A pair of $20,000 Sire Stakes for the four-year-old pacers headline the action on Sunday (March 12) at Cal Expo, with Cenalta Hawk and JP Jetty getting top billing among the males while Give Me This Dance and Divine Art renew their rivalry in the distaff division.
There will be 13 races presented by Watch and Wager LLC with things getting underway at 4:55 p.m.
Cenalta Hawk is a son of Allamerican Merlin who races for Gordon, Helen and Myrna Empey, takes his lessons from Gordon and will have Mooney Svendsen going the honours.
A break going into the final bend cost him his best chance in the first stakes clash for this group on February 17 and he had to settle for a solid third, but there were no such issues in that last Sire Stakes two weeks ago over a sloppy track.
Cenalta Hawk sat last in the compact cast during the early stages, was out and moving into the final turn, took aim on the leader straightening for home and motored away for the three-and-a-quarter length tally.
JP Jetty captured the initial stakes gathering for this group last month while picking up his third win in those last four starts. He goes about his business for QKS Racing, hails from the Quentin Schneider barn and has James Kennedy in the sulky.
Looking at the distaff stakes, Divine Art and Give Me This Dance have met five straight times at this meet with the former holding a 3-2 edge over her arch-rival, while Give Me This Dance has prevailed in two of the last three match-ups
Give Me This Dance, Irvine solid team
Give Me This Dance and Brad Irvine are proving to be a super combination, coming away with a Sire Stakes victory and a score in last week’s Distaff Open from their three teamings to this point.
Give Me This Dance is a four-year-old daughter of Wind Me Up who carries the banner of Alan and Cheryl Sandbulte and hails from the Jose Castillo barn, and she’ll be gunning for her 17th victory from 46 starts when she suits up on Sunday evening against her arch-rival Divine Art.
“That initial Sire Stakes last month was the first time I’d ever driven her, but I could see from her lines that she was capable of coming a real nice back half,” Irvine related.
“I moved her to the lead at the half that night and she gave me a real nice brush, then she was very game when Divine Art came at her.
“In that second stakes race over the sloppy track, Gerry (Longo on Divine Art) was able to set the early pace without pressure and my mare when a huge race first over to just miss. If you reverse the trips, we certainly would have won.”
Divine Art and Give Me This Dance met again in last week’s Open with Give Me This Dance getting the job done by a length and a half after coming first-over to command going to the final bend.
“This mare is like a hunter — she loves to pass horses,” Irvine noted. “Right now I think she’s a bit more tactical than Divine Art and it should be interesting to see what happens with these two.”