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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (8/2/09)
Contact: Tom Kelley
Trotters Close out Southland Festival of Racing Action at Balmoral Park
Sophomore trotting fillies were highlighted in the seventh race, as a field of nine diagonally gaited state-breds squared off in the $50,000 Fox Valley Evita Stake. Shaking off a disappointing third place finish in the Hanover Stake as a heavy favorite in her last start, Paula Smith and James Runyan's Fox Valley Lover returned to her winning ways as she came flying down the lane to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:56.0.
Using the same tactics that netted her victories in six of her first seven starts this year, driver Dale Hiteman positioned the daughter of Vaporize-Love You More in mid- pack as Queen Creek (Dean Magee) and Overt (Josh Sutton) battled through splits of 29.0, 57.2 and 1:25.4.
Moving up third over from seventh as the field turned for home, the Joel Smith-trained miss began to pick off rivals as the trotters moved through the lane. With the tough trip starting to take its toll on the leaders, Hiteman swung Fox Valley Lover to the far outside and the long striding filly cruised right by the 3-2 favorite Overt to win for the seventh time in nine starts this year. Overt turned in a game effort to finish second after being first over for the final five-eighths of a mile, while Miss Vickie (Robert Taylor) finished third.
With the victory Fox Valley Lover now boasts a career record of 12-3-3 in 23 lifetime starts with earnings of $157,246.
Hustled away from post position nine by driver-trainer Homer Hochstetler, the homebred son of American Native-Colors Of The Wind was in a loose pocket for most of the mile as Southern Rocketop (Brian Carpenter) ripped through splits of 27.4, 55.3 and 1:23.1.
With Southern Rocketop opening up a 4 1/2 length victory as the field turn for home the race appeared to be over, but it was far from that as Hochstetler kept after his colt. Gradually cutting into the leader's advantage, Dr McDreamy moved into the passing lane and proceeded to zip right by the division leader in the closing yards to get the victory. Southern Rocketop was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while Welchkin (Dale Hiteman) was a distant third, 12 lengths behind the winner.
Enjoying a fine season despite having to chase Southern Rocketop in most of his starts, Dr McDreamy now sports a record of five wins and three seconds in 10 starts with earnings of $66,588. The victory also helped push the bay colt's career bankroll over the $130,000 plateau.
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