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Time To Come In From The Cold At Cal Expo
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity -- Cal Expo

December is upon us.  The leaves are falling, winter is just around the corner and the poor horses that draw the No. 10 post at Cal Expo are now given the opportunity to leave from the second tier.
 
“It’s better than leaving from the 8, 9 or certainly the 10 post, especially when the rainy season arrives,” related driver Scott Cisco.  “The only time it would be a disadvantage would be when you have a horse who is a need the lead type, but that’s going to be rare.”
 
While it may look easy from the grandstand for the driver in the second tier to leave right behind the one-horse and get a nice spot, it’s easier said than done.
 
“It can be a little tricky, because you can’t always get right up behind the horse you’re following,” Cisco noted.  “But it’s a lot easier on a mile track like Cal Expo than a half-miler, where you come up on that first turn real quick and can really get shuffled in a hurry.”
 
Scott also pointed out that when it’s a driving rain and the track is sloppy, that’s a tough combination for any horse, especially one starting behind the rest.
 
“When the visibility isn’t good, you really have to play it safe back there, but that’s the same issue when you’re in the back of the pack after the start under those conditions.”
 
Do horses sometimes have trouble when they’re asked to start behind the gate with a second-tier takeoff?
 
“In most cases, we’re talking about seasoned pros in these races, and the only exception I can think of would be a young, green horse who might have some trouble with starting from there.”
 
Cisco feels a driver has to look at a second-tier start the same way they would any other race and map out a strategy accordingly.
 
“The key is to know your horse, and to know as much as you can about the other horses in the race.  That applies for all races, over all kinds of tracks from wherever you’re starting.”
 
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Frankly Scarlett Puts Streak On The Line At Cal Expo
 
Dave HanessFrankly Scarlett, fresh from four straight dominating victories, looks to keep the momentum going in Friday night’s (December 2) $3,600 Cal Expo headliner for the pacing fillies and mares.
 
A 7-year-old daughter of Little Steven, Frankly Scarlett is owned by Robert Bacon and is reined and trained by Steve Wiseman.  She is going in excellent form at the moment and each of her four wins has been in clear-cut fashion.
 
The bay miss started the skein on November 5 at a slightly lower rung and sat a perfect tracking trip for Wiseman before pouncing in the stretch.  At next asking she was an impressive first-over victress, coming to the wire with five and a quarter lengths to spare while lowering her mark to 1:54.4 in the process.
 
Frankly Scarlett has stepped up a notch to this level for her last two appearances.  She was a facile first-over winner two weeks ago as the 1-2 chalk, then was hammered down to 40 cents on the dollar for her most recent tour and made what proved to be the winning move at the half while showing the way to the wire without being asked for her best.
 
Dine N Wine, Poor House and Hi Fidelity are all 3-year-olds who are exiting last week’s California Sire Stakes.  Dine N Wine captured that event and has to be respected for Team Desomer, while Poor House was third in a game, first-over try and helps make things interesting.  She is owned by Rick & Marlene Thomas, Dave Haness and George Reider with Reider the conditioner and James Kennedy at the helm.
 
Hi Fidelity tired in that Sire Stakes try, but in the previous mile posted a 12-1 upset.  The Laurette Odney homebred hails from the Rick Cisco barn and Scott Cisco will once again be at the controls.
 
Completing the field are Lust, who is trained by Bob Johnson and has Lemoyne Svendsen guiding; and Got The Giggles, a Robley Johnson trainee who has the cozy one-hole with Luke Plano in the sulky.  The feature goes as the first on a 13-race program.
 
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (December 1) at 5:30 p.m. (PST) and continues on Friday (December 2) & Saturday (December 3) at 6:00 p.m.  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.
 
The Thursday program (December 1) at Cal Expo will feature an Early Pick 4 with a $4,588 carryover that will lead into a $20,000 guaranteed gross pool (in partnership with the USTA Strategic Wagering Committee), while the Late Pick 4 will come with a $10,000 guaranteed gross pool.  The Early Pick 4 covers the second through fifth races on the card, while the second sequence encompasses the sixth through ninth events on the evening.
 
In addition, every Pick 4 at Cal Expo now comes with a reduced 15 percent takeout (Thursday/Friday nights in partnership with the USTA Strategic Wagering Committee).  In addition, all Late Pick 4’s will come with a $10,000-guaranteed pool.  On Saturday night, there will be a 0% takeout on successful Late Pick 4 tickets made at Cal Expo or at Twinspires.com.