Sophomore fillies, on both gaits, competed in two $15,000 California Sires Stakes on Friday at Cal-Expo. In the first of the two divisions, this for the trotters in a non-wagering event, Claim Jumper was a three-move repeat winner.
Leaving from post three in the field of a half-dozen for driver Steve Desomer, the filly left and had the lead just a sixteenth of a mile plus after the start before yielding just before the field had traveled an eighth of a mile into a :30 opening quarter.
On the move to the five-sixteenths and bypassing the pocket past the three-eighths mile pole, the daughter of Armbro Variable cleared to the point after seven-sixteenths of a mile, into a 1:00.1 first-half mile.
Getting her earplugs popped at the five-eighths mile pole into a 1:30.4 three-quarters, Claim Jumper would soon draw clear with three-sixteenths of a mile to go, then would go on to score by 1 3/4 lengths while urged very little.
Bred and owned by the Desomer Stables and trained by Vickie Desomer, Claim Jumper stopped the timer at 2:02, a lifetime best. Dancinwiththedevil (Steve Wiseman) finished second, and Eggwhite Inmy Beer (Tim Maier) finished 4 1/2 lengths farther back, in third.
In the wagering feature, this for the pacers, Poor House quickly rewarded her new private purchase connections.
Before starting from post position six in the field of nine, was trainer George Reider able to provide any information to driver James Kennedy?
"He said, 'James, I just got this horse, I trained her one time, and don't know much about her--just give her a shot, please,'" Kennedy said. "I thought going into the race she had a fair shot."
Coming away seventh with a fight for up front position, but only into a :29 first quarter, Kennedy soon moved his charge to second-over position at the three-eighths mile pole following the favorite into a :58.2 opening half-mile.
"I was seventh at the half, but I was sitting behind Whip And A Prayer (Rich Wojcio), and I thought she was one of the better horses in there. I was happy with where I was and we were slowly gaining on the rest of the field."
With the field now three-eighths of a mile from home and with Whip And A Prayer starting to move quickly, was Kennedy concerned that at the same time the pacesetting Hi Fidelity (Rick Plano) was opening up?
"No, I was still on the back of Whip And A Prayer and my horse felt very strong -- I was feeling pretty confident."
Following live cover and now fourth, but still 4 1/2 lengths back at the three-quarter mile marker, timed in 1:27.3, Kennedy was even more confident.
"At the three-quarters I thought I had a very good shot because of my position, the fact that we were second-over, plus we were gaining very quickly on Hi Fidelity."
Moving three wide with three-sixteenths of a mile to go, then four wide at the seven-eighths mile pole, while Whip And A Prayer drifted out, Kennedy quickly was made aware that there was still plenty of gas in the tank.
"When I moved her four wide and once she saw clear daylight in front of her she really started digging in. I just kept asking her at the same time she kept going and digging in, but Whip And A Prayer was hanging in very tough."
Closing to mid-stretch and now slugging it out with Whip And A Prayer with a sixteenth of a mile to go while continuing to gain, Poor House finally got the better of her game foe.
"My horse caught her and kept digging in and finished nicely while holding off Whip And A Prayer once we passed her."
Outfighting Whip And A Prayer in very deep stretch, Poor House scored ($11.40) by one-half length. Debuting for Rick and Marlene Thomas, Dave Haness and George Reider, the daughter of Little Steven stopped the timer at 1:58, thus breaking her maiden in style while establishing a lifetime mark. Whip And A Prayer had to settle for a good second, and Dine N Wine (Steve Desomer) came on nicely late with pace to finish 2 1/4 lengths farther back, in third.
"It was a very nice race for the new connections," Kennedy concluded.
For George Reider, the owning and training triumph was the middle portion of an owning and training triple. Also on the Friday night card, Rick Plano had four driving winners, giving him nine piloting victories over the last two programs. He also recorded a consecutive training triple, giving him seven conditioning wins over the last two cards. (Cal Expo)