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Illinois County Fairs

(7/31/06)

Contact: Timothy M. Jones
Pacen1492@insightbb.com

Illinois Stallion Stakes - White County Fair

Winsome Wyoming
Leo Burns with Winsome Wyoming head for the finish line.
The Illinois Stallion Stakes was the featured attraction on opening night at the White County Fair in Carmi, Illinois. On tap for the evening were contests for two-year-old Illinois-bred horses.

91-years-young Leo Burns kept the winning streak of his talented filly trotter alive with an impressive gate-to-wire win.

Burns hit the gas from post six with Winsome Wyoming as the wings on the starting gate folded and never looked back. The chestnut daughter of Wilson Wyoming raced unchallenged through fractions of 30.1, 1:01.1, 1:32.4, and ended the trip in 2:05 to erase the White County fairgrounds track record for freshman filly trotters, formerly 2:06.1.

With the win, Burns became the oldest driver to capture an Illinois Stallion Stakes event.

Burns plans to continue racing the undefeated youngster on the southern Illinois county fair circuit. When asked if he was headed to the Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes eliminations August 11, he replied, “No.” He will however be racing his talented miss at the Du Quoin State Fair, but has yet to decide if she will be in the county fair challenges, or conditioned contests.

The first division for colt trotters, raced in the memory of Wrex Vandecar, saw Oxford Brilliance, with driver/trainer Craig Banks aboard, turn in another brilliant performance. Banks shot the Brilliant Victory gelding to the top when starter Mike Titus said “go,” and like Winsome Wyoming’s previous trip, was never seriously challenged.

Oxford Brilliance has now won eight of eight starts. Those triumphs have varied from the county fair circuit, to Illinois-bred stakes at Balmoral Park in Chicago.

The 2:07.3 timed mile put the geldings 2006 earnings over the $15,000.00 mark for owners J.C. Hinshaw and K.L. Hinshaw.

Oxford Brilliance, according to Banks, will make one more start on the county fair circuit, just for tightening purposes, before heading to the Illinois Colt Stakes at Springfield during the Illinois State Fair.

Red On The Head
Tom Graham Sr. with Red On The Head.
The second division of the Wrex Vandecar Memorial trot was more hotly contested than the first. Sweet Willie, piloted by J.D. Finn, was pressured from the half mile mark on by Red On The Head, driven by Tom Graham. The two trotters were battling head-to-head rounding the last turn, the former on the pylons and the latter parked, when Sweet Willie went offstride, and Red On The Head streaked home for a hard earned 2:06.3 win.

Sweet Willie showed enough character to regain his trot and finished second, Bart Revrac, reined by Adrian Price Jr. scooted home third.

Red On The Head is a chestnut Valley Victory colt owned by father and son team Tom Graham Sr. and Tom Graham Jr. of Salem, Il. He has won two of eight starts, but has finished worse than third only twice. He has also earned over $6,000.00. Red On The Head is also being prepped for a trip to the Illinois State Fair.

Past The Evidence
Tom Simmons with Past The Evidence charges by Faith Leigh and Jamaica Patton.
Jamaica Patton raced filly pacer Faith Leigh on the point through fractions of 29 seconds, 1:00, and 1:31.1 to the three quarter call, but could not hold off the challenge from Past The Evidence and driver/trainer Tom Simmons. Simmons sat in pocket with the Cole Muffler miss patiently, then as the field swung off the last turn for home, sprung from the rail and shot by a tiring Faith Leigh for a 2:03.3 win.

Simmons describes the full sister to Illinois and Open champion Big Tom as, “a little bit small, but fiery. She’s been a little late developing, so we’ve had to manage her starts. Get them going too early and there’s nothing left for Super Night.”

Past The Evidence is owned by Hunt Harness Horses. She has now won three of five starts, with place and show finishes to round out her resume.

Mahdi
Mike Cox drives Mahdi to his 2:01.1 win.
Last, but not least, was the fastest mile of the evening, and a hotly contested one also. The lead changed hands between Hicktown (Darla Martin), Mahdi (Mike Cox), and El Hombre (Tom Simmons) three times before the field reached the quarter.

Simmons barreled El Hombre from post 4 when the starting gate wings folded, but the colt couldn’t maintain his gait into the first turn and broke stride. That left Hicktown and Mahdi to battle for bragging rights to who would be first going down the backstretch. Simmons had other notions in mind as he quickly settled his mount and swept past Hicktown and Mahdi to drop in front on the rail just before the quarter. Those three then played leap frog on the front end to the half, with none content to sit in the pocket.

El Hombre’s rough journey began to take a toll heading to three quarters. Mahdi had enough left in the tank to put away Hicktown midway through the final turn, then brushed for the wire to stop the timer in 2:01.1. Hicktown held down the fort for second, and El Hombre gamely finished third.

Owned and bred by Tanah Merah Farms, the Ft. Apache Hanover gelding has won two consecutive starts. Ervin Miller, the 2005 U.S. Harness Writers Association Trainer of the Year, conditions the youngster.

Racing continues at the White County Fair in Carmi, Il. on Monday and Tuesday evening. Post time for both cards is 7 p.m. (CDT).

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