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Im An Athlete Shows His Class

Published: January 13, 2022 1:47 pm ET

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When he ended up on the right end of a nose photo last week with trainer Jesse Pacheco in the sulky, Im An Athlete was winning for the 56th time in his 286 starts and continues to work toward the $300,000 earnings plateau for owner Ronald Rettig-Zucchi.

While the 12-year-old doesn’t mix it up with the best on the grounds at Cal Expo these days and isn’t the 1:51 pacer he was a few seasons ago, he showed every bit of his will to win when he got the job done last Friday night with his proud trainer doing the honours.

“I’ve had him since he was a four-year-old, and he’s definitely one of my favourites,” Pacheco related after the score. “He’s all class and has given us a lot of good times.”

Im An Athlete had excuses in his previous two outings here, as he was hung the mile two starts previous and then was locked in for his life in his January 2 appearance and lost all chance.

“That extra time off did him a lot of good and he was training much differently,” noted Pacheco. “I went into the race with a lot of confidence.”

The way Pacheco handled Im An Athlete last week you would have thought he was a 3-5 shot instead of a 6-1 chance, and his confidence in the veteran pacer was rewarded.

He left for the top, was covered up briefly but was right back out again to the lead. Hooked the length of the stretch by favoured Marced Magic, he gamely dug in to get the job done.

Im An Athlete is the 9-5 morning line favourite in this Friday night’s (Jan. 14) main event for pacers at Cal Expo. There will be 10 races presented by Watch and Wager LLC and the action gets underway at 6:45 p.m.

Dance Traveler, who chased home a couple of tough customers in Ridonkuloso and Pancetta last week, will get his chance to shine in the featured 10th race.

A six-year-old son of Up Front Brad who is owned by Qks Racing, Dance Traveler takes his lessons from Quentin Schneider and will have James Kennedy at the controls.

The dark-hued performer started the new year in style by taking the measure of a softer field with Luke Plano doing the honours that evening. He left to the top, was covered up by the quarter, was back out again to the final bend and prevailed by a half-length.

Up to this level for last week’s tour, he put in a sold try but was unable to match a very sharp Ridonkuloso and the classy Pancetta in that affair and had to settle for the show money.

Taking him on Friday, from the rail out, are Im An Athlete and fellow Pacheco trainee Bettors Promise, Rockinscience, Cowboys Dirtyboots, Dream Chasin and Dance Traveler's stablemate Captain Terminator.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s program, there will be an Open Pace headed by A Major Omen, an Open Trot featuring Silverhill Volo and Pridecrest and elimination heat for the Steve Wiseman Pace.

(With files from Cal Expo)


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