Curtain rises on Cal Expo meet Saturday night

Harness racing under the Watch and Wager LLC banner returns to Cal Expo Saturday night with a 12-race program headed by the opening leg of the Bill Conlin Series.

First post will be 6:10 p.m. and beginning next week there will be Friday and Saturday action each week.

The wagering menu includes the return of the low 16% takeout Pick-4 and Pick-5 wagers. Last season’s Pick-4 pool averaged over $46,000 nightly. In addition to the Pick-4, fans will able to wager on the Pick-5 this season in 20-cent denominations.

The Bill Conlin will go as the fourth race on the program with a field of seven set to face the starter and a solid case can made for each of the pacers.

California Rock has been facing tougher company at Hoosier Park this summer and had a solid tune-up in a qualifier last week with Luke Plano at the controls. The son of Rockin Image is owned by Billie Schwartz, Jim Wilkinson and Ivan Axelrod with Wilkinson the conditioner.

Red N Hotallover has the cozy rail post for owner Edmund Martin Knapp and driver/trainer Nick Roland and this 4-year-old mare looms a major player. Completing the cast are Custards Dungeon, Fox Valley B Gump, Brooklyn Moonshine, Nightgirl and Lakota Law.

On track fans will be treated to a special Family Value night on Saturday. Hot Dogs, Beer, Wine, and Soda are each $2 from 6 to 9. As always, parking and admission are free after 4:30.

Rebuliding process for Robin Clements

Robin Clements sent four performers to Running Aces this summer, eventually selling two and retiring the other pair, and now starts off this meet with a new quartet under her direction.

“I claimed Crusin For You for $10,000 in Minnesota because he’s a hard-knocking little horse who seems to do well both at Running Aces and Cal Expo,” Clements related.

A familiar name in the barn is Shock N Awe, who has been with trainer Bruce Clarke for many years back east. “I just happened to call him and say I was looking for a mare to race at Cal Expo and he had her for sale. She was a barn favorite of Bruce’s wife Megan, so they were a little fussy about her going to someone they knew would take good care of her.”

Using an on-line auction site called On Gait, Robin was able to find a mare named Plain Old Jane who she felt would be a good addition to the barn. “I went into her past history and noticed she seemed to like the bigger track, having taken her 1:53 1/5 mark at The Meadowlands as a 3-year-old.”

Looking for a gelding to round out the shedrow proved to be a more difficult task for Clements. “I didn’t really see anything worth claiming until I found Marced Magic,” she noted.

“He had been racing at Yonkers. I reached out to a friend of mine who owns a full brother and he loved the horse and told me to check out the history. Being an Iowa-bred, he fits into the DHA program and I was able to buy him because they were dissolving a partnership.”

Robin added she was pleased with the way each pacer qualified last weekend and is looking forward to finding out more about her new proteges on the opening night program

Cal Expo readies for November 9 opener

Cal Expo readies for November 9 opener

Watch and Wager LLC will present its eighth season of harness racing at Cal Expo beginning Saturday, November 9.

Beginning the following week, the trotters and pacers will be in action on Friday and Saturday evenings with first post each night set for 6:10 p.m.

Purses for the meeting have been raised 6 percent, after being having been raised 8 percent during the 2018-2019 session.

The horse population looks solid for the upcoming season and qualifying races will be held this Saturday, November 2, beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Janis Clements passes

Janis Clements a longtime Sacramento resident and mother to California based trainer, Robin Clements, passed away at age 89 on August 13th 2019 due to complications from Alzheimer’s.

Born in North Dakota, Janis and her family moved to Newton Iowa after losing their farm in the Great Depression. Her grandfather, an immigrant from Germany had built several homes for his children one of which Janis and her family lived.

Being a city girl at heart, Janis moved to Oakland California with an aunt and became a model for hand and foot wear. During this time she met her future husband Ray Caldwell, where the young couple then moved to Sacramento and had two sons, Larry and Michael. Being too young as Janis would later say, the couple divorced amicably. At this time Janis went to work at McClellan AFB where she then met her next husband Dr. Robert Clements a prominent orthodontist in Sacramento. There they had their only daughter, Robin. Again divorced, Janis never married again.

While still working at McClellan AFB, Janis met Milton Ludwig and the two hit it off instantly. After a 35 year relationship, sadly Milton passed away in 2015.

In 1978, Janis went to work for Lloyd Arnold and Golden Bear Racing part time in the gift shop during the races. Janis quickly was a hit with the little gift shop and after a few years Lloyd helped Janis get into the SEIU union for para mutual clerks selling tickets at Golden Bear. Once retired from McClellan, Janis went full time as a clerk where she worked many of the California tracks for almost 20 years.

Also a horse owner in the early 1980’s, Janis would frequent Cal Expo to watch her daughter’s horses race, one horse in particular was Franky Provolone who was Janis’ favorite.

In lieu of flowers etc. donations can be made with the Standardbred Retirement Foundation.

By Robin Clements CHHA

Live Harness Racing begins Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019

Watch and Wager LLC is set to kick off our eighth year of operation of Cal Expo Harness Racing on November 9th.

We are excited about the future of California Harness Racing. Once again we are able to raise purses for the upcoming season. Sports wagering is on the horizon in 2020 for California and the Ca. Sire Stakes have announced a multi-state blockbuster plan featuring $425,000 in purses beginning in 2021.

We also offer late closing opportunities for young stock and claiming horses alike. Please consider joining us this November!

Here are a few of the benefits of joining us this season at Cal Expo:
• Generous new and returning horse cash incentive plan
• Plenty of available stalls … rent free
• Our new purse schedule reflects a blended 6% increase
• New expanded purse awards: minimum $40 per starter*
• Mile track racing
• Ideal training facility for your young horses
• Mild Northern California winters

We hope you will consider racing with us this Fall. If you ever have any questions… we are always available.

Christopher Schick
Ben Kenney