Trio of Opens head Cal Expo marquee

Sacramento, CA – An Open Trot headed by Silverhill Volo and Pridecrest along with an Open Pace led by A Major Omen and an Open Distaff Pace featuring Rockin With Lou share the spotlight Sunday evening (Jan. 16) at Cal Expo.

Watch and Wager LLC has carded 10 races with first post set for 4:55 p.m.

Silverhill Volo is an 11-year-old son of Muscle Hill out of the Yankee Glide mare Silver Springs who is owned, trained and driven by Chip Lackey.He comes into this assignment with 31 victories from his 156 lifetime trips to the post with $195,000 in his bank account and a 1:55 1/5 mark what was set in Pennsylvania seven years ago.

After a tough best to Pridecrest in the December 12 Joe Lighthill over a sloppy track, Silverhill Volo has landed in the winner’s circle twice for Lackey while racing up close and personal on both occasions.

In his most recent appearance two weeks ago, he was used early to command, was covered up down the backside and then worked his way back to the lead at the head of the lane and went on to a three-quarters of a length decision over Pridecrest.

The latter will be gunning for some revenge for owner Chris Schick, trainer Kathie Plested and regular pilot Mooney Svendsen. He has posed for pictures 48 times from 194 starts with $417,000 in the bank and his 1:53 3/5 track record here five years ago being his mark.

Pridecrest captured his first three starts here, including a game score in the Lighthill last month, then was unable to catch Silverhill Volo when those two last met on New Year’s night.

A Major Omen is a 6-year-old son of Art Major who is owned, trained and driven by 76-year-old Gerry Longo and gave him his 3,000th career driving victory two weeks ago.
Since coming in from Oak Grove in Kentucky, A Major Omen has rattled off three straight wins, including a game tally on the ship-in in the December 10 Dave Goldschmidt where he carved out all the fractions and refused to lose.

His next decision was much easier on December 17 as he proved a punctual 2-5 favorite in the Open on the front end, and then he had dig deep in that last milestone win for his conditioner to prevail by a half-length over Its Pointless.

Sunday’s program will also feature an elimination heat for the Steve Wiseman Pace. The Open Pace is the second race, the Open Trot goes as the fourth and the Wiseman elim is scheduled as the seventh on the evening.

Silverhill Volo, Lackey make dynamic duo

The 11-year-old Silverhill Volo and his 69-year-old owner/driver/trainer Chip Lackey make quite a team and are coming off back-to-back wins at the head of the trotting class.

Silverhill Volo’s victory in the Open two weeks ago was his 32nd trip to the charmed enclosure and puts him just another snapshot shy of reaching the $200,000 earnings plateau.

“I’ve had him for about four years now,” Lackey related when asked about the hard-knocking sidewheeler. “He’s bred to be a good one. He’s by Muscle Hill, his dam won the Hambletonian Oaks and he brought $170,000 as a yearling.”

Chip admits that when he first brought Silverhill Volo to Cal Expo, his protégé used to give him some anxious moments coming to the gate, but those days are behind him now.

“He would make my stomach churn because he would turn to come to the gate and he would switch from the pace to the trot. It wasn’t always smooth, but eventually it wasn’t a problem.”

Lackey related he also made some adjustments to lighten him up front, which allowed him more options with the trotter in the early part of the race.

If anything, Silverhill Volo has proven to be even tougher when the track is deep. “He’s a strong horse. I think when the track gets tiring, it takes less of a toll on him and that’s why he does so well.”

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