Every year there seems to be someone who steps up and takes control of the stakes races at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton.
Last year it was trainer Jeff Bonde and his merry band of local owners who seized the winner's circle. This year the honor fell to jockey Chad Schvaneveldt.
Schvaneveldt capped a great 15-day meeting at Pleasanton by winning his third stakes race of the meeting, riding Restless Youth to the win in the 49th running of the Sam J. Whiting Handicap, a $50,000 race at 6 furlongs Sunday afternoon.
"I was lucky to have the horses to be able to win those races," said Schvaneveldt.
In the four-horse field, Restless Youth seemed to be the lone speed race on paper, but Schvaneveldt wanted to make sure.
"I thought there was a couple who might try and go," explained Schvaneveldt. "So I decided to kick out and see what happens."
What happened was, no one went with the horse. When they hit the top of the lane, Restless Youth was two lengths ahead of Jiggly. Jiggly made a run in the lane and for a split second it looked like Jiggly may get the win.
Then Restless Youth dug in and the race was history.
"I thought Jiggly might run me down. When asked he really laid it down," said Schvaneveldt.
The win capped an emotional week for Schvaneveldt, whose Uncle Blane Schvaneveldt passed away on Monday. The services are Tuesday in Idaho.
"This was for my Uncle Blane," said Schvaneveldt. "We're heading out for the services tonight."
Blane Schvaneveldt was one of the all-time great Quarter Horse trainers, winning 3,982 races and 38 riding titles in his career. He is a member of the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame.
Also on closing day the racing fans got to see great young horse in Goggles McCoy, rolled to a win in the 7th, a 6-furlong allowance race.
The win was the third in three starts for Goggles McCoy, all three comfortable wins.
Goggles McCoy, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Shapiro and trained by Steve Sherman, flew out of the gate and under an easy ride from Russell Baze rolled to the easy win.
"I didn't give (Baze) one instruction," said Sherman. "What are you going to tell a guy with the lone speed horse in the race at Pleasanton."
Next up will be the $100,000 Real Good Deal Stakes on August 11th at Del Mar.
Subject: THE 49TH RUNNING OF SAM J. WHITING MEMORIAL HANDICAP $50,000 ADDED
RESTLESS YOUTH WINS THE 49TH RUNNING OF SAM J. WHITING MEMORIAL HANDICAP $50,000 ADDED
AT THE ALAMEDA COUNTY FAIR IN PLEASANTON, CA 7-11-10
6 FURLONGS 1:08.46
OWNER:KJELL H. QVALE
TRAINER:ROGER W. HANSEN
UP: CHAD SCHVANEVELDT
PHOTO CREDIT: VASSAR PHOTOGRAPHY