Ain’t She Special in Friday night spotlight

Ain’t She Special, fresh from going coast-to-coast in last Sunday night’s Filly and Mare Open, actually drops in class and headlines Friday evening’s main event for pacing fillies and mares.

There will be nine races presented under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:45 p.m.

Ain’t She Special is a 5-year-old daughter of American Ideal out of the Camluck mare I’m Just Special who is owned by Dave Haness and Luke Plano with Luke doing the driving and training.

She comes into this assignment having posed for pictures following 17 of her 54 trips to the post with $80,000 in her bank account and a 1:52 mark that was established last year at Running Aces.

Sent off at 4-1 in last week’s clash at the top rung, Ain’t She Special motored right to the top from the No. 2 post, was able to carve out the fractions without challenge and held sway by three-quarters of a length over Give Me This Dance and Graceful Horizon.

Taking her on Friday, from the rail out, are Starzznstripes, Wild Blue Wonder, Velocity McSweets, Divine Art, Wish I Had Thyme, Change Colors and Crazy Cute,

Looking ahead to Sunday night’s 10-race card that gets underway at 5:05 p.m., A Major Omen will gun for his third straight victory at the head of the class in the Open Pace.

Luke Plano will guide the razor-sharp performer for owner/trainer Gerry Longo.

Sire Stakes for sophomores are underway

The California Sire Stakes action for the 3-year-old pacers kicked off last week with Celebrity Status and Another Tuff Woman picking up trophies.

Another Tuff Woman left little doubt as to her dominance among the fillies as she romped by 17 lengths with Luke Plano guiding for owner/breeders Alan and Cheryl Sandbulte and trainer Jose Castillo

Celebrity Status was likewise impressive among the males as he rallied off cover to the stretch as the 3-5 choice Set The Pace Racing LLC and driver/trainer Nick Roland.

A total of $420,00 is up for grabs among the 3 and 4-year-old pacers in the Sire Stakes at this meet with a pair of $50,000 Championship events set for closing night, May 3.

Going into ths week’s action, Jake Cutting has opened a daylight lead in the driver standings with 55 victories to 40 for Luke Plano and 39 for James Kennedy.

Things are much tighter among the trainers, however, as Plano and Nick Roland are tied at the top with 23 victories, while Darryl Cutting and Gerry Longo are close behind with 20 snapshots while Kathie Plested and Jose Castillo are next with 18 and 17 scores, respectively.

It will be interesting to see how things play out among this group as the meet continues.

A Major Omen eyes hat trick in Sunday’s Open Pace

A Major Omen, fresh from back-to-back victories at the head of the class, looks to extend that streak in Sunday night’s featured Open Pace.

Watch and Wager LLC will present 10 races with things getting underway at 5:05 p.m.

A Major Omen is an 8-year-old son of Art Major who is owned and trained by Gerry Longo with Luke Plano at the controls.

The veteran pacer comes into this assignment with 43 wins from his 155 career outings with $435,000 in his bank account and a 1:49 2/5 mark that was established at The Meadowlands.

A Major Omen has posed for pictures following four of his last six starts here, including the last pair with Plano doing the honors.

He went coast-to-coast in his February 9 score and held safe by a neck over Allmyx’sliventexas, then made a power brush to the lead past the quarter in last week’s decision while going on to a two and a half-length victory.

Allmyx’sliventexas has completed the exacta in both of A Major Omen’s scores and will be looking for some revenge for owner/breeder Wayne Knittel, trainer Bob Johnson and pilot Mooney Svendsen.

Rounding out the field are Sullenberer, Major Ofrense, Officer Jim, Kamara, Chase The Gold, Rock’s Image and Alilthundadownunda

Handsome Harvey back on the beam

Handsome Harvey comes into this week’s action having posed for pictures following his last two outings, giving him an impressive .400 batting average from his 48 career trips to the post.

He’s rewarded the chalkplayers in those last two scores, most recently off a perfect pocket trip behind another classy pacer in Dancin Lance, who carved out some snappy fractions that night.

A 5-year-old son of Special Forces Handsone Harvey is owned by Dave Haness and Luke Plano, with Luke doing the driving and training.

“My dad (Rick) trained for Dave and I’ve had horses for him full time for about the last three years,” Plano related.

“When we bought Handsome Harvey he was racing at the fairs in Iowa and was eligible for non-winners of one.

“We like to buy horses with conditions, develop them and gradually work them up the ranks,” Luke explained.

“We gave him some extra time off following Running Aces last year and he came back bigger and stronger, but there was also an issue with him being overly aggressive in his races.

“I adjusted his equipment in his last two starts and he’s been much easier to manage. He’s working his way back up to the Open ranks.”

California Sire Stakes moving in right direction

This meeting features a total of $420,000 in California Sire Stakes events, including a pair of $50,000 finales for 4-year-olds to be decided on May 3.

To give you some idea how things have improved, in 2017 there was a total of $54,000 paid out for the Sire Stakes with a pair of $10,000 finals.

The California Sire Stakes program was on the verge of extinction when legislation was passed in 2017 that opened up these races to horses bred in other jurisdictions.

Eligible now are horses from Alberta, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Maine and from only a dozen horses that were able to compete in 2016 there are now 60 eligible performers this year.

This was all due to the hard work of Watch and Wager, the Sire Stakes Committee and the California Harness Horseman’s Association working diligently with the state legislature.