Balmoral Park (5/9/12)
Contact: Tom Kelley
RICCOLO KEEPS ROLLING ALONG
Fresh off back-to-back scores including a lifetime best in the Iggy Magoo Stake last week, Walter and Paige Paisley’s up-and-coming sophomore Riccolo made it three straight wins to open his sophomore campaign as he posted a one-length decision in 1:57.0 while taking Wednesday’s $12,000 Betzotic Stake for Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old trotting colts.
|Riccolo remained undefeated in 2012 as he scored by a length with Marcus Miller at the controls in Wednesday's $12,000 Betzotic Stake at Balmoral Park.|
After getting away in fourth as Fall Creek Bandit (Brian Carpenter) led the field through an opening quarter in 30.0, driver Marcus Miller elected to stay inside with Riccolo as the field headed down the backstretch, a move that certainly caused some anxiety among the legion of backers who whacked the gelding down to odds of 1-5.
“I was a little nervous myself at that point,” said a relieved Miller. “I really wasn’t expecting the race to shape up the way it was going but I knew if I could get him to the outside he would be fine.”
Heading for the half mile mark Tuff Guy JJ (John DeLong) vacated the pocket and headed for the top, leading the field by the half-mile mark in 59.3.
At that point Riccolo had been shuffled all the way back to sixth with Miller searching for racing room with the son of Northern Kid-Touch Of Victory. Showing great patience Miller then maneuvered the long-striding gelding into the outer flow, where he gradually started to find his best stride.
With Tuff Guy JJ leading the way past the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:28.1, Riccolo started a sweeping three and four-wide move while following the outer flow of Monticello Lane (Todd Warren) and Ski Daddy (Mike Oosting).
“By the time we reached the top of the stretch I was pretty confident he was going to get there,” said Miller. “Even though we were getting pushed pretty wide this horse is very handy and very steady gaited now and he was really starting to motor.”
Confidently picking off horses one by one, the Nelson Willis-trained three-year-old uncorked a 27.2 final quarter without really being urged by his pilot as he posted his third win of the year and the fourth in his six-race career. Fox Valley Steffen (Dale Hiteman) came on late to get the place money while Tuff Guy JJ held on for third.
Once again fans are going to have the chance to play into a big Pick 5 pool on Saturday, May 12 since the 50 cent wager was not hit on Wednesday night. With a carryover of $8,967 being added to Saturday’s pool, the USTA and Balmoral Park have posted a guaranteed pool of $35,000 for Saturday’s card. The Pick 5 is on races 2-6 each night with post time for the second at approximately 7:30 pm (Central).
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.