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|Balmoral Park (10/30/08)
Contact: Tom Kelley
AMERICAN NATIONALS BRING NORTH AMERICA’S TOP HORSES & DRIVERS TO BALMORAL PARK
Balmoral Park will showcase some of North America’s top horses as well as the cream of the crop among the driving colony on Saturday night as six big American National Stakes will be contested on a big 14-race program. In all, over $1.2 million in purse money will be up for grabs on the Saturday card.
Headlining the American National Festival of Racing is the $300,000 three-year-old colt pace which features Little Brown Jug winner and World Record holder Shadow Play. The striking son of The Panderosa also counts the Windy City Pace and the Adios among his 12 victories this season. Under the tutelage of trainer/co-owner Dr. Ian Moore, Shadow Play checks into Saturday’s American National with more than $885,000 in earnings this season for the ownership group of Moore, hockey legend Serge Savard and the R G McGroup Ltd. In perhaps his most impressive performance of the season, Shadow Play obliterated the World Record for a three-year-old pacing colt on a 5/8th-mile track with his 1:48.2 clocking at Pocono this summer. As usual David Miller will handle the driving duties behind Shadow Play, who is the 8-5 morning line favorite from post position five.
Mr. Big, the top-rated older pacer in North America, will go for his 10th consecutive win in the $200,000 Aged Pace. The five-year-old son of Grinfromeartoear is fresh off an impressive win in the $317,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington, and he has been installed as the 3-2 favorite in Saturday’s event. The Virgil Morgan trainee is the only pacer in history to post million dollar plus earnings in both his four and five-year-old seasons. His 2008 earnings of $1,528,932 for owner Joseph Muscara also makes him the single-season record holder for an older pacer. Longtime Chicago favorite Tony Morgan, who leads the country in victories this season, will be back in town to handle the driving duties and this formidable duo will leave from post position two.
Enough Talk, the fastest trotter in history with a mark of 1:49.3 which he took just three weeks ago at Colonial Downs in the Patriot, is the 3-2 favorite to rack up another victory in the $190,000 Aged Trot. The pride of trainer/co-owner Peter Kleinhans comes to town after an easy front-stepping score in the $100,000 Oleg Cassini Invitational at Yonkers last Saturday. That victory was the seventh in 23 starts this season for the five-year-old gelded son of Enjoy Lavec. A model of consistency throughout his career, Enough Talk has hit the board in 47 of his 59 lifetime starts and he comes to town just $2,000 shy of going over the $1 million mark for Kleinhans and partner Jerry Silva. Ron Pierce will climb into the bike to guide Enough Talk who has drawn post position two for this battle.
Bulletproof Enterprises' Schoolkids was a sharp winner in his elimination for the American National Two-Year-Old Colt Pace and he looks to be the one to beat in the $170,000 final. This good looking son of I Am A Fool was on cruise control in his win last week, stopping the clock in an effortless 1:53.0. The Tracy Brainard trainee boasts a record of six wins, three seconds and one third through his first 11 career starts with earnings of $122,876. Schoolkids, who also won a division of the Bluegrass Stake at The Red Mile in 1:51.4 on Oct. 4, will have the services of North America’s leading money winning driver and Chicago fan favorite Tim Tetrick. The 9-5 morning line favorite will leave from post position six.
Sophomore pacing fillies will slug it out for a $165,000 jackpot and this looks to be a very even group of distaffers. Kentucky Sire Stakes champion and Bluegrass Stakes winner Btwnyurheartnmine returns to the Chicagoland area where she started her career, and the daughter of Real Desire is the 3-1 morning line favorite with Tim Tetrick in the bike. Under the watchful eye of conditioner Ross Croghan, Btwnyurheartnmine has racked up six wins and three seconds in 11 starts this season with earnings of $322,525 for the partnership of Let It Ride Stables and the Robert Cooper Stables of Florida. Btwnyurheartnmine has drawn post position two for Saturday’s tussle.
Local hope Fox Valley Topaz is the slight 3-1 favorite in the $116,000 Two-Year-Old Filly pace, another test which looks like it should be wide-open affair from start to finish. The state-bred daughter of Sportsmaster is fresh off a win in the $61,750 Violet Stake Final at Maywood Park on Oct. 10, and she has racked up some pretty impressive numbers in her first season. Under the steady guidance of Ken Rucker, this year’s Filly Orange & Blue winner has posted eight wins, two seconds and one third in 11 starts with earnings of $244,350 for the Engel & Rucker Stables. Balmoral’s leading reinsman, Mike Oosting, will be in the bike as usual behind Fox Valley Topaz, who has drawn the inside starting spot among the field of 10.
Joining the regular driving ranks here at Balmoral Park on Saturday night will be former Chicago stars such as Morgan, Tetrick and Andy Miller. With David Miller, Ron Pierce, Dave Palone and Yannick Gingras also scheduled to drive multiple horses that night Balmoral Park will have seven of the top eight money winning drivers (1. Tetrick 3. Da. Miller 4. Pierce 5. Morgan 6. A. Miller 7. Gingras 8. Palone) in the country competing here on Saturday night. Also, seven of the top 15 dash winning drivers in 2008, which includes local drivers Mike Oosting (6th), Brent Holland (12th), and Sam Widger (15th), will be in action making this a true must-watch event for fans throughout the country.
Balmoral Park will also offer a “special” fifty-cent American National Pick 5 on races four through eight with a guaranteed $25,000 pool.
All the action gets underway at 7:20 pm (central) on Saturday night. For more information call Balmoral Park at (708) 672-1414 or check out their website at www.balmoralpark.com.
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