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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (5/12/08)
Contact: Tom Kelley
WELCH TRAINED SOPHOMORES SHINE IN ISOBA SPLITS
With 13 colts and geldings dropped into the box, the male side of this stake was split into a pair of $10,700 divisions.
In the opener Roger Welch and Michael Silberís Spirit Lifter continued his impressive maturation process with a very strong three-quarter length victory in a career best of 1:57.2.
After getting away fourth through an opening quarter in 29.4, driver Mike Oosting had his charge on the move as they headed down the backstretch. They had made their way up into third as Fox Valley Love Ya (Dale Hiteman) led the field past the halfway point in 1:00.1.
Heading around the final bend Oosting continued to carefully progress while uncovered, while he and Spirit Lifter were just a head behind the pace setter as they rolled by the three-quarter mile mark in 1:29.4.
Through the stretch a determined Spirit Lifter once again showed off his powerful closing kick as he rattled home in 27.3 to post his third win in seven lifetime starts. Maxter (Dave Magee) shook loose late to finish second while Fox Valley Love Ya held on for third.
Unraced at two, Spirit Lifter is quickly making up for lost time under the care and guidance of Amy Welch.
Sent right to the top by driver Brent Holland, this son of Armbro Tropicana proceeded to cruise unchallenged through leisurely splits of 30.0, 1:01.2 & 1:31.4.
Continuing to hold his rivals at bay through the lane, the Ervin Miller trainee finally felt some heat from the pocket sitting Fox Valley Odyssey (Dave Magee) with a sixteenth of a mile to go. But after the slow fractions Tropicanaís Star still had something in reserve as he held tough for his second win in three career starts. Fox Valley Odyssey was second while even-money favorite Mood Man (Mike Oosting) was forced to overcome an early break just to finish third.
In the first division Phillip Rietveldís So Sexy overcame the breaking problems that had plagued her in her last two starts, minding her manners perfectly throughout a three-quarter-length triumph in a lifetime best of 1:59.3.
Content to trot along and save ground while sitting in third through splits of 29.2 & 1:00.4, Hall of Fame reinsman Dave Magee decided it was time to make his move with So Sexy as the field headed around the far turn. Methodically chewing up ground while first over, the daughter of Valley Victor was just a length behind the pace setting Fox Valley Shannon (Sam Widger) as they reached the three-quarter-mile pole in 1:31.1.
Those two fillies then proceeded to hook up in a thrilling stretch duel. Even-money favorite Campaign Wife (Homer Hochstetler) was also right in the thick of things sitting right behind the embattled leaders. But in the end it was So Sexy who was the freshest as she finally wore down the pacesetter then held off a final bid from Campaign Wife to win for the first time in four starts this season. Fox Valley Shannon faded to third, five lengths behind the winner.
The Roger Welch-trained miss now has three wins, two seconds and one third in 16 career starts with earnings of $65,910.
Sitting in mid-pack as Lil Bit Tuff (Dave Magee) sped through splits of 29.4 & 59.4, a confident Brent Holland tugged on the right line of his filly as they headed into the final turn. She responded beautifully, moving up to engage the leader as the two fillies raced by the three-quarter-mile station in 1:30.4.
It was all Victoria Hall once the field straightened for home, as the daughter of Valley Victor quickly opened up a three-length advantage by the mid-stretch call. On cruise control the rest of the way, Victoria Hall was well within herself as she posted a long overdue score in her 12th career start. Winning Blade (Mike Ooosting), the overwhelming 3-5 favorite, made a break behind the gate but did a nice job of regrouping to finish second while Cardinal Speedy (Tyler Buter) was a distant third.
Overlooked at the windows, Victoria Hall returned a healthy win price of $30.00.
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