Cal Expo Meet Kicks Off On Friday

Stretch drive at Cal Expo
Published: November 16, 2023 11:46 am EST

The 47-night Cal Expo meeting kicks off on Friday, Nov. 17 with a 12-race card featuring an $8,800 Open Trot and an $8,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace.

The Watch and Wager LLC session will run through May 3.

Racing will be conducted this week on Friday and, beginning next week, racing will follow a Friday and Sunday night schedule with first post at 6:45 p.m. on Fridays and 4:55 p.m. on Sundays. The exceptions will be a special Tuesday, Dec. 26 card and special Saturday programs on Dec. 30 and Feb. 10, with no racing on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 11.

For the sixth consecutive year, overnight purses have been raised, the late-closing events have been upped in value with a focus on the aged Diamond Horse Alliance contests and the incentive program for horsemen has also been increased.

Racing highlights include a pair of $50,000 California Sire Stakes Championships, the $30,000 Bill Vallandingham for DHA filly and mare pacers, the $30,000 Alan Horowitz DHA Pace and the $12,500 Stan Bergstein Free-For-All Trot.

Leading trainer Quentin Schneider is back to defend his title while last meet’s leading driver Luke Plano has returned with a strong barn of his own.

Cal Expo would also like to welcome back Nick Roland and Jake Cutting after a brief hiatus, while new faces include Brett Erickson and Winter Asher-Stalbaum, who both figure to be well represented at this meeting. 

Longo looms large in co-features

Veteran Gerry Longo figures to have a strong say in Friday night’s co-features, with Body Armor and Mandeville in the Open Trot and Divine Art in the Filly and Mare Open Pace.

Looking at the trotting headliner, Longo will pilot Body Armor from the assigned outside post in the field of seven while Luke Plano will handle the duties behind Mandeville.

Body Armor comes into this assignment with 10 victories from his 31 trips to the post this season and a 1:52.4 mark that was established last season at The Meadows.

Mandeville is an 11-year-old who has reached the charmed circle following 57 of his 240 lifetime appearances and equalled his lifetime standard of 1:54 when he won here last season.

Taking on the Longo pair are Louis, Peters Royalty, Serene Hall, Teachmehowtovictory and Dylan The Great.

In the co-featured distaff pace, Divine Art will be looking for her 30th win from 57 starts while adding to her $434,000 bank account and resume that includes several big races over this layout to her credit.

She and Lucky Lil Lady were assigned the outside posts in this event, with the latter making her first start since mid-September at Running Aces with Jake Cutting doing the honours for owner Robin Clements and trainer Quentin Schneider.

(With files from Cal Expo)

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