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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (9/13/07)
Contact: Tom Kelley
WELCOME TO SUPER NIGHT XIX
For the 10th consecutive year Balmoral Park is proud to play host to Illinois’ biggest and richest night of harness racing. Started back in 1989 at Sportsman’s Park, this showcase for the Prairie State’s top pacers and trotters has quickly become one of the biggest nights of harness racing anywhere in North America.
There will be a total of eight championship battles contested this evening along with six consolation events. All eight of the championships carry six-figure jackpots and there will be over $1.5 million in purse money on the line here in Crete Saturday night.
After watching 15 of 18 favorites go up in smoke during last Saturday and Sunday’s elimination battles, “chalk” players figure to be a little nervous as we head into the 14-race card here on Super Night XIX.
The richest event on the card is the 14th and final event which is the $270,000 Orange & Blue Stake for two-year-old pacing colts. The morning line favoritism has gone to Ciara Stables & Michael Polanksy’s Omaha Survivor, who was a runaway 7 ½ length winner in 1:53.3 last week. Two of the three other elimination winners, Chevie Classic Rod and Jolly Lester, will need a little racing luck if they plan on taking home top honors after drawing post positions nine and 10 respectively.
The Filly Orange & Blue carries a jackpot of $260,000 and has been carded as the 10th race of the night. James & Donna Crebs She’s So Hot has been the division leader all season long but the talented youngster needed the luck of the draw to make it into tonight’s final after finishing third in her elimination. The Rick Schrock-trained miss has been victorious in eight of her 10 career starts and she has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite.
Elimination winner Westside Gritty equaled the track record of 1:52.2 for a two-year-old pacing filly in her elimination score and will need another big effort to overcome post position nine in the final. Provisional driver Marcus Miller will have the chance to become the youngest Super Night champion in history when the youngster guides elimination winner Venusinbluejeans postward in here. His father, trainer Erv Miller, also sends out another elimination winner, Lalique Lady, and the highly regarded Kelly’s Keepsake in the race.
HBH Standardbreds Sportsfancy put her name into the record books as the fastest three-year-old pacing filly in the history of Balmoral Park with her 1:50.2 clocking in last week’s elimination action and she is the 3-1 morning line favorite in the $174,000 Grandma Ann Final which has been programmed as race eight. The Homer Hochstetler trainee has been a monster this season, posting 10 wins and four seconds in 16 starts while earning over $190,000. Ryan Anderson will be at the controls as Sportsfancy leaves from post position seven.
Booze Cruzin and Glass Pack, two of the top sophomore pacing colts in the division, cost themselves a spot in tonight’s $170,000 Pete Langley Memorial Final by getting tangled up during last weeks elimination action. That leaves tonight’s 13th race as a wide-open event. Conditioner Erv Miller sends out a five pack of pacers in the race, led by Tanah Merah Farms elimination winner Gotta Go Moe who has drawn post position six. Trainer Jim Eaton’s Kings Road also posted a sharp elimination win and the gelded son of Sportsmaster appears to be in the best shape of his life as he heads into this battle.
The most eagerly awaited showdown of the night comes in race 12 as Clark & Marlene Fairley’s King Johnny and Redbud Stable & Michael McNeely’s Thisbigdogwillfight square off in the $125,000 Dan Patch Final. The former is the two-time defending champion in this event and he will have a chance to become the first three time Super Night winner in history at the ripe old age of nine. The latter has been nothing short of spectacular over the past two seasons, posting 18 wins and more than $327,000 in earnings. North America’s leading reinsman, Tim Tetrick, returns to town to drive King Johnny in tonight’s battle.
Filly and mare pacers will answer the bell in race six as a classy and well-matched field of 10 battles in the $125,000 Ann Vonian Final. Joseph Alflen’s Free is the 3-1 morning line favorite despite drawing the outside starting spot. One of the few favorites to prevail last week, this daughter of Armbro Mackintosh stopped the clock in 1:53 while notching her 22nd win in the past two seasons. Last year’s runner-up in the race, Bobs Minute Maid, along with elimination winner Bow Wow Wine, should also make their presence felt in this match-up.
Trotters get the proceedings started on Saturday night as 10 sophomore colts and geldings meet in the $120,000 Su Mac Lad Final. Trainer Dirk Simpson looks to be in an enviable position as he sends out elimination winners Before He Cheats, the 5-2 morning line favorite in this race and Mystical Banker, who will be looking for his seventh victory in 12 starts this season.
The most wide open race of the night could be the $100,000 Lady Ann Reed Stake which goes as the second race. Brianna Walton & Paula Smith’s Star Swagger, the winner of this year's State Fair Stake Final in Springfield, is the lukewarm 7-2 morning line favorite. Another downstate stakes victress, Vapor Rises, who captured the Windy Skeeter Stake in Duquoin, and Violet Stake winner JC Josie are a close second choice with both being installed at odds of 4-1.
It will be an action packed night from start to finish and it all gets underway with a special post time of 7:00 p.m.
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