Easy lies the crown on Mandeville

With his victories in the Gary Budahn and the Stan Bergstein, Mandeville is certainly making his case for Trotter of the Meet honors when things wrap up here this week.

Veteran Gerry Longo owns and trains the 9-year-old and Luke Plano has been the perfect partner for the gelding as he has put his class and versatility on display in his last three victories.

The win in the March 6 Budahn came in game, first over fashion, he did the track-and-attack to account for the march 21 Open and then came back to go coast-to-coast in the Bergstein as the heavy favorite with Plano sitting chilly.

While Silverhill Volo dominated the division early in the meeting for Chip Lackey and track record-holder Pridecrest has gone some big miles of his own at this stand, it’s hard to look past Mandeville as the king of the hill.

California icon Bill Vallandingham passes

California harness racing Hall-of-Famer Bill Vallandingham passed away on April 4 due to complications from a lung transplant he had seven years ago. He was 74.

Billy V, as he was affectionately known, was the starter at Cal Expo for 20 years before health issues forced him to leave the job in 2014, but he did return to limited duties at the Sacramento track in 2018.

He wore many hats around the racetrack, including groom, paddock judge, horse identifier and horse tattooer before assuming his stint as the starter in 1994.

Mr. Vallandingham was a veteran of the Army and served in Vietnam.