A pair of pacing series shared top billing on Saturday night’s (January 21) Balmoral program.
A total of eight fillies and mares contested Round 2 action in the Fox Valley Redhot Series while a total of 19 colts and geldings battled in a pair of Round 3 divisions of the Big Dog Series.
After deciding to skip the opening round of the Fox Valley Redhot Series at Maywood Park, Eileen Brodbar & Marmac Stables Jay Bee’s Muffie continued her winning ways on the Balmoral oval as she coasted to a 1 ¾ length triumph in 1:56.2.
Employing the same tactics that had notched her three straight victories heading into this start driver Sam Widger hustled the four-year-old daughter ofaway from post position seven. The speedy filly easily made the top and was comfortably in front by two lengths as she led the field through an opening quarter in 28.1.
Widger was able to steal an easy second quarter of 30.0 and the Gary Scurlock trainee was still plenty fresh as she strolled by the half in 58.1.
Heading around the far turn the pacesetter had to brace for the challenge of a first over Cyber Comet (Tim Tetrick). With that filly just a half-length behind her Jay Bee’s Muffie sped by the three-quarter-mile station in 1:27.1.
After putting away the bid by Cyber Comet Jay Bee’s Muffie drew off from the rest of her rivals to record her fourth straight victory. Da Sleazy One (Mike Oosting) shook loose to be the bridesmaid while Chicago Red Hot (Ryan Anderson) rallied for third. The winner returned $5.80, $2.80 & $2.60 as the second choice of the betting public.
In the first of two $5,500 divisions in Round 3 of the Big Dog Series Joseph Mulcahy & Neva Grevengoed’s Triggerfish came roaring through the passing lane to post the upset at odds of 13-1.
Taking advantage of the inside starting spot in this field of 10 driver Shawn Christner was able to save ground in fourth as Kevin T Busch (Randy Jacobs) and Costly Sport (Brent Holland) traded turns on the lead while rolling through splits of 28.2 & 57.0 & 1:25.4.
Things really heated up in the lane as horses fanned out five and six wide for the drive. Costly Sport was desperately trying to hold on to a slim advantage while Grouchy Old Man (Darcy Pletcher) was looking for a seam between horses. Kevin T Busch was still right there with the leaders while Triggerfish began his assault in the passing lane.
It looked like a cavalry charge as the field came to the wire with Triggerfish squeezing through along the pylons to win by three-quarters of length. Grouchy Old Man was a game second while Cole Swift came flying late to finish third. Only four lengths separated the top nine finishers in this hotly contested affair.
The win was the first in three starts this year for the Jerald Grevengoed trainee who stopped the clock in a career best of 1:54.3. Returning mutuels of $29.20, $10.20 & $6.00 this four-year-old son ofhelped key a $196.20 exacta.
In the nightcap Sandbur Farms and Valarie Sutton’s red-hot gelding Fox Valley Bigshot remained perfect in this series as he came flying down the stretch to win by three-quarters of a length in a career best of 1:53.4.
Patiently biding their time in mid-pack driver Dale Hiteman had the Doug Hamilton trainee positioned in sixth as Third Day (Mike Oosting) ripped off an opening quarter in 27.3.
Getting underway as the field headed down the backstretch Fox Valley Bigshot had moved up to fifth while traveling second over as Third Day continued to show the way past the halfway station in 57.0.
The field was double decked heading around the final turn with Third Day continuing to call the shots. Passing the three-quarter mile mark with a 1 ¼ length lead in 1:25.2 the pace setter set sail for the wire. At that point Hiteman had Fox Valley Bigshot up fourth and they were only 3 ½ lengths off the leader as they tipped three wide.
As he’s done in both of his previous series victories Fox Valley Bigshot then seemed to find another gear as one by one he picked off his rivals while rolling through the lane. Gobbling up ground with his long fluid strides, the son offlew home in 27.3 to get the victory. Third Day held on well to finish second while Audience Of One (Tom Insko) shook loose late to grab the show dough.