Vallandingham elims, Distaff Open atop Sunday marquee

A pair of elimination heats for the Bill Vallandingham Memorial headed by Nebble Hanover and a $7,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace featuring Rockin With Lou are the main attractions on Sunday night’s card at Cal Expo.

Watch and Wager will present 10 races with things getting underway at 4:55 p.m. The Filly and Mare Open goes as the fifth event and the Vallandingham eliminations are the fourth and seventh contests on the program.

Nebble Hanover suits up in the first of the two Vallandingham eliminations for her owner, trainer and driver Chip Lackey and looms large after posting a sparkling victory on opening night.

Sent off the 3-5 choice in the Filly and Mare Open, Lackey was parked to the lead at the quarter, withstood a strong challenge from Rockin With Lou turning for home and prevailed by two lengths in handy fashion

Rockin With Lou was no match for that rival on opening night, but finished well clear of the rest of the field and looks like strictly the one to beat in the co-featured Distaff Open.

A 5-year-old daughter of Sweet Lou from the Rocknroll Hanover mare Ram Rocker, she is owned, trained and driven by Gerry Longo. She comes into this weekend’s assignment with 30 wins from her 87 starts, a 1:52 3/5 mark that was set here last year and equaled this season and $241,000 in earnings.

Set to square off against Rockin With Lou, who leaves from the outside post in the field of seven, are Delightfully Wild, Biggiessecondshot, Marys Pretty Girl, Sierra Mystique, River Lassena and Brooklyn Moonshine.

Capitol Hill, Muffin Top carrying the Brodbar banner

Eileen Brodbar will be represented by back-to-back performers on Sunday’s program, with Muffin Top competing in the second of two Bill Vallandingham eliminations while the veteran Capitol Hill suits up in the eighth event on the card.

Both pacing mares are owned by Brodbar and trainer Kathie Plested and Mooney Svendsen will be at the controls.

Capitol Hill is a daughter of Badlands Hanover who will be making her 238th trip to the post this weekend. She has 30 wins, 36 seconds and 46 thirds with $182,000 in the bank and a 1:53 2/5 mark that was set over this layout.

“She’s about to turn 12 and she’s a real trooper,” Brodbar beamed. “She’s gives her all every time she goes out there.”

Muffin Top is an invader from Minnesota and will be looking to make the cut for next week’s Vallandingham Final.

“She’s a new one we purchased at the end of Running Aces,” Eileen noted. It will be interesting to see where the Wisconsin-bred 4-year-old miss fits with the California pacing mares.

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A reminder there are three wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate – the 20-cent early and late Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4, with the latter featured a $25,000-guaranteed gross pool.

Cal Expo announces driver guarantee

The California Harness Horseman’s Association in partnership with Watch and Wager LLC are pleased to announce a drivers guarantee program aimed at retention and recruitment of drivers.

The program will guarantee all drivers with a minimum of ten starts over the two-day week a minimum paycheck of $750. In a related action, the minimum driving fee has been raised from $20 to $30 irrespective of number of starts.

Cal Expo begins its 46-night meeting Friday November 18. Racing will be conducted on a Friday and Sunday night schedule.

2022-23 RACING CALENDAR

Join us for opening day November 18, 2022 for our extended Pari-Mutuel meeting of 46 race dates.

Click HERE for our downloadable brochure, complete with horse incentive program, purse schedule and calendar.