Ohoka Jasper equals career mark at Cal Expo
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A well-rated second-quarter in a competitive field turned out to be the difference for Ohoka Jasper. The best trotters on the Cal-Expo grounds met up on Friday night in an $8,000 Open Handicap l trot, in which Ohoka Jasper wouldn\'t be denied.
Prior to starting from post position five in the field of six, trainer/driver Rick Plano knew he was one of the major players.
\"I thought his chances would be very good because I came first-up with him last week off of a break in which I had to be a little careful with him and he only got beat at the wire,\" said Plano. \"I planned on leaving if I possibly could because I knew I\'d be first-over if I ducked him.\"
Racing four and three wide to the first turn while in quest for the lead, Ohoka Jasper would slide down to two wide an eighth of a mile after the start before clearing to the front just before the field had traveled 3-16ths of a mile, into a :28.4 opening quarter.
With Plano now slowing up the pace pretty dramatically past the quarter-mile pole, driver Ed Hensley behind the pocket-sitting Simply Made would not be happy with the tempo of the race and would pull to the outside well after the field had traveled 5-16ths of a mile. Plano, however, would go on with his trotter, thus putting Simply Made back in the pocket past the three-eighths mile marker.
With Ohoka Jasper reaching the half-mile juncture in :59.2, Plano, off the :30.3 second-quarter split, knew the cards were stacked in his favor.
\"I felt pretty good there because my trotter is a pretty good horse and off of that half, I thought it would take a pretty good one to catch him.\"
Asking his charge to go on to the final-turn and getting more trot from the seven-year old, Ohoka Jasper would reach the three-quarter mile station in 1:28.1, with Simply Made now driving from the pocket.
\"He felt very strong at the three-quarters and I liked my chances.\"
Now with Simply Made getting closer with an eighth of a mile to go, Plano would urge his gelding on and the New Zealand bred would go on, but Simply Made wouldn\'t go away.
\"He held Simply Made at bay all the way down the stretch and I was never worried. Then, nearing the wire, I gave him a couple of good shots to be sure and he responded again. I, however, can\'t take anything away from Simply Made, who put in a great effort.\"
\"It was a pretty easy mile for him, especially off that :59.2 first-half,\" Plano concluded. (Cal-Expo)