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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (6/21/08)
Contact: Tom Kelley
2008 HANOVER STAKES SEASON UNDERWAY AT BALMORAL
The 2008 edition of the Hanover Stakes kicked off in a big way on Saturday night as five separate events shared the spotlight on a 14-race card. With four of the five stakes being split into two divisions, races two through 10 on the program were all Hanover battles.
Freshman pacing fillies started the ball rolling as a total of 14 youngsters were split into a pair of $25,000 tussles.
Well positioned in third as Merced (Todd Warren) strolled through splits of 29.4 & 1:00.2, driver Brent Holland maneuvered Honey’s Luck off the pylons midway around the final turn. The daughter of Sportsmaster then exploded to the top, quickly opening up a 1 ½ length lead, as she led the field by the three-quarter-mile station in 1:30.0.
“I didn’t want to move her too early tonight but the fractions were soft so I went with her,” explained Holland. “She has a very quick burst of speed and tonight she impressed me with how long she carried that burst.”
The Erv Miller-trained miss then proceeded to put the rest of the field in her rear view mirror as she flew home in 26.1 to win for the second time in as many starts. Notjustaprettyface (Todd Warren) turned a ground-saving trip into a second place finish while another Miller trainee, Right Right (Marcus Miller), rallied late to finish third.
Heavily backed at the windows after debuting with a win in the Misty Misty Misty Stake here at Balmoral, this $42,000 yearling purchase returned $3.20, $2.20, & $2.10.
In the second division of the two-year-old filly pacing action another Erv Miller trainee, Thou Shall Not (Brent Holland), toted home top honors but was disqualified for causing interference to several horses on the final turn and placed sixth.
Not to fret for the Miller barn though as Wild Hog, who he co-owns with Bert Hochsprung, was moved up from second to first.
Wild Hog was confidently handled by provisional driver Marcus Miller, who sent his charge to the front after an opening quarter in 29.2. The daughter of Richess Hanover then proceeded to roll through middle splits of 1:00 & 1:30.0.
Holding off a challenge from the pocket sitting Blueridge Betty (Todd Warren) in mid-stretch, Wild Hog looked to be home free until her stablemate came flying up the inside to nail her in the final 50 yards. Unfortunately the one-two finish was nullified by the judge’s decision that Holland had come out late while moving around the far turn, thus interfering with China Girl (Ryan Anderson) who was moved from third to second. It was also determined that Thou Shall Not also impeded the progress of sixth place finisher Major’ Sweetheart as she tried to get back down to the pylons. That resulted in fourth place finisher Blueridge Betty being moved from fourth to third.
After a pair of second place finishes to open her career, Wild Hog finally broke into the win column thanks to the disqualification while returning $4.60, $3.80 & 2.60.
A total of 19 two-year-old pacing colts were dropped into the entry box necessitating a split into two $27,600 divisions.
In the opening split Angie Nessa, Bart Seales and PVB Me ASAP Horse Stable’s Suprizemeagain grabbed command on the backstretch and then held sway to the wire, winning by 1 ½ lengths in 1:54.2.
Getting away in the pocket as Ronnie Gillespie sent Fox Valley Lector to the top, Anderson moved his charge to the outside as the field moved by the opening quarter in 29.4.
Getting a decent challenge from the early leader, Surprizemeagain finally made it to the front as the field reached the halfway station in 58.3.
The issue was never really in doubt from that point on, as the son of Western Hero opened up a 1 ¾ advantage as he rolled by three-quarters of a mile in 1:27.1. Extending his lead to three by the mid-stretch call, the Shawn Nessa trainee was on cruise control the rest of the way as he made his debut a winning one. Longshot Star City Hero (Brandon Simpson) came on late to finish second while another outsider, Annieswesterncard (Travis Seekman), nabbed the show dough.
Coming off a pair of winning qualifiers, Anderson was singing the praises of trainer Shawn Nessa for the job he did getting his colt ready. “Shawn’s done a great job managing this colt,” said Anderson. “He put two solid qualifiers into him and I really think this Indiana bred can be something special.” Surprizemeagain received plenty of backing from the public as he returned $4.80, $3.00 & $2.60.
