Balmoral Park (9/15/11)
Contact: Tom Kelley
Fox Valley Arrow Pointing towards win in Su Mac Lad Stake
By Tom Krish
Trainer Nelson Willis had won the American National Trot (for three year-old males) with GJ Photo Victory in late August and that stakes success had given the Photo Color gelding three wins in a row. On Sunday, September 11, GJ Photo Victory was in a conditioned event and was withdrawn because of an injury. Sunday’s race would have served as a tune up for tonight’s $100,000 Su Mac Lad. The injury has not gone away and GJ Photo Victory will not be able to answer the starter’s call in the big race. With GJ Photo Victory’s exit, the $100,000 Su Mac Lad for sophomore trotting colts and geldings has an open look.
Based on current form, Fox Valley Arrow, from Joel Smith’s yard, may be fancied in the Su Mac Lad. A progeny of International Chip, Fox Valley Arrow has impressive numbers. He was 1-1-1 from 12 starts for earnings of $19,155 last year. As a sophomore he has elevated his game to compile a record of 3-5-3 from 16 outings. He has bankrolled $40,383. There is something more heartening than the statistics. After winning a nw2/3 event, Fox Valley Arrow came up with a dull effort in a Springfield contest on August 13. It was a let down.
However, an opportunity presented itself on August 27. The scene was the Du Quoin State Fair. The race was the Pronto Don. Fox Valley Arrow was the half money favorite. It was a decisive win and the mile came in 1:55.4. Casey Leonard was in the sulky. It was first class redemption. Confidence had been regained. Now the Su Mac Lad beckons.
I chatted with Casey Leonard who has been Fox Valley Arrow’s driver on a regular basis. “I expected a big race on August 13 at Springfield. The starting gate was placed awkwardly and he got warm when we were let go. A bad step or two took away his enthusiasm. He could not get going. Look at the Pronto Don at Du Quoin. Fox Valley Arrow was in his elements,” Casey explained.
Has Fox Valley Arrow been getting better every start and is he coming up right for Saturday’s race? “He is strong, very strong. He does not get tired easily. I admit he may not be as quick as some of the other three year-olds but he can keep trotting. He is solid. I think his Du Quoin race was outstanding. I am confident about our chances in the Su Mac Lad.”
There is also Powerful Charger from Gerald Hansen’s stable. A winner of $117,273 as a freshman with seven wins from 13 starts, Powerful Charger was expected to do better as a sophomore. Despite earning $19,120 in 2011, Powerful Charger has won once in eight races. He needs to raise his game but he is capable of doing it.
Powerful Tom may have a chance if a thing or two goes wrong with the fancied contenders. A winner of only two races in 2010, Powerful Tom has won seven times from 13 starts this year. He was a drawing-away winner in a Du Quoin stakes. There is a lot that he has to find but he is showing all the positive signs.
With an infusion of money in recent weeks, harness racing in Illinois is having a new lease on life. Super Night showcases our top horses, drivers and jockeys. As the 23rd edition comes up, there is hope on the horizon. There are exciting days ahead for all of us.
Balmoral Park, Chicagoland’s premier harness horse racing facility will host its biggest night of the year this Saturday, September 17. Aptly titled “Illinois’ Richest Night in Harness Racing,” Illinois bred horses run for over $1.3 million in purse money. Doors will open at 5:30 pm, but Super Night comes with a special post time with the first race going off at 6:30 pm.
For more information visit www.balmoralpark.com or call (708) 672-1414.
About Balmoral Park: Located in Crete, IL just 12 miles south of 80/94; Balmoral Park has been one of the nation's premier horse racing facilities since 1926. Balmoral Park features live racing every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Admission and parking is always free.