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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (4/8/08)
Contact: Tom Kelley
HALLS OF GOLD SPLASHES TO VICTORY
With a spring downpour turning the track into a sea of mud and reducing visibility, driver Brandon Simpson decided the best place to be was on the front end as he gunned Halls Of Gold away from the outside post in this field of seven. The bay gelding was parked throughout most of the opening split but he finally managed to clear a stubborn Knock Me Down (Dean Magee) as the field hit the quarter-mile mark in 29.0.
The issue was never in doubt from that point on as the Dirk Simpson-trained sophomore increased his lead to 2 ľ lengths as he rolled by the halfway station in a snappy 58.2.
The sloppy surface seemed to suit Halls Of Gold just fine as Simpson stepped on the gas pedal heading around the far turn. By the time they reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:27.4 Simpson and Halls Of Gold were five lengths ahead of a first over Mystical Zone (Mike Oosting). Maxter (Dave Magee), the heavy 4-5 favorite of the betting public, was struggling to get into gear while racing in fifth as the field turned for home.
Continuing on with his most impressive effort to date, Halls Of Gold was on cruise control the rest of the way as he reported home with a decisive score in 2:00.0. Maxter rallied belatedly to finish second while Tropicana Ron (Randy Jacobs) was third, 10 lengths behind the winner.
Overlooked at odds of 15-1 after being scratched sick for his last start, Halls Of Gold returned $33.40, $11.80 & $4.40 while winning for the 11th time in 25 career starts.
Tuesday night also marked the return of driver Ryan Anderson who had been out of action since suffering a broken femur in a racing accident back on Dec. 23, 2007. Anderson drove in a pair of races Tuesday night and will embark on his full time return to the bike later this week.
Stakes action continues on Wednesday ($15,500 Trotting Tilly) with trotters getting top billing. Post time is 7:20 pm (central).
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