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Tab Orlando’s Express as an up-and-comer
Thursday, December 19, 2013 - by Mark Ratzky, publicity, Cal Expo Harness

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Sacramento, CA --- Orlando’s Express has been under the care of James Kennedy for less than two months, but this could be the start of something big as the 3-year-old continues his march toward next week’s Bob Gordon Series final.

The Frank Nevarez-homebred son of Wicked Island only made it to the post one time last year and didn’t get to the races again this season until Nov. 15, but he’s doing his best to make up for lost time. He’s won two conditioned events, finished second to divisional powerhouse A Stitch In Time in a Sire Stakes and then captured his section of last week’s opening leg of the Gordon.

Sent off at a juicy 9-1 in the latter affair, he sat a stalking trip for Kennedy until the stretch, then unleashed a :27.3 final quarter to prevail by a half-length over favored Party Cove.

“He’s a nice one who doesn’t do a thing wrong,” Kennedy related. “When I first got him, I learned quite a bit right away by going some trips and you could tell that he had a lot of potential.”

Orlando’s Express came from well back to win his first two outings for Kennedy, then was far from disgraced finishing a distant second behind the very talented A Stitch In Time in his initial stakes foray. Last week’s Gordon opener fit snugly into the schedule and he responded by getting the job done while lowering his mark to 1:56.4 that evening.

“There aren’t any more stakes for him until January, so this series is perfect,” his mentor noted. “He’s definitely getting better and better with each start, and he’s shown that he really likes to finish his races. He’ll have more experience when he goes up against A Stitch In Time again.”

Kennedy is having a tremendous meet, with extremely high batting averages as both a driver and a trainer.

“It’s been a joy to have the opportunity to drive and train such nice horses,” he added.

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