Day At The Track

Classy types add to their picket-line fences

06:53 AM 18 Feb 2013 NZDT
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St Elmo Hero
St Elmo Hero - (Mike Oosting) proved best again in Saturday's invite

On a chilly (14 degrees) Saturday night both Betterluvnexttime and St Elmo Hero had no trouble continuing to dominate their respective harness racing divisions.

Bet down to 2-5 odds Betterluvnexttime had an easy time extending her Balmoral Park winning streak to four in a row in the seventh race Filly and Mare Open in her usual front-end style.

Just as he did in in recent Open triumphs, Oosting hustled the 4-year-old mare out at the start and Trace Tetrick with Fox Valley Touche who grabbed the lead going into the first turn but gave it up to the eventual winner coming out of it.

After a 28.1 first quarter, Oosting was able to slow things down, getting Bettrluvenexttime ($2.80) to the half in :57.4, The winner put away the first over Whistle Pig with a :28.2 third panel and was well in hand holding off Fox Valley Touche by 1 and 1/4 lengths at the end of a 1:53.2 mile.

The Al Tomlinson trained winner now has won 7 of the last 9 distaff Opens she has competed in on the Crete big track despite consistently handicapped with outside posts

Dan Mitchell of Novi, Michigan owns Betterluvnexttime, the winner of $24,000 this year and $173,547 in a little over two seasons of racing.

Two races later in the $17,000 Invitational Handicap Pace, St Elmo Hero made it four straight victories and when he nailed down his 35th career win with a 1:51 flat clocking with Oosting.

Mike floated St Elmo Hero away from the assigned outside post and dropped the 3-5 favorite into fifth in the first turn with Ice Scraper in command.

After a quick :27.1 first quarter, driver Josh Sutton backed Ice Scraper down and Oosting took St Elmo out of fifth mid-way on the backside and had the front before the half, reached in :56.

The Bill Crone trainee held Lennox Blue Chip on the outside through a :27.3 third quarter and ended up one plus length ahead of Ice Scraper for winning owner John Barnard of Orland Park, IL.

St Elmo Hero now has $38,500 banked in 2013. The 7-year-old gelding's lifetime earnings are at $683,781.

Casey Bags Six: Driver Casey Leonard had his second night of the young year with six winners when he turned the trick again on Maywood Park's Friday card.

Coming Up Short: The first Sunday card after an 11-night winter break came up short at the entry box. Instead of the usual 11-race program, only 10 races will be contested tonight.

Also of the 80 horses that will start, 17 of them (21%) will go on short rest, having either raced Wednesday night at Balmoral or Thursday evening at Maywood.

Mike Paradise

Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

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