The $10,000 Funicello/Holt final and the $10,000 Joe Alto Pace, both for pacing fillies and mares, command the spotlight Friday evening (Dec. 17) at Cal Expo.
Watch and Wager LLC will present nine races and things get underway at 6:45 p.m.
Off a sparkling victory in one of last week’s two elimination heats, Senga Nightmare figures to be strongly backed in the Funicello/Holt for owner/driver/trainer Ryan Grundy.
Making her third start since coming in from Canada, she went a huge mile last week as she settled early, came first-over turning for home and finished powerfully to prevail by three lengths over 3-5 favourite Tartan Patch. That three-year-old filly had her win streak snapped at two in that contest while having to settle for the exacta behind Senga Nightmare. The Vertical Horizon miss is owned, trained and driven by Rene Goulet.
Taking them on are Uniquerock, Hurry Home, D Vigilante, Starstruck Cowgirl, Sierra Mystique, Go With Flo, Witch Hunter and Always Glad.
The Joe Alto Pace finds Life Isa Shortwalk going for her fourth straight win at the meet for Set The Pace Racing LLC and driver/trainer Nick Roland. She captured the Bill Vallandingham Pace two back and accounted for last week’s Open III distaff event.
She will do her work from the outside post in the field of six and will be challenged by Alwaysalittlemore, Jenne Ann, Delightfully Wild, Oneida Blue Chip and Shesureissomething.
Cal Expo pays tribute to Joe Alto, Annette Funicello and Glen Holt with features races on the Friday program.
Joe Alto, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 78, was a track announcer for 40 years, including many seasons at Cal Expo, calling both harness horses and Thoroughbreds. Among his many signature calls: “You better take a look a,” and “They’re coming home now!”
Annette Funicello, who passed away in 2013 due to multiple sclerosis; and Glen Holt, who died in 2018, were married for more than 25 years and it was through their mutual interest in horses and horse racing that they met.
Funicello was a television and movie actress who devoted herself to her family after her career ended; while Holt was a former law enforcement officer and harness owner, driver, trainer and breeder who was a mainstay of California harness racing.
Roland, Plested Showing The Way
After they both recorded five wins on opening night, Nick Roland and Mooney Svendsen continue to make a steady stream of trips to the winner’s circle while atop the driver standings.
Roland recorded four victories last week to bring his total to 23 for the stand, while Svendsen also had four scores, including the narrow victory with Pridecrest in the Joe Lighthill Trot, to give him 15 winning snaphots at the meet.
Among the trainers, Kathie Plested is the leader with 11 trips to the charmed enclosure, while Roland is second with 10 wins from just 17 appearances by his performers.
(With files from Cal Expo)