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Canadians Make Trek South

Published: December 19, 2014 12:53 pm ET

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One of the new faces at Cal Expo is that of Canadian Ryan Grundy, who has certainly made his presence known through Cenalta Power, a pacer that has won two of his three starts at the track, including a lifetime-best 1:52.4 score last weekend.

If the name ‘Grundy’ sounds familiar, it’s because 33-year-old is the great nephew of Jim Grundy, a mainstay at Cal Expo for decades and one of the best driver/trainers to every ply their trade in California.

“I grew up around the horses,” related Ryan, who is both a trainer and a driver. “I was probably about six years old when I knew this is what I wanted to do.”

It was Jim Grundy’s brother, Art, who was a mentor to Ryan. “My grandfather is the one who taught me everything. He was very good at bringing young horses to the races and did all his own shoeing, which I also do.”

Grundy struck out on his own in his early 20s, starting out on the fair circuit in Manitoba while spending the last 10 years racing over the five-eighths and mile tracks in Alberta.

He has come down with his wife, Ashley, and they have 10 horses at Cal Expo, with Cenalta Power being the star of the barn.

“I’ve had him since he was a yearling and we’re real pleased with what he’s done so far on this track,” Ryan noted.

Grundy, who will be here until very close to the end of the meeting, was asked if he has a preference when it comes to driving different-sized tracks. “I prefer a mile track like this one,” he replied. “On the half-mile, you can’t win very often if you’re not up front, and the post position is such a huge factor. A mile track is much fairer.”

Mandatory Payouts, Open Pace Highlight Program

A $6,000 Open Pace featuring St Lads Lotto headlines the Sunday night card at Cal Expo, with mandatory payouts in all wagers, including the 10-cent Jackpot 6.

A 13-card is on tap with first post set at 4:40 p.m. Beginning next week on December 26, racing will be conducted at Cal Expo three nights a week, with the trotters and pacers in action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

St Lads Lotto is a four-year-old Ontario-bred son of Stonebridge Eagle that carries the banner of Ferne and Jack Frydman, is conditioned by Mark Winacott and will have Steve Wiseman at the controls while doing his work from the outside slot in the field of seven.

A 1:52 winner last season at Mohawk Racetrack, the dark-hued performer had to settle for minor awards in his first two starts at the Cal Expo meet, but has had his picture taken four times in a row since, the last two at the Open level.

The most recent decision came last week as the 9-5 favourite. St Lads Lotto left into a tracking position in that event, made a strong brush to command past the half, then continued powerfully through the lane to prevail by four lengths in a 1:52.3 clocking over the ‘good’ track.

A Real Miracle completed the exacta that night in a solid effort from the demanding Post 10. The four-year-old Real Desire homebred races for Junior Wilkinson, Billie Schwartz and Ivan Axelrod, with Wilkinson doing the training and Luke Plano once again handling the lines.

Also, just a reminder that beginning December 26, the Watch and Wager LLC meet expands to three nights a week, with the trotters and pacers in action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

(Cal Expo)

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