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Illinois County Fairs


Contact: Timothy M. Jones for the Brown County Fair


Fox Valley Whiz
Fox Valley Whiz leading Third Day (driver Mike Brown) just before the wire.
The tears flowing from the eyes of trainer Donna Lee Ozment spoke volumes as she led long shot Fox Valley Whiz into the Taser Gun Pace winners circle Thursday evening at the Brown County Fair. The seven-year-old Incredible Finale gelding had just pulled off the biggest upset in, ironically, the seven-year history of the race. On this night with the race’s namesake as the guest of honor and two 2-year-old trotting marks shattered, it was Fox Valley Whiz who stole the show.

Constant Change, a two-time Taser Gun Pace winner, bolted towards the lead from post 5 for driver Tom Simmons as the starting gate’s wings folded. Mike Cox had Hot N Sporty’s RPM gauge redlined as that duo sped from post 3. Walter Brown was also in a rush for the lead from post 1 for driver Brandon Simpson. The only problem: 3 horses in the first turn trying to occupy the same piece of Mt. Sterling real estate.

Constant Change on the outside, Walter Brown on the inside, and Hot N Sporty sandwiched in between; the dicey situation was resolved only by some expert reinsmanship between drivers as they deftly avoided a worst possible scenario.

Constant Change and Hot N Sporty continued their speed duel on the front end into the backstretch, but it was the former who finally wrestled the lead just before reaching the quarter pole in 28 seconds.

Sprinting towards the half, Constant Change remained on the point, when Sam Widger then called with Fox Valley Whiz, and Hot N Sporty in tow. Widger urged his mount forward to a half length lead, although parked, as the field passed that station in :57.2.

Fox Valley Whiz whizzed down the backstretch of the half mile oval, opening lengths on Hot N Sporty whose fuel gauge had reached empty, as all-the-while Cox worked desperately, but futilely, to keep the horse alive.

Fox Valley Whiz
Dave Clinard, Donna Lee Ozment, Fox Valley Whiz, Sam Widger pose after the winning effort.
Meanwhile, driver Mike Brown had throttled up Third Day, exploding from fifth on the cones in his attempt to reel in the leader. Third Day gobbled up racetrack like a kid in a candy store, but Fox Valley Whiz was not to be denied, and remained strong to the wire, repelling that challenge by a length at the wire, stopping the timer in 1:56.

Kissmekissmekissme (Hart Walker) finished third.

Widger, who drove three winners on the evening card, commented following the race that it was a gamble to come first up at the half the way he did. But the Canton, Illinois native and Chicago driving colony member, felt at the time, it was the only move he could make to give his horse a chance for the win.

Fox Valley Whiz is a seven-year-old Incredible Finale-sired gelding from the mare Mystical Year. Owned by Mt. Sterling resident Dave Clinard, he returned a whopping $400 for the lone win ticket.

Taser Gun
Taser Gun’s harness removal in BCF winners circle (left – right) Bob Walker, Chas Walker holding Taser’s head, Hart Walker (blue colors) reaching down to remove the hobbles.
The Taser Gun Pace’s namesake had his harness pulled for the final time in a winners circle ceremony between the fifth and sixth races.

Hart Walker brushed the former Bob Walker trainee before the Brown County Fair grandstand, reminiscent of the 2002 race in which he guided Taser Gun to a 1:53.4 win, and establishing that mark as the fastest in Illinois county fair history.

Taser Gun
Following the harness removal, (l-r) Bob Walker, Hart Walker (blue colors), owner Bob Cunningham (burgundy striped shirt w/ glasses).
Taser Gun will also be honored at Hawthorne Racecourse’s Night of Champions on Saturday evening. Owners Bob and Tom Cunningham will formally place the Illinois-bred millionaire in the care of the American Standardbred Adoption Program directed by Susan Wellman of De Soto, Wisconsin.

Mt. Sterling’s half mile oval, if the aforementioned instances weren’t enough excitement, has a pair of new trotting marks for two-year-olds.

Third race winner Halls Of Gold, in rein to Jamaica Patton, reset the mark for colt trotters as they crossed the wire in 2:04.2. Also trained by Patton for owner Jerry Mims of Vardaman, Ms, the Bands Gold Chip gelding overcame a break behind the starting gate in which he spotted the field ten lengths before settling down to set the new standard.

Itzalusive broke the minutes-old track standard in race 4. Sam Widger guided the Rosemont Principal-sired filly for owners Ron and Carol Cox of Huntsville, Illinois to the new 2:03.4 plateau for freshman trotters regardless of gender.

Itzalusive first had to hold off a backstretch charge by Spread The Chips (Jamaica Patton) before pulling away in the lane for an open-length win and track record.

The 9-5 morning line favorite has now won 3 of 6 starts, with earnings that exceed $7000.

Mt. Sterling, Illinois is located 65 miles west of Springfield, Illinois on US 24. For more information, please contact Speed Superintendent Ed Teefey’s race office at 217-773-3930, visit the Fair’s web site at, or call the fair office at (217) 773-3939.





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