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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (9/9/06)
Contact: Tom Kelley
WORLD RECORD PERFORMANCE HEADLINES SUPER NIGHT ELIMINATION ACTION
The countdown to the biggest night in Illinois harness racing, Super Night, began in earnest on Saturday night at Balmoral Park. With starting spots in next Saturday’s 17th edition of the richest night of racing here in the Prairie State up for grabs, 12 of the 14 races on the Saturday program were elimination tussles.
ORANGE & BLUE ELIMINATIONS
As always this stake drew the most attention at the entry box as 36 hopefuls were entered. Split into four $12,500 elimination battles the top two finishers in each race along with two third place finishers (drawn by lot) get the chance to slug it out for the biggest Super Night jackpot of $285,000 next Saturday.
In the opening split John Butenschoen, Edward Bardowski & Lorelie Knar’s undefeated gelding The Quiet Mon kept his perfect slate intact with an eye-opening 3 ½ length score in a career best of 1:51.2.
Content to save ground in third while the second and third choices in the wagering, Fox Valley Curahee (Brent Holland) and Perfect Tattler (Andy Miller), traded blows on the front end driver Jason Dillander was just waiting to pounce on the leaders with the even-money favorite. With splits of 27.3 and 55.3 on the board Dillander moved his charge to the outside heading into the final turn and this good looking youngster wasted no time looping the leaders. In charge by more than a length as he reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:24.0, the John Butenschoen trainee then sailed home in 27.2 to notch his fourth win in as many tries. Perfect Tattler battled back after being passed by Fox Valley Curahee to gain the automatic bid into the final while the latter will need some luck in the draw if he’s going to have a chance at the big payday.
Another heavy favorite prevailed in the second elimination as Tanah Merah Farms Gotta Go Moe, the 1-2 choice of the wagering public, rallied in the closing yards to win by a half-length in 1:53.2.
Given a perfect and patient steer by driver Andy Miller, this bay son of Incredible Finale used the inside starting spot to full advantage. After allowing Ascot Bourbon (Sam Widger) to grab command in the opening turn Miller then positioned his charge right on his rival’s helmet as these two raced through splits of 28.2 and 57.2. A hard-charging outer flow had developed by that point but Miller was still sitting chilly in the pocket as Ascot Bourbon rebuffed the challenge of longshot Place Of Destiny as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:25.4. Patiently awaiting his chance Miller then swung Gotta Go Moe to the outside with a sixteenth of a mile to go. The Erv Miller trainee then wore down the pacesetter in the waning strides as he posted his third win in four lifetime starts. Ascot Bourbon was a strong second while Body By Sport (Ryan Anderson) will have to await Tuesday’s draw to see if he’ll get the chance to compete in Saturday’s main event.
Confidently handled by driver Ryan Anderson, this gelding came away fourth as One Park Place (Todd Warren) and Glass Pack (Dave Magee) battled through a tough opening quarter in 27.0. Despite the fast pace Anderson decided to move his charge first over, and the Dave McCaffrey trainee was ranging up in second as they moved by the half in 54.2. Around the final turn Home Bed Advantage effortlessly swept by Glass Pack and had pulled clear by almost two lengths as he flew by the three-quarter mile mark in 1:22.2. Seemingly able to find another gear while his rivals struggled to keep up, Home Bed Advantage appeared to be under only mild urging as he paced home with a World Record in his possession. Glass Pack was a game second while One Park Place was a distant third. This rising star will go into Super Night sporting a perfect four-for-four record.
The final elimination featured division leader Fox Valley Barzgar and the Woodrow Wilson champion did not disappoint his legion of backers as the 1-5 favorite romped home with a 6 ½ length victory in a very easy 1:52.0.
Driving as though he were head and shoulders above his foes, driver Dave Magee pointed this colt right for the front as soon as the wings on the starting gate folded. Parked through an opening quarter of 26.4 the Hall of Fame reinsman was able to tap the brakes a bit through the middle half of the race, putting up splits of 56.0 & 1:24.2. With plenty still left in reserve Fox Valley Barzgar easily paced away from his rivals when it counted as he scored for the sixth time in seven career starts. Brother Vinny (Sam Widger), a 20-1 outsider, rallied to be second while Cole Combustion (Dale Hiteman) will anxiously await Tuesday’s draw to see if he gets to take on the best on Super Night.
