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Balmoral Park

Balmoral Park (4/7/07)

Contact: Tom Kelley


The first stake race of the 2007 season provided plenty of action and excitement with a photo finish and a disqualification taking fans on a roller coaster ride of emotions. When the smoke finally cleared and the decision was handed down it was Redbud Stables and Kenneth Spurlock’s Big Puff Doggie and driver Del Chupp taking home the winners share of the $15,000 Taurus Bomber Stake for sophomore pacing colts.

The original race winner, Saratoga John, was disqualified and placed fourth for causing interference to Arthur B Skipalong at the half-mile mark.

Things started innocently enough as driver Todd Warren gunned He’s A Big Star to the front from post position six. Gliding over to the pylons midway around the opening bend Hes A Big Star was in complete control as he paced through an opening quarter in 27.2.

The action began to pick up on the backside as Hes A Big Star continued to show the way. Y Z Two Fifty (Dave Magee), the 3-5 favorite in the race, was enjoying a perfect pocket trip at this point while One Park Place (Sam Widger) was getting set to pull from third as the field hit the halfway point in 55.3. Saratoga John (Brent Holland), who was fourth at the time, tried to follow that rival's cover but a hard charging Arthur B Skipalong (Mike Oosting) had already moved alongside. As Holland tried to maneuver his charge to the outside Oosting was forced to move Arthur B Skipalong three wide as the field headed into the far turn.

Heading to the three-quarter-mile mark Hes A Big Star was clinging to a precarious head advantage. One Park Place had pulled right alongside the pace setter while Y Z Two Fifty continued to skim the pylons in third as the three-year-olds passed three-quarters in 1:26.0.

Moving through the lane a tenacious One Park Place finally wore down the leader. Saratoga John had found his best stride and was gaining ground in second while Arthur B Skipalong was rallying on the outside of the leaders. Big Puff Doggie, who was sitting in seventh and last as the field turned for home, was also in high gear as he picked off horses on the grandstand side.

At the wire it was Saratoga John reporting home with a neck score over the hard charging Big Puff Doggie. Papichulo (Ryan Anderson) shook loose to finish third just 1 ˝ lengths back. As soon as the numbers had been posted the inquiry sign was illuminated.

After reviewing the video the judges determined that Holland and Saratoga John had come out a step late interfering with Oosting and Arthur B Skiplong. Saratoga John was placed fourth for the infraction giving the victory to Big Puff Doggie. Papichulo was moved up to second while Arthur B Skipalong inherited the show position.

The win was the first of the season for the Jim Eaton trainee who had been campaigning at the Meadowlands before heading back to Illinois for the stakes season. Overlooked in the wagering the son of The Big Dog returned a healthy $25.60, $8.80 & $6.80.

One of Illinois “favorite sons” made his return to the Prairie State a successful one as Shirley Le Vin’s My Boy David knocked off six rivals in the $21,500 Three Olives Free For All.

Confidently handled by driver Ryan Anderson, My Boy David pulled the pocket going to the half-mile mark and never looked back in route to a one-length triumph in a speedy 1:52.0.

Under a hand drive from Anderson through the lane the Homer Hochstetler trainee held last week’s FFA winner Canyon Wind (Joe Anderson) at bay to pick up his first win of the season. Chief Red Cloud N (Del Chupp) was third.

With the winner’s share of $10,750 the four-year-old son of Cole Muffler last season’s Langley Memorial winner is just $500 shy of $900,000 in career earnings.

Racing resumes on Sunday with a big Easter night program featuring three Illinois conceived and foaled stake races. The 12-race card gets underway at 6:30 p.m.





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