By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness
Silverlode, an impressive winner of last week’s prep, looms strictly the one to beat in Friday night’s featured $8,300 Gary Budahn Trot.
Silverlode is a 9-year-old homebred daughter of British Sterling out of the outstanding racemare and broodmare Charlotte’s Web who is owned by Desomer Stables, conditioned by Vickie Desomer and will have Steve Wiseman giving directions.
The bay mare comes into this assignment with 34 victories from her 110 starts with $161,778 in earnings and a 1:55 1/5 mark that was established here two years ago.
Silverlode has posed for pictures following three of her last four starts, including last weekend’s Budahn Prep over a sloppy track where she proved a punctual 3-5 favorite with Wiseman at the controls.
She was able to leave into a pocket trip behind stablemate Cadet, motored to command at the top of the lane and drew off by three and a quarter lengths to win as much the best. She should be tough no matter how things shake out early in Saturday’s final.
Franks Best is a hard-hitting 11-year-old who is owned and trained by Bob Johnson with Mooney Svendsen in his usual spot in the sulky. A 44-time winner with $263,000 in his account, he rallied for second in last week’s Prep after being well back early.
Rounding out the field are RSS Express, Franky Provolone, Winsom Kelly, Livid Luke, Dougs Hobby Horse and Cadet.
Reduced takeout wagers offer true value
There are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate, affording players the chance to gets some real value.
They are the 50-cent Pick 5, which is decided on the first five races of the evening; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which covers the penultimate four contests on the program. The Pick 4 comes with a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool.
To give you some idea of the value, last Friday evening’s 50-cent Pick 5 including a couple of bombs in Blue Star Maverick and Lilmessingaround and returned a healthy $9,962.
Using the regular takeout, the same ticket would have been worth $8,921, a difference of a cool $1,071.
***Friday evening’s Gary Budahn Trot at Cal Expo is named for a mainstay of California harness racing for more than 30 years, who passed away in April 2009.
Dr. Budahn served on the Board of Directors of the California Harness Horsemen’s Association for more than 12 years, including President of the CHHA for three terms. He was a strong voice in California harness racing for many years and was always there for the horsemen, helping them in any way he could.
Dr. Budahn was well known in harness racing for being one of the best veterinarians to grace the backside and was well respected throughout the country.
Along with his wife Debbi, Dr. Budahn started The Gusty Stable, sending out some of the best horses to ever race in California, including Doodlin and Claude's Last Lady.
Each represented The Gusty Stable in Breeders Crown events and were two of the best mares to ever campaign in the Golden State on the pacing and trotting side.
Along with those two outstanding mares, The Gusty Stable raced many more top performers such as Wilder Echo, Alfa Star, Amazing Glide and Claudius Augustus and was the breeder and developer of Direct Flight.
“Gary Budahn was a man of integrity and probably the best horseman I ever met,” said former driver Rick Kuebler, who guided many top performers for The Gusty Stable over the years. “When it came to diagnosing the problem of a horse, he had no equal. He had an intimate knowledge of the Standardbred and harness racing in that he was a top trainer and even spent time in the sulky.”