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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Maywood Park (7/4/09)
Contact: Tom Kelley
AUDIENCE OF ONE PROVIDES FIREWORKS IN FRIDAY’S COOK COUNTY STAKE
It was “bombs away” in Friday’s featured $40,000 Cook County Stake at Maywood Park as Z Tam Racing and Dave McCaffrey’s Audience Of One pulled off a shocker in the night’s featured event, going wire to wire in a career best of 1:51.1.
Taking full advantage of their inside starting spot, driver Josh Sutton fired the six-year-old gelding away from the gate and the two were comfortably out in front of their eight rivals as the field reached the opening marker in a brisk 26.2.
“I knew having the inside starting spot was going to be a big advantage for us as it always is at Maywood,” said Sutton. “I figured I would use him hard to protect our position and then hope to get a little breather somewhere along the way after that.”
Continuing along relatively unchallenged on the lead while most of the action was taking place in the middle and back of the pack, the son of Art’s Conquest led the way through a half-mile in 55.1.
“I didn’t really have to use him very hard in that second quarter which surprised me a little bit,” explained Sutton. “But that’s exactly what I was hoping for going into the race and he really felt strong at that point.”
Heading down the backside business started to pick up a bit, as Mucho Sleazy came calling with a three-wide move after getting stuck behind a first over Booze Cruzin (Sam Widger), who stalled badly as the field headed the three-quarter-mile mark. Still leading by a 1 ¾ lengths over the pocket sitting Well To Do Guru (Casey Leonard) and Mucho Sleazy, Audience Of One hit the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.0.
Staying strong on the lead around the final bend and into the stretch, Audience Of One was never seriously threatened as the bids from the outer flow began to die off after the tough trips. That left the Dave McCaffrey trainee all alone at the wire as he reported home with a one-length decision over I Can Only Imagine (Brandon Simpson), who shook loose very late to finish second. Well To Do Guru saved third after enjoying a pocket sitting journey the entire way.
Plucked from an $8,000 claiming event by McCaffrey in mid-April after missing the entire 2008 season due to an injury, Audience Of One now appears to be at the top of his game for his connections. Sporting a record of five wins and one second in 14 starts this year, Friday’s victory helped pushed this gelding's seasonal earnings up to $37,664. Dispatched at odds of 8-1, Audience Of One returned $19.00, $6.80 and $5.00 to those lucky enough to back him.
Freshmen pacing colts were also in action on Friday night as a field of eight state-bred youngsters met in the $10,000 Enzo The Baker Stake.
Again another wire-to-wire performance wound up getting the job done in here as the Iris T. Horowitz-owned Fort Hamilton made every call a winning one in 1:56.0.
Given a confident steer by driver Brandon Simpson, the son of Sportsmaster-Bensonhurst charged right to the front from post position five.
Rattling off comfortable splits of 29.0, 58.1 and 1:27.2 despite getting pressure from a first over Nash Gram (Josh Sutton) and the pocket sitting Stormy B Skipalong (Marcus Miller), Fort Hamilton still had plenty left in the tank as he drew away from his rivals in the lane to win by 1 ¼ lengths in a lifetime best. Nash Gram was a hard-trying second while Yermanos (Dave Magee) rallied to finish third.
With the win Fort Hamilton now boasts a record of two wins, one second and one third in five lifetime starts.
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