Not to be confused with St. Louis Cardinals’ slugger Albert Pujols, another Pujols hit a home run at the ISOBA Summer Preview in Du Quoin, Illinois Saturday (June 4) when he ‘rounded the clay southern Illinois oval in 1:56.2.
Pujols, parked to the quarter in 31.3, led the field single file to the half by two and three quarter lengths in 1:00.3. He then unleashed a torrid second half to pull away by sixteen lengths for his first win.
Trained by Shawn Nessa, this Illinois bredcolt by Summer Hanover, she by is owned by Shawn Nessa of Du Quoin, Illinois, Bart Seales of Mason, Il., Dan Meier of Missouri, and Dennis Beccue of Colorado. The bay colt was bred by Terry Swift also of Illinois.
2004 Meadowlands Sweetheart Final winner Fox Valley Shaker scored her first win of the season. Her second start for trainer/driver Ervin Miller was a 1:57.2 win in the first division of three-year-old filly pacers also at Du Quoin. “Shaker” raced covered in fifth to the quarter call in 29.2, then was parked fourth at the half raced in 57.3. Miller then tipped thedaughter three wide on the final turn to outdistance the field by almost three lengths for the win. Miller, pleased with the effort, stated that Shaker will be pointed toward Illinois bred stakes on the Chicago circuit this summer.
Bred by Fox Valley Standardbreds of Sherman, Illinois, thedaughter earned almost $425,000.00 for owner Vandalay Racing of Ancaster, Ontario in 2004.
Equaling the first division winner’s time in the third division raced for three-year-old filly pacers, Spectacular Winner also scored in 1:57.2 for driver/trainer Clay Simpson. Leaving from post six, the Spectacular Deal filly led wire to wire for her second win in fourteen starts this year. A winner of over $12,000.00 lifetime for owners H.P. Pearce and Buddy Simpson of Illinois, and Maryland owners Michael F. Williams and Drue Pearce, this win was also a new lifetime mark.
Three-year-old colt pacer Cole Gram turned in the quickest mile of the day with a 1:54 trip for driver/trainer Thomas Graham. Battleshoe Deal with Clay Simpson behind led the field to the half in 58.3 before making a costly break that enabled Time Again and driver Jamie Daniels to briefly inherit the lead. Rowdy Two Sox and Richard Holly wrestled the lead away from the latter with Cole Gram in hot pursuit. Those two raced bridle to bridle through three quarters when Cole Gram finally put the gutsy gelding away in the stretch for the hard earned win.
Cole Gram, a son of Dictionary by Muppet Maid, she by Nihilator is owned by Shelly Graham and named for Tom and Shelly’s son Cole.
The second racing card of the 2005 ISOBA Summer Previews moves to the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois Saturday, June 11 with a 12 noon post time. Many of the prairie state’s top two and three-year-olds will be featured as a prelude to not only Chicago circuit participants, but will also provide harness racing fans a glimpse of county fair competition.
by Tim Jones, USTA Newsroom Correspondent