Its Pointless, winner of three of his last four starts, heads the $7,700 Open Pace on Sunday night at Cal Expo, while Mandeville goes for his third straight score at the top rung in the co-featured $7,000 Open Trot.
Ten races will be presented under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with a 5:05 p.m. first post.
Its Pointless is a five-year-old Kents On Nuke homebred who campaigns for Mark Anderson, takes his lessons from Gordie Graham and will have James Kennedy back at the controls.
Its Pointless rallied from well back to earn his scores on January 9 and 16, then put in another furious finish with a :26.1 final quarter the following week but fell a length short to the front end Allmyxsliventexas that evening.
In last week’s clash at the top of the division, Its Pointless sat back early as is his custom, but came out to make a powerful burst down the backside and made the lead turning for home. He continued on gamely in the drive to register a three-quarters of a length win while equaling his mark with the 1:52.2 clocking.
A Major Omen completed the exacta in that affair in another solid mile for his owner/driver/trainer Gerry Longo. The six-year-old son of Art Major won the Dave Goldschmidt here in December and has added two Open victories in the interim.
Mandeville, coming off back-to-back wins at the head of the class, takes on arch-rivals Pridecrest and Silverhill Volo in the co-featured Open Trot.
Mandeville is a 10-year-old son of Majestic Son who is owned and trained by Gerry Longo and will be guided by Luke Plano. He comes into this assignment with 42 wins from his 181 starts with $360,978 in his bank account and a 1:54 mark that was set at Running Aces and equaled her two weeks ago.
Since joining forces with Plano, Mandeville has asserted his authority over the trotting division here with two sensational victories.
He was able to sit a perfect trip on January 16 and streaked home for the easy score, then did it the hard way two weeks ago when he took back early, made a powerful brush on the final turn to take command into the drive and went on to a four and three-quarter lengths romp.
Track-record holder Pridecrest was runner-up that evening and has gone several huge miles over this layout for owner Chris Schick, trainer Kathie Plested and pilot Mooney Svendsen.
He started the meet with three straight wins, including a score in the December 12 Joe Lighthill, but has had to settle for two seconds and a third in his three most recent appearances.
Chase The Gold keeps streak alive
The first two Sire Stakes of the season didn’t disappoint, with Chase The Gold making it seven straight wins in a thriller over Alilthundadownunda in the contest for the colt and gelding pacers, while Senga Nightmare proved a punctual favourite with her patented late move in the event for the mares.
Chase The Gold, who races for QKS Racing and takes his lessons from Quentin Schneider, started his streak on November 26 and in addition to last week’s Sire Stakes score has victories in the Donald Arnstine and Steve Wiseman at this meet.
If last Sunday night’s stakes clash for the four-year-old boys is any indication, we could have one heck of a rivalry brewing between Schneider’s protégé and Alilthundadownunda, who lost a heartbreaker while making his first start since early October.
Chase The Gold, with a late driver change to Gerry Longo, was parked to the lead at the quarter and looked comfortably in control at that point, but Nick Roland had other ideas with Alilthundadownunda and made a power brush to command heading to the final bend.
At that point it was the match race the toteboard had predicted, as those two came away from the field once straightened for home. It appeared Roland’s trainee had things locked up late in the game, but Chase The Gold just kept on coming and was up by a half length that saw him coming a sparkling :26.3 final quarter.
It was an outstanding effort by both pacers and we can’t wait for next week’s rematch.
Meanwhile, Senga Nightmare did what was expected of her at 70 cents on the dollar in last Friday evening’s initial stakes clash of the meet for owner/driver/trainer Ryan Grundy.
Unhurried early, as is her custom, she came first over on the backside, took aim on the leaders once straightened for home and ignited when it counted to win going away over May Day Maggie.
A reminder that next week, the trotters and pacers will be in action on Friday and Saturday nights, with no racing on Sunday.