Sacramento, CA — Quarantini and Handsome Harvey, impressive winners of last week’s eliminations, head the cast for Friday night’s (Dec. 2) $13,700 Donald Arnstine Pace at Cal Expo.
Watch and Wager LLC will present a 10-race card getting underway at 6:45 p.m. with an Open Pace and a Distaff Open Pace sharing center stage.
Quarantini is a 3-year-old son of Huntsville who is owned by the partnership of Robert Smolich, Chris Wood, Lester Hunsucker and Keith Ballard, takes his lessons from Nathalie Tremblay and will once again be guided by Chip Lackey.
The dark-hued performer was runner-up in his California debut on opening week after coming in from Hoosier Park, then looked every bit the part of a 1-9 shot in his Arnstine division as he withstood a strong challenge for command on the final bend and went on to a 4-1/4 length score in 1:54.3.
Handsome Harvey was likewise impressive in his elimination heat while coming in from Minnesota for Dave Haness and driver/trainer Luke Plano. He was able to work out a pocket journey and then exploded in the lane to win going away and would appear to be the main rival for Quarantini on Friday.
Completing the cast are Cenalta Firedragon, Tin Can Timmy, SB Prince Archie, Spoken For, Ideal Poppy, Devils Brother and Ivar.
The Open Pace will find Dancin Lance seeking his third win at the meet while doing his work from the assigned outside post in the field of seven, while Rockin With Lou gets top billing in the Filly and Mare Open for owner/driver/trainer Gerry Longo.
Quarantini gives Tremblay strong hand in Arnstine
Nathalie Tremblay has apparently been very nice this year, as she got an early Christmas present last month in the form of Quarantini, who figures to be a solid favorite in Friday night’s featured Donald Arnstine final.
“I basically got a call out of the blue from the partnership, and they asked me if I wanted to train him,” Nathalie explained. “For two of these owners, I think this is the first harness horse they’ve owned, and they wanted to have one to watch here at Cal Expo.”
The Smolich/Wood/Hunsucker/Ballard group purchased the sophomore pacer off three straight wins at Hoosier Park and he has continued his sharp form since arriving in California and landing in the Tremblay barn.
He had a tough trip in his local debut two weeks ago and had to settle for second behind a very nice prospect in Unfiltered, then looked every part the overwhelming favorite in his Arnstine elimination at most recent asking with Chip Lackey at the controls as he waltzed home with nearly five lengths to spare.
“He’s very easy to handle and has shown he can race just about any way you want,” his mentor noted. “He got roughed up pretty good against a nice horse in the first start and then did what he was supposed to in his last. And he’s still just a 3-year-old.
“Chip said the other night this is one of the nicest horses he’s sat behind in quite a while, and that he just does everything effortlessly.”