Illinois bred two-year-old pacers now have the top three fastest miles in all of North America this season! In order they are Home Bed Advantage (1:50.1), Fox Valley Barzgar (1:50.2) and Glass Pack (1:50.4).
FILLY ORANGE & BLUE
A grand total of 33 two-year-old pacing fillies were dropped into the entry box for the Filly Orange & Blue, necessitating four elimination tussles. The top two finishers in each division along with two third place finishers (drawn by lot) will advance to the $280,000 final.
In the first of the four $12,500 battles Ronald Phillips and John Carver’s Faith Leigh continued to impress as she grabbed command just before the half-mile mark and never looked back enroute to a three-length victory in a career best of 1:53.0.
Nicely handled by driver Jamaica Patton, this filly left alertly then elected to back off a quick early pace. Sitting third through an opening quarter in 27.4, the Ron Phillips trained miss charged from third to first on the backside. In total command the remainder of the way this daughter of Incredible Finale posted splits of 55.4 & 1:25.3 before uncorking a 27.2 final split to draw away from her rivals. Bubbles Sister (Tim Tetrick) turned in a solid effort to finish second. Third place finisher Perdido (Sam Widger) will need the luck of the draw in order to gain a spot in the final.
The second elimination provided another mild upset as Brianna Watson’s up and coming Looking At You flew by favored Orgami Rose in the lane to post her first career victory in 1:54.2.
In a race marred by breaking horses (4 of the eight starters went off-stride), driver Tim Tetrick managed to keep Looking At You away from the problems settling in fourth as Orgami Rose leisurely strolled through fractions of 29.2 and 58.4. Moving first over on the far turn Tetrick engaged the 8-5 favorite at the head of the lane and quickly overtook the pacesetter as they hit the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:27.1. Looking like a seasoned professional the Amanda Smith trainee sprinted home in 27.1 to win by 1 ½ lengths. Orgami Rose (Sam Widger) battled gamely to get the place money while Sugar Park (Dave Magee) will go into the draw as the third place finisher.
Favorite players finally got to make a trip to the windows in the third elimination as Ann Schneider, Rick Barbre & James Hepp’s heavily favored (4-5) Trendy L cruised to a very impressive front stepping score in 1:54.3.
Sent right to the front from post position four by driver Mike Oosting, this daughter of Sportsmaster was the beneficiary of a great rating job, getting away with very soft splits of 30.1 & 1:00.2. Kicking it into high gear as the ladies raced around the final bend, the Tim Barbre trained miss stepped off a 27.2 third quarter while widening her advantage. That move proved to be the winning one as Trendy L had no problem keeping her rivals at bay as she cruised under the wire with an easy 3 ½ length triumph. Colette (Ron Marsh) earned a spot in the final by rallying in the final strides to nip Fox Valley Sarong (Tim Tetrick).
Another heavy “chalk” prevailed in the final O&B Filly elimination as Vandalay Racing’s Kiss Of Heaven returned to her winning ways with a resounding 4 ¼ length triumph in 1:54.1.
Eased away from post position five by driver Brent Holland, the 1-2 favorite was content to save ground as the lead changed hands several times through opening splits of 29.1 & 57.4. Moving like a freight train as the field headed for the final turn, Kiss Of Heaven flew by the embattled leaders and was comfortably in front as she hit the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:25.3. The Erv Miller trainee continued to widen her advantage throughout the lane and was under no urging whatsoever as she won for the fourth time in five career starts. Alwaysabetterway (Andy Miller) withstood a miscue in the first turn and a steward’s inquiry while finishing second. Hit The Hyway (Dave Magee) will head into the draw as the final third place finisher among the fillies.
The “Queen” of the sophomore set prevailed in the first elimination as Jim Edgar, Terry Rathgeber, Ted Lock & Jim Reynolds Street Dancer continued her mastery over this group with a hard fought three-quarter length win in a snappy 1:51.1.
