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Haggin Oaks Wins Anderson Memorial

Published: January 8, 2012 6:19 pm ET

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She was used hard early, but the word 'quit' isn’t in the dictionary of Haggin Oaks.

Winners Over pacers, racing for a purse of $4,500, were featured at Cal Expo on Saturday night in the Alan Anderson Memorial, in which Haggin Oaks earned her second straight win. Before starting from Post 6 in the field of the same number, trainer James Kennedy knew what wouldn't and would work.

"I felt if I took back, I'd probably have no shot because it would then be a sprint home and I would be in the back of the pack," said Kennedy. "So I figured if I left and got to the lead and slowed it down that I'd be able to sprint home with them, with me being the one starting the sprint."

Leaving, but joined by everyone else except for Cycle Power (Scott Cisco), Kennedy found himself five and four-wide to the first turn, then three-wide entering the turn. He remained there until two-wide past the 3/16ths mile pole and eventually cleared to the front at the quarter, timed in a fast :28.1.

"It was a tough lead and I was pretty concerned, plus I now had strong headwinds coming into my face as soon as I was able to clear. As a result, I felt like that would take a lot out of her."

Taking advantage of the windy conditions, a :31.1 second-quarter was in the cards.

"It was a good breather and it was very helpful for her, but I still wasn't certain of her chances at the half."

Only having to go a :29.4 third quarter while pacing a middle half of 1:01, Haggin Oaks was now showing her appreciation.

"She felt pretty good at the three-quarter mile pole and in the back of my mind I wanted to try and sprint away right there. But the first quarter popped in my head and how hard it was to get to the lead, so I figured I'd wait until we straightened out and then let her sprint."

Getting her earplugs popped to the head of the lane and responding by accelerating with less than 3/16ths of a mile to go, Kennedy urged on his six year-old.

"She gobbled up ground through the stretch and I did ask her for a little more in the last sixteenth when I thought Marlin Hanover [with Luke Plano] was getting to me, but I really didn't need to get after her as much as I did because she was still strong."

Eye-balling the pocket-sitting Marlin Hanover and never letting him reach her throatlatch, Haggin Oaks won ($7.80) by three-quarters of a length. Owned by Shari Burns, Ferris Funk and Gerald Cimini, the only mare in the race stopped the timer at 1:56.2, thus recording her 21st career triumph. Marlin Hanover finished in second, and Amigo De Garcia (Steve Wiseman) finished 2-1/2 lengths farther back in third.

"She's an awesome mare who races well every week and I love driving her every week. She was magnificent and is definitely my baby," finished a very proud and happy Kennedy.

(With files from Cal Expo)

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