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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (9/19/09)
Contact: Tom Kelley
SUPER NIGHT 2009 PROVIDES PLENTY OF THRILLS
The action kicked off with the $105,000 Su Mac Lad Stake for three-year-old trotting colts. Taking full advantage of the absence of division leader Southern Rocketop who was competing in the $1,000,000 Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk, Connie Hochstetler and Bruce & Dean Alexander’s Dr. McDreamy stormed right to the front and made every call a winning one as he cruised home with a 6 ˝ length victory in a stakes record 1:54.4.
Despite drawing post position 10, driver-trainer Homer Hochstetler sent the homebred son of American Native-Colors Of The Wind right to the top.
“You just have to make sure you nurse him around the first turn,” said Hochstetler. “Once you get him straightened out after that he just takes off on his own.”
Strolling along all by himself through splits of 28.2, 56.1 and 1:24.4, Dr. McDreamy was never threatened as he reported home with his seventh win in 14 starts. Definer (Tyler Buter) shook loose late to finish second while Windy Joe (Nelson Willis) rallied from far back to finish third.
Flashing the form that she exhibited during her championship two-year-old season, Kevin Dixon and Robert Taylor’s Miss Vickie seized control heading to the half-mile mark and was never headed as she reported home with a 1 ˝ length triumph in a career best of 56.2.
After getting away third driver Brandon Simpson elected to make his move on the backside, and the daughter of Valley Victor moved to the front as the field hit the half-mile mark in 58.3.
“She really felt good tonight and I was very comfortably moving her to the top when I did,” explained Simpson.
With a hard-charging Overt bringing up the 4-5 favorite Fox Valley Lover it appeared as though Miss Vickie might be in some danger. However, the Robert Taylor-trained miss had too much for this field on this night as she held firm for her fourth win of the year. Fox Valley Lover (Dale Hiteman) was forced to settle for second while Tropical Caprice (Sam Widger) was third.
In the winner’s circle a gracious Simpson had nothing but praise for his filly.
“She did everything on her own tonight,” he said. “She had some bad luck early in the season but things have turned around now and you’re starting to see her at her best.”
Taking advantage of a perfect trip from their inside starting spot, driver Andy Miller had the six-year-old daughter of Richess Hanover sitting right on the back of the undefeated Joinusforsomefun (Sam Widger) as that filly ripped through splits of 28.3, 58.3 and 1:27.2.
With that filly pace setter starting to get a little leg weary after setting the wicked splits, Miller maneuvered his charge to the outside with an eighth of a mile to go. Quickly swallowing up the tiring leader, the Julie Miller-trained miss sealed the deal with a 27.2 final quarter to get her seventh win of the season. BC’s Jesse (Brett Miller) rallied well to finish second while Joinusforsomefun held on for third.
Now a winner of $419,087, the husband and wife duo of Andy and Julie Miller were elated to be in the winner’s circle.
“It really is great to come back to the place where you drove for so long and then find yourself in the winner’s circle on the biggest night of the year,” said Andy.
“We shipped this mare back here to Illinois to be with my dad and he told us that she was dynamite all week,” commented Julie. “I’m just tickled pink to be back in the winner’s circle here at Balmoral. It’s a great feeling.”
While the winner of the race, Fox Valley Oracle certainly figured, those who backed could not have liked their chances at the half-mile mark as she was glued to the pylons in ninth for driver Tyler Buter.
Content to save ground the entire way as longshot Nice Big Star (Mike Cox) rolled through splits of 28.1, 56.4 and 1:24.4, Buter and Fox Valley Oracle were still ninth as the field turned for home.
With horses spreading across the track, the heavy favorite Mystical Victress (Brandon Simpson) was able to get a head in front of a hard-charging Miss Kellie (Marcus Miller). Deftly maneuvering his charge around horses, Buter finally found room for the John Butenschoen trainee as she flew through the passing lane to post an amazing half-length victory. Mystical Victress was second while another Butenschoen trainee, Fox Valley Angie (Dale Hiteman), was third.
