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Balmoral Park

Balmoral Park (5/19/07)

Contact: Tom Kelley


Eliminations for the first “major” Illinois conceived and foaled stake of the season were contested on Saturday night. A total of 14 sophomore colts battled in a pair of $7,500 Cardinal eliminations while 10 of their female counterparts slugged it out in just one $7,500 Violet elimination.

In the first Cardinal split Joseph Costa & Joseph Desapio’s Saratoga John continued to impress as he rolled to a 1 ˝ length victory in 1:53.2.

Patiently handled by driver Brent Holland, the gelded son of Richess Hanover rallied from sixth at the half-mile mark, closing with a 27.1 final split to post his fifth win in 12 starts this season. Big Puff Doggie (Del Chupp) followed the winner’s every move while rallying for the place check, while Escapefromalcatraz (Mike Oosting) shook loose late after getting shuffled to last to finish third. Also gaining spots in the final were Booze Cruzin (Ryan Anderson) & Arthur B Skipalong (Sam Widger).

Hammered at the windows by the betting public the Ervin Miller-trained sophomore returned just $2.60, $2.10 & $2.10.

In the nightcap the “chalk” players had to sweat it out but in the end it was Tanah Merah Farm’s Mahdi rallying in the final strides to win by a neck in a career best of 1:52.4.

After getting shuffled to seventh and last at the top of the stretch things appeared to be pretty bleak for the Ervin Miller trainee. Driver Brent Holland, who just notched his 3,000th career victory on Thursday night, then did a masterful job of getting his charge into a clear lane on the far outside with just over an eighth of a mile to go in the race. The gelded son of Ft. Apache Hanover responded beautifully when given clear sailing, peeling off a wicked 26.1 final split to nip Brother Vinny (Mike Oosting) in the final stride. One Park Place (Sam Widger) carved out the fractions and held on well to finish third. Also moving on to the $50,400 final next Saturday will be D Bird (Dale Hiteman) & Starsky (Ryan Anderson).

Madhi returned $3.00, $2.80 & $2.20 to his relieved backers while moving to a perfect three for three in 2007.

A field of 10 ladies went postward in the Violet elimination with the top eight finishers in the race joining Apache Trick and Faith Leigh, who received byes on a money earned basis, in the $48,000 final next week.

This one went exactly as the betting public predicted as HBH Standardbreds Sportsfancy, the overwhelming 1-5 favorite in the race, cruised to a two-length score in 1:53.1.

Handled as a 1-5 shot should be, driver Ryan Anderson swept from fifth to first on the backstretch with the Homer Hochstetler trained miss. The issue was never in doubt from that point on. With absolutely no urging from her pilot, the daughter of Sportsmaster sprinted away from her rivals in the lane as she won for the third time in four starts this year. Perdido (Todd Warren) did a nice job of overcoming post position nine to finish second while Mrs. Grant Seven (Mike Oosting) finished an even third. Lil Fast Corvette (Jason Dillander), Looking At You (Sam Widger), Colette (Dale Hiteman), Miller Creek Heart (Dean Magee) and Dewers Gingernlime (Brent Holland) also gained starting spots in next week’s action.

Sportsfancy returned $2.40, $2.10 & $2.10 while pushing her career earnings over the $142,000 plateau.

Saturday night’s $21,500 Oil Burner Free For All also provided a thrilling finish as Odds On Breeding’s Make It Brief and driver Ryan Anderson used the passing lane to perfection in a 2 ˝ length triumph.

Despite leaving from the outside post in the field of eight, Anderson was able to work out a beautiful two-hole trip after relinquishing the lead midway down the backstretch.

With Anderson sitting chilly in the pocket until the passing lane, Make It Brief was full of pace. With a sixteenth of a mile to go the classy seven-year-old kicked it into high gear, blowing by the pace setter in route to his third win of the season. Royal Man (Mike Oosting) held on for second while Life Guard On Duty (Jason Dillander) was third.





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