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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (4/9/07)
Contact: Tom Kelley
STATE BREDS HIGHLIGHT EASTER SUNDAY STAKES ACTION
A trio of Illinois conceived and foaled stakes highlighted a big Easter Sunday night program at Balmoral Park. All three events were restricted to three-year-olds, with both trotters and pacers sharing the top billing in these $15,000 events.
Trotting fillies kicked off the action as a field of five diagonally gaited ladies went postward in the Trotting Tilly Stake.
Blackfoot Farmís sensational two-year-old Mogo On The Gogogo returned to action after a five month layoff, and the daughter of Valley Victor picked up right where she left off with a very game head decision in 1:59.4.
After trotting second through an opening quarter in 30.1, driver Jason Dillander pulled from the pocket on the backside and quickly swept into command with the John Butenschoen-trained miss.
Cruising through pedestrian middle splits of 1:01 & 1:32.1, Mogo On The Gogogo was still fresh as she braced for the challenge of the 4-5 favorite Scarlet Valley (Brent Holland). That filly actually managed to put a head in front at the eighth-pole, but a determined Mogo On The Gogogo fought back gamely at the pylons and reclaimed the lead in the shadow of the wire for the victory. Scarlet Valley was a tough luck second while Filly Hotspur (Del Chupp) was third.
The win was the sixth in 13 career starts for Mogo On The Gogogo and the winnerís share of $7,500 helped this filly crack the $100,000 plateau in career earnings.
Sophomore pacing fillies stepped to the plate for the next event, the $15,000 Direct Balance.
This test also provided a front-stepping winner as Darcy Pletcher and John Barnardís Apache Trick cruised under the wire with a 1 ľ verdict in a career best of 1:55.2.
Given a perfect steer by veteran Mike Oosting, Apache Trick sped to the front after an opening quarter in 28.1. Rated nicely through middle splits of 57.3 and 1:27.3, the daughter of Ft. Apache Hanover was straight and strong through the lane, easily holding her nine rivals at bay while under only mild urging from her pilot. Chevie Chic (Todd Warren) turned in a very solid effort from the 10-hole to be the bridesmaid, while 54-1 longshot Utopianne (Jeff Cullipher) was third.
The win was the first in four starts this season for Apache Trick, who was a two-time winner in her freshman season.
Trotting colts were the featured attraction in the nightcap, as a field of six faced the starting gate for the $15,000 Speedy Rodney Stake.
This race turned into a stroll in the park for Sam Bowieís up and coming youngster Before He Cheats, as the son of Valley Victor went by his rivals like they were standing still en route to a widening 2 Ĺ length triumph in 1:58.2.
Patiently handled by driver Jason Dillander, the Dirk Simpson-trained gelding trotted in fourth as LF Topaz (Steve Searle) and Celebrity Yankee (Brandon Simpson) traded blows through opening splits of 30.0 & 59.2.
Storming up first over on the far turn, Before He Cheats quickly engaged the leaders blowing right by the top two before the eighth pole. With his long fluid strides the 3-5 favorite was on cruise control as he sped under the finish line with his fourth win of the year. Fox Valley Impulse (Mike Oosting) rallied to get the place money, while Watt A Keeper (Brent Holland) snagged the show dough.
Unraced as a two-year-old, Before He Cheats is quickly making up for lost time with four wins and two seconds in his first seven starts. Under the watchful eye of a trotting master like Dirk Simpson, this gelding could wind up being a major player in the sophomore ranks if he continues to progress as he has been.
The top class of Filly and Mare pacers were also in action on Easter Sunday, as a field of seven went postward in the $15,000 Sanabelle Island Open.
Continuing her recent hot streak, Paul Bertucciís Bobs Minute Maid posted her third straight victory as she drew clear in the final sixteenth of a mile to win in 1:53.1.
Handled as always by driver Mike Oosting, this tough as nails seven-year-old wore down the leaders while first over, then drew away late to post her fourth win in 10 starts this year while running her career bankroll up to $147,231.
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