Sunday Open Pace lures Allmyx’sliventexas

Allmyx’sliventexas, victorious in seven of his eight starts at this session, is once again the horse to beat in Sunday night’s $7,200 Open Pace at Cal Expo.

The headliner will go as the eighth on a 12-race card presented by Watch and Wager LLC and things get under way at 4:50 p.m.

Allmyx’sliventexas is an 8-year-old Hi Ho Silverheel’s homebred who races for Wayne and Rod Knittel, hails from the Bob Johnson shedrow and will be guided by Nick Roland from the outside post in the field of seven.

The Knittel charge has accounted for 46 of his 141 lifetime appearances, he’s looking to add to a $260,000 bankroll and set his 1:50 career mark at Hoosier Park three years ago.

Allmyx’sliventexas kicked off this meeting with five straight trips to the charmed enclosure, with the richest of those scores coming in the December 11 Dave Goldschmidt Pace. He suffered his only setback at the stand when he was hung the mile on January 31 and tired.

He has returned to prove best in his last two trips to the post, including the most recent when he withstood a strong challenge turning for home and then came home in smart fashion to secure the length and a quarter decision in a powerful 1:51 1/5 tour.

Taking him on, from the rail out: Bngs Express with Tony Kerwood; Contemporary Legend, Mooney Svendsen; Super Pac Hanover for Cordarius Stewart; Hoo Nien, Gerry Longo; Buddy’s Hope with Jake Cutting and Ponda’s Prospect for Luke Plano.

Pair of Sire Stakes, Distaff Open headline Saturday

A pair of $14,000 California Sire Stakes for the 4-year-olds and a $6,700 Filly and Mare Open Pace are the featured attractions on Saturday night’s Cal Expo program.

There will be 13 races presented under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 4:50 p.m., with one of the Sire Stakes events going as a non-betting contest prior to the regular program.

The distaff Sire Stakes goes as the fourth race and Prom Queen is coming off a victory in a dead-heat last weekend and should be well backed for owners Desomer Stables, trainer Quentin Schneider and driver Nick Roland. Taking her on are Debit or Credit, Winhavetime, Akanay and Le Montrachet.

Looking at the co-featured Filly and Mare Open Pace, Alwaysalittlemore and Velocity McSweets get a rematch after putting on quite a show in last week’s clash at the head of the division.

Alwaysalittlemore is a 7-year-old daughter of Always A Virgin out of the Cole Muffler mare Whatiftheresmore who is owned by Maria Alvarez and Terrence Smith and is reined and trained by Luke Plano.

Sent off at 9-2 in last week’s Distaff Open while leaving from the rail slot, Alwaysalittlemore was able to work out a pocket trip, moved to the lead at midstretch and then had enough to hold safe over the fast-closing favorite Velocity McSweets.

The latter accounted for the Joe Alto Pace in December and has a pair of Open scores to her credit this season. Jennifer Sabot owns and trains the 6-year-old McArdle mare and Cordarius Stewart has the return assignment.

Completing the field are Delightfully Wild with Doug Chappell; Bertha Vanation, Nick Roland; Paloma Ruiz for Jacob Cutting and Marys Pretty Girl, who leaves from the rail with Tony Kerwood.

Second time around for Corbin at Cal Expo

Robert Corbin is enjoying his second winter in California while sending his share of performers to the Cal Expo winner’s circle.

“The weather is great and we had such a good time last year we decided to come back,” explained the 61-year-old Chicago native. While Robert got his first taste of the sport in his teens through his parents, it wasn’t until six years ago that he really got involved in the game.

“My mother passed away and we wanted to have something for my father to look forward to, so we ended up buying a broodmare and eventually purchased some race horses as well.”

At this time, Corbin owned a trucking company and was just a casual player, but what started out as something to help occupy Robert Sr’s time ended up being a real passion for his son, who continued to build the stable following his father’s passing two and a half years ago.

“I worked with a trainer for about a year and then took out my license in 2017,” Corbin explained.

By the way, that first broodmare he purchased with his dad was an Artsplace mare named Symphony Bay, and her first foal was Marys Pretty Girl, who has been a regular in the Filly and Mare Open Pace here.

When this session ended in April, the Corbin shedrow will return to points East to compete at Hawthorne and Hoosier Park.

Plano finds winner’s circle with talented distaffers

Last Saturday night was a good one for Luke Plano as he piloted four performers into the charmed enclosure, including Doubletherocks in the first Sire Stakes of the year for the sophomores and Alwaysalittlemore in the Filly and Mare Open Pace.

Doubletherocks is a homebred daughter of Lettherockbegin who carries the banner of Nikki Hudson and is reined and trained by husband Luke. She sat the pocket behind heavily-favored Cookiesncream and streaked home for the easy decision.

“I actually claimed the mare and it turned out she had some issues, but I thought she would make a good broodmare and we bred her to a Minnesota sire,” Luke related.

“We got her ready in Indiana and Minnesota, and she had the one start at Running Aces, but she had a heath issue and we backed off and pointed for these races. I’ve been very happy with her two wins here.”

Alwaysalittlemore is a Maria Alvarez and Terrence Smith colorbearer who was picking up her first Open score at this session while ending up on the right end of a head photo with even-money favorite Velocity McSweets.

“This is a real nice mare with a great mind,” her mentor noted. “She wasn’t having any luck at the Meadowlands at the end of last year, so they decided to bring her back here.

“We gave her some time, so she was a little bit behind these other mares, but she’s come around really well and it didn’t hurt to get a nice trip the other night.”

It will be interesting to watch both of these talented distaffers going forward, with the next round of stakes action for the 3-year-olds coming up next week.

Ashlee Sluggett is enjoying the ride

Relentless Dancer has made a trio of appearances in the charmed enclosure for owner/trainer Ashlee Sluggett at this meet, showing an affinity for the oval.

“Having your horse go out there and do well makes all the hard work worth it,” Sluggett related recently.

The 31-year-old native of Alberta, Canada, has been around horses most of her life, but it wasn’t until she was 19 that she got involved with the trotters and pacers. “I heard they were building a new racetrack near where I lived and I went to check it out,” she explained.

“It turned out to be Alberta Downs. That’s when I met Jamie Grey and went to work with him, learning about harness racing from the ground up.”

Ashlee then spent nine years with Ryan Grundy, including a couple of stints here at Cal Expo. She also worked with Kim and Quentin Schneider last season before venturing to New York to be part of the Blake MacIntosh barn.

“That’s when I decided it was time to take out my license and I came back to California with six horses,” she related. “The plan has always been to go back to New York after this meet ends and rejoin Blake’s barn.”

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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 sporting a $25,000-guaranteed gross pool.