Day At The Track

Cruisin Valor prepping for American National

08:19 PM 03 Sep 2014 NZST
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Hanover champion Cruisin Valor
Hanover champion Cruisin Valor

While the local harness racing focus is on Super Night, as well it should be, with those all-so-important stake eliminations on tap this weekend, this is also the month Balmoral Park begins to host the American Nationals, its most prestigious events of the year.

Elimination races, if necessary, for the 2-year-old American National trots are a week from Wednesday (Sept. 10) and with that in mind trainer Gerald Hansen sends out his Hanover champion Cruisin Valor in this Wednesday’s fourth race.

The Race Office handicapped the freshman trotting race by season earnings and Crusin Valor was assigned the outside 10-hole.

After a poor showing in his pari-mutuel at Balmoral in early July, the Yankee Valor gelding, romped in an outing on the Urbana Fair Track on July 22 and then was much the best in the $29,800 Hanover on the big track in Crete, IL, drawing off by five lengths in 2:00.1 while well in hand to driver Brian Carpenter.

Cruisin Valor followed that stakes victory with a pair of valiant efforts at both State Fairs, dropping photos to Captain Greedy, first at Springfield in 1:59 and then in a division of Du Quoin’s Darn Safe in 1:59.3.

I caught up with Carpenter over the Labor Day weekend and asked the 54-year-old veteran driver for the low-down on Cruisin Valor, owned by Illinoisans Shelley Steele (Monee), Payton Ode (Joliet) and the Sam Lilly Racing Stable (Downers Grove).

“I helped Gerry break and train Cruisin Valor,” said Brian. “He also had another 2-year-old trotter who is a three-quarter brother to Southern Rocketop, a very good trotter who I used to drive.

“When the time came to qualify both trotters I was given Southern Special and Casey (Leonard) drove Cruisin Valor. However, the horse went out and lost his mind in that qualifier and tore up a race bike.

“The horse went on the (steward’s list) and Gerry called me and asked me the re-qualify the horse, which I did. While he didn’t have any trouble out there he was a handful. For whatever reason the horse didn’t have the same temperament when he came back to me that he had earlier.

“But we worked with him and while you still have to be careful with him scoring him down, in a race he has minded his manners and has been a gentleman. He’s a pretty quick colt.

“He raced well at both on the dirt tracks at Springfield and Du Quoin but I think he’s best at Balmoral.

“We’re still making some tweets with him to hopefully give him that little extra at crunch time so maybe a photo will go his way next time.”

Cruisin Valor has made almost $30,000 in his freshman season and still ahead for him is the $90,000 (est.) American National 2-Year-Old Colt Trot on Wednesday, Sept. 17 and the $100,000 Lincoln Land ICF stake on Sunday, October 3.

   County Fair Report


     Sunday Afternoon

FIRST: $6,039 Big Ten 2-Year-Old Trot:

Horse (Driver)                                     Time (Track Fast)

Tricky Nick (Nick Prather)                             2:05.3

Trainer: Nick Prather. Owners: Megan Rogers Racing Stable; Amy and Derek Jacobus.

SECOND: $900 2-Year-Old Trot:

Ky Liz (Dillon Cox)                                        2:09.1

Trainer: Rushun Trigg. Owners: Michael Summers and Roshun Trigg.

THIRD: $3,386 Big Ten 3-Year-Old Filly Trot:

E L Trixie (Steven Renard)                             2:07

Trainer: Steven Renard. Owner: Steven Renard.

FOURTH: $3,152 Big Ten 3-Year-Old Colt Trot:

Battleshoe Crown (Buddy Simpson)  2:04.4

Trainer: Clay Simpson. Owners: Buddy and Clay Simpson.

FIFTH: $900 3-Year-Old Pace:

Go Run N Telithat (John Roberts)                  2:02

Trainer: Mike Titus. Owners: Mike Titus, Mitchell Titus and Dennis Wright.

SIXTH: $1,832 Big Ten 3-Year-Old Filly Pace:

Listen To The Beat (Freddie Patton Jr.)         2:01.4

Trainer: Gregory Tillman. Owner: Bridgette Williams.

SEVENTH: $1,832 Big Ten 3-Year-Old Filly Pace:

Duneside Chella (Nick Prather)                      2:02.2

Trainer: Nick Prather. Owners: Derek and Amy Jacobus.

EIGHTH: $3,412 Big Ten 3-Year-Old Colt Pace:

Back At Cha (Tom Walker)                            1:59.3

Trainer: Mark Walker. Owners: Karen and Larry Walker.


     Monday Afternoon

FIRST: $1,000 Non-Winners of $2,000 L.T. Trot:

Horse (Driver)                                     Time (Track Fast)

Forest Raider (Dakota Birch)                         2:12

Trainer: Joan Brown. Owners: Joan and David Brown.

SECOND: $1,500 Free For All Trot:

LW Jaynie Flyer (Cassidy Melloy)                 2:03

Trainer: Cassidy Melloy. Owner: Cassidy Melloy.

THIRD: $3,645 Big Ten 2-Year-Old Filly Pace:

Fox Valley Aubry (Mike Rogers)                   2:01.1

Trainer: Freddie Patton Jr. Owner: Ron Phillips and Jesse Ferge.

FOURTH: $3,524 Big Ten 2-Year-Old Filly Pace:

Frosty Dune (Hart Walker)                             2:06

Trainer: Robert Walker. Owners: Robyn Klinger; Hart and Robert Walker.

FIFTH: $1,125 Free For All Pace:

Uneek Shuffle (Dakota Birch)                        2:03.1

Trainer: Dakota Birch. Owners: Dakota Birch and Eric Lamay.

SIXTH: $1,125 Free For All Pace:

Just Us (C. Alan Finn)                                    2:01.1

Trainer: C. Alan Finn. Owner: C. Alan Finn.

By Mike Paradise

The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

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