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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (6/25/06)
Contact: Tom Kelley
A “DANCER” AND A “FIGHTER” TAKE SATURDAY STAKES
Illinois top sophomore pacers took center stage on Saturday night at Balmoral Park as both the girls and boys shared the spotlight in the Violet and Cardinal Stake Finals for three-year-olds.
Despite drawing post position nine in the field of 10, driver Dale Hiteman was able to float his filly away from the gate and they settled nicely into fifth as a headstrong Kissmekissmekissme (Ryan Anderson) and My Metallica (Dave Magee) slugged it out through an opening quarter in 27.2.
After watching their main competition finally settle into position, Hiteman whisked his filly off pylons, making a bold move on the backstretch to sweep into command, as the field reached the halfway point in 55.3.
With command of the race the Nelson Willis trainee was able to grab a bit of a breather as the ladies marched around the far turn. Pacing a third quarter in 28.4 Street Dancer was on top of the field by 1 ¼ lengths as she rolled by the three-quarter-mile station in 1:24.2.
With her sights set squarely on the finish line the daughter of Richess Hanover set sail for home with wicked determination. Digging in gamely with each stride Street Dancer prepared herself for the stiff challenge of Kissmekissmekissme on her outside while My Metallica loomed boldly in the passing lane.
As the crowd roared its approval Street Dancer continued to show why she is the leader of this division right now as she paced home in 27.1 while holding her rivals at bay. Kissmekissmekissme had to settle for the bridesmaid role while My Metallica gave way late and wound up third.
The victory was the eighth in 11 starts this season for Street Dancer. Emerging on the scene late in the 2005 campaign, this filly now boasts 12 wins in 16 lifetime starts with earnings of $132,655. Sent off as the co-favorite in the wagering with My Metallica, Street Dancer returned $6.40, $3.60 & $3.00.
Given a textbook steer by driver Brent Holland, Thisbigdogwillfight left quickly from post position five and these two were more than happy to settle into the garden spot behind 4-5 favorite Hot N Sporty (Dave Magee) as he led the field through an opening split in 26.3.
Things remained the same through the middle half with Thisbigdogwillfight enjoying the pocket sitting journey as Hot N Sporty took the field past the half in 55.1 and the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.1.
As the toughness of the trip began to take its toll on the pace setter Holland eagerly awaited the passing lane with a fit and fresh Thisbigdogwillfight. After securing room with an eighth of a mile to pace the Jim Eaton trainee blew by the favorite with a breathtaking burst, leaving no doubt as to who was the best on this night as he rolled home with his second straight stakes score. Hot N Sporty held on for the place money while Our Beer Buddy (Sam Widger) wound up third.
Fresh off his victory in the Hothead Stake Final at Hawthorne, Thisbigdogwillfight now owns a record of four wins and one second in six starts as a sophomore. The winner’s share of $25,300 also pushed this up-and-coming gelding's career earnings over the $103,000 mark. Sent off as the second choice by the betting public Thisbigdogwillfight returned $5.60, $2.60 & $2.20.
Plucked from the claiming ranks for $17,500 some six weeks ago by conditioner Darcy Pletcher, Westward Vision has quickly become the king of the FFA ranks with four wins, one second and one third in his last seven starts at the top level. Load The Dice (Mike Oosting) was second and Abouttolosecontrol (Dale Hiteman) finished a game third.
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