BIG PERFORMANCES ON NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS

09:14 AM 06 Aug 2005 NZST
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The inaugural Night of Champions at Hawthorne featured an exciting 14 race card, highlighted by the finals for eight Illinois-bred stakes as some very strong performances were posted.

The Customize – Sherrie’s Delight Doesn’t Disappoint

n the $84,494 final of the Customize series for three-year-old colt and gelding trotters, the heavily favored Sherrie’s Delight was in complete control as he made it 8 for 8 on the season with an impressive seventh-length triumph. Grabbing the lead quickly from the 10-hole, Sherrie’s Delight lead the field through fractions of :28.4, :58.2, and 1:28.0. At the top of the stretch, driver Tony Morgan said ‘go’ and Sherrie’s Delight responded as he extended his lead and never looked back, stopping the clock for the mile in 1:56.0. Second was The Vicster as he closed well in the lane and longshot Julio used a close-up trip to finish third.

Owned by Michael Polansky and trained by Tom Harmer, Sherrie’s Delight earned $42,247 for the win, boosting his career earnings to $109,259. Sherrie’s Delight returned $2.20, $2.10 and $2.10. The Vicster came back $3.20 and $2.80 while Julio returned $8.60 to show.

The Vicster – Cunning on the Front

n the race named for the runner up in the Customize, two-year-old colt and gelding trotters were featured in the $91,094 The Vicster. Again, the favorite didn’t disappoint as Cunning went to the front and never looked back. Driven by Tim Tetrick, Cunning cruised easily to the lead through fractions of :29.4, 1:01.3 and 1:33.3. Holding off his stablemate, Magnetic Honor at the top of the stretch, Cunning went on to a two-length win, crossing the wire in 2:01 for the mile. Second-choice, Battleshoe Bridge held well for second while Fox Valley Cayenne closed from the back off the pack to finish third.

Owned by Philip and Robert Rietveld and trained by Roger Welch, Cunning earned $45,547 for the third win in his five career starts. His career earnings now stand at $66,517. Cunning returned $4.60, $2.80 and $2.40. Battleshoe Bridge came back $3.00 and $2.40 while Fox Valley Cayenne returned $3.80 to show.

The Fox Valley Flan – A Two-year-old Champ Strikes at Three

fter posting some well-timed wins as a two-year-old, Silhouette Star had gotten off to a rather quiet start at three as she had only two wins in 11 starts on the year coming into the running of the $80,244 Fox Valley Flan Final. 6-1 in the morning line, Silhouette Star was overlooked as she was sent off at nearly 9-1 in the three-year-old filly trot. After breaking stride just prior to the start, Silhouette Star quickly regained her form as she sat just off the pace through the first quarter in :29.2. Heading to the front shortly after, Silhouette Start covered the half in :59.0 and three-quarters in 1:29.3 but she was to be tested by nearly four others in the stretch. Prevailing in the end by a length-and-a-quarter for driver Dale Hiteman, Silhouette start stopped the clock for the mile in 1:57.2. Second in the Fox Valley Flan was Victor’s Pursuit as she closed from well back while longshot His Mssse Ja was a good third.

Owned by Patricia Jenks and Brianna Walton and trained by Joel Smith, the win was the third on the year for Silhouette Star as she took home the $40,122 winner’s share to surpass the $100,000 mark in career earnings with $132,767 now on her career. Silhouette Star returned $19.40, $6.60 and $4.80. Victor’s Pursuit came back $5.40 and $4.40 while His Mssse Ja came back $10.40 to show.

The Silhouette Star – Go Go Gabby Avoids Upset

fter winning the Fox Valley Flan, Silhouette Star seemed to be perfectly honored with this race named for her two-year-old triumph. Two-year-old filly trotters were on the track for the $90,244 Silhouette Star Final as favored Go Go Gabby grabbed her second career win in only her fifth start, but it wasn’t easy. After heading to the front early for driver Tim Tetrick through the opening quarter in :30.1, Go Go Gabby took back as Fox Valley Charmer headed to the front, covering the half in 1:01.3 and 1:34.0. Turning for home, Go Go Gabby waited her time in fourth as she weaved her way between her foes to find the front in the final 16th as she appeared to be home free, but nearing the wire, 60-1 longshot Giantjellybean was flying, only to miss by a head. Peaceful Victory also came on late to finish third.