Basically cutting his own mile, driver Brent Holland had Redneck Riviera sitting in second as He’s All Art (Dale Hiteman) rolled out to a big early lead while carving out splits of 29.0, 55.0 & 1:26.0.
Holland began to reel in the tiring leader at the top of the stretch. Moving swiftly on the outside of the pace setter this son of Red River Hanover flew right on by and continued to widen his winning margin with each and every stride. Fox Valley Saphron (Mike Oosting), who came into the race undefeated and the national season’s leader for a two-year-old gelding pacer with a mark of 1:54.2, had some traffic problems and was forced to settle for a second place finish. Who’s The Boss (Tyler Buter) was a distant third.
After the race Holland was quite impressed with his colt. “We really didn’t use him much in his qualifiers but I had worked him faster than he qualified just last week,” said the winning pilot. “I knew he was a very handy colt but you never know how far they can carry their speed at this point in their career. I think he showed tonight he’s got the chance to be a pretty nice horse.”
Owned by the partnership of Carol Reynolds, Benita Simmons and Heidi Miller, Redneck Riviera was dispatched as the second choice in the betting returning $10.40, $3.60 & $3.40.
Trotters were up next on the card as an overflow field of 12 three-year-old trotting colts knocked heads for a purse of $55,200.
Sent to the top by driver Ryan Anderson, Maxter led the field through an opening split of 28.4. Anderson then elected to let a hard charging Big Boy Lloyd (Tyler Buter) go, positioning himself perfectly in the pocket, as that trotter rolled through splits of 57.2 & 1:27.2.
“With this big of a field positioning was everything,” said Anderson. “I knew Tyler’s horse was good enough to carry us to the stretch so I was more than happy to sit on his back when he came after us.”
The leader began to tire and drift a bit with an eighth of a mile to go, allowing Anderson an unobstructed path to victory with the Roger Welch-trained sophomore. Fox Valley Odyssey (Dave Magee) overcame a second tier starting spot and a grueling journey to rally for the place money, while third place finisher Fox Valley Love Ya (Dale Hiteman) finished third but was disqualified and placed ninth for causing interference to Shaman Hall in the stretch drive. That moved Frisk’Em from fourth to third.
After an impressive two-year-old season in which he earned more than $158,000, this son of Valley Victor has picked up right where he left off, posting a record of four wins and three seconds in eight starts while running his career earnings up to $230,990. Coming into the Hanover with a three-race winning streak, Maxter was sent off as the overwhelming favorite in the wagering returning just $3.00, $2.40 & $2.10.
It was back to the pace for the next Hanover Stake as a total of 12 three-year-old fillies met in a pair of $29,300 match-ups.
Looking more like a cagey veteran than a provisional driver, Travis Seekman did a magnificent job of keeping his filly in the race as she was a handful on the turns once again.
“I know she’s tough to get around the turns so my main goal was to make sure I kept her pacing and in reach of the rest of the field,” said the 18-year-old Michigan native.
Maneuvering carefully around the turn, Seekman had Desirable Cindy sitting in fifth on the outside of horses as last year’s Hanover winner Beachy Girl cruised through fractions of 27.4, 57.0 & 1:25.2 After skillfully getting the daughter of Real Desire around the final bend, Seekman set sail for home with his charge.
Racing three and four wide, Desirable Cindy was as smooth as silk in the lane uncorking a wicked 26.2 final quarter as she picked off one rival after another for her third career victory. Kelly’s Keepsake (Marcus Miller) was a game second while Natalie (Dave Magee) was third.
In the winners circle Seekman was quick to give his dad Joe – who handles the training duties for Desirable Cindy – plenty of credit as well. “He tightened up the hobbles on this filly during the week and she turned in a big training mile so I knew he would have her in great shape for this race,” said a very happy Seekman.
Coming off a victory in her 2008 debut over this oval, Desirable Cindy returned $9.60, $6.00 & $4.60 to her backers while pushing her career earnings up to $99,095.
