Worthy Opponent Heads Cal Expo Sire Stakes

Published: March 19, 2022 01:10 pm EDT

Worthy Opponent, unbeaten and untested in five starts, looks to earn his third stakes trophy in Sunday night’s featured $15,000 California Sire Stakes for the three-year-old colt and gelding pacers.

There will be 11 races presented under the Watch and Wager LLC banner and things will get underway at 5:00 p.m.

Worthy Opponent is a homebred son of Hi Ho Silverheels out of the Dragon Again mare Mistup Magic who carries the banner of Wayne and Rod Knittel, takes his lessons from Bob Johnson and will have Mooney Svendsen at the controls once again.

After romping home in three conditioned affairs to begin his career, he has dominated the two stakes events for his division, lowering his lifetime mark to 1:54.3 with that most recent Sire Stakes clash two weeks ago.

In that last contest, Svendsen moved his charge to command past the half and took complete control of things that point, coming home with six lengths to spare and that new career standard.

Set to take him on this weekend are Ihopeyouarehappynow with James Kennedy; Night King for Nick Roland; Rosco P Coletrain, Luke Plano; and Cenalta Hawk, who will be guided by Cordarious Stewart.

A reminder there are three wagers offered here each night with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate – the 20-cent early and late Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4 – with the latter coming attached with a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool on Fridays and a $25,000 guarantee on Sundays.

Senga Nightmare adds another trophy to case

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Senga Nightmare recorded her third straight Sire Stakes victory last weekend while flexing her muscles for owner/driver/trainer Ryan Grundy.

The four-year-old daughter of Vertical Horizon, who normally likes to save her best work for last, made a backstretch brush to command in this particular affair and was never threatened thereafter in the length and a half score.

“She was bred by my client Kenn Gunn and I’ve had her since the start,” Grundy noted. “The plan was to come down from Alberta and target the two late closers and then the Sire Stakes, and the plan has worked out pretty well.”

For the record, the two late closers were the Funicello/Holt in December and the Jack Williams in January, with Senga Nightmare capturing the Final in the former and finishing second in the Final of the Jack Williams.

As for the three Sire Stakes, there’s never been an anxious moment as Grundy’s mare has put her class and versatility on display while showing the way home on each occasion.

“I can always count on her giving me a real good finish,” Grundy added.

Senga Nightmare will get two more shots at the big money before the meet ends, with a $20,000 clash next week and the $50,000 finale set for April 15. 

(Cal Expo)