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California Sire Stakes finals held at Cal Expo

December 12, 2010
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Pacers and trotters, both male and female, on both gaits, were featured at Cal Expo on Saturday night in four California Sire Stakes Championships.
 
In the first of the four $20,000 Stakes, a non-betting event for the filly trotters held prior to the wagering card, Betty Elizabeth won her fifth straight, all in Sire Stakes.
 
Leaving from post-four in the field of five for driver Steve Wiseman, the filly dropped into the pocket as the field entered the first-turn into a :30.3 first-quarter and remained in the garden spot through a first half mile, timed in 1:01.2.
 
Pocket pulling past the midway point of the final turn into a 1:31.4 three-quarters, the daughter of Panama Hanover soon took over the lead with three-sixteenths of a mile to go and quickly drew away to be home free on her way to a 2 3/4-length triumph, all while hardly urged.  Bred, owned, and trained by Lisa Pilcher, Betty Elizabeth scored in 2:01.3.  The pacesetting Acapulco Gold (Rocky Stidham) finished in second, and Exquisite Gem (Lemoyne Svendsen) finished just a nose back, in third.
 
"It was a very good way to end the season with her," said Wiseman.  "I was very fortunate to be able to drive her throughout the fall stakes season and I can't thank Lisa enough for letting me drive her. She was very good tonight as she has been the last three starts when I drove her."
 
Next up were the colt and gelding pacers, on which Lily's Hi Ho overcame traffic issues.
 
Coming away third from post position three in the field of seven for pilot Lemoyne Svendsen, the pair stayed put through first-half fractions of :28 and :57.1. Remaining inside and advancing into the pocket at the three-quarter mile pole, timed in 1:26.3, the gelding now found himself behind the pace-setting favorite Hi Ho Steverino (Luke Plano). Certainly good news, yes?
 
"Usually Hi Ho Steverino takes off in the stretch, but I could see at the three-quarters that he wasn't going to because he was being urged and wasn't responding," stated Svendsen. "It kind of messed up my plans because I had hoped that he would take off which would allow me to slide out."
 
With Hi Ho Steverino getting passed to the top of the lane, this caused Lily's Hi Ho to get pushed back, even more so with less than three-sixteenths of a mile to go.
 
"I really thought I was in trouble, but at the seven-eighths everybody started coming back to me harder and I found a gap down there on the bottom and just shot him to it and he just exploded right through there."
 
Finding a seam with less than an eighth of a mile to go, Svendsen urged his pacer once and the youngster responded like a bullet and flew into the lead with a sixteenth of a mile to go with no chance to catch him as the Bob Johnson-owned and trained son of Hi Hi Silverheel's won ($17.60) by 2 3/4 lengths, in 1:55.4.  Dancing Barry (Rick Plano) finished in second, and Lucky Peterson (Steve Wiseman) finished three-quarters of one-length farther back, in third.
 
"Obviously the racing luck turned out to be tremendous, but he was still really sharp tonight," concluded Svendsen.
 
Filly pacers were next on the track on which One Hot Tamale never looked back.
 
Blasting out from post seven in the field of the same number for trainer Rick Plano and getting the lead an eighth of a mile past the start, the just-turned 59-year-old veteran Plano nicely rated his pupil through fractions of :28.4, :59.1 and 1:28.1.
 
With the field now in the stretch, Plano didn't have to urge his pacer until late at which time she dug in and held pretty firm to win ($8) by one length. Bred in part by owner Wayne Knittle, the daughter of Distinguishedbaron stopped the timer at 1:58. Favored She Is So Glad (Rich Wojcio) finished in second, and Gee Up (Etienne Desomer) finished just a half of one-length back, in third.
 
"I got down in :28.4, I got a good rating to the half, plus She Is So Glad, who was the best horse in the race, got the worst trip because she had to come first-up early and it cost her," said Plano. "Sometimes the best horse doesn't win.  I was the second best horse who just got a great trip and raced well."
 
Last, but not least were the trotting colts and geldings, in which Big Baller took advantage.
 
Leaving from post three in the field of five for driver Steve Desomer, the duo made the lead three-sixteenths of a mile past the start while favored Franks Best (Lemoyne Svendsen) was playing catch-up after a very costly break a sixteenth of a mile before the start--a break that didn't surprise Desomer.
 
"I normally have not been able to beat Franks Best because he moves too quick and can sprint a little bit," noted Desomer. "But I was pretty confident before the race because I also know that Franks Best can make a break. After he did, I figured I'd go slow to the half and start letting him go from there--which is why I popped the earplugs at the point."
 
Cutting out very deliberate fractions of :31.1, 1:03 and 1:33, the gelding wasn't short of fuel for the final quarter.
 
"I still had plenty of horse when I got to the three-quarters, all while Franks Best got into another problem because of a breaking horse around the middle of the final-turn--so I figured I was home free after that."
 
Drawing clear with three-sixteenths of a mile to go, the son of Panama Hanover wouldn't be urged much.
 
"I still had plenty of horse in the stretch as I hadn't asked him any. When Franks Best got close, I tapped my horse a little bit and he responded and I knew I was safe."
 
Bred and owned by the Desomer Stables, and trained by Vickie Desomer, Big Baller won ($6.20) by 1 1/4 lengths in 2:02. Franks Best was the victim of his miscue and had to settle for second, and Online Charger (Steve Wiseman) finished 3 3/4 lengths farther back, in third.
 
"Franks Best had bad luck and I benefited from it, but my horse still raced pretty good," finished Desomer. (Cal Expo)
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