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Fillies Kick Off California Sires Stakes

Published: April 14, 2012 5:05 pm ET

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The start of the 2012 California Sires Stakes season got underway on Friday night (April 13) at Cal Expo with a pair of $12,000 events for the three-year-old fillies over a track listed as “good.”

In the pacing division, driver Scott Cisco knew what was needed to get the job done with Twentyone Guns.

"She raced really good the week before when she won," stated Cisco. "I was just hoping to get a good trip and have a little luck against the sire stake fillies."

Coming away in third position from post two in the field of 10 into a :29.4 opening quarter, Cisco didn't worry when his sophomore gapped less than two-lengths from the three-eighths mile marker to the half-mile juncture, timed in :59.

"I wasn't concerned, I was actually happy she was relaxing because she can be grabby. At the half, with a three-hole trip, if everything worked out I thought we'd be okay."

Getting chased after once at the five-eighths mile pole and back on the back of Diva Las Vegas (Steve Wiseman), Twentyone Guns soon couldn't quite pace with that foe, who had pulled to the midway point of the final turn, then would loosely follow that opponent to the three-quarter mile station (1:28.3) as she took a parked out from Little Anna Mae (Tim Maier).

"Once I saw Diva Las Vegas pull, I knew it was working out perfectly for me because I got to keep a little cover until Diva Las Vegas eventually cleared, plus my filly felt big at the three-quarters."

Getting left first over at the head of the lane, Cisco pulled the trigger.

"I popped the earplugs and she responded pretty strongly."

Shooting into the lead in very fast fashion to the seven-eighths mile pole, the daughter of Hi Ho Silverheels-Annie Get Your Gun-Distinguishedbaron looked good, or did she?

"Once I put away Diva Las Vegas, I thought I was a dead winner."

Now with a sixteenth of a mile to go, Cisco was forced to get after his charge in pretty good fashion as Twentyone Guns "appeared" to be shortening her stride.

"I wasn't totally worried about her slowing up, but there was some concern because I obviously didn't want to get caught. I can't say she was tiring; I want to say she was being ‘green’ because I think she was waiting on horses. Then when I urged her, she went forward again and we were able to hold on."

Bred and owned by Wayne and Rod Knittel, the Bob Johnson-trained pupil lasted to win ($19.20) by a head in 1:57.2, a lifetime mark. Diva Las Vegas was coming back at the end to be a good second and Drawing Dead (Luke Plano) finished one and a half lengths farther back in third.

"I was ecstatic with the way she raced, which was great," finished Cisco.

For trainer Johnson, the victory was one of five conditioning scores on the program.

Prior to the races in a two-horse non-wagering event for the trotters, Silverlode never looked back for driver Steve Desomer. Bred and owned by Desomer Stables and trained by Vickie Desomer, the daughter of British Sterling-Charlottes Web cut out fractions of :33, 1:06.1 and 1:37.2 before coming home in :28.3 while 12 lengths to the good in 2:06, thus establishing a lifetime mark. California Crush (Sue Boyce) finished in second.

(Cal Expo)

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