Open Trot headlines Cal-Expo marquee

by Mark Ratzky, publicity department, Sacramento Harness Association

Sacramento, CA — Simply Made, Desperatehousewife and Ohoka Jasper N, who have divided up the last seven top dances for the division, get another chance to settle the score in Thursday night’s (January 17) featured $8,000 Open Trot at Cal-Expo.

Last week was Simply Made’s turn to shine, as the 9-year-old daughter of Inquirer snapped a string of three straight second place finishes to get her picture taken. Ed Hensley reins and trains the distaffer for wife Jessica and Gregg Pistochini.

Sent off the 2-1 third choice in that last gathering at the top rung, Hensley left sharply with his charge and was in command by the quarter. Covered up down the backside while sitting a cozy third, Simply Made tracked to the lane and then had the right response at crunch time to prevail by three-quarters of a length over Desperatehousewife on a “good” racetrack.

The latter is a California-bred Jonathan Lobell offspring who goes about her business for Jean MacDonell, Carol Campbell, Wayne Corini and Scott Jaconetty, with MacDonell the conditioner and Todd Ratchford handling the lines. She comes into this assignment with $200,000 in her bank account and a mark of 1:55.4, which was set here last season.

Desperatehousewife captured 13 of her 33 starts last season, closing out the year with a coast-to-coast Open victory on December 28. She was third over a sloppy track at next asking, then battled hard up front in last week’s fray over the “good” going and could not contain the winner while finishing well clear of the rest.

Ohoka Jasper N has reached the circle following three of the last seven top dances and will be looking to get back to his best form after making a break while on the lead in the stretch last week. The Rick Plano trainee races for Virginia Schick.

The 8-year-old New Zealand import started off his 2008 campaign in winning style, as he left into a pocket journey over the sloppy going, then kicked it in when asked to win going away by 2-1/2 lengths. In his last, he was hard-used, battling Desperatehousewife first-over into the lane, then made a break midway through the drive and lost all chance.

TV Mom and Four Starzzzz Hall complete the cast.

Names in the news

Ridgeline: This 4-year-old pacer is doing California proud at the Meadowlands, rattling off back-to-back wins at the New Jersey oval, including a division of the opening leg of the Clyde Hirt Series last Friday night.

Now trained by Mickey Burke and handled by Yannick Gingras, the son of Ironridge was last seen at Cal-Expo demolishing his state-bred rivals in the December 15 California Horsemen’s Championship. He was nine lengths the best that evening in a 1:52 performance.

Ridgeline, who carries the banner of Gregg Pistochini and Michael Silber, was an impressive winner last week at the Big M, getting his mile covered in 1:52.2 over a “good” track. That was just a tick slower than the sensational Panoramic Art, who captured his division of the Hirt while registering his 16th straight victory.

Cam’s Gidget: Speaking of pacers who love to win, this mare clicked 17 times last season for Robley Johnson, making her the winningest performer on the Cal-Expo grounds, and she’s picking up right where left off in 2008 with two snapshots in as many trips to the post.

Once again, Cam’s Gidget did it the hard way, as she began a first-over grind near the half and just had too much for her foes in the stretch. When all was said and done, she was 1-3/4 lengths clear for another visit to the charmed enclosure.

Simply Made: When Ed Hensley’s distaffer prevailed in last week’s Open Trot, it marked the seventh straight time that the favorite has failed to get the job done in this clash at the head of the class. While Simply Made has won two of these, Ohoka Jasper N has a trio and Desperatehousewife has gotten there first twice. On none of these occasions have they been the public choice. They get together again Thursday night, and it will be interesting to see if the chalk can finally prevail at the top level.

A reminder that the Bal-Cal Pick 4 Challenge is now on Sunday, offering a $20,000 guaranteed pool.

Live racing will resume at Cal-Expo on Thursday (January 17) and continue through Sunday (January 20). Post time each night is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. (PST). On Thursday, Cal-Expo offers Fiesta Thursdays, in which fans can enjoy $2.00 frozen margaritas and tacos! The estimated total Pick 6 pool on Thursday is $20,000. Cal-Expo also offers guaranteed $10,000 pools on all Pick 4’s!

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