Sire Stakes, Opens At Cal Expo Sunday

A view of horses in the barn area at Cal Expo
Published: February 25, 2023 02:43 pm EST

Give Me This Dance, fresh from upsetting the streaking Divine Art last week, battles that distaffer once again as they head the cast for the $20,000 California Sire Stakes for four-year-old pacing mares on Sunday (Feb. 26).

There will be 12 races decided under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post at 5 p.m.  The co-features on the evening will be an Open Pace, a Filly and Mare Open Pace and an Open Trot.

Give Me This Dance is a daughter of Wind Me Up who races for Alan and Cheryl Sandbulte, hails from the Joe Castillo barn and will once again have Brad Irvine in the sulky.

After finishing second behind Divine Art in her first two starts at the meet, she was able to turn the tables in last week’s first Sire Stakes of the season. Irvine brushed to the lead down the backside, withstood a strong challenge from Divine Art and prevailed by three-quarters of a length over that rival.

Divine Art came into last week’s assignment with 17 straight victories, 12 of those in her native Canada and five at this session but had to settle for second in a game first-over mile for owner/driver/trainer Gerry Longo.

Rounding out the line-up are Cenalta Flash with Chip Lackey; Anotherblazinwoman with Luke Plano and Park With Me Nancy, who will have Shawn Thayer at the helm.

Looking at the co-features, Major Attribute will attempt an encore in the Open Pace; Lucky Lil Lady and Rockin With Lou get a rematch in the Filly and Mare Open Pace and track record holder Pridecrest looms large in the Open Trot.

Aint She Special locates the charmed circle

Aint She Special earned her first snapshot at the meeting last week with the perfect track-and-attack for driver/trainer Luke Plano to the delight of those who took 4-5 on the mare.

The four-year-old daughter of American Ideal is co-owned by Plano and Dave Haness and her clocking of 1:55.3 established a new lifetime standard.

“Luke and I purchased Aint She Special last September out of an online auction,” Haness related after the victory. “She was a filly who caught our eye when she paced a :26 final quarter in August at Hawthorne.

“Instead of racing her, we chose to give her some time off and didn’t rush in bringing her back to the races at Cal Expo.”

Aint She Special was getting some class relief for last week’s assignment and this was not lost on the bettors. She stalked to the lane and then ignited when it counted to win going away by two and three-quarter lengths.

“She’s versatile and well bred, With the speed she has, I think she has a chance to become a very nice mare and there’s nobody better than Luke to groom her for this year’s campaign.

“It’s fun to have a horse with so much potential and she continues to improve with every start. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for her.”

(Cal Expo)