Officer Jim eyes another Open victory at Cal Expo

Sacramento, CA — Officer Jim, who has captured five of his last six starts in sparkling fashion, heads the cast for Friday night’s (March 17) Open Pace at Cal Expo.

Watch and Wager LLC will conduct 11 races Friday with first post set for 6:45 p.m. and the co-feature on the evening is a Filly and Mare Open Pace that brings out the likes of Lucky Lil Lady and Wonder Of Love.

In the male division, Officer Jim is a red-hot 7-year-old son of American Ideal who is owned by Debra McCarthy and hails from the Michael Meza barn.

Officer Jim began his recent hot streak with a conditioned score in late January, added two more wins at that level in February and has accounted for the last two Opens this month.

He sat a pocket trip to get the job done in a sizzling 1:51.4 two back with Sean Smithpeters at the controls, then proved a punctual 3-5 favorite last week over a sloppy track with James Kennedy doing the honors.

Dancin Lance has gone several powerful miles at this stand for owner Juan Pacheco and conditioner Leon Smith, with back-to-back Open scores on his resume early in this session. He’ll be looking to work out a good trip on Friday evening.

Unfiltered has landed in the charmed circle after three of his last six trips to the post, including an Open tally over a sloppy track last month. His speed always has to be respected.

Keystone Tenacious and Firenado round out the cast from the inside two post positions.

Pacers, trotters rumble in Double Down

Anyone who plays blackjack knows the meaning of doubling down, but here at Cal Expo it also applies to harness racing.

The Double Down Invite, a unique event that matches trotters against pacers, has seen two editions thus far at the meet.

For the record, the first Double Down was contested on Feb. 24 and was captured by the trotter Daytona Dreamin, while last week’s renewal saw the pacer Infinite Horizon posing for pictures with driver/trainer Rene Goulet.

“Starter calls for the trotters … and pacers.”

Looking ahead to Sunday, the main event is the Alan Kirschenbaum Memorial for the pacing mares and will give Divine Art and Give Me This Dance a chance to continue what has been an excellent rivalry at the meet.

Divine Art has six wins at the meet, including victories in the Feb. 5 Diamond Alliance Free-for-All, a pair of Opens and a Sire Stakes, while Give Me This Dance has accounted for two of their last three match-ups, including a Sire Stakes and an Open score.

A reminder there are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate — the 20-cent early and late Pick-5 and the 20-cent Pick-4, with the latter featuring a $25,000 guaranteed gross pool.

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