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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (9/30/06)
Contact: Tom Kelley
KING JOHNNY REIGNS IN FFA ACTION; CRAWDAD TAKES BYE BYE BYRD
The top class of pacers renewed acquaintances on Saturday night as a field of eight went postward in the $21,500 Timelys Best Man Free For All-Handicap.
Coming off his impressive win in the $125,000 Dan Patch Final on Super Night, the rugged veteran King Johnny was assigned the outside post in this gathering. The eight-hole did not slow down the Clark Fairley trainee as he stormed through the lane for a half-length triumph in 1:50.2.
Reserved early by driver Tim Tetrick, the eight-year-old gelding sat at the back of the pack as Iron Courage (Ryan Anderson) led the field through an opening quarter in 27.2.
The action heated up on the backstretch as Art Form (Andy Miller) swept from fifth to first which starting a live outer flow as the field hit the half-mile mark in 54.3.
Art Form continued to hold firm around the final turn but a hard charging Prince Vince (Pat Curtin) was right alongside the leader as they reached the three-quarter-mile station in 1:22.1.
In the stretch, Prince Vince quickly swallowed up the pace-setter. Entrymate Fox Valley Snaffle was gaining ground on the outside of horses while a tired Iron Courage and Art Form were still trying to hang on. On the far outside of the field King Johnny was starting to unleash his potent closing burst as he moved into fourth.
With a sixteenth of a mile to go the Illinois-bred champion had his rivals right where he wanted them, sweeping right on by with a wicked 27.0 final split. Prince Vince held on for second while Art Form was third.
King Johnny now boasts a record of seven wins and two seconds in 14 starts this season with earnings of over $112,000 for Clark and Marlene Fairley. Despite being handicapped with the outside post, King Johnny was hammered at the windows returning just $3.00, $2.60 & $2.10.
Illinois bred pacers were the focus of attention in the 12th race as a compact field of six three-year-olds met in the $12,000 Bye Bye Byrd Stake.
Once again it was driver Tim Tetrick flying home for the win, as he guided Red Barn Stables Crawdad to a half-length score in a career best of 1:53.2.
Employing the same tactics as he had with King Johnny, Tetrick positioned his charge at the back of the pack as Red Stingray (Dale Hiteman) and Hot N Sporty (Dave Magee) traded blows through an opening quarter in 29.0.
Heading up the backstretch, Hot N Sporty seized command of the race leading the sophomores through a half in 58.0.
Moving around the final bend Hot N Sporty remained in control. Life In My Day (Ron Marsh) had moved into second with a big first-over bid while Red Stingray remained glued to the pylons in third as the three-quarters went up in 1:26.2.
In the lane Hot N Sporty continued to show the way with a comfortable two length advantage. Life In My Day had flattened out after the first over bid while Cape Karuna (Brent Holland) was trying to cut into the margin while third.
Finally tipping off his cover with just an eighth of a mile to go, Tetrick had Crawdad in high gear as they set sail for the wire. Unleashing a blistering 26.0 final panel, the Mark Fransen trainee moved by the pace-setter in the closing yards, drawing clear in the final strides for his fifth win of the year. Hot N Sporty, the 4-5 favorite in the race, was forced to settle for the runner-up check while Cape Karuna finished third.
Unraced as a two-year-old, Crawdad has put together a record of 5-2-1 in 18 starts this year with earnings of $22,474. The third choice in the wagering returned $7.80, $3.40 & $2.10.
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