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Balmoral Park

Balmoral Park (10/3/06)

Contact: Tom Kelley
(708) 672-1414

TROTTERS SHINE IN CARDINAL & VIOLET ELIMS

The Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old trotting set stepped into the spotlight on Tuesday night as eliminations for the Cardinal and Violet Stakes were contested.

On the colt side of the docket a field of 10 was sent postward for a purse of $7,500. The top nine finishers in the race earned the right to join Oxford Brilliance in next week’s $50,000 final.

This race proved to be a stroll in the park for Bruce & Dean Alexander and Connie & Homer Hochstetler’s Vapor Maker as he made every call a winning one in a career best of 1:57.4 for driver Brent Holland.

Whisked away from post position seven by Holland, Vapor Maker was trotting comfortably on top as he moved by an opening quarter in 29.3.

Vapor Maker continued along the backside at an even clip taking the field of 10 youngsters through a half-mile in 59.2.

Without a challenge as they moved around the final turn the Homer Hochstetler trainee was still well within himself as he strolled by the three-quarter-mile station with a 1 ¼ length advantage in 1:28.4.

Setting sail for the wire Vapor Maker left his rivals in a cloud of dust as he quickly opened up a four-length lead. Under no urging whatsoever from Holland, Vapor Maker trotted home in 29.0 to win by 5 ¾ lengths. No Jokin (Dave Magee) tried to follow the winner’s every move but proved to be no match for that gelding as he headed up the beaten brigade. Vics Mitch (Tim Tetrick), who was saddled with the outside post in the field, came on late to finish third. Also moving on to the final with 4th through 9th place finishes were Red On The Head, Just Amos, Hannah’s Speedy, Orphan Victor and New Balance.

A total of 16 trotting fillies were dropped in the box for the Violet necessitating a pair of $7,500 tussles. The top five in each race received the chance to battle for $50,000 in next Tuesday’s final.

In the first split John Kokinos & Daniel Lengacher’s Dream Of Victoria continued on her late season roll as she trotted home with an easy 5 ¼ length romp in a new life mark of 1:59.0.

Handled as she has been in her last three starts by trainer Roger Welch, this daughter of Valley Victor settled into a nice spot in third as Maple Grove Native (Sam Widger), the 4-5 choice of the betting public, flew through an opening quarter in 27.1.

The headstrong favorite continued the wicked pace on the backstretch but disaster struck just before half-mile pole as the filly went off stride. That left 52-1 longshot Candy Gram (Tom Graham Jr.) all alone on the front end as the ladies hit the half-mile mark in a torrid 55.3.

Heading around the far turn Candy Gram continued to lead the way. Welch had moved Dream Of Victoria into the perfect striking spot in second while Valle Berry (Tim Tetrick) was some 10 lengths behind in third as the three-quarters went up in 1:26.2.

Through the lane Candy Gram was still the one to catch but a very patient Welch was just waiting to pounce on the leader. With an eighth of a mile to go Dream Of Victoria popped out of the pocket, blowing right by the pacesetter to win going away. Lovely Louann (Dale Hiteman), an Indianapolis Downs invader, turned in a big effort to rally for second while Valle Berry was third. Also moving on to the final were Candy Gram and Tableau.

In the nightcap Blackfoot Farms Mogo On The Gogogo was just that as she flew through the stretch to win by 2 ¼ lengths in 1:59.0.

Handled with a jewelers touch by Hall Of Famer Dave Magee, Mogo On The Gogogo left alertly from post position seven neatly tucking in fourth as Fox Valley Deja (Tim Tetrick) and Gumcorner Flo (Connel Willis) battled to an opening quarter in 29.2.

Heading down the backside Dale Hiteman had Bandelin moving with a head of steam and this filly quickly swept to the top as the field raced by the halfway marker in 58.1.

Trotting around the final bend Bandelin continued to show the way, but Tetrick had Fox Valley Deja out and rolling again and these two were right alongside the leader as they raced by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:28.1. Gumcorner Flo was spying all the action from third while Magee moved Mogo On The Gogogo into a perfect second over position in fourth.

The fillies continued to battle tooth and nail through the stretch with the lead changing hands several times. Gumcorner Flo split horses with a rush to put a nose in front while Bandelin tried to battle back. The two-move effort from Fox Valley Deja was starting to take a toll on that filly but she was still only a head back in third while Mogo On The Gogogo was beginning to get in gear on the far outside.

With a sixteenth of a mile to go Magee urged his filly to the top and she responded beautifully, flying right by the embattled leaders for the victory. Gumcorner Flo turned in a solid effort to be the bridesmaid while Fox Valley Deja hung on for third. Victor’s Phantom, the Lady Lincoln Land Stake winner, overcame a miscue in the far turn to be a fast closing fourth while Bandelin grabbed the last spot in the final with her fifth place finish.

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