“She’s been a good filly all year long and we’ve concentrated on teaching her to race,” said Buter who posted his first Super Night victory. “All that teaching sure came in handy with the trip we wound up with tonight.”
With the morning line favorite My Heart Was True a judge’s scratch in this race, the final turned into a wide open betting affair. When the smoke cleared it was the Engel Stables' Fox Valley Topaz who became a two-time Super Night Champion as she recorded a one length triumph in 1:51.4.
Given a confident steer by driver Mike Oosting, last year’s Filly Orange & Blue winner pulled from sixth on the backstetch and wound up first over for the final five-eighths of a mile as Native Hotspur (Todd Warren) and LR Dancing Dream (Andy Miller) slugged it out through splits of 28.1, 54.4 and 1:22.2.
Taking dead aim on the leaders in the stretch, the Paul Stafford-trained miss finally wore down the early leaders, eventually drawing clear in the final sixteenth of a mile to take home top honors. LR Dancing Dream hung on gamely for second while Native Hotspur was third.
In the winners circle, an elated Marty Engle had nothing but praise for his filly and her driver.
“She’s been such a great horse for us but she’s had some problems early this year, said Engle. “She has shown signs of getting over those problems now and hopefully she’ll continue to come around for us. Another thing that helped her tremendously was getting Mike (Oosting) back in the bike because her knows her the best and gets along best with her which really means a lot.”
Kept well off a hot early pace that was being set elimination winner and heavy favorite Martha Maxine (Marcus Miller), Andy Miller positioned Mucho Sleazy in a third over position as the field headed into the far turn.
Continuing to roll with the live outer flow, Mucho Sleazy was still seventh but just five lengths off the lead as the field turned for home. Unleashing a wicked 26.3 final split, the son Sportsmaster-Something Sleazy continued to chew up ground in the stretch, eventually getting up in the final strides to win his fourth race of the year. The victory also gave driver Andy Miller five wins on the night.
Owner Marty Engle was ecstatic to be in the winners circle for the second time on Saturday night, especially after drawing post position 10 for this encounter.
“Once the posts were drawn I though we were in real trouble,” he said. “He’s another one of ours that has had some problems early in the year but he always goes out and gives 100 percent which he did again tonight. I couldn’t be happier.”
After leaving alertly from post position seven, Park Lane Deputy wound up getting pushed back through the middle portion of the race as speedball My Boy Luke led the field through splits of 27.2, 55.2 and 1:23.0.
Appearing to be hopelessly locked in at the mid-stretch call, driver Dale Hiteman seized the opportunity as Daretodogreathings made a break and left the course. That allowed Hiteman to use the passing lane to his full advantage, and the Homer Hochstetler trainee rallied up the inside to notch his 13th victory of the season. Doubletrouble (Brian Carpenter) turned in a solid effort to finish second while Smellthecolornine (Marcus Miller) was third.
After the race a relieved Hiteman recounted the events that led to the victory.
“I saw Todd’s horse make a break and he immediately pulled him to the inside to get him out of harms way,” he said. “That left a big opening for us to get through and we took advantage of it.”
Hustled away from post position seven by driver Marcus Miller, Power Of A Moment (Marcus Miller) showed the way through an opening quarter in 27.4.
That’s when Brandon Simpson hustled Iam Bonasera out of third and that gelding quickly powered into the lead as the field hit the half-mile in 55.3.
“That wasn’t the strategy I was thinking of coming into the race,” said Miller who posted his first Super Night victory. “But then once I saw Ima Bonasera coming I figured I’d let him go because I knew he was going to carry me all the way until the top of the stretch.”
Hooked up in a thrilling stretch duel, Iam Bonasera continued to show the way but Power Of A Moment was gradually cutting into the margin. With less than a sixteenth of a mile to go Power Of A Moment finally got by a game Iam Bonasera to win for the ninth time in 12 career starts. Iam Bonasera was a hard-fought second while Fitz’s Z Tam (Andy Miller) finished third.
Attendance for the night was a whopping 9,670 while $2,183,026 was put through the windows by the enthusiastic crowd.
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