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Grand Slam For Easter Call At Open Level

Published: June 12, 2010 4:51 pm ET

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He may not have been as convincing as usual, but a win is a win and Easter Call now has four straight of them.

Open Handicap trotters, racing for a purse of $6,100, were featured at Cal-Expo on a windy Friday night, June 11, on which Easter Call won for the 39th time in his career.

Firing out from his assigned post five in the field of five and quickly to the lead after just a sixteenth of a mile, Easter Call trotted a deceivingly fast opening :28 split.

"It seemed effortless, and to be honest with you I thought I was going :30 seconds," stated driver James Kennedy. "But even though he did it effortlessly, when I saw :28 it concerned me because I knew going into the backstretch that we had 30 mile-per-hour headwinds and that, combined with the quickness of the first-quarter, could possibly take a little bit out of him."

Getting a :30.4 second-quarter breather into a strong headwind and into a :58.4 first-half mile, Kennedy continued to rate his trotter in a :30.3 third-quarter while reaching the three-quarter mile station, timed in 1:29.2.

"I thought at that point that I was going to be home-free and that it would be easier than it would turn out to be because I felt the 1:01.2 middle-half breather would give him some of his stamina back that the first-quarter could have taken out of him. When I popped the earplugs, however, just past the three-quarters when he was on top by two-lengths, I didn't get an urge forward from him. As a result I now didn't feel he had gotten his stamina back and that he wasn't as strong as I had hoped so I was concerned."

Under urging in the stretch and leading by 2-1/2 lengths at the seven-eighths mile pole, the nine-year-old was looking like a winner, or was he?

"Up until the sixteenth pole I felt okay because there was no one real close to me. At the sixteenth pole, though, I saw Sheilas Dream [and Luke Plano] coming on the outside real fast so I started to urge a little bit more and I was concerned because he wasn't responding. He, however, was able to hold off the attack of Sheilas Dream."

Owned by Debbie McCarthy in partnership with trainer Mark Anderson, the gelding held on by a diminishing three-quarters of one-length to win ($3.00) in 1:59.3. Sheilas Dream finished in second, and Jess Or No (Jim Lackey) was a nice first-over third, another 1-1/4 lengths farther back.

"It was the second week in-a-row that I've learned something from him. This week, despite him giving me signs that we possibly weren't going to win, he showed me why he's a class horse by digging down deep to win," finished Kennedy.

(Cal Expo)

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