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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (5/12/09)
Contact: Tom Kelley
SOUTHERN ROCKETOP A WINNER IN SOPHOMORE DEBUT
The first split featured last year's top three colts in the division as Southern Rocketop, Definer and Dr. McDreamy all squared off. Picking up right where he left off after winning divisional honors in 2008, Claude Powers' Southern Rocketop rolled to a three-quarter-length victory in 1:56.3. Definer (Tyler Buter) was second while Thatswhatshesaid (Dave Magee) was third.
Taking advantage of early miscues by three of the seven starters, including last week’s Iggy Magoo Stake winner Dr. McDreamy, driver Brian Carpenter pointed Southern Rocketop right for the front from post position seven.
Trotting along very comfortably on the lead, the son of Psychic Spirit-Summer In The City put up splits of 28.4, 57.4 and 1:26.4.
“He was much more relaxed out there tonight than he was during most of his two-year-old races,” said Carpenter. “Robert Taylor has taken over the training duties on this horse and he’s really gone out of his way to get him to stay calm behind the gate and once he makes the lead. That really showed tonight.”
Relatively unchallenged at any point in the race, a very confident Carpenter was more than content to let his charge do it all on his own as they trotted down to the wire.
“That was exactly what we wanted for him tonight,” he explained. “I knew Definer wasn’t going to get by us in the lane so I just sort of let him loaf home. This was a very easy race for him yet very beneficial.”
With the win Southern Rocketop now sports a record of 10 wins and one second in 15 career starts with earnings of $158,970. The even-money favorite returned $4.00, $3.60 and $3.40.
In the second division Roger Welch and G&B Stable of Illinois' promising youngster Welchkin rallied in the final strides to win by a length in a lifetime best of 1:57.2.
Given a Hall of Fame steer by driver Dave Magee, the striking chestnut son of Valley Victor-Miss Onree was able to save ground as Sago (Tyler Buter) led the field through fractions of 28.3, 58.2 and 1:27.4.
After grabbing cover from a hard charging Windy Joe (Mike Oosting) as the field neared the top of the stretch, Magee had his charge perfectly positioned for the stretch drive.
Gamely wearing down Windy Joe after that colt grabbed command with an eighth of a mile to go, Welchkin finally collared the leader in the closing yards to post his third win in just five career starts. Windy Joe was forced to settle for the runner-up role while Sago held on for third.
Unraced at two, Welchkin is quickly making up for lost time with a pair of stakes wins in his short career. With the services of Magee and the inside starting spot Welchkin returned $6.00, $3.20 and $2.40.
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