Owned by Robert and Philip Rietveld along with trainer Roger Welch, Go Go Gabby stopped the clock in 2:02.1 as she brought home the winner’s share of $46,122 to bring her career earnings to $54,372. Go Go Gabby returned $5.40, $3.60 and $2.60. Giantjellybean returned $30.80 and $11.00 while Fox Valley Charmer returned $7.60 to show.

The Enemy at The Gate – I Can Only Imagine Makes it 3 in a Row

In the $102,194 Enemy at The Gate Final for three-year-old colts and geldings, a battle took place between a pair that had met in their last two as I Can Only Imagine and Perdition hooked up once again. While I Can Only Imagine was in complete control in the end in the last two starts, he had to work much more this time out as he went to the front immediately and held the lead through fractions on :28.1, :56.1 and 1:24.2 for three-quarters. Two lengths up at the top of the lane, driver Tony Morgan and I Can Only Imagine tried to shake loose, but a good trip for Andy Miller and Perdition had him in contention as he closed up on the outside. As it looked like Perdition was going to go by, I Can Only Imagine dug in a bit more to hold off Perdition by three-quarters of a length, stopping the clock in 1:51.4 for the mile. Perdition was second while Johns My Buddy came from far back to finish third.

Owned by Michael Polansky and trained by Tom Harmer, I Can Only Imagine earned $51,097 for the win, his fifth on the year, bringing his career earnings to $78,196. I Can Only imagine returned $4.80, $3.00 and $2.60. Perdition came back $3.60 and $2.80 while Johns My Buddy returned $5.80 to show.

The Sleazebiscuit – You Make Me Smile in Control

wo-year-old filly pacers faced one another in the $100,244 Sleazebiscuit as Meant To Persist was sent off as the choice. While a traffic-filled trip kept Meant to Persist out of contention, it was the second choice, You Make Me Smile who posted one of the more impressive wins on the evening. Sent off at 2-1, You Make Me Smile and driver Michael Oosting, sat back early as longshot Rhyme or Reason was on the front through fractions of :28.1, :56.1 and 1:25.3. As Rhyme or Reason tired, the cavalry charge came as You Make Me Smile was the first to move, opening up on the field in the final 70 yards to win by 4 ¾ lengths, stopping the clock in 1:53.4 for the mile. Longshot Sherri On Ice finished second while Spanish Rosey closed to finish third.

Winning for the second time in four career starts, You Make Me Smile earned $50,122 for the win for owner Lynn Wilfong and trainer Roger Welch. You Make Me Smile returned $6.20, $3.80, and $3.40. Sherri On Ice came back $13.60 and $8.20 while Spanish Rosey returned $5.80 to show.

The Creative Lass – American Riches Weaves to a Win

n the $91,944 Creative Lass for three-year-old fillies, all the money was on the combination of trainer Tom Harmer and driver Tony Morgan as they had the 4-5 shot in Fox Valley Leonna, but when the trip wasn’t there for that one, a longshot benefited as American Riches found her way to the upset win. Driven by Sam Widger, American Riches sat mid-pack early behind the quick early fractions set by Brianna Joy of :26.2, :55.2 and 1:23.4. As Brianna Joy tired, American Riches found room to move as she opened up in the lane and was able to hold off the late move of favored Fox Valley Leonna in the final 70 yards for the 1 ¼ length win. American Riches covered the mile in 1:52.2 for the mile. Major Shirley came on to finish third.

Owned by Gary Fransen and trainer Valerie Haines, American Riches earned $45,972 for her sixth win of the season, bringing her career earnings to $70,681. American Riches returned $34.60, $13.00 and $7.80. Fox Valley Leonna returned $2.80 and $2.60 while Major Shirley returned $10.20 to show.

The Perdition – Hot N Sporty Remains Undefeated

Closing out the Night of Champions was the $100,244 final of the Perdition for two-year-old colt and gelding pacers as heavily favored Hot N Sporty did his job once again, boosting his career mark to six wins from six starts. Driven by Tony Morgan, Hot N Sporty sat fourth behind Instant Classic through fractions of :28.1, :56.0 and 1:25.0. In the stretch, Instant Classic had been passed by Dr Lon, but Hot N Sporty took over and never looked back, extending to a four and a half length win in 1:52.4. Dr Lon finished a strong second while My Boy David came on late to finish third.

The undefeated Hot N Sporty is owned by James and Donna Crebs and trained by James Crebs. The $50,122 winner’s share brought his career earnings to $64,372. Hot N Sporty returned $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10. Dr Lon returned $5.60 and $3.00 while My Boy David returned $4.60 to show.

Hawthorne Press Box

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