Balmoral Park (7/21/13)
Contact: Tom Kelley
FIELDS SET FOR SOUTHLAND FESTIVAL OF RACING
After a busy weekend of eliminations the fields have been set for one of the biggest nights of racing at Balmoral Park and now the countdown begins to next Saturday’s (July 27) Chicago Southland Festival of Racing.
|Feel Like Dancing and Kyle Wilfong used the passing lane to perfection en route to a one length victory in 1:52.2 in the first of two Ann Vonian Stake eliminations on Sunday.|
After a trio of stakes were filled on Saturday, July 20 the last two elimination tussles were contested on Sunday night with a total of 16 Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old pacing fillies squaring off in a pair of $10,000 Ann Vonian Stake elims. The top five finishers in each division will be back next Saturday to slug it out for a purse of $60,000.
In the first elimination Roy Drevs and Brett & Candice Wilfong’s Feel Like Dancing came charging through the passing lane to win by a length in a career best of 1:52.3 for driver Kyle Wilfong.
After leading the field through an opening quarter in 28.3, Wilfong elected to allow a hard charging Dallas Jones (Casey Leonard) take command. That filly proceeded to rattle off middle splits of 56.2 and 1:25.1 while the Brett Wilfong-trained miss enjoyed a perfect pocket-sitting ride. After finding room in the passing lane, the daughter of Skydancer Hanover—Fox Valley Funny exploded past the pace setter finishing off the mile with a 27.1 final panel to post her seventh win in 14 starts this year. Dallas Jones held on to be second while the heavily favored Aliyah Maria (Todd Warren) finished third. Incredible Filly (Mike Cox) and My Marissa Clair (Phil Knox) also earned spots in the final.
The second elimination was not without its anxious moments for “chalk” players but when the smoke cleared it was John Carver’s Auniqueaquistion who came out on top with a hard fought half-length victory in 1:52.2 for driver Dave Magee.
|Auniqueaquistion and driver Dave Magee rallied in the closing yards to win the second of two Ann Vonian Stake eliminations on Sunday night.|
Placed well off the pace while Dune In Red (John De Long) and R Ciao Baby (Casey Leonard) sped through splits of 28.2, 55.3 and 1:24.1, Magee had Auniqueaquistion in the outer flow as the fillies turned for the money. Picking off one rival after another, the Donna Lee Ozment-trained daughter of Cole Muffler—Shesoluvabull went from fifth to first with a 27.3 final quarter to notch her sixth win in nine starts this year. Dune In Red turned in a solid effort to finish second while State Street Liz (Robert Smolin) shook loose late to be a fast closing third. The last two spots in the final went to R Ciao Baby and Mystical Danica (Lewayne Miller).
Saturday’s action started with a total of 19 state-bred two-year-old pacing fillies battling in a pair of $10,000 Loyal Opposition eliminations. The top five in each split will return next week to meet for a purse of $65,000.
|Western Dame cruised to an easy win for driver John De Long in the first of two Loyal Opposition Stake eliminations on Saturday night.|
In the opening division Bruce and Mary Alexander’s Western Dame made it two in a row as she cruised to an impressive two-length victory in a career best of 1:54.2 for driver John De Long.
Charging from fifth to first after an opening quarter of 28.2, the daughter of Sagebrush—Dixie Dame left no doubt as to who was the best in this event as she continued on through middle splits of 57.0 and 1:26.0. Rolling home in 28.2, the $14,000 yearling purchase was never seriously threatened through the stretch as she scored for the second time in three starts. Thesleazyprincess (Mike Oosting) rallied late to be the bridesmaid while Anything I Want (Todd Warren) was a game third. My Little Bit (Robert Smolin) finished fourth and Fox Valley Rockn (Kyle Wilfong) was fifth.
The second division of the Loyal Opposition eliminations also provided a sharp winner as Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly posted her maiden breaking win, reporting home with a 2 3/4 length verdict in 1:55.1 with Mike Oosting in tow.
|Molly Go Lightly and driver Mike Oosting teamed up for an easy win in 1:55.1 in the second Loyal Opposition Stake elimination on Saturday.|
The homebred daughter of Lexington Legend—Waggle was confidently handled in the race, ranging up first over through opening splits of 29.3 and 58.4. After sweeping into the lead as the field moved around the final turn, the Nelson Willis trainee led the fillies by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.4. The issue was never in doubt from that point on as Molly Go Lightly was on cruise control through a 28.2 final quarter to post her first win in four starts. Green Valey (Robert Smolin) came on late to finish second while April May Dune (Dave Magee) was third. Also gaining spots in the final were Fox Valley Amanda (Dale Hiteman) and Ms Solongbyebye (Jamaica Patton).
