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Balmoral Park

Balmoral Park (9/10/07)

Contact: Tom Kelley

SUPER NIGHT ELIMS ROLL ON; MUSCLE MASS KOs TRACK RECORD

After a wild Saturday night which saw 11 of the 12 elimination favorites in the two and three-year-old pacing divisions fall by the wayside, Super Night elimination battles continued on Sunday night with older pacers competing in the Ann Vonian and Dan Patch eliminations. Sophomore trotting colts were also looking for Super Night starting spots as they battled in a pair of Su Mac Lad elims.

A total of 25 fillies and mares were entered for the Ann Vonian Stake necessitating a split into three divisions. The top three finishers in each split along with one fourth place finisher (drawn by lot) received the chance to advance to Illinois' biggest night of racing on Saturday, Sept. 15.

The tote board lit up once again in the first elimination as Michael Gallo’s Indy Pendent Bay came roaring down the stretch to win by a neck at odds of 54-1 for the red hot Ryan Anderson. A recent acquisition for trainer Barry Langley, this four-year-old went from last to first in the final half-mile as she stopped the clock in 1:51.3. Fox Valley Glitz (Todd Warren), another longshot at 34-1, was a hard-charging second while favored Nanny Withafanny (Mike Oosting) was third. Filly Finale (Brandon Simpson) was fourth. The two longshots teamed up for a $1,004.20 exacta payout while the winning trifecta returned a healthy $9,168.40.

The “chalk” players were left scratching their heads again in the middle division as Sheryl Erickson’s Bow Wow Wine came from well off the pace to win by 1 ¾ lengths in a lifetime best of 1:50.4. Well handled by driver Brandon Simpson, this daughter of The Big Dog used a 26.4 final split to win for the third time in 15 starts this year for hard working trainer Tim Erickson. Bobs Minute Maid (Mike Oosting) turned in a solid effort to finish second while pace setter Kissmekissmekissme (Sam Widger) held on for third. Utopianne (Dale Hiteman) was fourth.

The final division of the Ann Vonian elims held true to form as Joseph Alflen’s good looking filly Free returned to the local scene in victorious fashion. Bet down to 1-5 by a legion of backers, this year’s third place finisher in the Breeders Crown easily wore down the leaders for driver Sam Widger, pulling away late to win by a half-length in 1:53.0. The win was the 22nd in the past two years for this daughter of Armbro Mackintosh who is now under the guidance of Kelvin Harrison. Heartland Charmer (Brent Holland) used a pylon-skimming trip to get the place money while Nasti Nicki (Del Chupp) rallied late to be third. Street Dancer (Dale Hiteman) will need the luck of the draw if she’s going to become a repeat Super Night champion.

The state’s top older pacers had their turn to shine as a total of 18 veterans locked horns in a pair of Dan Patch eliminations. The top five in each division return on Super Night to go for $125,000.

In the opener Redbud Stable & Michael Mcneely’s Thisbigdogwillfight once again lived up to his name, holding his rivals at bay in a front-stepping half-length triumph. Confidently handled by Hall of Famer Dave Magee, this tough as nails four-year-old set all the fractions in route to a 1:50.4 clocking. Under the watchful eye of conditioner Jim Eaton, this son of the The Big Dog has 11 wins in 18 starts this year with earnings of nearly $180,000. My Boy David (Ryan Anderson) followed the winner's every move but was forced to settle for the runner-up role while Coldheartedrevenge (Brent Holland) came on late to finish third. Skippers Top Dog (Mark Saporito) gave trainer Kim Rinker a Super Night starter with his fourth-place finish while Go Warrior Go (Mike Oosting) was fifth.

The nightcap provided a bit of a surprise as John Schwarz Jr. & Robert Silberberg’s Joe Somebody earned a hard-fought head decision over the two-time defending champion of this race King Johnny in 1:50.3. Confidently driven by Del Chupp, this altered four-year-old wore down the champ while first over and then held on gamely as King Johnny showed his mettle battling back in the waning strides to just miss getting the top prize. Hot N Sporty (Brent Holland) came flying late to finish third while Third Day (Ryan Anderson) and Illini Monstermack (Todd Warren) earned spots with fourth and fifth place finishes respectively.

The favorites finally lived up to their billing in the Su Mac Lad eliminations. With a total of 18 diagonally gaited sophomores dropped in the entry box, a pair of eliminations were contested with the top five finishers meeting on Super Night.

In the first split Mystical Marker Farms, Thomas Pollard and Dirk Simpson’s Mystical Banker held firm in the late going to post a half-length victory in 1:57.2. The 9-5 favorite was put on the point just after the quarter by driver Brandon Simpson, and the son of Valley Victor was never really seriously challenged as he rolled to his sixth win in 11 starts this year. LF Topaz (Steve Searle) rallied from eighth at the top of the stretch to finish second while No Jokin (Dave Magee) was third. Thundercrack (Sam Widger) & Spunky Vic (Ryan Anderson) also gained spots in the final.

Sam Bowie’s division leader Before He Cheats gave trainer Dirk Simpson a sweep of the Su Mac eliminations as he cruised to an impressive 6 ¼ length victory in a speedy 1:55.3 for driver Jason Dillander. This good looking son of Valley Victor moved first over on the final turn and left his rivals wondering what hit them as posted his 12th win in 18 starts in this his first season of action. Vapor Maker (Homer Hochstetler) finished second while Oxford Brilliance (Dave Magee) was third. Sweet Willie (Dean Magee) and Fox Valley Isbi (Ryan Anderson) rounded out the top five.

There was elimination action of another sort on the Sunday card as well with 12 two-year-old trotting colts being sent postward in a pair of $15,500 American National Stake eliminations. The top five in each division will be back next week to slug it out for a purse of $115,000.

In the opening split Perretti Racing Stables LLC & Black Horse Racing’s Muscle Mass put his name in the Balmoral Park record books with a 2 ¼ length triumph in 1:56.3. That clocking eclipsed the previous mark of 1:57 for a two-year-old trotting colt. This World Record holder was handled by driver Brent Holland on Sunday night, and the son of Muscles Yankee is now a perfect four for four in his career for trainer Erv Miller.

In the second division Turndorf Racing LLC’s local sensation Maxter made it look easy as he teamed up with driver Dave Magee to post a 2 ¼ length verdict in an effortless 1:59.2. The Roger Welch-trained son of Valley Victor is now 7 for 10 in his career.

With all the elimination action for Super Night completed, the fields will be set with a Tuesday (Sept. 11) evening draw. Saturday’s Super Night card will consist of eight championship tilts and six consolations with all the action getting underway at 7:00 p.m. central.

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