Among those eagerly looking forward to his sons and daughters hitting the racetrack in 2014 is Vickie Desomer, who has high hopes for the offspring. “Claudius served 17 mares in 2011,” Desomer noted. “They included such champion mares as Walter and Patty Peterson’s Kimmie Girl, Denise and Tim Maier’s Smooth Jazz and our mare, Ahh Saundra.
“His first foals are now weanlings and they appear to carry on the look and personality of their sire. Claudius proved to be a very able and willing student of the breeding shed, going about his duties with enthusiasm and class.”
It should be pointed out that Debra Budahn had the opportunity to stand Claudius Augustus elsewhere -- to a greater number of mares -- but chose to keep him close by her in California and the harness industry in the Golden State is much better off because of that decision.
This year, the 8-year-old son of Angus Hall was bred to eight mares, and then at the conclusion of the breeding season was returned to training duties with Bob Johnson.
“It’s my guess that Claudius will have as much success in the breeding shed as he’s had on the racetrack,” Desomer added. “He was wonderful to handle and easy to work with. We’ll be watching him with interest.”
Survivor Finals, Open trot headline card
The finals of the Survivor 1 and Survivor 2 Series for pacing fillies and mares and an Open trot will headline the Friday night program at Cal Expo.
Getting most of the attention in the $8,450 Survivor 1 Final will be Pip’s Jenny G, who captured two divisions of the opening legs, and Charmer and Gentle Dragon, who had their pictures taken after the other two divisions. Looking at the $8,100 Survivor 2, opening leg winners Dawnlikeslillies and Feetdon’tfailmenow get top billing.
Pip’s Jenny G is an 11-year-old daughter of Balanced Attack who carries the banner of Juan Pacheco with Lester Smith the conditioner and Luke Plano once again handling the lines. She was a punctual favorite in the first two legs, coming from well back to prevail during the opening week, and then putting her versatility on display with a coast to coast performance in last week’s get together.
Charmer parlayed a pocket trip into a sharp victory in her division of the second leg for owner, trainer and driver Paul Welence, while Gentle Dragon had to settle for a fourth place finish in that affair after a dominating win during opening week for trainer Raul Escobedo.
Feetdon’tfailmenow is the likely choice in the Survivor 2 Final for owner Drew Anderson, trainer Bob Johnson and driver Luke Plano. She did her work from the second tier while going first-over last time, while the Phyllis Crescenti-owned and Richard Dunneback-trained Dawnlikeslillies upset that one at 14-1 in the second leg and will get more respect now. Tim Maier will be in the sulky.
The Open trot will go as the third race of the evening and will find recent winners Franky Provolone and Giles L S Hanover taking on the returning Claudius Augustus, the invading Be Famous and Shelby County.
Giles L S Hanover prevailed at the head of the class during opening week for trainer Bob Johnson and pilot Steve Wiseman, while Franky Provolone came off the bench ready to rock and roll in last weekend’s Open and posted an upset with Tim Maier handling the lines.
Post time for the 15-race program will be at 5:55 p.m., Pacific.
Bettors take note:
A reminder to exotics players that there are three wagers offered at Cal Expo with a reduced, 16 percent takeout -- and featuring carryovers. They are the 50-cent Pick-5 that starts on the third race, the $1 Pick 4 with a $25,000 (guar.) gross pool that begins with the 11th race and a 10-cent Super High-5 on the final race.