Choices Line The Board At Cal Expo’s Forced Finishing Card
We won’t forget the horses we chose for the April 1 Cal Expo program, though they never raced. A last-minute order from the state forced the end of the U.S.’s only harness racing program available during the pandemic. It is not clear exactly what happened to change the minds of the authorities. Rumors and blame were quickly reported but none were confirmed.
Again, we have an archive of horses we follow when racing is in action and we are freezing the list to follow those horses when tracks open for action again. There’s work to do while we are guaranteed so we can come back betting locked and loaded, so keep checking the TwinSpires harness blog for “Hiatus Handicapping” –this is not a vacation for planning profit plays.
Meanwhile, here is how we landed on the final day of Cal Expo harness action:
Tuesday, March 31
The program began with a blast as all three of our choices took the toteboad in combinations of all pools. Lincoln ($11.20, $5.80, $3.00) won. We nailed the $73.30 exacta with the second finisher, Gunny Wilson ($11.20, $4.80). Then we capped the $19.72 (base price) trifecta with Lukes Cowboy ($2.20) third.
The crowd favorites won the next three events.
In Race 2 we went win only for Major Jesse (14-1), who finished fourth.
In Race 3 we had two of three numbers on the board with Brooklyn Moonshine ($2.80, $2.20) and That’s How It Goes ($3.00). Sand And Rocks (6-1) finished fourth.
In Race 4 we finished second with Mystic River ($4.20, $2.60). Waitin Ona River (10-1) finished fifth and A And C Artist (49-1) was sixth.
A 3-1 won the fifth race, while we finished fourth with the favorite, Gordy Again and seventh with Rockaroundheaven (7-1).
We admit to our biggest mistake of the card but have an excuse—we did not address this race real time. Had we done that we most certainly would have given a good chance to Hi Ho Julio, who stormed the field to win at 33-1. Bob Johnson’s pacer lost his last race looking rank, though he has always been bet fairly due to being a consistent contender. We left him out thinking he would be backed strongly. We went with the two horses finishing behind him in Race 6: Fred And Roz ($3.60, $3.00) and Crookshanks ($5.80).
We took Race 7 as we did Race 1, with all three of our contenders making up the pool combos. The winner was Velocity McSweets ($3.60, $2.40, $2.10), with Alwaysalittlemore ($3.60, $2.40) second and Dancinonthesand ($2.10), third. The exacta went for $6.70, the trifecta (base price) for $2.70.
The favorites won the next two races. In Race 8 we finished in seventh with Wet Shark (8-1). In Race 9 we were fourth with Bet Together (5-1) and seventh with Herecomesthethundr (7-1).
What would be the last race at the Sacramento mile was won by a 20-1 shot. Again, we had the two horses following him across the finish line. Second was Dancers Fancy ($7.80, $5.20) and third was Greekona ($3.60). Dontcloseyoureyes, the race favorite, finished ninth.
News & Notes
Harness racing trainers Nick Surick and Chris Oakes two of the horsemen named in the March 9 of doping and the manufacturing and misbranding of drugs administered to horse,s pleaded not guilty before U.S. District Judge. Surick and Oakes were named in the initial indictment, as were trainers Rick Dane Jr. and Chris Marino. Rene Allard and Richard Banca were subsequently charged for their alleged involvements in the operation.
The Ohio State Racing Commission (OSRC) originally cancelled racing in the state until at least April 6. OSRC Executive Director Bill Crawford announced a directive outlining the extended cancellation of racing. It is confirmed that all racing in Ohio has been cancelled through April 30.
Trainer Ron Burke talked to reporters about the return of harness racing since affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Burke said harness racing could be conducted within a realistic framework that a prevailing racing commission constructs. Racing “could be done under any system they want,” he said. “Horses have to exercise anyhow. … It would take adjustments. … We could put horses together and we separate people. … We don’t need interaction. … Whatever social-distancing requirements there are, we can manage it.”
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