Balmoral Park (7/24/10)
Contact: Tom Kelley
SOUTHLAND FESTIVAL OF RACING ELIMS HIGHLIGHT SATURDAY ACTION
The countdown to next weekend's Southland Festival of Racing began in earnest on Saturday night with eliminations for the Loyal Opposition Stake (2yo filly pace), the Mini Me Stake (2yo colt pace) and the Incredible Finale Stake (3yo colt pace) taking place. Each elimination tussle carried a purse of $7,000.
|Little Maeve and Mike Oosting left their rivals in their dust as they cruised to a 6 1/2-length victory in the first of two Loyal Opposition Stake eliminations.|
A total of 18 Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old pacing fillies were dropped into the box for the Loyal Opposition, necessitating a pair of eliminations with the top five finishers in each division earning spots in the $62,000 (est.) final.
In the first elimination, Obermeier and Quaid Stables' Little Maeve made amends for a third place finish in last week’s Hanover Stake as she crushed eight rivals by 6 1/2 lengths in a career best of 1:54.3.
Confidently handled by leading driver Mike Oosting, the daughter of Ideal Towne-R N Labelle sat patiently in fourth as Park Lane Illusion (Todd Warren) rolled through opening splits of 29.3 and 58.2.
Moving to the outside as the field headed around the far turn, the Roger Welch trainee stormed alongside the pace setter as they headed by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:27.1. From that point on the issue was never in doubt, as Little Maeve unleashed a 27.2 closing split to notch her third win in four career starts. Let’s Go Higher (John De Long), a 42-1 outsider rallied to finish second, while Fox Valley Phoebe (Marcus Miller) was third. Also gaining spots in the final were Park Lane Illusion and Red Hot N Sassy.
The second division was also captured by the heavy favorite as Richard Balog’s Pardon, the 1-5 choice among the field of nine, made it four for four in her brief career as she scored by a hard-fought neck in 1:55.4 for driver Dave Magee.
Grinding her way towards the front while first over for the first five eighths of a mile, the daughter of Richess Hanover-Rose Dawson eventually pulled alongside the pace setting Batgirl (Mike Oosting), who had strolled through easy splits of 31.0, 1:01 and 1:28.4.
With the those two fillies battling tooth and nail through the stretch, a pocket sitting Mystical MJ (Marcus Miller) also joined the fray as she came charging up the passing lane. With the three youngsters spread across the track, a determined Pardon finally managed to poke her neck in front in the final yards to earn the victory. Mystical MJ was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while Batgirl was third. Fox Valley Touche wound up fourth while Specially Awesome gained the last spot in the final with her fifth place finish.
A group of 23 two-year-old colt and gelding pacers were entered for the Mini Me Stake, with the youngsters split into three divisions. The top three in each split and one fourth place finisher (drawn by lot) earned the chance to return for next Saturday’s $72,000 (est.) final.
|Jamaica Patton guided Playin For Keeps to a very impressive come-from-behind victory in the first of three Mini Me Stake eliminations.|
In the first division Mark and Stephanie Winship and Amy Giberson’s Playin For Keeps picked a nice time to post his first career victory, as he came flying down the stretch to post a two-length triumph in 1:54.4.
Patiently handled by driver Jamaica Patton, the gelded son of Cole Muffler-Panfastic ducked to the back of the pack from the outside starting spot as Winchesters Hero (Mike Rogers) and Fox Valley Griffin (Marcus Miller) traded blows through opening splits of 28.1 and 58.0.
Moving into the outer flow on the far turn, the Nick Giberson trainee was still back in sixth as Fox Valley Griffin led the field by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:27.1. Patton then moved the long-striding bay to the far outside, where he quickly began to reel in the leaders. Moving like a runaway train, Playin For Keeps lived up to his name as he blew right by the field with a wicked 26.4 final quarter while Patton remained “sitting chilly” in the bike. Fox Valley Griffin held on for second while Big Gus (Mike Oosting) was third. Winchesters Hero finished fourth.
