Balmoral Park (7/2/12)
Contact: Tom Kelley
RICCOLO DEFENDS HOME TURF; REMAINS UNDEFEATED IN 2012
Walter and Paige Paisley’s Riccolo faced his toughest test to date in an amazing 2012 run on Sunday night at Balmoral Park and the son of Northern Kid-Touch Of Victory passed with flying colors as he rolled to a half-length victory in a career best of 1:54.2 while taking the $34,700 Hanover Stake for three-year-old trotting colts.
|Riccolo, with Marcus Miller at the controls, wore down Prayer Session in the final strides to post his 8th straight victory in 2012, winning Sunday's $34,700 Hanover Stake for 3yo trotting colts.|
Handled perfectly by driver Marcus Miller, the bay gelding got away fourth in the field of eight as Vaporstar (Brian Carpenter) and the highly regarded Prayer Session (Dave Magee) battled through an opening quarter in 28.1.
After relinquishing the early lead Magee then moved Prayer Session back to the top as the trotters headed down the backstretch. That’s when Miller decided it was time to get his charge involved in things, maneuvering Riccolo to the outside of horses where he began a steady grind to the front as the field passed the half-mile mark in 57.3.
“I wasn’t thrilled with where we came away,” said Miller. “I figured Dave would be leaving out of there with his horse and I wanted to try and get my horse right on his back but that other horse went flying out of there (Vaporstar) so I decided to just try and stay away from that battle.”
Continuing to slice into Prayer Session’s advantage as the two trotted around the far turn Riccolo had moved into second, just a length off of the pace setting Prayer Session as the pair reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.1.
“This horse can take some air and it doesn’t really seem to bother him,” explained Miller. “I just wanted to make sure we were within a length of Dave’s horse without having to use my horse too much so that worked out perfectly.”
Through the stretch Prayer Session continued to cling to a short lead as Riccolo drew alongside in second. With these two drawing some five lengths clear of the rest of the field, Riccolo finally wore down Prayer Session in the final strides to win his eighth start in a row in 2012. Prayer Session, the runner-up in the $343,980 Goodtimes Stake, was once again forced to settle for a second place finish while Zot (Mike Oosting) finished a distant third, six lengths behind the winner.
When asked about his thoughts throughout the thrilling stretch drive a very relieved Miller had nothing but praise for Riccolo.
“I was confident when we straightened out for home because we had gotten into the position that I wanted to be in with him,” said Miller. “But I certainly was in no position to relax because I knew that Dave’s horse was the best horse that we had ever faced up to this point in his career and I really didn’t know how much horse Dave still had left. The way it turned out we had a little more left than he did tonight and my horse never ever stops trying.”
With his amazing eight-for-eight start this season Riccolo now boasts a career record of 9-1-0 in 11 lifetime starts with earnings of $71,610 while under the guidance of veteran conditioner Nelson Willis. Sent off a close second choice in the wagering Riccolo returned $4.00, $2.20 and $2.20.
State-bred pacing fillies were also in action on Sunday night as a pair of $10,000 divisions of another Betzotic Stake were contested.
|The Face Of Love and driver Dave Magee staged a big late rally to win the first of two divisions of the Betzotic Stake for ICF 3yo filly pacers in 1:53.2.|
In the opening split Redbud Stable and John Johnston’s The Face Of Love came flying through the stretch to win by a neck in a career best of 1:53.2.
Taking advantage of a nice second over trip with Dave Magee at the controls, the Perry Smith-trained daughter of Art’s Conquest-Shessoluvabull sat in mid-pack for most of the race before uncorking a 28.1 final quarter to blow by her rivals for her fourth win in 20 starts this season. Kendyl (Mike Oosting) finished second while Party Hanover (John De Long) held on for third.
In the second division John Carver’s No Respect definitely earned the respect of her peers as she scored in wire-to-wire fashion, cruising to a 2 ¾ length victory in a lifetime best of 1:52.0.
|No Respect teamed up with Todd Warren for a wire to wire victory in a career best of 1:52.0 while taking the second division of the Betzotic Stake on Sunday night.|
Sent right to the top by driver Todd Warren the Tom Harmer-trained daughter of Sportsmaster-Justalittlerespect sped through splits of 27.4, 55.4 and 1:24.0 before sealing the deal with a 28.0 final quarter en route to her third win in seven starts this year and her seventh career victory in 18 tries.
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.