Balmoral Park (9/15/11)
Contact: Tom Kelley
Zumba Mouse Looks to Scurry by Foes in Lady Ann Reed
By Tom Krish
Three year-old trotting fillies take center stage in the $103,000 Lady Ann Reed and if her victory in the elimination last Sunday is any criterion, Zumba Mouse, an Erv Miller pupil, is likely to be accorded the favorite’s role. Trainer Erv Miller made a rare appearance as a driver and the Armbro Tropicana filly was at the helm from the start. A 58 half was an advantage that Zumba Mouse, the 9/10 chalk, would not relinquish en route to a 1:56.3 victory. The winning margin was one length.
Unraced as a freshman, Zumba Mouse has made 11 starts in 2011. She has won six races for a $49,350 bankroll. Zumba Mouse has gone off stride twice in her last four trips to the gate and that should make her connections and supporters pause and think. On August 18 at Springfield, much to the chagrin of those who had made her a 3/10 favorite, Zumba Mouse broke leaving to take herself out of the reckoning. A 2/5 choice on August 18 again at Springfield, the three year-old filly quickly erased the painful memory of her loss. She won in splendid isolation in a time of 1:57.2. Then came a stakes event at the Du Quoin State Fair.
With Marcus Miller at the controls, Zumba Mouse was bet down to 7/10 in the 11-trotter field. She was about four lengths off the lead with a quarter to go and went off stride. She finished 11th and last. In the Lady Ann Reed elimination, enthusiasm was restrained by reality and Zumba Mouse was available at 9/10. When the dust settled, Zumba Mouse had behaved in exemplary fashion and had come away victorious.
Erv Miller spoke. “Young trotting fillies are always a cause for concern. I wanted to reassure myself that she would go into the Lady Ann Reed final with no problems. Yes, I like to give my driving skills a test now and then. The elimination served two purposes. I satisfied myself that I will have a fit filly for the big race. The race gave me the confidence I can hold my own in a competitive situation. In Saturday’s final, I am turning over the lines to Marcus. I will play only the training role.
“There is no doubting her ability. If she gets a flat mile, she will have a big chance,” Miller stated.
There were two Lady Ann Reed elimination divisions last Sunday. Fox Valley Ruffian, trained by Randy Tuftie, won the other division. Kyle Husted charged to the lead and trotted on to win readily. That was the fourth win this year for the Vaporize filly. After being winless in 11 starts as a freshman in 2010, Fox Valley Ruffian has been in the top three 12 times in 14 starts.
These are some great numbers. She has a propensity for leaving and is peaking at the right time if her win in Sunday’s elimination is any indication.
With Marcus Miller, Kyle Wilfong, Casey Leonard and Kyle Husted handling some of the better fancied contenders, the 23rd edition of Super Night may be heralding the changing of the guard. The complexion of Chicago’s driving colony has changed dramatically. The old names pop up here and there but for the most part, the new generation is in control. Marcus Miller is winning races at a feverish clip. He is already over the 1,000 mark in his career.
Can Zumba Mouse roar and give impetus to the Miller juggernaut? Will Fox Valley Ruffian come up with another big mile to show who the boss is in the sophomore filly trotting division? Let the Lady Ann Reed give us the answers.
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.