Again made two moves last week, impressing at 10-1, to finish third. This group seems to all be against Rockin Eddie, who strongly wired a field only slightly less the class of this one.
Fox Valley Hoss had little excuse to disappoint backers last out after they made him one of the top choices and Contemporary Legend has a shot at hitting the board figure. In that order, you should get worthy prices, including “Grins” to win.
Western Devil was game last out, making two moves as one of the public’s choices. Edwin Quevedo’s pacer has been doing 50 percent in-the-money business.
Mr Varsity is a beaten second-choice supported Luke Plano entry that could be overlooked and bring exotics to heavier returns.
Bet Together sat third all the way, assuring a spot on the tote at 4-1 and is in a similar suck-along spot here.