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Low takeout means big payoffs at Cal Expo
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - by Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Raceway

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Sacramento, CA --- Last Saturday night saw huge payoffs in both the 50-cent Pick-5 and 10-cent Super High-5 wagers, which along with the $1 Pick-4 feature a reduced, 16 percent takeout. The Pick-4 also sports a $20,000 (guar.) pool on Fridays and a $25,000 guarantee on Saturdays.

In last Saturday’s Pick-5 the winning 50-cent ticket was worth $8,380, due in large part to Clint Warrington, Jr. guiding Larry Clark to an $83 upset. In the evening’s finale, the 10-cent Super High-5 returned a cool $10,255 as price horses dominated the first five spots.

To put things into perspective, using the regular takeout rate, the Pick-5 payoff would drop from $8,380 to $7,482, while the Super High-5 would have returned $9,156 instead of the $10,255 payday.

The Pick-5 is conducted nightly on the third through seventh events; the Pick-4 with the guaranteed pool is decided on the penultimate four races on the card, while the Super High-5 puts an exclamation mark on the night’s action in the finale.

Jim Grundy, Shelly Goudreau Finals set

The $15,800 Jim Grundy Trotting Series Final; the $19,200 Shelly Goudreau Pacing Series Final and a pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes will be the highlights on Friday night’s Cal Expo program.

I Love New York is a 5-year-old Broadway Hall homebred who carries the banner of Jack Coffey, Patricia Waldeck and Bruce Clarke, with Clarke doing the driving and training. After runner-up finishes in his first two efforts since coming in from the East Coast, he made every pole a winning one in last week’s penultimate Grundy leg in a sharp, 1:55.2 performance.

El Azteca had to settle for second in that affair after rattling off a five-race winning streak for owner, breeder and trainer Marco Rios and driver Scott Cisco. Included in that skein were two Sire Stakes decisions and a victory in the first leg of the Grundy, in a lifetime-best 1:56 clocking.

Looking at the Goudreau, Gold Deuce was third in a division of the first leg and then came back with an impressive 2-1/4 length tally last week while lowering his mark to 1:54.1 in the process. Kathy Plestad and Tyler Wiseman own with Steve Wiseman reining and training.

The Sire Stakes will go as non-betting races. The contest for pacing fillies will find Babe Ridge eyeing back-to-back trophies, while the trotting event will combine both fillies and colts and Its Not Over is the one to beat in that affair.

Kennedy eyes crown with Phantom Dan

James Kennedy has his sights set on Saturday’s Jim Dennis Pacing Series Final with Phantom Dan, a 5-year-old son of Little Steven that he describes as a perfect gentleman and a pleasure to drive and train.

Phantom Dan has turned in big efforts in the opening legs of the Dennis, doing his work in first-over fashion and finishing a close second to heavy favorite, Jovial Joker, in the initial gathering, and then getting the job done on the front end in that rival’s absence last weekend.

Jovial Joker is back in the cast this weekend and the veteran will obviously be very tough, but Kennedy has confidence in his pacer and is ready for the challenge. Last year was an awfully good one for Phantom Dan, with 10 trips to the winner’s circle from his 27 appearances, and he’s started 2013 in sharp fashion.

“I’ve had this horse for about two years now,” Kennedy related. “I originally had him for his breeder, Alan Kirschenbaum, who was a great man and I always appreciated that he gave me the opportunity with this horse.

“When I first got him he had EPM and he was pretty difficult to train, but he eventually came around and now he does everything easily. That was a huge race for him to go first-over against Jovial Joker in the first leg, and last week I didn’t plan to take the lead, but that’s the way it came up. I’d never raced him on the front end before, because I normally prefer to have my horses race from behind, but he was very strong.”

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