With no winning tickets last Saturday night, there will be a carryover of $6,146 in Friday night’s 20-cent Hi-Five with a $20,000-guaranteed gross pool.
In additions, a reminder that both the 20-cent Pick 4 and 20-cent Pick 5 come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate each night. On Saturdays there is a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool, with a $40,000 guarantee on Fridays.
There are 12 races on tap Friday night under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. The main event is the $8,100 Open Trot headed by Mandeville and Its a Horse.
Mandeville is an 8-year-old son of Majestic Son who is owned, trained and driven by Gerry Longo. He comes into this assignment with 23 wins from his 120 lifetime appearances with $219,000 in the bank and a 1:54 2/5 standard.
After encountering tough journeys in his previous three outings, including the Joe Lighthill Trot, Mandeville had smoother sailing in the most recent mile and one-half clash at the top rung as he prevailed by a length over favored Its A Horse, who was doing his work from the demanding No. 10 slot.
Its A Horse is having an outstanding meet for owner Ray Alan Miller, trainer Marco Rios and pilot Dean Magee. He recorded a three-bagger between November 23 and December 13, including a convincing victory in the Lighthill and is always reliable for a strong finish.
Bunkerhill Bill and China King, winners of their respective elimination divisions last week, head the cast for Saturday night’s featured $8,700 Shelly Goudreau Final.
First post for the Watch and Wager LLC 12-race program is 6:10 p.m.
Bunkerhill Bill looks like the Goudreau favorite after posting a coast-to-coast decision last weekend in a snappy 1:53 2/5. The 9-year-old son of Veracious Hanover is owned by Haness, Haness and Reider with George Reider the conditioner and Dean Magee back at the controls.
After facing tougher competition in his first two starts of 2020, Bunkerhill Bill was dispatched as the 7-5 choice in last week’s Goudreau elimination and made every pole a winning one, holding safe by a half-length over Mystery Dragon. He has the rail for this go-around.
Mystery Dragon sat the pocket journey and was trying hard to end in a solid effort last week. The 6-year-old gelding is owned and trained by Richard Schneider with Nick Roland once again doing the honors.
China King accounted for the other elimination last week and this classy veteran comes into the final with 36 wins, $341,000 in the bank and a 1:50 lifetime standard. Gary and Jennifer Sabot own, Jennifer trains and Luke Plano has the return assignment.
Completing the field are Murder Mystery with Braxten Boyd; Burntisland Billy, Gerry Longo; Ethan Hanover for Jacob Fox; Gene Eugene, James Kennedy; and Jazzmanian Devil, who leaves from the outside slot with Mooney Svendsen guiding.
Cal Expo welcomes all United States Trotting Association members, who are here for the joint USTA/ California Harness Horsemen’s Association meeting.
The meeting will take place at 11:30 a.m. Sunday in the Cal Expo Clubhouse and all members are welcome with a free brunch being offered.
Saturday night’s co-feature is named for John Pawlak, the former USTA Director of Publicity who passed away on December 27 at the age of 71.
Mr. Pawlak joined the USTA in 1985 as the director of publicity. For his work at the USTA, he was well known for both his writing and editing as well as his broadcasting. He retired in 2013.
He was responsible for compiling and editing The Trotting & Pacing Guide, the definitive annual f The Trotting and Pacing Guide act book on North American harness racing and the historical USTA Directors book.
With his television background, Mr. Pawlak was the face of the USTA and led the organization into the age of online video and served as the host of the USTA’s popular “Eye on Harness Racing” series
Mr. Pawlak was ever present at many harness racing events including the Little Brown Jug, the annual USTA Board of Directors meetings, district meetings and county fairs. He also was known world-wide for his work coordinating the biennial World Driving Championship and the World Trotting Conference.
Saturday evening’s Shelly Goudreau Pace is named for one of the most talented drivers to ever ply the trade. He passed away in a racing accident at Hollywood Park in 1982 at the age of 34.
Steve Desomer drove with Goudreau during the six years that he raced in California and was competing with him in that fateful race at Hollywood Park. “I had the utmost respect for Shelly as both a great driver and a kind and personable man,” Desomer said. “His brilliant career was cut way too short.”
Trainer George Reider will send out likely favorite Bunkerhill Bill in Saturday’s headliner and recalls being impressed with Shelly Goudreau. “I was just a groom back then, but Shelly was a true gentleman and treated me as an equal.
“He drove one horse I was taking care of by the name of Dalmead who was trained by Chip Lackey, and he beat the best horses on the grounds by open lengths.”
George also has another story to tell that still brings tears to his eyes all these years later.
“The night before that terrible race, I had a horse racing named Kiwi Jane and I borrowed a piece of equipment from Joe Anderson called a jawbreaker, which goes through the bridle to help control the horse.
“After the race, I gave it back to Joe. It turns out (trainer) Frank Ferrante borrowed the same bit the next night and used it for Reagan’s Lad, which is the horse Shelly was driving. It broke and he fell off the back of the cart. It was so sad for everybody.”