Note: Updated to include Pisto's selections for the late Pick 4 at Cal Expo.
It's Saturday so it means it's time for Cal Expo's Saturday night $15,000 guaranteed pool Late Pick 4 which features a 0% takeout for Cal Expo on-track players as well as Twin Spires players. In addition, Cal Expo has an early Pick 4 which while it lacks a guaranteed pool, does offer a 15% takeout.
Some people have questioned why someone on the East coast is spending time on Cal Expo's Pick 4, especially in a blog. The answer is easy, to some in the standardbred industry, Cal Expo may as well be in another country. Yes, they are an island of harness racing all the way on the West coast, but they still deserve some attention and if no one else is going to bring attention to them, I will.
Since each race is a Superfecta, I will pick my top four horses in each race though I may not use them in the Pick 4.
Early Pick 4 (Races 4-7)
4th Pace - $1,600; Claiming $2,500 - NW100PS
5 - Bronte (Wiseman, 5-1) - Drops to rock bottom after two three-wide starts. It is now or never.
8 - TK Diehard (Kennedy,12-1) - Actually a decent effort in higher company; if can get involved early may be a factor.
6 - Brooklets Drifter (Svendson, 3-1) - Finished well-beaten second in this class. Your call at these odds.
3 - Thatwilldo A (Succarotte, 7-2) - Attempted to wire field in amateur event and faltered late. Best effort in a while. Better rated with regular driver?
5th Pace - $2,900; Conditioned Claiming $9,000
3 - Lucky Peterson (Succarotte, 9-2) - Ships in from Fraiser Downs where racing better. Last start this class just missed. Ready first asking?
4 - Lillybrookecruiser (Cisco, 5-2) - At top of game and must be included in any exotic.
6 - Amigo De Gacrci (Svendsen, 9-5) - Can go a long way with live cover. Does he get it?
2 - Frakeutu Bluegrass (Maier, 9-2) - Ben sharp against slightly better. May improve rating.
6th Pace - $1,700; Claiming $2,500 - NW150PS
8 - Jessalilpeace (L Plano, 5-1) - Been drivien agressive and takes slight drop. Chance in wide open contest.
5 - Hino Legacy (Succarotte, 2-1) - A patient drive may make a factor.
7 - Explosive Strike (Svendson, 8-1) - Has been consistent in this class but don't expect 8-1 due to post.
6 - The Ridge (Kennedy, 12-1) - Came up flat last week, If can toss, you have a decent chance.
7th Pace - $1,900; Claiming $2,500 - NW250PS
5 - Bo Knows Power (Svendsen, 9-5) - Has been going well for the most part in open claiming, drops down to winning level.
2 - The Future (Cisco, 7-2) - Bad luck in recent. Driver change may wake this one up. Can win it all with luck.
3 - Bronte Anas Boy (L Plano, 8-5) - Drops out of open company. New reignster may make the difference.
1 - Thouartthegreatest (Kennedy, 10-1) - Draws rail off a win. Can;t eliminate.
Early Pick 4 Selection: 5,8/3,4/5,8/5 - $8 play
Late Pick 4 (Races 11-14) - $15,000 Guarantee Pick 4
11th Pace - $2,000; Claiming $2,500
7 - Davbro Bromac N (Wiseman, 5-1) - Won despite bad cover. Wins with any type of trip.
4 - Flase Accusations (Lackey, 5-1) - Locked in tight quarters in last. Can upset with a trip.
6 - Powergaiterdotcom (Maier, 5-2) - Been driving agressive of late. Threat with trip.
1 - Srious Art (L Plano, 2-1) - Moving up after three start. Tries open company. May improve rating.
12th Pace - $2,000; Claiming $2,500 FM
1 - Well Heeled (Sevendsen, 6-5) - Winner of two straight and draws rail. One to beat.
2 - Majestic Lass (R Plano, 9-5) - Winner after grabbing live cover. Don't know if he gets it here.
7 - Laughts Last - Another Fraiser Downs invader. May wake up on drop down to bottom class.
4 - Whoop And Shout (L Plano, 3-1) - Won last week in amateur event. Fractions better rated this week,
13th Pace - $2,000; Claimiubg $2,500
1 - Night Screamer (Kennedy, 7-2) - Been live each start of late; week to take top prize.
3 - Keywood Haniver (Svendsen, 6-1) - Winner of last start but scratched injured last start. Your guess
4 - Columbia Court (Weisman, 9-2) - Destroyed nw250ps in last race. May handle class hike)
7 - Check Raisin (R. Plano, 6-1) - Best perf the rest, but must overcome post.
14th Pace - $1,900; Claiming $2,500 - NW250PS
1 - Jaccka Invoke N (L Plano, 2-1) - Just missed in last start. Give another chance.
7 - Tammy's War box (Wiseman, 6-1) - Suffered broken equipment in last. Was good before
2 - Intheghetto (Gray, 8-1) - If driver gets any kind of trip can be there at the end.
9 - Anelectricmachine (Cisco, 8-1) - Good lines, horrible post. Picks up pieces with best.
Selections: 4,6,7/1/1,3,4/1,7 - $18 play
Here are Pisto's (track handicapper) Selections for the late Pick 4 at Cal Expo:
Devilish Donny is the anchor single in the Cal Expo Guaranteed $15,000 Gross Pool LATE PICK 4 which carries a 15% Takeout. (Winners reward of 0% Takeout if winning wager is made at TwinSpires.com or On Track at Cal Expo)
Devilish Donny is the “single” in the 3rd leg of tonight’s Cal Expo Late Pick 4. He is teamed back up with Rocky Stidham who has guided the 10 year old to most of his almost $175,000 in lifetime earnings.
All of the Cal Expo Late Pick 4 races should be hotly contested and here are the Pisto Picks for the 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th races.
Cal Expo Late Pick 4 $15,000 Guaranteed Gross Pool & 15% Takeout
Race 11- 1-2-5-6-7
Race 12- 1-2-3
Race 13- 6
Race 14- 1-6-8
Race 11- 1-7
Race 12- 1-2
Race 13- 6
Race 14- 1-6-8
Growing the Business Back: Canadian thoroughbred track Hastings Park is taking steps to reverse the trend in attendance and has already been somewhat successful with the minority of those in attendance senior citizens. How are they doing it? The strategy: make race day an event with DJs, quality food, beverage and service, and providing entertainment between races; sounds similar to the Gural method at Tioga Downs. As they call it, growing back their business making it a destination location for those 19-40. It seems obvious that a plain old racetrack is destined to be moribound; a track needs to be provide more than racing to be a viable destination.
Harness Tracks of America has endorsed the concept of banning race day medications with five years. Now, the USTA board of directors will be surveying their directors before developing a position on a race day medication ban. It will be interesting to see how the membership responds to this potential ground breaking change. One thing harness racing doesn't have is forward thinking horsemen. The thought of racing without lasix or bute (in those states which allow it) will likely cause angst to trainers. In fairness, it won't be harness racing trainers alone saying hold your horses, the thoroughbred horsemen have already expressed concern. A decision should be forthcoming before the RMTC conference this summer. Will horsemen agree to give the racing public what it wants, or will it dig their heels in? I think we know the answer.