Cal Expo continues its current meet. However, the program days will change starting next week. At a special meeting of the California Horse Racing Board, the Sacramento, Calif. raceway received approval to race on Tuesday and Wednesday. The post for these programs will be 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time, 6:05 p.m. Eastern.
As promised, TwinSpires harness blog is dedicating itself to the Cal Expo programs until the scheduled end of the meet on April 25.
The Weekly Update will be posted on Monday morning, covering the previous action we supported that week, with news items. Watch for it and for next week’s March 31 and April 1’s Cal Expo previews, as well as other harness-related material.
Cal Expo / Races 1—10
Saturday / March 28
Eight non-winners of a race, conditionally, open the Cal Expo program. It’s a quiz show, for sure, with near-equal stats for a field of unsuccessful pacers. The crowd may lean on Steve Wiseman’s Pedigree Blue Chip for two reasons. First, the horse is trained by Steve Weisman, who, over a few meets in league with Katherine Plested some of those years, has been extremely productive. Second, “Pedigree” has had a rest. He was scratched on March 20 and the rest may have done him well.
We’ll make a case for Imma Tank, who has hit the board four of 11 times. Though his most recent performance was dismal, Richard Bertrand’s horse faces a field not so much better.
Naked Burner is also in our top three for getting a piece of the purse last out, finishing third at only 4-1.
Six line up for this conditioned mile. Glitter N Ginger keeps settling for second but that’s a lot more consistent than the rest.
Jim Wilkinson’s One Gorgeous Gal and Jacob Cutting’s Ahead By A Century finished third and fourth, respectively in a similar affair last weekend, with the latter making the boldest move late, eating up ground in the stretch at 7-1.
Custards Dungeon made one move while under cover and had nothing to gain ground last week but we’ll dismiss the dud and take him as seriously as he should have been taken dropping into this class two races ago. Then, Gordon Graham’s pacer has speed and got in the mix at 13-1. He should be less than that here but not the top choice.
Top status for the crowd could be Therealgoods but his money-burning finishes make Custards Dungeon more appealing. Cut A Rug is fresh off a win and fresh stepping back up and should be in the mix.
A five-horse field rarely offers wicked results and here, with a huge favorite—Marys Pretty Girl—the forecast is as grim as always. That being said, we feel the chances for Drink Me Pretty will be better than her odds. Her last race wore her out but a better trip could surprise the favorites.
Ramsay’s recent effort shows spunk, as his bad start did not stop him from gaining a lot of ground before the winner drew off from the field. Cenalta Diesel was headed at three-quarters while leading swiftly but it was just too much for him.
The big choice is the dropper, Explainnotcomplain, and if his kind of class can win a race, this is the field to swallow, though the best prices for exotics will come if the aforementioned two can beat him for first or second.
It is difficult to deny that Bettors Promise, a horse shipping from Yonkers, though he has not won a race in four starts this season and has lost once at Cal Expo after a shapely qualifier, is meeting horses that are far inferior to his New York foes. Still, he is only 4-1 on the morning line (ML)? Price makes the judgment, though.
We would like to defeat him with Five Card Draw N, Jacob Cutting’s claimer that almost beat better last week. If Yonkers boy is a dud (anything less than winning makes him that, after all, why has he traveled across the nation to play at this park?), we’ll go with our “Cutting Edge” pacer.
Triple fans could add P H Hippie for price and purpost.
Two of these guys made our cold exacta last week, which yielded surprising support in the betting action. Sin MachQueen was the second choice and Herecomesthethundr was the favorite. The latter is an 8-1 ML outsider, which we disagree upon. His trips indicate he deserves the step up and the competition confirms it. The Cal Ex classes are sketchy, so we give him better chances than 8-1, though we love that as an overlay.
The others fall into the chaos theory, so which ones benefit from the breathless ones behind our main contender keep us away from exotics. A good win price is worth the sole action devoted to this field.
Ten pacers—you read correctly—line up behind the gate for this lifetime-earners conditioned mile. It’s a tough quiz, as there are arguments for most of the group.
We backed Reys N A Ruckus last week and he punched in with some speed, using a big brush to get the lead and getting caught by six others while losing only a few lengths to be seventh. That is not a bad race and considering he will be offering some serious win cash, we want him as our top choice (a quicker start helps him save his brush for the stretch).
Every public handicapper will influence the public’s obvious choice, the ML favorite, California Rock, but who needs to tell anyone that this guy seems to love this class and makes more dough at it than any bettor? Not one. This is another win-only shot for us.
Class-only favorites are not strong contenders for us often and here, with only six going, Virgin Eyes and Capitol Hill can win for the masses; we’ll be kind to the masses. What we like is what came true for us last week with Gerald Longo’s Place At The Beach.
The conditioner is always placed perfectly by Longo and last week she held third at nearly 5-1. This is not a big step up, really, and Longo knows his 10-year-old has only to let the others go wild around her for the kind of trip that brings her home at a good price, a surprising one for those who buy into the obvious two from Opens. Besides, Longo’s mare atop those two brings you back a trifecta worth something.
The program ends with another six-horse field of conditioned pacers. Gordon Graham’s Marilyn has been burning money but it’s good she is the second ML choice so we can toss her out along with Shock N Awe (2-1 ML).
Hopefully, the aforementioned two will push Outlawintriguedbyu into third or worse place, allowing for a sweet victory that will look obvious when the Alberta-bred crosses the finish line first.
After the win bet, hope Wizzel Stick can be queen of the also-paced chaos to sneak into second for a big exacta.
Watch for our suggested contenders for next week’s Cal Expo programs. Remember they will take place on March 31 and April 1 as the track goes to a Tuesday-Wednesday schedule.