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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (8/22/06)
Contact: Tom Kelley
BEST OF THE BEST ON AM NAT NIGHT
In every sport itís the classic showdown when No. 1 meets No. 2 and thatíll be the case this Saturday when Balmoral Park hosts American National Night (August 26).
Six open stakes are on the star-studded card, featuring the $203,000 Maturity Pace pitting North Americaís top ranked aged pacers, Lis Mara and Holborn Hanover.
The pair did meet once this season and it was Lis Mara besting Holborn Hanover in the July 29 Breeders Crown Championship at The Meadowlands by one-and one-half lengths in 1:47.3. Holborn Hanover, fresh off some record setting performances, gets another shot at the nationís current top rated aged pacer in Saturdayís American National Championship.
Both horses are on a roll and that could be understatement.
Holborn Hanover became the fastest racehorse in Standardbred history on August 5 when he paced a blistering 1:46.4 while winning a U.S. Pacing Championship division at The Big M. The Bret Robinson trained speedster followed that powerhouse performance by demolishing the aged gelding pacing record at Balmoral Park in last Saturdayís American National elimination with a 1:48.1 clocking, a full second off the old track standard shared by three horses.
Lis Mara, who drew a bye into the American National based on season earnings ($799,012), prepped for Saturdayís showdown by romping to a 1:48.1 mile in a Balmoral Park Free For All on August 12, the trackís fastest ever for a four-year-old pacer. It was Lis Maraís sixth victory in seven starts since joining the Erv Miller Stable. Miller acquired the pacer when owners MJG Racing Stables and Louis Willinger bought Lis Mara for $350,000 in early June; the pacer has banked over $725,000 since.
Holborn Hanover will again be coupled Saturday with recent U.S. Pacing Championship division winner (1:48.1) Ponder and Stonebridge Eagle, who finished second and fourth, respectively, behind their entrymate last weekend. The other Aged Pace finalists are Maltese Artist, Leading X Ample, He Wants It All, Quik Pulse Mindale, Mypanmar and Shu Hanover.
American National Night will also spotlight the $200,000 Aged Trot Final, headed up by the nationís No. 1 ranked older trotter Sand Vic; the $190,000 Three-Year-Old Colt Trot Championship, featuring recent Hambletonian runner-up Chocolatier; the $65,000 (est.) Fairy Godmother for fillies and mares where three-time national champion Loyal Opposition will defend her stake crown, along with a trio of Hanover stakes for second season horses.
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