Pacing mares clash in Kirschenbaum Memorial

Sacramento, CA — Give Me This Dance and Divine Art, who are in the middle of a great rivalry at the current Cal Expo meet, will get another chance to settle the score in Sunday night’s (March 19) $12,500 Alan Kirschenbaum Memorial, for pacing mares.

There will be 13 races presented under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 4:55 p.m. PT.

Give Me This Dance is a 4-year-old daughter of Wind Me Up who races for Alan and Cheryl Sandbulte, takes her lessons from Jose Castillo, and will once again have Brad Irvine giving directions. After finishing second to arch rival Divine Art in their first two meetings this season, Give Me This Dance has won two of the last three clashes, including a 1-1/2-length score in the Mares Open two weeks ago. Irvine settled early in that affair, made a power brush to command turning for home, and came home smartly to hold safe as the 4-5 favorite that evening.

Divine Art is a 4-year-old by Outrageous Art who is owned, trained and driven by Gerry Longo. She arrived at this meet having won 12 straight races in her native Canada, then added five straight scores here before having the streak snapped at the hands of Give Me This Dance in a California Sires Stakes event on Feb. 19. She came back to account for the Feb. 26 stakes dance over a sloppy track, then completed the exacta in their most recent matchup two weeks ago.

Completing the cast are Senga Nightmare, Park With Me Nancy, Salary and Blue Star Mystic.

The Alan Kirschenbaum Memorial is named for the past president of the California Harness Horsemen’s Association, who passed away in 2012. Kirschenbaum, best known for his work producing TV series Coach and Yes, Dear, was a major factor in California as an owner, breeder and amateur driver for many years.

Cal Expo track announcer and simulcast host Gary Seibel was a longtime friend.

“I met Alan in the early ’80s at Pompano Park, in Florida, when I was the track announcer and publicity director there and Alan was working for trainer George Berkner,” recalled Seibel. “We hit it off right away. From time to time, when we would get into a long conversation about anything and everything, he would say to me, ‘This (Hollywood) is my job, harness racing is my passion.’ That was so evident in what he did in and for the sport, both nationally and, unquestionably, here in California.”

On the wagering front, there are three wagers offered nightly at Cal Expo that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. They are 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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