A 15-race card is on tap, with the headliner going as the third of the evening. First post is set for 5:40 p.m., PT and the action will continue Saturday night with another 15-race program under the Watch and Wager banner.
K D Amazin Spirit is going in peak form at the moment for owner, trainer and breeder Willey and pilot Cisco, proving unbeatable between January 6 and his most recent appearance two weeks ago. The 7-year-old son of Thadrow sports a lifetime mark of 1:56.3 that was established in his February 8 victory.
The Willey representative set that career standard in his second straight coast-to-coast score, putting his versatility on display in the prior two wins by playing the role of stalker to perfection. No matter how things shake out early in this affair, Cisco will certainly have his share of options with this razor-sharp gelding.
The main threat will likely come from I Love New York, who comes in from Tioga Downs and should be right at home under these conditions, and the Tim Brown-trained Stars And Glides, who is already proven over this layout.
These two trotters tuned up for this assignment in a qualifier last Saturday and finished one-two in an impressive 1:57.3, finishing eight lengths in front of Shelby County, who will also suit up in this affair. Trainer Clarke will guide I Love New York, Meagan Beauchamp Will handle Stars And Glides and Rocky Stidham will be behind his trainee, Shelby County.
Rounding out the cast will be Franky Provolone, who has certainly gone his share of big miles here and will have Tim Maier at the controls, and Earls Dreamofglory, who will do his work from the cozy rail slot with Dave Siegel in the sulky.
A reminder that a trio of wagers is offered here each night with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate and a 100 percent carryover provision in the event of no winning tickets. They are the 50-cent Pick-5 that begins on the third race, the $1 Pick-4 on the penultimate four races of the evening, which features a $20,000 (guar.) pool on Friday and a $25,000 guarantee on Saturday, and the 10-cent Super-5 on the nightcap.
Bit Player elevated to starring role
After a series of eventful trips that included an equipment malfunction, a break in close quarters and other assorted traffic issues, Bit Player had clear sailing on the lead last weekend and came away with a stakes trophy for Steve and Vickie Desomer and driver Steve Wiseman.
The dark-hued 3-year-old pacer is by Moxie out of the Leading Edge mare Linear and has now posed for pictures following four of his 14 career attempts. He was avenging a loss to stablemate Daring Do in the previous big-money gathering over a sloppy track in late December in the process.
“Linear had a 1:53.1 mark and was a winner of over $188,000,” Vickie Desomer related. “She was one of four homebreds we sold to the late Dr. Gary Budahn and his wife Debbie very early in her career. When she retired, Dr. Budahn offered her to us in return for raising her first foal, who turned out to be Great Integrity. He took a 1:52.4 mark and earned $133,000 for the Budahns.”
Linear also went on to produce a productive performer in Code Blue and has most recently been represented by Bit Player, who appears to have a very nice future under the Desomer Stables banner. As for Linear, she is currently part of a very worthy cause.
“She resides at Harmony Have in Cottonwood and earns her keep as a therapy horse for disabled children,” Vickie reported. And the beat goes on.