Next on the docket were three-year-old pacing colts as a total of 15 state-bred sophomores battled in a pair of $10,000 Incredible Finale Stake eliminations. Once again the top five will be back for the “festival” where they will battle for a purse of $59,000.
|Mystical Walter continued an impressive recent run as he posted his third straight victory in the first of two Incredible Finale Stake elims for 3yo colt pacers.|
In the first elimination Paymaq Racing, D&M Trading and Mystical Marker Farm's Mystical Walter continued to turn heads in this division as he posted his third straight victory, reporting home with a deceptively easy 2 1/4 length score in 1:51.1 for driver Casey Leonard.
Fresh off his win in last week’s Hanover Stake, the gelded son of Yankee Skyscaper—Yankee Blue put his powerful brush to good use, rushing from fifth to first after an opening quarter in 28.0. The Erv Miller trainee never looked back the rest of the way, effortlessly posting middle splits of 56.2 and 1:24.1 before sealing the deal with a wicked 27.0 final quarter for his seventh win in 15 career starts. Monopoly Man (John De Long) followed the winner’s every move after giving way on the backside to finish second while Fancy Creek Elusiv (Dave Magee) was third. Also grabbing spots in the final were Sage Ruck (Mike Oosting) and Fox Valley Action (Todd Warren).
In the second division John and Mary Krasnican’s Big Brad came storming through the stretch to win by a neck in a lifetime best of 1:51.0 for Robert Smolin.
|Big Brad and Robert Smolin captured an Incredible Finale Stake elimination for 3yo pacing colts in 1:51.0 on Saturday night at Balmoral Park.|
Moving up second over as pace setter Silver Devil put up splits of 28.0, 56.3 and 1:23.4, Smolin moved the Robert Phillips trainee off cover as the field turned for the money. Flying home in 26.4, the bay son of Henry Clay—One Sure Thing swept by his rivals and then was game to the wire as held off a final surge by Crankin’ It Up (Kyle Wilfong) for his fifth win in 13 starts this season. Crankin’ It Up was second while Kostas Wine (Dave Magee) rallied to finish third. Fox Valley Norman (John De Long) salvaged a fourth place finish after a tough first over bid while the last spot in the final went to Darth Quaider (Mike Oosting).
Rounding out the Saturday action were Mini Me Stake eliminations for ICF two-year-old pacing colts. With a total of 17 youngsters dropped into the entry box a pair of $10,000 splits were contested with the top five moving on to next week’s $63,500 final.
|PQ Three was a well measured winner for driver Mike Oosting in the first of two Mini Me Stake eliminations on Saturday.|
In the first division Obermeier and Quaid Stables good looking youngster PQ Three lived up to his favored status, winning by a well measured neck in 1:54.3 with Mike Oosting at the controls.
Ranging up first over as Traffic Cop (Todd Warren) and R Duneshine (Dave Magee) battled through splits of 28.2, 58.2 and 1:26.4, Oosting had the son of Yankee Skyscaper—Sweltering just off the pace setters as the field turned for the money. Quickly swallowing up R Duneshine in the lane, the Erv Miller trainee then held firm to the wire for his second win in four starts. Traffic Cop re-rallied to finish a game second while Fox Valley Cupid (Robert Smolin) turned a ground saving trip into a third place check. Fox Valley Deuce (Dale Hiteman) was fourth while R Duneshine wound up fifth.
The last elimination on the Saturday card provided the tightest finish as the Robert Phillips-owned and trained Cotton Eyed Joe found racing room in the final sixteenth of a mile, then rallied sharply for a head decision in 1:56.4 with Robert Smolin at the controls.
|Cotton Eyed Joe found room late while rallying for a big win in the second Mini Me Stake elimination on Saturday.|
After saving ground while Wimpy Doodle (Dean Magee) and Dunside Art (Mike Oosting) took turns leading the field through splits of 29.3, 1:00.3 and 1:29.2, Smolin appeared to be hopelessly locked in at the pylons. Smolin’s patience paid big dividends though as a seam opened up late in the stretch, allowing the son of Big Green Machine—Secret Dial to come roaring home with his first win in five career starts. Badger Quinn (Todd Warren), who made a power sweep to the front from the outside post, wound up finishing a tough luck second while Fox Valley Van (John De Long) was third. The last two spots in the final went to Dunside Art (4th) and Wimpy Doodle (5th).
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.