Balmoral Park (11/14/10)
Contact: Tom Kelley
AMERICAN NATIONAL FINALS PROVIDE PLENTY OF EXCITEMENT
The action was fast and furious on Saturday night at Balmoral Park as six American National finals totaling $938,000 in purses attracted some of North America’s top trotters and pacers to the Crete oval.
|Buck I St Pat|
The $124,000 Aged Trot kicked off the proceedings and things went exactly as expected as millionaires Buck I St Pat and Enough Talk hooked up in the lane with Buck I St Pat getting the best of her main rival as she drew off in the final sixteenth of a mile to win by 2 ½ lengths in 1:55.0.
After sitting right on the back on Enough Talk (Yannick Gingras) as he cruised through splits of 28.4, 57.4 and 1:27.4, driver Tim Tetrick eased Buck I St Pat to the outside as the field hit the top of the lane. Putting her potent closing burst into action, the seven-year-old daughter of Jailhouse Jesse uncorked a 27.0 final split to blow by Enough Talk for her ninth win in 19 starts this season. Enough Talk held on for second while Southwind Wasabi (David Miller) was a distant third.
After the race Tetrick had nothing but praise for the career winner of more than $2.1 million.
“We got lucky that we had such a great trip,” said Tetrick. “I knew Yannick wasn’t going very fast with his horse and that it would be a sprint to the wire. My mare is really fast off a helmet and once we hit the 7/8th’s mark I knew we had him beat.”
The Ron Burke trainee returned $3.00, $2.10 and $2.10 while running her record to 9-3-4 in 19 starts this season with earnings of $715,135 for the partnership of Howard Taylor, Edwin Gold, Abraham Basen and Ron Fuller.
Next up were two-year-old pacing fillies as a field of nine squared off for a purse of $95,000. Supplemented to the race for $8,000 by owner Richard Balog, Illinois sensation Pardon teamed up with Hall of Famer Dave Magee to make the investment a wise one as she rolled to a 1 ¾ length triumph in 1:54.4 on a cold and windy night.
Despite leaving from post position eight, the daughter of Richess Hanover-Rose Dawson left alertly for Magee and neatly tucked into fourth as Swinging Beauty (Tim Tetrick) led the field through an opening quarter in 28.0.
After letting things sort themselves out on the backside Magee quickly pulled from fourth and sent the Dirk Simpson trainee to the front where she proceeded to lead the field through middle splits of 56.4 and 1:25.4.
“I didn’t know how the traffic would shake out since we had an outside post but I wanted to get her into the race early and give her the best chance of winning,” explained Magee. “She’s turned into a very competitive and dominant horse and she’s so smooth gaited that you can do what you want with her.”
Holding firm through the lane Pardon cut through the stiff winds with the greatest of ease as she coasted home with her 14th win in 15 career starts. Swinging Beauty (Tim Tetrick) who wound up hung up in traffic for a bit rallied to finish second while Fox Valley Touche (Dale Hiteman) was third.
When asked after the race whether he thought Saturday’s victory in such a prestigious race as the American National should be enough to earn his filly Horse of the Year honors here in the Prairie State, Magee was quite definitive with his answer.
“She absolutely deserves to be Horse of the Year here,” he said. “She’s a super fine filly and has only been beaten once in her entire career and it took more than one horse for that happen.”
With the victory Pardon, who returned $3.00, $2.40 and $2.10 to her legion of fans, upped her career bankroll to $227,008.
Another two-year-old event was next on the docket as a field of nine colts and geldings knocked heads for a purse of $127,000. North America’s leading money earner, Tim Tetrick, was back in the charmed circle for the second time of the night as he guided Mystic Desire to a resounding 4 ¼ length romp in 1:53.3.
Eased away from post position five, Tetrick allowed things to settle early on and was third on the outside of horses as Playin For Keeps (Mike Oosting) led the field through an opening split in 28.2.
Tetrick then sent the son of Real Desire-Cannes Festival up to the front where he proceeded to open things up as he clicked off middle splits of 56.1 and 1:24.2.
“The game plan was to get him away cleanly and then get him to the front,” explained Tetrick. “With the wind the way it was you had to be up close but you never know how these young horses will react to it. He was perfect so that’s why I just let him pace away from the rest of them out in the far turn.”
Rattling off a 28.1 third quarter, the issue was never in doubt in as the Shawn Nessa trainee opened up a five-length advantage by the mid-stretch call and then was on cruise control the rest of the way as he won for the eighth time in 12 lifetime starts. He’s So Hot (Dale Hiteman) who was one of the few horses on the night to stage a big rally, charged from seventh to second in the final quarter while Playin For Keeps was third.
In the winner’s circle a very happy Nessa was singing the praises of his star pupil.
“We actually got him pretty cheap ($15,000) in Lexington but he’s been good from day one for us,” he exclaimed. “We’ve tried to keep him fresh despite starting early with him and as you saw tonight he’s as good now as he’s been all year. We’ll head to Maywood for the Abe Lincoln next week and then he’ll get a well-deserved couple of months off.”
Another who was well backed at the windows after an easy elimination win here last week, Mystic Desire returned just $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10 while running his record to 8-1-2 in 12 starts with earnings of $270,885 for the Let It Ride Stable, Robert Cooper Stable and Angie Nessa.
