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Balmoral Park

Balmoral Park (10/10/06)

Contact: Tom Kelley
(708) 672-1414


Victor's Phantom
Victor's Phantom and driver Andy Miller streak by the finish line with an impressive win in Tuesday's Violet Stake Final at Balmoral Park.
Trotters garnered all the attention on Tuesday night at Balmoral Park as Illinois best diagonally gaited two-year-old colts and fillies competed in the Cardinal and Violet Stake Finals.

The $53,200 Violet Final kicked off the action as a full field of 10 ladies faced the starting gate in race number three. In a division that has been wide-open throughout the summer Tuesday night’s tussle also figured to be a wild and wooly affair from start to finish.

Instead it turned into a showcase for Victor’s Phantom, the 6-5 favorite in the race despite a miscue in her elimination, as she rolled to an impressive two-length victory in a lifetime best of 1:58.3.

Carefully handled through the early stages by driver Andy Miller, this daughter of Valley Victor came away trotting in fifth as Lovely Louann (Todd Warren) circled the field while three wide to grab command as the field reached the quarter-mile mark in 30.0.

After watching Dave Magee pop from the pocket and grab the lead with elimination winner Mogo On The Gogogo Miller decided it was time to get his filly into gear. Moving first over on the backside Victor’s Phantom was trotting in fourth just 2 ¾ lengths behind Mogo On The Gogogo as the fillies reached the halfway station in 59.3.

Heading around the final turn Mogo On The Gogogo continued to show the way but her margin had dwindled to just a head as Victor’s Phantom continued to grind away on the outside. Early leader Lovely Louann was still right in the thick of things in third as the top two raced evenly by the three-quarters in 1:29.4.

Through the lane Mogo On The Gogogo and Victor’s Phantom continued to battle tooth and nail for supremacy. After finally easing by the pace setter with an eighth of a mile to go Victor’s Phantom began to impose her will on that rival. Moving gracefully with her long powerful strides the Roger Welch-trained miss drew away in the late stages for her third career victory. Mogo On The Gogogo was a hard trying second while last week’s other elimination winner, Dream Of Victoria (Ryan Anderson), came on late to finish third.

Along with this triumph and her earlier victories in the $123,000 Lady Lincoln Land and the $25,000 Shawnee Stake, Victor’s Phantom has now moved to the top of the class in the chase for season ending divisional honors. The pride of owners Michael Silber, Robert Rietveld, Paul Gibson and Roger Welch boasts earnings of $104,980 in her first season of racing. Sent off as the public’s choice Victor’s Phantom returned $4.40, $3.20 & $3.00 to her legion of backers.

There was little if no suspense in the $50,450 Cardinal Stake Final as Bruce & Dean Alexander and Connie & Homer Hochstetler’s Vapor Maker continued his late summer and early fall dominance with an easy 4 ¼ wire to wire victory in a career best of 1:57.2.

Employing the same tactics he used in last week’s elimination win driver Brent Holland pointed the gelded son of Vaporize right for the top and they were trotting comfortably up front as they rolled by the opening station in 29.0.

Without a challenge as the field worked their way down the backstretch Vapor Maker continued to stroll along on the engine, taking the field through a half-mile in 58.2.

Cruising along comfortably on the far turn Vapor Maker continued to show the way by an open 1 ½ lengths. Lofty Game (Andy Miller), who did a nice job of finding the pocket from post position eight, was still glued to the pylons in second. Oxford Brilliance (Craig Banks), who dominated the early season action in this division, was struggling with a first over bid in third as they hit the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:28.1.

The issue was never in doubt through the stretch as Vapor Maker kept his eight rivals at bay. Trotting home in 29.1 with no absolutely no urging from Holland, Vapor Maker was well within himself as he won for the fourth time in 12 lifetime starts. A late charge from No Jokin (Dave Magee) earned that gelding the place money in a tight photo over 43-1 longshot Lofty Game.

After failing to hit the board in his first six career starts the Homer Hochstetler trainee has been an absolute terror since winning the State Fair Consolation in Springfield back on August 16. Since that victory Vapor Maker has posted four wins and two seconds over his last six outings, earning over $76,000 in the process. Coupled in the wagering with Orphan Victor the entry returned just $3.20, $2.20 & $2.10.





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