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Ryan Grundy brings familiar name with him
Friday, December 19th, 2014 - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness
One of the new faces here from Alberta is Ryan Grundy, who has certainly made his presence known through Cenalta Power, a pacer who has won two of his three starts here including a lifetime-best 1:52 4/5 score last weekend.
If the name Grundy sounds familiar, it’s because 33-year-old is the great nephew of Jim Grundy, a mainstay on this circuit for decades and one of the best driver/trainers to every ply their trade in California.
“I grew up around the horses,” Ryan related. “I was probably about 6 years old when I knew this is what I wanted to do.”
It was Jim Grundy’s brother, Art, who was a mentor to Ryan. “My grandfather is the one who taught me everything. He was very good at bringing young horses to the races and did all his own shoeing, which I also do.”
Grundy struck out on his own in his early 20’s, starting out on the fair circuit in Manitoba while spending the last 10 years racing over the five-eighths and mile tracks in Alberta.
He has come down with his wife Ashley, and they have 10 horses here, with Cenalta Power being the star of the barn.
“I’ve had him since he was a yearling and we’re real pleased with what he’s done so far on this track,” Ryan noted.
Grundy, who will be here until very close to the end of the meeting, was asked if he has a preference when it comes to driving different-sized tracks. “I prefer a mile track like this one,” he replied. “On the half-mile, you can’t win very often if you’re not up front, and the post position is such a huge factor. A mile track is much fairer.”
Mandatory payouts, Open Pace highlight program
A $6,000 Open Pace featuring St Lads Lotto headlines the Sunday night card at Cal Expo, with mandatory payouts in all wagers, including the 10-cent Jackpot 6.
A 13-card is on tap with first post set at 4:40 p.m. Beginning next week on December 26, racing will be conducted here three nights a week, with the trotters and pacers in action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.
St Lad Lotto is a 4-year-old Ontario-bred son of Stonebridge Eagle who carries the banner of Ferne and Jack Frydman, is conditioned by Mark Winnacott and will have Steve Wiseman at the controls while doing his work from the outside slot in the field of seven.
A 1:52 winner last season at Mohawk, the dark-hued performer had to settle for minor awards in his first two starts at this meet, but has had his picture taken four times in a row since, the last two at the Open level.
The most recent decision came last week as the 9-5 favorite. St Lads Lotto left into a tracking position in that event, made a strong brush to command past the half, then continued powerfully through the lane to prevail by four lengths in a 1:52 3/5 clocking over the “good” track.
A Real Miracle completed the exacta that night in a solid effort from the demanding Nol 10 post. The 4-year-old Real Desire homebred races for Junior Wilkinson, Billie Schwartz and Ivan Axelrod, with Wilkinson doing the training and Luke Plano once again handling the lines.
Happy Holidays! A reminder that beginning December 26, the Watch and Wager LLC meet expands to three nights a week, with the trotters and pacers in action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Jackpot up for grabs this weekend
Thursday, December 18th, 2014 - Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness
There is a $20,134 carryover in the Jackpot 6 going into Saturday’s card, with a mandatory payout set for Sunday, so there is a great chance to turn a small bet into a large payday this weekend.
The Jackpot 6 is a 10-cent wager with a reduced 16% takeout that is contested on races 3 through 8 on the program. The wager finds 70% of the net pool paying out nightly to the tickets with most winners when there are multiple tickets, with the remaining 30% designated for the carryover.
A single winning ticket takes home the entire pool and the carryover. There is a mandatory payout on Sunday, so if the Jackpot 6 should carry over on Saturday, a large payoff is very possible.
A new Jackpot 6 will start when racing resumes Friday, December 26, as the Watch and Wager LLC meet expands to three nights a week.
“Cal Expo is the first harness track in America to offer a Jackpot Pick 6,” Cal Expo General Manger Chris Schick explained. "The wager was targeted toward the lottery type player, and our regulars have also liked being able to take a shot with say 120 combination tickets for $12 as well.”
In addition to the Jackpot 6, there are three other wagers offered here nightly that come with that reduced 16% takeout. They are the 50-cent Pick 5; the 20-cent Pick 4; and the 10-cent Hi-Five on the nitecap.
Happy Holidays! A reminder that beginning December 26, the Watch and Wager LLC meet expands to three nights a week, with the trotters and pacers in action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.
Its Not Over, El Azteca head Open Trot
Its Not Over and El Azteca, who have dominated things at the head of the class here at this meeting, go at it once again in Saturday night’s featured $6,000 Open Trot.
A 14-race card is set with first post at 5:45 p.m.. Racing is now being conducted on Saturday and Sunday evenings, with Friday racing being added to the mix beginning December 26.
El Azteca accounted for the first top dances for the trotting set at this session, but it has been Its Not Over who has prevailed in the last three Open Trots with El Azteca his most immediate victim.
Its Not Over is a 4-year-old son of Panama Hanover out of the Andover Hall mare Hanover Hall It who races for Richard Dryden and Debra Budahn, is conditioned by Bob Johnson and will once again have Chip Lackey in the sulky while leaving from the demanding No.10 post.
After a needed outing on October 25, Its Not Over has rattled off three straight victories at the top rung, putting his class and versatility on display in the process. He played the role of stalker in his November 1 tally, made every pole a winning one on November 23 and then did his work in first-over fashion over a sloppy track at most recent asking.
El Azteca is another Panama Hanover offspring who is owned, trained and was bred by Marco Rios with James Kennedy handling the lines. He comes into this assignment with $124,000 in his account and a 1:54 3/5 mark that was set this year at Hoosier Park.
He captured the October 18 and 25 Opens, but has had to settle for the second money behind Its Not Over in the last three top clashes for the division. El Azteca lost his best chance in the slop last time when he made an early miscue and for this go-around he is drawn inside his main rival in the No. 9 slot.