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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (5/3/09)
Contact: Tom Kelley
STATE BREDS STAR IN A PAIR OF WEEKEND STAKES
Some of Illinois' best older pacers stepped on to the track on Saturday, May 2 as a field of 10 went postward in the $20,000 Rambling Willie Stake. When the smoke cleared from this heated battle, it was the Gary Kreisher owned and trained Special Joe who emerged with a hard fought head decision in a career best of 1:51.1.
Given a perfect steer by catch driver Josh Sutton, the four-year-old son of Jody’s Cam-Specially Fine was kept well off a hot opening quarter of 27.0 that was being set by the highly regarded Booze Cruzin.
Getting underway from sixth as the outer flow started to develop on the backstretch, Sutton had his charge in a perfect second over position following the cover of Fox Valley Gambler (Tyler Buter), as Booze Cruzin continued to lead the field by the halfway mark in 55.2.
Drawing closer as the field began to bunch up heading to the top of the stretch, Sutton tipped Special Joe three-wide as Booze Cruzin and Fox Valley Gambler battled neck and neck by the three-quarter-pole in 1:24.0.
Quickly swallowing up the top pair, Special Joe seized command with an eighth of a mile to go. His work was far from over though as last weeks Free For All winner Well To Do Guru (Casey Leonard) began to unleash his powerful closing burst. Despite being last at the top of the lane, Well To Do Guru began to pick off horses one by one. Moving like a freight train Well To Do Guru reeled off a wicked 25.3 final quarter only to come up a step short as a game Special Joe held on for the victory. Fox Valley Gambler was third, 5 ¼ lengths behind the top pair.
With the win Special Joe boasts a record of 4-4-1 in 13 starts this season with earnings of $48,291.
Fresh off an impressive win in her seasonal debut, Paula Smith and James Runyan’s Fox Valley Lover trotted to her second straight stakes victory, reporting home with a two-length verdict in 1:58.2.
Unhurried in the early stages, driver Dale Hiteman settled his filly in fourth as Tropical Caprice (Dave Magee) led the field through an opening quarter in 28.4.
Hiteman then maneuvered his charge to the outside as the field headed up the backstretch. Quickly picking off horses, the daughter of Vaporize-Love You More grabbed command as the field reached the half-mile mark in 59.0.
The issue was never really in doubt from that point on, as Fox Valley Lover opened up a 1 ½ length lead over her rivals while cruising by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:29.3.
Holding firm through the lane the Joel Smith trainee easily kept the ground saving Fox Valley Strata (Tyler Buter) and Tropical Caprice at bay, as she trotted to her seventh career win in 16 lifetime starts. Fox Valley Strata was second while Tropical Caprice was third.
The winner’s check of $7,500 helped push this good looking filly’s career bankroll up to $101,723.
There will also be a High 5 carryover pool of $10,906 on Tuesday's card. Balmoral Park is estimating Tuesday's pool to be around $40,000 for the 10 cent wager which takes place on the 10th race each night.
Balmoral Park will begin its summer racing schedule this Tuesday, May 5. The Crete plant will now host live racing four nights a week (Tues, Wed, Sat, Sun) until Oct. 31. Post time is 7:20 pm (central) each night except Sunday’s when the action gets underway at 6:30 pm (central).
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