In the middle split Bruce Pacitti, William De Cicco and Owen Brennan’s Little Pauli made every call a winning one as he cruised to a 1 ¾ length victory in a lifetime best of 1:53.4.
Taking full advantage of the inside starting spot, driver Dave Magee hustled the speedy son of Park Place-Vocalist right to the front as soon as the wings of the gate folded.
Rolling through splits of 29.2 and 58.4, Little Pauli also benefitted from a break by a first over Flowmaster (Del Chupp) as the field moved by the halfway point. With the rest of the field struggling to stay close, Little Pauli kicked it into another gear, pacing by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.3. On cruise control the rest of the way, the Bruce Pacitti trainee made it look easy as he notched his third win in six career starts. Filled With Wonder (Travis Seekman) turned a pocket-sitting trip into a second place check while Little Gus (Mike Oosting) was third. Fox Valley Renoir was fourth.
The parade of favorites continued in the final elimination for the Mini Me Stake, as William C. and William P. De Long’s He’s So Hot continued an eye opening start to his career with a deceptively easy 1 ¼ length triumph in 1:53.0.
After getting away third through an opening quarter in 29.0, driver Mike Oosting pointed the son of Sportsmaster-She’s Redhot for the top and the Roger Welch trainee quickly assumed command.
Comfortably in front as he cruised through middle splits of 57.4 and 1:26.1, He’s So Hot showed he still had plenty in reserve as he rattled off a 26.4 final quarter to post his third win in as many tries. Mr. Bedrock (Dave Magee) took a first over shot at the winner at the top of the stretch but was forced to settle for the runner-up role while Fox Valley Libero (Todd Warren) was third.
Closing out the night were a pair of eliminations for next week’s $56,000 Incredible Finale Stake. Once again the top five finishers in each race move on to the final of this event.
|Oosting found himself in the winner's circle once again as he steered the Roger Welch-trained Voomerang to a wire-to-wire win in the first of two Incredible Finale Stake eliminations.|
Trainer Roger Welch posted his third elimination victory of the night in the opening split as Jesse J., William C. and William P. De Long’s Voomerang posted a 2 ¼ length victory in 1:52.0.
Sent right to the top by a confident Mike Oosting, the son of Cole Muffler-Vavoom Hanover clicked off soft splits of 28.1, 57.0 and 1:25.0 while unchallenged on the front end.
With plenty left in reserve, the gelding then paced home in 27.0 while keeping favored Power Of A Moment (Marcus Miller) and Southern Sport (Casey Leonard) at bay. The win was the second in 11 starts this season for Voomerang. Indescribable finished fourth while Fox Valley Escort was fifth.
Oosting continued his big night in the final division, pulling off a mild upset with Jeffery Sanders' JHS in 1:52.4.
After sitting second through an opening quarter in a leisurely 28.4, Oosting pulled from the pocket and sent the son of Richess Hanover-Zip Up Your Pans to the front. The Tom Simmons trainee then proceeded to cruise through middle splits of 57.0 and 1:24.3.
Taking advantage of some confusion in the middle of the pack when Fox Valley Emilio made a break heading into the final turn, JHS was able to put some distance between himself and the heavily favored Iam Bonasera (Dave Magee). After opening up a three-length advantage in the lane, JHS had enough left to hold off the furious late rush of the Meadowlands Pace Consolation runner-up. Early leader Fox Valley Barbosa (Brian Carpenter), a 47-1 longshot took home the show dough. Finance The Master came from far back to finish fourth while the last spot in the final went to Nash Gram.
The elimination action continues on Sunday, July 25, with trotters featured in the Fox Valley Evita (3yo filly) and Kadabra (3yo colt) stakes. Sophomore pacing fillies will also be in action in an Ann Vonian Stake elimination. Post time on Sunday is 6:30 pm. (central).