Balmoral Park (5/26/12)
Contact: Tom Kelley
CARDINAL ELIMS CONTESTED; TWIN GUARANTEES ON TAP FOR SUNDAY ACTION!
A busy Memorial Day weekend of fun and excitement kicked off on Saturday night at Balmoral Park with a pair of $10,000 Cardinal Stake eliminations for Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old pacing colts. The top five in each elimination will return next Saturday to slug it out for an estimated purse of $50,800.
|Ice Scraper and Kyle Wilfong held on in a blanket finish to win Saturday's first division of the Cardinal Stake eliminations.|
In the opening battle James Behrendt’s Ice Scraper skated by seven rivals as he scored by a half-length in a career best of 1:51.2 for driver Kyle Wilfong.
Whisked away from post position three by Wilfong, the gelded son of Yankee Skyscaper-Chilli Breeze grabbed the early lead through a contested opening quarter in 27.1.
After relinquishing control of the proceedings, Wilfong was content to ride along in the pocket as heavily favored Zall Good (Marcus Miller) led the field through middle splits of 55.3 and 1:23.3.
With the favorite growing leg weary, the Mike Brown-trained Ice Scraper slid to the outside where he regained control of the proceedings. The outcome was still in doubt though as a fast-closing Urawomanizer (Mike Oosting) was storming up on the outside of horses, while Zall Good continued to battle on along the inside. But at the wire it was Ice Scraper who managed to hold them off, posting his first win of the year and his sixth in 18 lifetime starts. Urawomanizer finished second while Zall Good was third. Also gaining spots in the final were Western Cole (4th) and Crime Of Passion (5th).
In the second elimination Stevanna Turner and John Fletcher’s NJ’s Big Deal rolled right to the front for driver Ronnie Gillespie and proceeded to make every call a winning one as he cruised to a three-quarter-length victory in a lifetime best of 1:51.1.
|NJ's Big Deal and Ronnie Gillespie made every call a winning one in Saturday's second Cardinal elimination.|
The John Fletcher-trained son of Sagebrush-A Passing Breeze, who was fresh off a victory in the Gosox Stake at Maywood Park, proved he’s just as dangerous on the big track as he zipped to the top from post position six.
In complete control of the proceedings, Gillespie was able to carve out splits of 27.2, 55.4 and 1:24.0.
Fit and fresh as the field turned for home, the big brown colt then sprinted home in 27.1 to post his third win in nine starts this year and his 11th victory in 30 lifetime starts. Uncle Smoothie (Brian Carpenter) turned a ground-saving trip into a second place check while MT Nester (Mike Oosting) rallied to finish third. King’s Legend (4th) and Fox Valley George (5th) also gained spots in next week’s final.
Saturday’s 50-cent Pick 5 wager was not hit meaning there will be a carryover of $6,013 added to Sunday’s Pick 5 wager. The USTA and Balmoral Park are now placing a $30,000 guaranteed pool on Sunday’s 50-cent Pick 5 wager meaning that fans will have a chance to create plenty of fireworks with a pair of $30,000 guaranteed pools (Pick 5—Races 2 through 6 and Pick 4—Races 7-10 with a 15 percent take-out) before the scheduled fireworks extravaganza that will take place at the Crete plant after the 11th race.
Fans can also get a head start on their handicapping by downloading the free program pages for both guaranteed pools at www.ustrotting.com
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.