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Balmoral Park

Balmoral Park (7/11/06)

Contact: Tom Kelley
(708) 672-1414


Fans got a look at what could be some of North America’s future trotting stars on Tuesday night as both diagonally gaited fillies and colts shared the spotlight as the 2006 Hanover Stakes season rolled on. A total of 19 freshmen fillies were split into a pair of $28,000 divisions while 11 of their male counterparts went postward in a $35,300 tussle.

In the first division of the filly action Sandra Gross, Daniel Partridge, Connie Spitzner and Fire & Smoke Stables Fox Valley Deja managed to stay away from the road trouble that plagued many of the youngsters in the field as she reported home with an exciting head decision in 1:59.2.

Given a heady steer by reinsman Tim Tetrick this state-bred daughter of Vaporize was sent to the top from post position five and she was trotting comfortably in front as she cruised past the quarter-mile mark in 30.2.

The first turn proved to be the undoing of several fillies in the race as Dream Of Victoria, Foxy N Diamonds and Real Hope all went off stride. That also forced several other top contenders like Fox Valley Smoothy, Adelaide Hall and Short Vacation to race wide while getting around the breakers.

Things began to sort themselves out as the ladies trotted down the backstretch. Heading to the half-mile mark Fox Valley Deja was still a head in front as a hard charging Fox Valley Smoothy (Dave Magee) came flying alongside to challenge. These two rolled by the half-mile mark in 1:00.3. Princess Ironstone (Buddy Simpson) was enjoying a nice ground saving trip in third while a hard used Real Hope (D.R. Ackerman) was trotting up a storm in fourth while trying to recover from her early miscue.

Around the turn Fox Valley Smoothy took command and quickly drew clear by a length. Real Hope was continuing with her amazing comeback as she trotted into second on the outside while Fox Valley Deja patiently spied all the action from a ground saving position in third. With the action heating up the fillies trotted past the three-quarter-mile station in 1:30.0.

In the lane Real Hope grabbed command as Fox Valley Smoothy began to tire from the tough 10-hole journey. Fox Valley Deja was fit and fresh between horses while Princess Ironstone (Buddy Simpson), a 75-1 longshot, had a ton of trot and was looking to split horses. Coming down to the wire Fox Valley Deja grabbed control and gamely held off the late charge of Princess Ironstone who was flying down along the pylons. Real Hope, who made the break in the first turn and was parked the entire mile, turned in a super effort to finish a length back in third.

Trainer Shawn Nessa conditioned the winning filly who now boasts a record of three wins and two seconds through her first five career starts. Sent off as the third choice in the wagering Fox Valley Deja returned $10.60, $4.00 & $2.80.

In the second division Vandalay Stables Apecs turned in an eye-catching performance as she trotted home with a one-length triumph in a national seasons best of 1:57.4.

Patiently handled in her career debut by driver Andy Miller this daughter of Muscles Yankee was allowed to trot away from the gate at a leisurely rate while deftly maneuvering around the breaking Enjoy The Music, Fox Valley Madeira and Speedy Edie. Settling into fifth place Apecs was almost 11 lengths off the early pace of Bandelin (Dale Hiteman) who led the field through an opening split in 29.0.

Unable to get his filly shut down on the backstretch Hiteman appeared to be strictly a passenger as Bandelin blazed by the half-mile mark in 58.4. Corinth (Dave Magee) was right on her heels in second while Rhonda T (D.R. Ackerman) trotted in third. At this point Apecs was still fifth but she was starting to cut into the margin and was only seven lengths back at the halfway station.

Heading around the final turn Bandelin continued to show the way but her advantage was quickly diminishing. Rhonda T had pulled alongside in second while Corinth continued to save ground in third. Apecs was moving swiftly on the outside to pick up the cover of Rhonda T and she was poised to tip three deep just two-lengths behind in fourth as the fillies reached the three-quarter-mile pole in 1:28.4.

In the stretch Rhonda T quickly gobbled up the tiring leader. Apecs was now trotting up a storm on the outside of fillies in second while 60-1 outsider Box Of Dreams (Duke Sugg) was gaining from far back in third. Coming down to the finish Apecs was doing the best work, storming home in 28.2 while in hand to her driver, to make her career debut a winning one. Box Of Dreams turned in a big effort in her first start to finish second from post position nine while Rhonda T faded to third, 3 ½ lengths off the winner.

The Ervin Miller trained miss was an $80,000 yearling purchase and it looks as though that tag turn out to be a bargain for her connections. Bet down to even-money off her winning qualifier in Springfield Apecs returned $4.00, $3.00 & $2.10.

The colt event was marred by the inexperience of most of the field as seven of the 11 starters made breaks at some point in the first turn. When the smoke finally cleared from this wild and wooly race it was Lavern Hostetler & Phil Wiley’s New Balance picking up his first career win in a very respectable 1:58.2.

Settling into the pocket after getting through the adventurous first turn driver-trainer Lavern Hostetler was more than content to let Superior Judge (D.R. Ackerman) show the way by the opening quarter in 29.3.

With most of the field already well out of reach as the colts trotted down the backstretch Superior Judge was able to get a breather, reaching the halfway station in 59.4. New Balance was still right on Ackerman’s helmet in second while Ben Mor Lane (Sam Widger) was 3 ½ lengths back in third.

Trotting around the final bend Superior Judge looked to be well within himself as he led his peers by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:30.0.

In the stretch Superior Judge continued to show way but a fit and fresh New Balance was patiently awaiting his chance to pounce on the pace setter. After securing room in the passing lane New Balance gradually wore down Superior Judge, rallying in the final strides to win by a head. Onawing Andaprayer (Charles Sells) overcame his first turn mishap to finish third, 9 ¼ lengths behind the top pair.

The state-bred son of Valley Victor now has one win and one second in four career starts and his connections are hopeful that bigger and better things are in store for this colt. Returning $10.80, $4.60 & $3.40 New Balance was the third choice of the betting public.

The top class of filly and mare pacers was also in action on Tuesday night as a full field of 10 contested the $15,500 Rainbow Blue F&M Open-Handicap.

This battle produced a bit of a shocker as Kenneth & Jana Lee Rucker’s Oneinamilliongirl came flying between horses in the final strides to win by three-quarters of a length in a career best of 1:51.1.

Saving ground throughout the entire mile for driver Mike Oosting, this seven-year-old was third at the quarter, fourth at the half and was shuffled all the way back to seventh at the three-quarter-mile pole.

Still searching for racing room throughout the stretch drive Oosting did a magnificent job of bobbing and weaving his way through traffic. With just under a sixteenth of a mile to go this seven-year-old daughter of Cole Muffler finally found a seam, bursting through between horses to get her third win of the season. A game Sightings (Sam Widger) was a tough-luck second while the great Loyal Opposition, the 3-5 favorite despite being assigned the outside post, had to settle for a third place finish.

Leaving from the inside starting spot Oneinamilliongirl returned a hefty $27.40, $12.20 & $5.20 to those who were lucky enough to back the Dave McCaffrey trainee.





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