Won The West’s attempt to make history as the only four-time American National winner was next on the card, but the classy six-year-old fell a head short as Bettor Sweet prevailed for driver John Campbell after a thrilling stretch drive in 1:50.0.
Zipped away from the gate by Campbell, the five-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight easily made it to the front where he carved out fractions of 27.0, 54.3 and 1:23.0.
“I knew there was a lot of speed in the race but when I looked over I saw that none of them were leaving so I figured I better take my shot since you had to be up close tonight,” said Campbell. “I kept going at a pretty good clip on the backside because I wanted to stay in control of things and then we got a pretty nice third quarter breather which really helped the cause.”
With Won The West caught three wide while racing second over after the pocket-sitting Dali (Brian Carpenter) pulled nearing the top of the stretch, Campbell tried to put some distance between himself and the heavy favorite but Won The West was in high gear and zeroing in on the pace setter.
“My horse responded very well tonight once Won The West came up alongside of us,” Campbell said. “But you still never know if you’re going to be able to hold him off because he’s such a tough and classy pacer. Tonight my horse just would not let him get by though.”
Keeping his rival at bay, the Tom Cancelliere-trained Bettor Sweet held on for only his second win of the year in 12 starts. Won The West was forced to settle for second despite being the only horse in the America National’s to pace a sub 27.0 final quarter into the stiff breeze while Atochia (Yannick Gingras) was third.
Sent off as the third choice in the field of seven, Bettor Sweet returned $12.40, $3.40 and $2.60 while upping his career bankroll to a whopping $1,328,354 for owner John Cancelliere.
It was back to a “chalk” players delight in the richest event of the night, the $245,000 three-year-old colt pace as Creative Racing Stable, Jerry Silva and Ray Schnittker’s One More Laugh proved much the best with a two-length victory in a blistering 1:49.4, giving Tim Tetrick his third American National title of the night.
|One More Laugh|
Using the same tactics he had employed in earlier victories, Tetrick left alertly with One More Laugh and settled into fourth as Aracache Hanover (Yannick Gingras) led the field through an opening quarter in 26.3.
Tetrick then sent the two-time World Record holder on a mission for the front and the gelded son of Mcardle was in command as he whisked by the half-mile mark in 53.3.
“I was concerned about how fast we were going at that point, but I also knew you had to be up close,” said Tetrick. “I figured it was his race to win or lose and I was going to do everything possible to give him a chance to win it.”
Hustling by the three-quarter-mile station in 1:22.2, One More Laugh was still fit and fresh as the pocket-sitting Aracache Hanover moved to the outside to challenge. Just when it looked like it was going to be a thrilling stretch duel the Ray Schnittker-trained One More Laugh seemed to find another gear, speeding away from Aracache Hanover en route to his eighth victory in 18 starts this season. Aracache Hanover was a game second while Razzle Dazzle arrived on the scene late to pick up the show dough.
When asked about the brief challenge they faced in the lane, Tetrick had nothing but praise for this year’s Meadowlands Pace winner.
“I just growled at him once mid-way through the lane and his ears went up and off he went,” said Tetrick. “Ray (Schnittker) should get all the credit in the world because he had this horse as sharp as he could possibly be tonight. I yelled one more time at him nearing the wire and he was still pacing full blast right to the end. He’s danced every big dance with these three-year-olds all season long and yet he’s still got a mile like this in him. I just can’t say enough about him.”
The 3-5 favorite of the betting public returned $3.20, $2.60 and $2.10 while winning for the 17th time in 30 career starts. With $1,442,984 in earnings this year, One More Laugh’s career bankroll now stands at a whopping $2,037,290. One More Laugh will also be staying in Chicago for next week’s (Friday, Nov. 19) Windy City Pace at Maywood Park.
The final American National of the night featured three-year-old pacing fillies and when the smoke cleared from this wild event it was Anndrovette, a $15,000 supplemental entry into the race, who emerged on top as she recorded a one-length victory in 1:53.0 for driver David Miller.
Taking advantage of some confusion in the first turn as a piece of paper appeared to blow across the track, the fast-leaving Anndrovette was in front of the field when Rev Me Up made a nasty break causing 1-9 favorite Put On A Show (Tim Tetrick) to also go off stride momentarily and impeding most of the trailing horses.
Left alone on the engine Androvette was in complete control of the proceedings as she put up splits of 27.3, 56.0 and 1:25.1.
“Sure we had a little luck there but don’t take anything away from this filly because she raced great tonight,” said Miller. “I didn’t know what happened back there behind us I just knew that they were scattered so I was trying to go as slow as I could so she’d have plenty left if she needed it.”
After making a gallant effort to move from all the way back into the second slot, Put On A Show was right on the pace setter’s back as the field turned for home. Moving to the outside Put On A Show tried gamely to get by Anndrovette, but the daughter of Riverboat King-Easy Miss was able to fend off the challenge of this year’s Breeders Crown winner as she paced home in 27.4 to earn her ninth win in 17 starts this year for trainer Mark Kesmodel. Put On A Show was a tough-luck second while Fox Valley Oracle (Dave Magee) was a distant third.
Coming off a big win in the Lady Maud at Freehold in her last start, Androvette returned $16.60, $3.80 and $2.60 and her bankroll now stands at $568,145 despite making only $9,000 during her freshman campaign for the ownership group of Joseph Davino, Mark Kesmodel and Jeff Bamond.