Balmoral Park (7/30/12)
Contact: Tom Kelley
POWERFUL STAR PULLS OFF UPSET IN FOX VALLEY EVITA STAKE
Just as they did the night before with Fox Valley Steffen, trainer Joel Smith and driver Dale Hiteman teamed up to pull off another upset, this time getting Powerful Star home with a half-length triumph in the $51,000 Fox Evita Stake final for Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old trotting fillies on Sunday, July 29. The final time of 1:56.3 was a career best for the daughter of Powerful Emotion-Star Slinger.
|Powerful Star benefitted from a masterful drive by veteran Dale Hiteman as she pulled off the upset in Sunday's $51,000 Fox Valley Evita Stake at Balmoral Park.|
After getting away fourth while a red-hot battle was being waged up front between Maevey Gravy (Marcus Miller), Fox Valley Velvet (John De Long) and Ants Iner Pants (Steve Searle) Hiteman decided to employ a different strategy, sending his filly to the front after an opening quarter in 29.0.
“She’s been having some trouble at the gate and in the first turn but tonight she was perfect so I decided I’d take an early shot with her instead of sitting back like we’ve been doing,” explained Hiteman.
Charging up to the lead Hiteman had Powerful Star on the front end as she trotted by the half-mile marker 58.0.
Grabbing a breather around the final bend Powerful Star was fit and fresh as she rolled by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:27.4.
“We got away with a pretty slow middle half and I tried to back it down as much as I could because I knew those outside horses had Maevey Gravy pinned in along the pylons,” said Hiteman. “She was the horse I was worried about and since my horse was going along so easily I figured I’d let the others try to come and get us while keeping her down at the pylons.”
Bracing for the upcoming stretch duel the Joel Smith-trained miss dug in with all she had, holding off challenges from Rubys And Pearls (Rick Schrock) and Divas Photo while Maevey Gravy struggled to secure racing room back in fifth.
Trotting home in 28.4, Powerful Star held firm through the lane to snare her first victory of the year. Rubys And Pearls held on for a second while a fast closing Maevey Gravy shook loose late and rallied sharply to finish third.
After the race Hiteman was ecstatic about the effort Powerful Star had just turned in.
“She felt great every step of the way out there tonight,” said Hiteman. “She was as tough as nails through the stretch there and she just really seemed determined to not let anybody get by her. This was the biggest mile she’s ever trotted in her career.”
Overlooked at the betting windows, Powerful Star returned $22.60, $9.00 and $5.20. While the win was the first of the year in 13 starts for the filly she did have three seconds and three thirds to her credit and she now boasts a bankroll of just over $70,000 for owners Paula Smith and David Jenks.
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.