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Sires Stakes spring into action at Cal Expo
Saturday, April 9, 2011 - by Scott Ehrlich, Publicity -- Cal-Expo

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Sacramento, CA --- The California Sires Stakes season got underway at Cal Expo on Friday night (April 8), on which Claim Jumper and Whip And A Prayer were solid in victory.
 
In the first of the two $15,000 divisions for sophomore fillies, this for the trotters, Claim Jumper never looked back, but after needing some pre-race company to relax.
 
"She was a little crazy before the race," stated driver Steve Desomer.  "But once I got the outrider, she calmed down for the race."
 
Making the lead an eighth of a mile past the start from post-three in the field of six, the main concern for Desomer blew up.
 
"My filly got out of there pretty good, and since the only horse I was worried about was Thatssomebracciola (Rick Plano), and she jumped it off into the first-turn - - I was then pretty sure I could handle the rest of them."
 
Cutting out first-half fractions of :29.4 & 1:01, Desomer popped the earplugs of his charge at the five-eighths mile pole, then gave her a few taps to the midway point of the final-turn and got the response he wanted as Claim Jumper opened up with every stride.  Reaching the three-quarter mile station, timed in 1:32.1, the daughter of Armbro Variable continued to expand her lead throughout the final quarter of a mile while only under minor urging in the last sixteenth of a mile.
 
Bred & owned by the Desomer Stables, and trained by Vickie Desomer, Claim Jumper romped ($2.40) home by 9-3/4-lengths, in a lifetime best 2:02.1.  Eggwhite Inmy Beer (Tim Maier) attempted to follow the winner, but did hold second, and Chaxie (Luke Plano) finished two-lengths farther back, in third.
 
"She raced real good," finished Desomer.
 
In the division for the pacers, Whip And A Prayer, starting from post-position six in the field of nine, came away in seventh for driver Rich Wojcio through first-half fractions of :29 & :59.1.
 
On the move to the half-mile juncture with cover, Wojcio had an issue with 7-16ths of a mile to go as his cover, Poorlittlerichgirl (Tim Maier), was not moving forward - - which had him half back in.
 
"To be honest with you, I didn't know whether to go back in or stay out."
 
Moving uncovered at the five-eighths mile marker when Poorlittlerichgirl went back to the inside, Wojcio urged his filly who then responded with good momentum midway through the final-turn, then even more momentum at the three-quarter mile pole, timed in 1:28.2.
 
"She finishes every race well, but I had to use her to narrow the gap because the horses up front had gotten away a little bit.  As a result, I was concerned that would take away from her normal finish - - not because of all the momentum she had, but because it was her first start since November 20.
 
"At the three-quarters, I was relieved because I was sure I was going to get a check, but I just didn't know what type of move she'd have in the stretch because I had used her more than I had expected to."
 
Catching up to fourth-over cover very late in the final-turn, then four-wide with 3-16ths of a mile to go, the daughter of Hi Ho Silverheel's was brushing and flying to the seven-eighths mile pole.
 
"At the seven-eighths I thought I was going to win because she was pacing just as strong as she was at the top of the stretch."
 
Under some urging while continuing to close rapidly, Wojcio had a hard trying Diamond Player (Scott Cisco) measured and caught her in deep-stretch to win ($17.00) by 1-1/2 lengths.  Bred & owned by Frank Nevarez, Whip And A Prayer stopped the timer at 1:58.1, a lifetime best.  Diamond Player was a game and sharp second, and Poor House (Steve Hyman) came from way back to finished a half-length farther back, in third.
 
"She finished very strongly like she always does.  She was very good in her first start and it was one heck of a a job by trainer Gordie Graham to have her ready," concluded Wojcio.
 
On Saturday, Cal Expo offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on both the Early Pick-4 (Races 4-7) & Late Pick-4 (Races 11-14) with the Late Pick-4 now having a $15,000 gross guaranteed pool.  Additionally, for winning wagers made on the Late Pick-4 online at TwinSpires.com or on track at Cal Expo, a bonus payout of 17.65 percent of the gross Late Pick 4 mutuel payoff will be paid.

 


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