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|Balmoral Park (11/2/08)
Contact: Tom Kelley
SHADOW PLAY AND ENOUGH TALK SHINE IN AMERICAN NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT
It was no stroll in the park for the 1-5 favorite as Shadow Play had to work hard to get command from the early pacesetter Corner Blitz, taking control of the proceedings just before the :26 4/5 opening quarter.
“Even though the first quarter was tough I wasn’t that concerned once we got the lead,” said Miller. “My horse relaxes pretty well. We were able to get a nice second quarter breather (:29 3/5) in him and he did the rest.”
Fighting off a stretch-long challenge from a game Blueridge Western (Dave Palone) this son of The Panderosa-Matt’s Filly held firm to the wire to win by a hard-fought length.
A $28,000 supplement to the American National, Shadow Play’s $138,000 winner’s share of the purse made him harness racing’s newest season millionaire with earnings of $1,023,946.
Things appeared to be going just as the public figured as driver Tony Morgan put Mister Big right on the point early on. Unfortunately for the chalk players, the record-setting five-year-old just did not have it on this night and wound up tiring badly after splits of 27.4, 54.2 & 1:22.2.
Winning driver Greg Grismore was absolutely thrilled to knock off his arch rival after a season of near misses.
“We’ve been chasing him all year long and he’s one of the best to ever set foot on a racetrack,” said Grismore. “To beat him like this is just incredible. My horse has raced great all year and he deserved this.”
Last year’s three-year-old American National winner has now won over $1.2 million in his career.
“Getting a covered up trip and then getting the chance to move up the inside was perfect for me because my horse wears a Murphy blind on her left side,” explained Tetrick. “Once I got her inside of those horses and she was able to see them she just took off and finished like a champ.”
The Merv Chupp trained filly wound up 1 ¼ lengths ahead of Thou Shall Not while winning for the third time this season.
“The trip just worked out perfectly for us,” said Hall of Famer Dave Magee. “I was able to follow the favorite (2nd place finisher Schoolkids) right up to the top of the stretch and then the inside opened up for him. Trainer Scott Foster had him sharp last week but he was even better tonight,” said Magee.
In the winner’s circle the red-hot Tetrick (4 wins on the night) was singing the praises of the Ross Croghan trainee.
“She hadn’t raced in four weeks but she’s very versatile and she’s very easy to drive,” he said. “Getting cover really helped and when I tipped her off that filly at the top of the stretch she absolutely exploded. She certainly did her job in a big way tonight,” said North America’s leading money winning driver.
After allowing things to settle, driver Ron Pierce sent the five-year-old son of Enjoy Lavec to the top and he never looked back as he rolled to his eighth win in 24 starts this season.
“I used him a little bit to get to the front but then he relaxed perfectly,” said Pierce. “I thought for a minute I might have let him relax a little bit too much though when Digital Image came up right alongside us in the stretch,” he joked.
Showing the heart of champion though, Enough Talk dug in late and held on to win by a half-length over a game Digital Image.
The only trotter in history to break the 1:50 barrier will now get some R&R back in New Jersey.
“He’s going to get a nice long rest at our farm in New Jersey,” explained winning trainer Peter Kleinhans. “He’ll be there for about two months then we’ll start back with him and he should be all ready to go by mid-March. I think he’ll be just as sharp next season and hopefully we’ll get the chance to campaign him in Europe as well in 2009,” said a beaming Kleinhans who was joined by Silva in the winner’s circle.
A very nice crowd turned out to see the American National Festival of Racing which was also well received by racing fans throughout the country. Almost $2.6 million, which was a season high for Balmoral Park, was wagered on the 14-race program.
For more information call (708) 672-1414 or visit www.balmoralpark.com.
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