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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (9/15/06)
Contact: Tom Kelley
WELCOME TO SUPER NIGHT XVIII
For the ninth consecutive year Balmoral Park is proud to host Illinois' biggest and richest night of harness racing. Started back in 1989 at Sportsman’s Park, Super Night is the showcase for Illinois best pacers and trotters. With over $1.5 million in purses on the line Super Night has also become of the biggest nights of harness racing anywhere in North America.
There will be a total of eight championship battles contested on Saturday along with six consolation events. All eight of the championship tilts carry six-figure purses which figures to make these races a battle from start to finish.
The Super Night draw was conducted here at Balmoral Park on Tuesday night. With several of the favorites drawing outside posts many of the races appear to be wide open events.
The richest event on the card is the 14^th and final event the $285,000 Orange & Blue Stake for two-year-old pacing colts. This tussle features the three fastest freshmen in all of North America in 2006.
Leading the way is Home Bed Advantage who is fresh off a World Record performance for a two-year-old gelding in last week’s elimination as he stopped the clock in 1:50.1.
Woodrow Wilson Stake winner Fox Valley Barzgar has been victorious in six of seven career starts and he comes into tonight’s action with more than $258,000 in earnings. He is the fastest two-year-old colt in the country with a mark of 1:50.2.
Glass Pack was the early season sensation in the division winning his first seven starts and he figures to merit plenty of attention in the feature. The gelded son of Cole Muffler sports the third fastest time in North America this season with a mark of 1:50.4 which he took down in Springfield.
The Filly Orange & Blue carries a jackpot of $280,000 and it has been carded as race 10 on Saturday night. This looks to be a wide open event with elimination winners Faith Leigh (1:53), Kiss Of Heaven (1:54.1) and Trendy L (1:54.3) all figuring to have their share of backers at the windows.
Sophomore pacing colts renew acquaintances in the 13th race, the $180,000 Pete Langley Memorial which should be a shootout from pillar to post. Thisbigdogwillfight comes into the race off a track record performance last week. The Jim Eaton trainee tripped the timer in 1:49.2 in his elimination score making him the fastest three-year-old gelding pacer in Balmoral Park history.
Right behind him in that record setting mile was My Boy David and he should offer a stiff challenge once again. A winner of over $428,000 already this year he is the richest pacer in the field with a career bankroll of more than $684,000. Don’t overlook Fox Valley Tribal in here as this gelding has proven many times this season that he’s as tough as they come. The State Fair Stake champion has six wins and more than $282,000 to his credit this year.
The $180,000 Grandma Ann goes as race eight tonight and this stake puts three-year-old pacing filly’s front and center. Division leader Street Dancer figures to be strong favorite in the race as she comes into tonight’s action with an impressive record of 14-2-1 in 18 starts this year. Boasting 18 wins in 23 career starts this Nelson Willis trained miss has been installed as the 2-1 favorite in here.
If anyone has a chance to knock off the “queen” of the sophomore set it could be Free. This filly has been nothing short of magnificent this season with 13 wins and five seconds in 20 starts but she will have to overcome post position nine if she’s going to get the job done.
The state's older pacers get their turn to shine in the $125,000 Dan Patch Stake and the $120,000 Ann Vonian.
In the Dan Patch the rugged eight-year-old warhorse King Johnny has been installed as the 2-1 favorite as he looks to defend his 2005 title. Fresh off a career best of 1:49.2 in his elimination win the Clark Fairley trainee has shown no signs of slowing down with age.
Gar captured the other elimination battle last week and he comes into tonight’s finale looking for his third straight victory. After a troubled 2005 campaign, the five-year-old Quinton Barbre trained gelding has regained the form that made him one of Illinois best in his first two seasons on the track.
The richest Illinois bred ever leads the way in the Ann Vonian as the great Loyal Opposition looks to defend the crown she captured on Super Night 2005. As always the Erv Miller trained miss has simply been spectacular again this season posting 11 wins in 18 while battling the top distaffers in North America. A career winner of more than $2.7 million this six-year-old will have to overcome post position 10 in order to extend her current winning streak to six.
Trotters get all the action started on Super Night as the sophomore set battle in the $117,000 Lady Ann Reed and the $115,000 Su Mac Lad.
The Lady Ann Reed is race two on the card and this looks to be a showdown between a pair of Erv Miller trainees Miss Imperial and last year’s sensation Victor’s Finesse. Miss Imperial has drawn post position eight tonight but she’s awfully tough to go against with nothing but wins showing on her current lines. Wisely placed by her connections this filly tore up the fair circuit before exploding onto the scene with a win in 1:53.3 in the State Fair Final in Springfield.
Stablemate Victor’s Finesse has drawn inside of her main rival and that will make her very dangerous. The daughter of Valley Victor stepped up to “open” company in her most recent outings finishing third and fourth in the two heats of the Filly World Trotting Derby in DuQuoin. A 15 time winner in her career she’s the leading money earner in the field with a bankroll of more than $310,000.
The Su Mac Lad gets the night underway as the opener on the big card and as always in this event, it’s anybody’s guess. Crown Vic was a sharp elimination winner in 1:57.2 last week and he’s been around the money all year long.
Another who figures to get a long look is Valley Sport even with an outside post. The up and coming Dale Bartley trainee was as tough as nails, overcoming a grueling first over trip, while winning his elimination in 1:56.1.
Two others who have a big shot at taking home the big payday here are Adam Gram, this year’s Pronto Don Stake champion and Litigator, a nine time winner in 2006, who was head and shoulders above this group early in the season.
Another great attraction on Saturday’s card will be the retirement ceremonies for one of Illinois' great pacing mares Parklane Powerful. This dual division track record holder and career winner of almost $800,000 will lead the post parade for the Ann Vonian. That will be her last time on the track before heading to broodmare duty.
There is plenty of action throughout the entire facility on Saturday as well. The fun-filled Budweiser 1st Turn Tent Party returns for another year of fun and excitement. Mr. “Super Night,” Tony Maurello, will once again be hosting his Stars Gala party in the grandstand while Director of Racing Phil Langley hosts his party outdoors in the beautiful Stretch Club. By the way feel free to stop down at the Stretch Club to congratulate Mr. Langley on his recent election into the Harness Racing Living Hall of Fame!
There will be giveaways going on throughout the night as well so be sure to keep an ear tuned to the announcements being made.
It will be a fun filled event from start to finish and Balmoral Park would like to thank everyone for their support as the STARS COME OUT TO SHINE FOR SUPER NIGHT 2006.
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