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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (11/1/06)
Contact: Tom Kelley
LOFTY GAME REACHES NEW HEIGHTS IN ISOBA SUPER SALES STAKE
Taking advantage of miscues by three of the five starters in the race, Brenda and Trenton Watson’s Lofty Game circled rivals on the far turn in route to a convincing four-length triumph in 2:02.1.
Nicely handled by driver Mike Oosting the gelded son of High Falls was content to bide his time at the back of the pack as EC Wilson’s Fire (Jamaica Patton) rolled through splits of 30.4 and 1:01.2.
Oosting had the Trenton Watson trainee out and rolling on the far turn circling horses while three-wide. Moving like a freight train, Lofty Game had pulled to within a half-length of the pace setter as they moved by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:31.4.
Leaving no doubt as to who was the best on this night Lofty Game blew right by the leader, quickly opening a two-length advantage by the mid-stretch call. Continuing to widen his margin throughout the final eighth of a mile Lofty Game was all alone as he rolled under the wire with his first career victory. Trottin Tudino (Homer Hochstetler) staged a mild rally to take home the place money while a tired EC Wilson’s Fire hung on for third.
Despite going winless through his first 18 lifetime starts Lofty Game had still managed to earn nearly $20,000 for his connections. With Wednesday’s $8,000 winner’s check added to the mix this youngster now sports a bankroll of $27,775.
A pair of $15,500 Open events were also contested on the Wednesday night card. In the Filly and Mare Pace Harry Von Knoblauch’s Lady Juniper N spoiled the homecoming of the great Loyal Opposition as she came flying down the lane to win by 1 ½ lengths in a career best of 1:52.2.
Reserved in the early going by driver Dave Magee, this six-year-old New Zealand import stormed up first over on the far turn. With relentless determination Lady Juniper N then wore down the Illinois bred champion, drawing off in the final sixteenth of a mile to win for the second time in four U.S. starts. Ft. Apache Annie (Todd Warren) came on late to be the bridesmaid while Loyal Opposition (Brent Holland) held on for third after setting all the fractions.
A field of seven diagonally gaited specialists squared off in the Open Trot and when the smoke cleared from this battle it was 25-1 longshot American Lane pulling off the shocker in a tight three horse photo.
Using the inside starting spot to perfection driver-trainer Homer Hochstetler positioned the four-year-old in the pocket right behind the 7-5 favorite Universal Star (Brent Holland) as that trotter carved out all the fractions.
Saving ground every step of the way, Hochstetler patiently awaited the passing lane as things tightened up through a heated stretch drive. Securing room with less than a sixteenth of a mile to go the son of Primrose Lane bravely drilled through along the pylons to win by a head in a lifetime best of 1:56.2. Universal Star held on gamely to finish second while Arcola (Ryan Anderson) turned in a solid effort to take home the show dough.
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