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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (4/6/08)
Contact: Tom Kelley
FAVORITES ROLL AS 2008 STAKE SEASON GETS UNDERWAY
Hustled right to the front from post position two by driver Brent Holland, the son of Park Place was never seriously challenged through the early proceedings, pacing leisurely through splits of 28.1, 57.2 & 1:27.1.
Fresh off wins in his last two starts, the Roger Welch trainee still had plenty in reserve for the stretch drive, rattling off a 27.1 final quarter to win by a deceptively easy 1 ¼ lengths. Not Quite Forty ( Brian Carpenters), who was making his first start of the season, turned in a big 26.3 final quarter to rally for second while Parked Onda Street (Tyler Buter) benefitted from a pocket sitting journey to get the show dough. The highly regarded Littlebitoflife (Joe Anderson) appeared to be a bit short in his sophomore debut and wound up fourth.
A red-hot commodity of late, Kinsel has now won four of his last five starts here at Balmoral Park. Unraced as a two-year-old, the bay gelding is quickly making up for lost time and has now hit the board in seven of eight lifetime starts while earning $19,380. The even-money choice of the betting returned $4.20, $3.00 & $3.00.
On paper this match-up looked to be a two-horse race and it proved to be just that with John Carver, John Foders and Joseph Petrera’s Westside Gritty barely holding off the hard charging Kennans Kelli in 1:54.3.
Despite drawing the inside post, driver Brent Holland elected to let a fast leaving Kennans Kelli (Mike Oosting) grab the early lead and that filly led the field through an opening quarter in 29.0.
Not wanting to let his main rival get away with another easy quarter, Holland elected to pull the pocket with his filly and Westside Gritty quickly paced to the front as the field hit the half-mile mark in 58.3.
Heading around the final turn Westside Gritty continued to show the way as longshot Cole’s Amity Jane came calling with a first over bid. Kennans Kelli was still sitting in the garden spot just 1 ½ behind the favorite as the field reached the three-quarter-mile station in 1:26.4.
After rebuffing the challenge from Cole’s Amity Jane, Westside Gritty then had to brace for one final challenge from Kennans Kelli as these two pulled clear of the field by some five lengths. With heavy urging from her pilot Westside Gritty managed to stave off a final try from Kennans Kelli, prevailing by a hard fought neck to remain undefeated in 2008. Townes Party Girl (Dave Magee) finished third, 4 ½ lengths behind the top pair.
The co-holder of the track standard for a two-year-old pacing filly with a mark of 1:52.3, Westside Gritty is now under the guidance of conditioner Ervin Miller. After posting a record of 4-4-0 in 12 starts last season, the daughter of Sportmaster is a perfect two for two this year and she now boasts career earnings of $59,017.
Stakes action continues on Tuesday ($15,000 Speedy Rodney) and Wednesday ($15,500 Trotting Tilly) with trotters getting top billing on both nights. Post time each night is 7:20 pm (central).
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