Maywood Park (6/22/12)
Contact: Tom Kelley
$123,000 MAYWOOD PACE FIGURES TO BE A DOOZY!
If last week’s Maywood Pace eliminations were any indication Friday’s $123,000 final figures to be an exciting affair from start to finish. Carded as race 10 on the 14-race program this test brings together the top Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old pacing colts in the Prairie State.
|NJ's Big Deal winning his Maywood Pace elimination last week.|
Also on tap Friday night is the $38,138 Cardinal Stake for aged pacers which has attracted some of the best Illinois’ bred older pacers in training. The combined earnings of this field total more than $2.5 million.
In the featured Maywood Pace, one of the track’s signature events each year, Stevanna Turner and John Fletcher’s NJ’s Big Deal has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite as he looks for his fourth win in his last five starts.
The Fletcher-trained son of Sagebrush-A Passing Breeze was an easy winner in his elimination as he flashed his blazing early speed en route to a wire-to-wire victory in 1:52.3 for driver Ronnie Gillespie. The runner-up in this year’s Cardinal Stake at Balmoral Park has been a money making machine for his connections posting 12 wins, four seconds and four thirds in 32 lifetime starts for earnings of more than $70,000. NJ’s Big Deal is saddled with post position seven in Friday’s final but given his high turn of early speed the post should not be a problem for this good looking sophomore.
Sawgrass Farms Uncle Smoothie captured the second elimination last week and this bay gelding is the 3-1 second choice in the morning line as he guns for his third win of the 2012 campaign.
The Nelson Willis trainee also scored in wire-to-wire fashion in his elimination, cruising to a 3 ¾ length victory in a seasonal best of 1:52.4 last Friday. That victory showed the type of versatility this pacer possesses after rallying from 10th to finish third in the Cardinal Stake final the previous week at Balmoral. A model of consistency throughout his first two seasons, Uncle Smoothie boasts a record of seven wins, three seconds and three thirds in 19 career starts with earnings of just over $125,000. Brian Carpenter will handle the driving duties as Uncle Smoothie leaves from post position five.
Others who merit strong consideration in this tussle are Crime Of Passion, last year’s top two-year-old in the state and Al’s Hammered, a multiple stakes winner in both his two and three-year-old seasons. Rounding out the field are Fox Valley Mahalo, Urawomanizer, MT Nester and Yankee Doodle Jim.
The Cardinal Stake, which will go as race nine on the card, has attracted such standouts as Well To Guru (2-1), the winner of the Broadway Preview Stake last week at Balmoral Park; Thisbigdogwillfight (7-2), a career winner of $952,762; and multiple stakes winner Doubletrouble (3-1), who boasts more than $533,000 in career earnings.