Balmoral Park (4/21/10)
Contact: Tom Kelley
TAYLOR’S TROTTING STARS QUALIFY AT BALMORAL
Wednesday morning’s qualifiers at Balmoral Park drew plenty of attention as two of Illinois' most dominant state-bred trotters over the past two seasons, Southern Rocketop and Miss Vickie, were both sent out for their first preps of the 2010 season.
Drawing into the same race, things went exactly as trainer Robert Taylor had planned as his prize pupils hooked up in an exciting duel through the final sixteenth of a mile with Southern Rocketop prevailing by a neck in 1:57.1 for driver Dave Magee.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way things went for both of them,” said Taylor who sat behind Miss Vickie. “Neither of them was roughed up during the mile and they both finished fresh with final quarters in 28.0 and 28.1 respectively while battling right down to the finish line.” Both four-year-olds also appeared to come out the qualifying efforts in top shape according to Taylor.
With the upper echelon of trotters a bit short here in Chicago right now, Taylor plans on sending both steeds to Indiana where he hopes to get them some seasoning in the Open trotting ranks at Hoosier Park.
“They’ve both matured even more during the time they were off and both of them really look like mature horses now as they enter this season,” commented Taylor. “Rocketop is staked to some big races out east and in Canada so that’s probably the course of action we’ll take with him as long as everything goes well. Vickie really doesn’t have a whole lot on her dance card this year so we’ll be looking for spots to race her against the open company at several different tracks whenever possible.”
As for the overseas campaign that was discussed when Birger Krageboen of Norway purchased Southern Rocketop last year, that plan is not out of the question either but Taylor is being cautious with this son of Psychic Spirit.
“If he comes right out of the box with guns blazing there is a chance he could still ship over to Sweden for their big races but with all the stakes he’s eligible for here like the American National, The Maple Leaf Trot and things like that he would really have to do something special,” he explained. “It’s going to be hard enough facing the likes of a Lucky Jim or Enough Talk here let alone taking on some of those very tough and very seasoned trotters you’ll have to face in Europe.”