Sacramento, CA --- After quite a bit of nibbling, I’m Confident got his picture taken last week for trainer Bob Johnson and pilot Tyler Smith. He’ll attempt a curtain call in Saturday’s Cal Expo headliner while facing a slightly tougher group.
The 8-year-old son of The Panderosa comes into the assignment with $272,000 in his bank account and a 1:53 mark that was established last season at Hoosier Park. The fact that he gamely re-rallied to get the job done last week will not be lost on the bettors.
“He was one of three horses I bought last summer in Indiana from Gilbert Herrera,” said Johnson, who co-owns the performer with Marty Garey and Hank Wieseneck. “All three had over $200,000 on their card, but he’s the only one who really worked out.
“He has that back class working for him and I was actually shocked he was on the lead last week and then re-rallied to beat the favorite. As far as Tyler Smith is concerned, I’ve never seen a driver with so much talent at such an early age.”
Last summer at age 20, Smith became the youngest driver in harness racing history to reach 1,000 victories. He has been dividing his time between Northfield Park in Ohio and Cal Expo of late, although the nasty weather back East shut down Northfield earlier this week.
“I was driving for Bob this summer and he suggested I look into coming to Cal Expo,” said Smith, who will turn 21 later this month. “After talking with (General Manager) Chris Schick, I was very excited about the opportunity.”
Smith, who captured the Hoosier Park driving crown, noted that he actually prefers to race on a mile track.
“On a half-mile track, post position can be a big handicap and you almost always have to be moving. I like the chance to be patient and think a little more out there.”