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Distaffers to battle in the Michael Corley Series
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - by Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Raceway

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Sacramento, CA --- Cache River, who has led the way into the stretch in her last four trips to the post while coming away with a pair of victories, appears the one to catch once again in Friday night’s opening leg of the Michael Corley Pacing Series for the mares at Cal Expo.

Cache River is an 8-year-old Michigan-bred daughter of Keystone Raider who carries the banner of Carrie Scott, is conditioned by Gretchen Smith and will once again have the services of Luke Plano. She sports a 1:54.2 mark that was established as a sophomore and is looking for her third snapshot from five appearances on the new year.

Over a sloppy track on Jan. 5, the bay miss sat the pocket for three-quarters, was out to the lead turning for home and romped home by five lengths. She had big leads in her next two starts, but weakened in the shadow of the finish line to check in a close third in those efforts.

Cache River returned to her winning ways last week, as she made what proved to be the winning move to the lead at the half and was never seriously threatened in a sharp 1:55 once-around. Her speed will no doubt be on display once again and the Corley Series would appear to be a good spot for this gal.

Frankly Scarlett and Incredible Gambler completed the trifecta behind Cache River last week, and both are capable of turning the tables with their best effort. The former is a Little Steven mare who is reined and trained by Steve Wiseman, while Incredible Gambler is a Matias Ruiz trainee with co-owner Dave Siegel at the controls. Rounding out the field will be Littlehannahsue, Sea Bug, Incredible Gambler, In The Reason and Mousseine Hanover.

Streaking Oompa Loompa gets class test

Oompa Loompa has rattled-off six straight victories while steadily working his way up the class ladder and now gets his toughest test to date when he suits up for Friday evening’s $5,800 pacing co-feature.

Oompa Loompa, who races for team of owner KC C Carvalho, trainer Tim Brown and pilot Luke Plano, started his winning streak back on Dec. 21 and has been unbeatable in the interim. He will have to be at the top of his game to keep the streak alive as he takes on Split Ticket, Haggin Oaks, One And Only and Cycle Power in the evening’s third race.

This weekend Cal Expo is remembering steward Michael Corley and sports editor Bill Conlin with opening legs of the pacing series named in their honor. The Corley begins Friday and the Conlin will get underway on Saturday.

Michael Corley, who passed away last year, was a respected steward in California for more than 30 years, sharing the stand for many of those seasons with Pete Tomilla and Bob Latzo.

“Mike was a personal friend and great to work with,” Tomilla said. “He could read a race as it unfolded better than anyone I know. He was a true friend and I miss him.”

Corley really earned respect when he took the bold step to actually walk into the announcer’s booth following an inquiry to explain why the stewards made the decision that they did on that particular race. Whether you agreed or not with the call, you had to admire the fact that you were hearing the explanation directly from the stewards.

Bill Conlin passed away in 1997 and holds the distinction of being the sports editor for both the Sacramento Bee and Sacramento Union during a distinguished career in journalism. He is often mentioned as the most influential sportswriter in the history of the state capitol.

Conlin was blessed with a fearsome wit, boundless curiosity and an immense capacity for enjoying life’s pleasures. He made the rounds of Sacramento watering holes, restaurants and sporting events for 60 years, and everybody was richer for the experience. He took extreme pleasure in his sports column, a literate and newsy collection of impertinent questions, notable quotes, subtle jabs and understated opinions that brought his wit, humor and intelligence to three generations of Sacramento readers.

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