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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (11/5/06)
Contact: Tom Kelley
THE COUNTDOWN TO NOV 11 AMERICAN NATIONAL NIGHT BEGINS NOW!
With five big American National Finals and one Hanover Stake rapidly approaching the chase for some $750,000 in purse money began on Saturday Night with four eliminations for the big five finals were contested. The Two-Year-Old Colt Trotting set was the only group that did not need an elimination.
Kicking things off was the Two-Year-Old Filly Trot. A field of 10 was sent postward for a purse of $22,300 on Saturday night with the top nine finishers getting the chance to join Godiva Hall in the $125,000 (est.) final on next Saturday’s huge card.
Al Libfeld & Marvin Katz’s Sweet Alabama has been quite a well traveled lady in her first season and once again she showed that she can adapt to any surface with a very sharp front stepping win in 1:59.1 on a damp chilly night.
After getting away second driver Jason Dillander pulled his filly from pocket on the backside, and the issue was never in doubt from that point on as the Osvaldo Formie trained miss reported home with a 1 ¾ length triumph. Flash Lightning (Dan Shetler) sat on the winner’s back the entire race to wind up as the bridesmaid while Illinois bred Mogo On The Gogogo (Dave Magee) the favorite in the race, wound up third.
Next on tap were Two-Year-Old Pacing Fillies. Once again a field of 10 lined up behind the gate looking for a chance to meet Cabana Fever in next week’s $130,000 (est.) conclusion.
This one turned in to a showcase for the HBH Standardbreds red-hot Sportsfancy as she cruised to her fourth straight victory in 1:53.3.
After getting away a little slower than usual driver Ryan Anderson moved his filly to the outside from fifth as the field headed down the backside. Picking “em” and layin “em” down the daughter of Sportsmaster smoked right the early leaders.
Maintaining a steady advantage around the far turn and through the lane Sportsfancy appeared to be well within herself as she rolled under the wire with her sixth win in 14 starts this season. Yankee Augusta (Charlie Norris) did a nice job of overcoming post position to finish second while Orgami Rose (Sam Widger) gave the home folks another one to cheer for next week with a solid third place finish.
The Two-Year-Old Colt Pace also put a highly regarded Illinois bred youngster in the spotlight as John Butenschoen, Edward Bardowski, Lorelie Knar and S. Zilli’s The Quiet Mon lived up to his 2-5 backing with a 1 ¼ victory in a snappy 1:51.3.
Content to bid their time near the back and middle of the pack after leaving from post position eight driver Jason Dillander was very patient with the son of Richess Hanover.
Picking up a nice cover flow just before the half-mile mark Dillander then raced second over all the way to the top of the stretch where he was just 1 ¼ lengths behind the leader. Uncorking a big closing split of 27.0 the John Butenschoen trained gelding went right by his rivals to record his fifth win in six career starts. That victory enables him to get one more crack at World Record Holder Homebed Advantage who has been his nemesis all summer here in the Prairie State. Truey’s Legacy (Pat Berry) uncorked a big rally to finish second in this race while Active Trading (Sam Widger) was third. Next week’s final goes for an estimated $130,000.
Perhaps the most impressive effort of the night came in the Three-Year-Old Filly Trot elimination as Harmony Spring Stable’s Hidden Vigorish used her blazing speed to perfection in a 5 ¼ length romp.
Confidently handled by Pennsylvania based Brian Zendt this filly was kept out of harms way around the far turn before charging to the front as the field straightened up the backside. Moving with her long powerful strides this Arden Stake winner opened up a 4 ¼ length lead by the time she turned for home. Still pouring it on her rivals the Perry Smith trained miss was up six at the mid-stretch call before putting it on cruise control as she stopped the clock in 1:54.2. The win was her 10th in just 12 career starts and she figures to give the filly that received the bye, Workout Doll, all she can handle in next week’s $150,000 (est.) final. Lady Blaze (Dan Shetler Jr.) was second while Illinois champion Victor’s Finesse (Brent Holland) was third.
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