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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (10/7/09)
Contact: Tom Kelley
MAGEE SWEEPS WEDNESDAY’S LADY LINCOLN LAND AND LINCOLN LAND STAKES
The “ladies” were the first to take the stage and they provided a thrilling finish when Patrick Graham’s Fox Valley Luxury gamely held off the late bid of Southern Maebelle to win by a head in 1:57.3.
Taking advantage of post position two, Hall of Famer Dave Magee neatly tucked the daughter of International Chip-Love You More into the pocket as Southern Maebelle (Tyler Buter) strolled through a slow opening quarter of 29.2.
Maneuvering his filly to the outside, Magee pulled from the pocket and charged right by Southern Maebelle, taking the field past the half-mile mark in 57.3.
“I wanted my filly to be in control of things,” Magee explained. “I had to use her a little harder than I wanted to in that second quarter but we were intent on making the front.”
Trotting along confidently on the lead as the field moved around the far turn, Fox Valley Luxury continued to show the way while a first over Claires Rose (Homer Hochstetler) came calling as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:27.3.
Gamely fending off that challenge, the Leo Grummel-trained miss was then forced to dig in as the pocket sitting Southern Maebelle was finding her best stride while moving through the passing lane.
“I was a little worried in the stretch because of how hard she had worked in that second quarter and then having to fight off Homer’s horse coming to the top of the stretch,” said Magee.
With these two racing neck-and-neck through the final sixteenth of a mile, a determined Fox Valley Luxury would not let her main rival get by as she kept a head in front as the two flashed under the finish wire. Claires Rose wound up a distant third, six lengths behind the top pair.
“Once I pulled the plugs she sort of found a little bit more and really dug down deep,” said a relieved Magee in the winners circle. “She was definitely a tired horse but she’s a very nice horse and she’s only going to get better and more versatile as she gains experience.”
The victory was the fourth in nine career starts for Fox Valley Luxury, who now boasts $114,250 in earnings for her connections. The second choice in the wagering returned $4.80, $2.60 and $3.00.
Sent right to the front by driver Dave Magee despite drawing post position nine, the son of Psychic Spirit-Serafina The Great was parked through an opening quarter in 29.2.
“Going into the race I was a little worried because of the post but once Showmeyourstuff (Marcus Miller) made that break leaving, it made it much easier for my horse to get to the front,” said the Hall of Famer.
In full command of the proceedings, Rock Hollywood continued to show the way as the field trotted by the half in an easy 58.3.
Heading around the final turn, a hard-charging Big Bucks (Homer Hochstetler) pulled right alongside the heavy favorite. Racing head-and-head most of the way around the final bend, these two reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:28.1.
In the lane a gritty Rock Hollywood disposed of the first over Big Bucks and began to draw away from the rest of the competition. Trotting effortlessly through the lane, the Mike Brink trainee proceeded to leave his rivals in his wake as he reported home with a 2 ¾ length decision. Powerful Speed (Josh Sutton) turned a nice ground-saving trip into a second place check while Hokey Pokey (Mike Oosting) was third.
In the winner’s circle Magee was singing the praises of both horse and trainer.
“Mike Brink deserves all the credit for this horse’s victory tonight,” Magee said happily. “This is one heck of a horse and Mike’s done one heck of a job having him ready for all his starts and developing him the way he has. There’s still a lot more there with this guy and I just love the way he gives you his all at the end of his miles.”
Despite the outside draw, this year’s State Fair Stake champion was sent off as the overwhelming 3-5 favorite returning $3.40, $3.20 and $2.80 as he improved his record to 4-2-1 with earnings of $85,787 for owner Kjell Magne Andersen of Norway.
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