Whisked away from the gate by regular pilot Dale Hiteman, Street Dancer had to work hard while taking the field through an opening quarter in 27.2. Electing to let a hard-charging My Metallica (Dave Magee) go on the backside Street Dancer then saved ground through middle splits of 56.0 & 1:23.4. Moved to the outside again after Kissmekissmekissme (Ryan Anderson) had cleared to the front at the top of the lane, the Nelson Willis-trained miss once again showed her grit and determination as she reeled in that filly and then held off the late surge of 49-1 outsider Spanish Rosey (Homer Hochstetler) for the victory. Ms Maggie (Andy Miller) came on to be third while Kissmekissmekissme and Join The Party (Todd Warren) also earned spots in the final with their fourth and fifth place finishes respectively.
The second elimination also went as expected with Robert LeRoy Enterprises Free posting her 13th win in 20 starts this season with a convincing 2 ½ length verdict in 1:52.1.
Taken off the gate by driver Sam Widger, Free was pacing comfortably in fourth at the pylons as longshot Little Sweetheart (Mike Oosting) stormed to the top from post position nine. After watching the opening quarter go by in 28.2, Widger tugged on the right line and Free responded beautifully, charging to the front, as the field hit the half in 57.2. That move pretty much closed the book on this battle as the Stanley Miller trainee blew by the three-quarter-mile station in 1:24.4 before rolling home in 27.2 for the victory. Peine Bubbles (Tim Tetrick) shook loose late and rallied well to be the bridesmaid while Heartland Charmer (Mike Oosting) came on late to finish third. Sherri On Ice (Dave Magee) and Little Sweetheart also gained spots in the final.
PETE LANGLEY MEMORIAL
Sophomore pacing colts were the focus of attention in a pair of $12,500 Pete Langley Memorial eliminations. Once again the top five finishers from each division will be sent to battle for a purse of $180,000 on Super Night.
Engel Stable LLC & Rucker Stables Inc.’s Fox Valley Cruiser pulled off the upset of the night in the first elimination as the 21-1 shot flew by his rivals in the lane to win by 1 ¼ lengths in a career best of 1:51.1.
Kept well off brisk early fractions of 27.0, 54.4 & 1:23.0, driver Ryan Anderson and the Ken Rucker trainee were sitting in eighth, more than eight lengths behind the leaders, as the field turned for home. Seemingly sprouting wings while the hot splits began to take a toll on his rivals, this gelded son of Richess Hanover gobbled up pacers one by one as he stormed down the grandstand side. Flying home in 26.3, Fox Valley Cruiser continued to steamroll his way to the wire as he proved victorious for the fifth time this season. Cape Karuna (Brent Holland), who was shuffled back through the opening 5/8th of a mile and then provided cover for the eventual winner, rallied to be a solid second while another longshot Our Beer Buddy (Sam Widger) helped round out a $5,542.20 trifecta with his third place finish. Also moving on to next week’s big show will be Hot N Sporty (Dave Magee) and Still Dancing (Andy Miller).
With the top three pacers in the division all drawing into this elimination, the race figured to be a heated affair from start to finish. It proved to be just that as My Boy David (Andy Miller) and Fox Valley Tribal (Ryan Anderson) traded turns on the front end through opening splits of 26.4 and 54.2. After spying that action from a nice spot in fourth, driver Brent Holland moved Thisbigdogwillfight first over on the final turn and these two had drawn to within a length of My Boy David as they rolled by the three-quarter-mile station in 1:22.2. The pace setter continued to hold firm through the lane but a determined Thisbigdogwillfight was still living up to his name. Slowly reeling in the leader through the final sixteenth of a mile the Jim Eaton-trained son of the The Big Dog was able to get a head in front as they hit the wire in the record setting time. My Boy David was a game second while Fox Valley Appeal (Mike Oosting) rallied for the show dough. Fox Valley Tribal wound up fourth while Wonderful One (Sam Widger) gained a spot in the final with his fifth place finish.
Elimination action continues on Sunday at Balmoral Park with the preliminaries for the Ann Vonian, Lady Ann Reed, Su Mac Lad and Dan Patch Stakes being contested. The 12-race card gets underway at 6:30 p.m.
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