Balmoral Park (9/15/11)
Contact: Tom Kelley
Track Record Holder the One to Beat in Lorna Propes Stake
By Tom Krish
There is an overwhelming favorite in the Lorna Propes Pace. I will go so far as to say that Mystical Victress jumps off the page. The $122,000 Lorna Propes is for mares who are four and older. To students of Super Night history, let me say that the Lorna Propes Stakes was once called the Ann Vonian Pace.
It is another chapter in the voluminous Erv Miller-Marcus Miller success story. By Sportmaster out of Speakheravalentine, a Jenna’s Beach Boy mare, Mystical Victress has a record that will bring a smile to the face of the most sardonic of training characters. In 2010, her sophomore campaign, Mystical Victress won 10 times from 18 starts for earnings of $171,668. The Erv Miller trainee has been no less spectacular in 2011. She has made seven visits to the winner’s circle in 12 trips postward and has made $79,614. She has won at Springfield, Indiana Downs and at Balmoral Park. Her travels have not diminished her appetite for winning.
A paragraph about the Lorna Propes elimination that Mystical Victress won last Sunday. She was bet to the exclusion of her rivals and was 30 cents on the dollar. Third and second and in striking range, the Sportsmaster mare thundered to the top at the eighth pole and won by three lengths. The time was a sparkling 1:50. That was a Balmoral Park track record for four year-old mares and it was a heartening precursor to tonight’s final.
Mystical Victress won the Grandma Ann last year. A Lorne Propes crown will be another feather in her already heavily feathered cap. There is no doubt that the odds-on Mystical Victress will be in deep ‘odds on’ territory.
Marcus Miller chooses his words carefully. The 22-year-old is measured in his responses. “Mystical Victress is exceptional, she can do anything you want. You put her on the lead. You want to come off the pace and she will be ready. She is going one better every start. In her recent wins, I knew I had the best horse and drove accordingly. Here’s the key to Mystical Victress. I’ll let you in on it. She does not like to get beat,” said Miller.
“I have had three Super Night winners. This is my third year of professional driving and the most productive. I have driven around 1,100 winners in my career. I have two chances to get repeat wins. Dutch Richman won the Orange & Blue last year and has a big chance in the Pete Langley Memorial this year. Mystical Victress took the 2010 Grandma Ann and is the leading contender in Saturday’s Lorna Propes. I am looking forward to a Super Night,” Marcus said.
Erv Miller has an opinion or two about his prize pupil. “Yes, she is stronger and she is older. She is showing a lot of maturity. There is more willingness to listen to the driver. When it comes to taking care of her, she is very easy to train. That 1:50 mile in the elimination, there may be a faster time in the final. She can do more if it’s necessary. I cannot be more pleased.”
Mystical Marker Farms and Peggy Hood, longtime supporters of harness racing in Illinois, jointly own Mystical Victress. The four-year-old has done everything asked of her so far. An Illinois-bred winning a major event on Super Night should be a matter of immense gratification to any Illinois-based owner. Given the dominance she has enjoyed in her division, it is easy to make a strong case for her in the Lorna Propes. I will sum it up by saying that I will not oppose her.
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.