Trainer Rick Bertrand sent out three winners on last week’s opening-night card at Cal Expo, but you’ll excuse him if he wasn’t here to get his picture taken.
He was on his way driving a trailer to Tioga Downs in New York with donations to support the horsemen who lost 31 horses and their equipment in a horrific fire.
In response to the tragedy, Rick agreed to drive his eight-horse trailer, while Dave Dobbelmann and Jose Castillo donated their horse Candall.
On Nov. 11, California horsemen loaded their donations along with Candall and wished Rick a safe trip along with his friend Mike Frenak.
Rick arrived at The Meadows last Friday night at about the same time the horses were stepping onto the track for opening night at Cal Expo and from across the country Bertrand watched three of his proteges get the job done.
The next evening, the trailer packed with donations and Candall arrived at Tioga Downs.
“We made six stops in five states,” Rick related. “We picked up donations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“I knew two of the horsemen who lost everything in the fire, Sparky and Sheri Clarke, and I was more than happy to do anything I could to help.”
Open Trot, Pick 4 carryover at Cal Expo
Mandeville and Body Armor, who gave owner/trainer Gerry Longo a 1-2 finish in last week’s Open Trot, head the cast for Sunday night’s $8,800 main event at Cal Expo.
There will be nine races conducted under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 4:55 p.m.
There is a Pick 4 carryover of $13,500 with a guaranteed gross pool of $40,000 and the sequence begins on the sixth race. The Pick 4 is a 20-cent wager featuring a reduced 16 percent takeout.
While Mandeville prevailed in last week’s clash at the head of the trotting class, it was Body Armor who caught the eye with his runner-up finish as the odds-on favourite.
With Longo in the sulky he made a break at the start and found himself 13 lengths behind the leader at the first call. Body Armor put in a huge mile but had to settle for the exacta completion behind Mandeville.
Body Armor comes into this assignment with 15 wins from his 57 starts and a 1:52.4 mark that was set at The Meadows last year.
Mandeville will leave from the outside post in the field of nine with Luke Plano back at the controls. He sat the pocket in last week’s foray and came away nice at the end for the score.
He is looking for his 59th victory from 242 trips to post with a $503,972 career bankroll.
Rounding out the field are Louis, Pridecrest, Dylan The Great, Serene Hall, Peters Royalty, Major Al Mar and Teachmehowtotory.