The second division wound up turning into a stroll in the park as Ken Spurlock’s good looking Illinois bred Kennans Kelli continued her sophomore season with a wire-to-wire victory in 1:53.2.
Whisked away from the gate by Balmoral’s leading reinseman Mike Oosting, this daughter of Cole Muffler was in complete command as she rattled off splits of 28.3, 57.3 & 1:25.0.
“She was very relaxed tonight and not as fired up as she usually is,” said Oosting. “Once they started to get near us in the stretch I just called on her a little bit and she sprinted away from them.”
Widening her advantage to five lengths with just an eighth of a mile to go, Kennans Kelli was on cruise control the rest of the way as she reported home with an easy 2 ¾ length verdict. Blue Rae (Tyler Buter) shook loose late to finish second while Towne’s Party Girl (Dave Magee) rallied late to finish third.
The Joel Smith trainee is enjoying a banner year in 2008, posting a record of six wins, five seconds and one third in 16 starts this year. Coming into the race off a second place finish in the Filly Maywood Pace the previous week, Kennans Kelli was bet to the near exclusion of her five rivals returning just $3.00, $2.20 & $2.10 while running her seasonal earnings up to $85,339.
The final Hanover of the night was fashioned for three-year-old pacing colts. With 20 entries dropped into the box, this battle was split into a pair of $33,200 divisions.
Once again it was another Illinois bred who grabbed the spotlight in the opening split as Desyllas Racing, William Beck & Carol Rieken’s Lets Getit Started overpowered his rivals in the late going to win by two lengths in a snappy 1:51.4.
Using a second over trip, driver Sam Widger had made his way up to fourth as Dax Hanover (Dave Magee) and Vette Man (Brandon Simpson) traded turns on the lead through early splits of 28.0 & 56.1.
Following a hard charging Choros C (Del Chupp), Lets Getit Started was left first over when that rival made it to the front midway around the far turn. Moving into third as the field reached the three-quarter-mile station in 1:23.2, a confident Widger had his charge just 2 ½ lengths off the lead as the field turned for home.
“I wasn’t worried about not having cover at that point,” said Widger. “My horse is a big grinding horse who just keeps going. I knew with the track being a bit tiring tonight that my horse would eventually wear the leader down.”
True to his word Widger and Lets Getit Started eventually moved by the leader with a sixteenth of a mile to go and gradually drew away for the victory. Dax Hanover shook loose late after getting shuffled back through the middle part of the race to finish second while King Of Kings (Marcus Miller) & Vette Man finished in a dead-heat for third.
The win was the third in nine starts this season for Lets Getit Started, who returned $7.60, $3.20 & $2.10 while going over the $157,000 mark in career earnings.
After getting away fourth driver Ryan Anderson, who was celebrating his 28th birthday on Saturday night, was forced to move his charge first over as Mucho Sleazy led the field through fractions of 27.2, 55.3 & 1:22.4. Turning for the money the Joe Seekman trainee was just two lengths behind the pace setter while sitting in third.
“Obviously I wasn’t thrilled with the first over trip we had but I knew I still had a ton of horse when we hit the top of the stretch,” said the birthday boy. “Once we straightened out he just kicked it into gear and went right by the other horse.”
Pacing home in 27.0, Art Offical made it look easy as he cruised home with his fourth win in nine starts this season. Mucho Sleazy was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night, while Froggy Turner (Dave Magee) finished third.
After the proceedings Seekman elaborated on his winning steed. “He came back from Canada in great shape so I was pretty confident heading into tonight’s race,” he said. “Next week we’ll head to Hoosier for the $500,000 Hoosier Cup and then hopefully will be going east to the Meadowlands for the Meadowlands Pace.”
This lifetime winner of $189,383 was sent off as the 3-5 choice of the betting public returning $3.40, $2.20 & $2.10, as the “chalk” players continued to have a big night.
Balmoral Park will head into its summer break after Sunday’s program. Sunday night’s 12-race card will feature the $43,800 Hanover Stake for three-year-old trotting fillies as well as a pair of $5,000 Fox Valley Evita Stake splits for Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old trotting fillies. Those will go as non-wagering events before the start of the 6:30 pm post time.
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