Freshman filly division leaders Pardon and Fox Valley Touche will tangle for the first time Friday night at Maywood Park since the latter pulled off the biggest surprise of harness racing Super Night 2010 by winning the $218,000 Orange and Blue Filly Championship.
Hammered down to overwhelming 1-5 odds just as she was in her previous two winning races, Pardon was overtaken for the first time in 10 career starts by Fox Valley Touche who popped at 25-1 odds for owners Paula Smith (Valparaiso, IN) and James Runyan (Lake Villa, IL).
In Friday’s $54,800 Violet Final at Maywood Park the Dirk Simpson trainee Pardon will try to avenge that loss for her Saint Charles, Illinois owner and breeder Richard Balog.
Pardon breezed in her Violet elimination last Friday in front-end fashion for regular driver Dave Magee with a 1:55.4 clocking. It was her initial pari-mutuel outing on a half-miler and her driver liked what he saw from the homebred daughter of Richest Hanover out of Balog’s Dragon’s Lair broodmare Rose Dawson.
“Pardon can cover the ground and she had no problem at all with the half,” said Magee after her Maywood Park debut. “She was very fluid out there. I was really impressed with her. She was pretty relaxed and I didn’t rush her at all. I actually tuned her loose on the front if she wanted to go a little more but she stayed relaxed. I was real happy the way she raced.”
Driver Dale Hiteman was just as elated with Fox Valley Touche’s easy 1:55 flat wire-to-wire Violet elimination victory.
“This was her first start off her Super Night championship and it was a very good mile,” said Dale after the race. “The horse that was second (Mystical MJ) is a very nice filly and of course Pardon is a very good filly, so it should be an interesting final.”
Only 33 wins shy of reaching the prominent 8,000 plateau in career triumphs, Hiteman loves to be at the lines of Fox Valley Touche.
“She can get a little rambunctious getting hooked up before she goes out on the track but in a race she couldn’t be more perfect,” said Hiteman. “The filly is just a peach to drive. You could do it with two fingers.”
Purchased at a bargain price of $10,500 at the 2009 Walker Standardbred Sale, Fox Valley Touche handled her first Maywood Park test effortlessly and will bring a first season bankroll of $122,872 into the Violet Final showdown.
“I think it helped her here at Maywood since Joel (trainer Smith) has been able to train her on his half-miler in Indiana,” continued Dale. “The key to this filly is that she’s so handy. You can do whatever you want with her. She’s a little thing, so she’s not long-winded and isn’t going to give you a hard, long mile. But she has high speed and if you can get her into position to use it, she can make it home.”
The draw went more favorable for Fox Valley Touche in the Violet Final when she landed the two-slot and will open as the 9-5 programmed second choice in the morning line. Pardon will have to buck an outside post, the seven, as the7-5 morning line favorite.
The pole position belongs to Little Maeve (programmed 8-1, Del Chupp). Mystical MJ (9-2, Marcus Miller), Kissed By the Sun (50-1, Gary Rath), 1:56.3 elimination winner Little Miss Henry (20-1, Casey Leonard) and She’s Automatic (15-1, Tom Harmer) have slots three through six, in that order. Just By Design (20-1, Mike Oosting) drew the outside eight-hole in race eleven Friday.
The co-featured $60,350 Cardinal Championships for first season ICF pacing colts and geldings is race nine. The field (from the one-slot out) is comprised of Dixie Brush (Bob Smolin), He’s So Hot (Dale Hiteman), Fox Valley Mercury (Dave Magee), Little Pauli (Carpenter), TJ’S Rocky (Mike Oosting), Q Revrac (Marcus Miller), Mr. Bedrock (Robert Taylor) and Fox Valley Griffin (Todd Warren).
by Mike PARADISE, for the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association