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Murphy, Johnson Having A Last Laugh
Wednesday, May 4, 2011 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity -- Cal Expo

The late owner/breeder Bob Murphy and trainer Robley Johnson had a very close relationship, making the recent wins by the 10-year-old pacing mare Got The Giggles all the more special.
 
In addition to banking $66,000 on the track, Got The Giggles is a mother of three, with one of them already to the races and a two-time victor in Canada.  Now she’s back at the track at Cal Expo and is coming off a coast-to-coast romp with Dave Siegel at the controls.
 
“Bob paid a lot of money for her several years ago, but she had an accident in Calgary,” Johnson related.  “He sent her down to me about five years ago in a last-ditch effort before breeding her.  She impressed me with her ability, but she just couldn’t make it around that last turn and I suggested they go ahead and send her to the breeding shed.”
 
Got The Giggles produced three foals between 2007 and 2009, including a Camystic colt named Red Star Chuckles who has a pair of victories from 12 appearances at Fraser Downs.  When Murphy passed away, Robley made arrangements with Murphy’s family to once again have the daughter of Grinfromeartoear under his care. 
 
“I’m very grateful to Bob’s widow Mary and his daughter Linda for letting me have this mare.  I originally thought about starting a little broodmare band with her, but then I decided to give her a chance to get back to the races.
 
“What was in the back of my mind was a mare named Bonnie Bumpas, who raced for my mother.  She bought her for $500, and some people were laughing at her because the mare was in foal and had a habit of cross-firing.  After Bonnie Bumpas had her foal and they found a home for the baby, she was brought back to the races and actually dominated the boys.”
 
While Got The Giggles may not be achieving the heights of Bonnie Bumpas, she has returned to get her picture taken following three of her 13 starts off the lengthy layoff and appears to be razor sharp for Johnson.
 
“I know somewhere Bob Murphy is smiling about all us,” Robley said. 
 
 
Sophomore Fillies In Sire Stakes Friday Spotlight At Cal Expo
 
The 3-year-old fillies top the marquee at Cal Expo on Friday night (May 6), with Whip And A Prayer and Poor House heading a $6,000 stakes elimination heat, while Claim Jumper is the one to beat in the $15,000 Sire Stakes for the trotting distaffers.
 
Whip And A Prayer and Poor House have accounted for the first two big-money clashes for the division this season.  The former is a homebred daughter of Hi Ho Silverheels who is owned by Frank Nevarez, conditioned by Gordie Graham and has Rich Wojcio guiding; while Poor House carries the banner of Dave Haness, Rick and Marlene Thomas and George Reider, with Reider training and James Kennedy at the controls.
 
Whip And A Prayer captured one of the four stakes races last season, then made her seasonal debut an impressive one as she came from well back to get the job done in the first added-money affair of 2011 last month.  Sent off the even-money choice in the most recent stakes clash two weeks ago, she made a big, first-over move to the lead in the stretch, but lost by a head to the second-over Poor House.
 
The latter is a Little Steven offspring who was making her first start for Reider that night off a private purchase and picked up her first trophy in the process.  A fast-closing third in the first stakes on April 8, she worked out a nice trip behind the favorite two weeks ago with Kennedy and came home smartly to get up in the final stride.  With the overflow cast, she leaves from the second tier.
 
Rounding out the field are Swing Vote, Feetdon’tfailmenow, Hi Fidelity, Math Wiz, Diamond Player, Hi Princess Deara, Moximum and Dine N Wine.  The top 10 finishers come back next week for a $15,000 pot.
 
The trotting contest will go as a non-betting event prior to the regular program and Claim Jumper would appear to hold the aces for Steve and Vickie Desomer.  The Armbro Variable homebred landed two of the four stakes for this group last season and has captured both of the added-money jousts this year in impressive style.  Challenging here will be Eggwhite Inmy Beer, Thatssomebracciola, Chaxie and Dancinwiththedevil.
 
Saturday night (May 7) will find the 3-year-old colts in stakes action, with the streaking Shamderock eyeing another big-money prize for Rick Plano among the pacing males.
 
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (May 5) and continues through Saturday (May 7).  Post-time on Thursday is 5:30 p.m. (PDT).  Post-time on Friday (May 6) & Saturday is 6:00 p.m.  On Thursday nights through the end of the winter-spring meet, Cal Expo offers the Late Pick-4 with a $10,000 guaranteed pool.  The wager will be conducted on races six through nine. Further, the takeout for the Late Pick-4 will be lowered to 15 percent, as it will also be on the Early Pick-4.  On Thursday and every live card, Cal Expo offers free admission, as well as free preferred & general parking after 4:30 p.m.  Also on Thursday night from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Cal Expo offers a complete Lasagna dinner, which includes salad and bread, for just $3.00.  Additionally on Thursday, beer & wine can be purchased for $3.00 each as well.
 
On Saturdays, Cal Expo offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on both the Early & Late Pick-4 with the Late Pick-4 having a $15,000 gross guaranteed pool.  Additionally, for winning wagers made on the Late Pick-4 online at TwinSpires.com or on track at Cal Expo, a bonus payout of 17.65 percent of the gross Late Pick 4 mutuel payoff will be paid.