Day At The Track

Division leaders star in Illinois finals

05:17 AM 09 Oct 2010 NZDT
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Pardon edged out Fox Valley Touche He's So Hot pulled away in the lane to
Pardon edged out Fox Valley Touche - in the $54,800 Violet Stake Final
Pardon won for the 11th time in 12 starts as she edged out Fox Valley Touche in the $54,800 Violet Stake Final.
He's So Hot pulled away in the lane to - win the $60,350 Cardinal Stake Final for driver Dale Hiteman

Illinois conceived and foaled harness racing freshmen took center stage on Friday, Oct. 8th at Maywood Park as a full field of eight two-year-old pacing colts battled in the $60,350 Cardinal Stake Final while their female counterparts slugged it out in the $54,800 Violet Stake Final.

Proving once again that he is the top colt in the division the Roger Welch trained He’s So Hot grabbed command right from the start and made every call a winning in route to a 1 ¼ length victory in 1:54.2.

Perfectly handled by driver Dale Hiteman the son of Sportsmaster-She’s Redhot took full advantage of post position two hustling He’s So Hot to the front while seating a hard leaving Fox Valley Mercury (Dave Magee) as the youngsters rolled through an opening quarter in 28.0.

Getting a second quarter breather of 29.3 Hiteman and He’s So Hot were still in control of the proceedings as a first over TJ’s Rocky (Mike Oosting) came calling with the field moving by the half-mile mark in a leisurely 58.3.

After rebuffing the challenge of TJ’s Rocky on the backstretch He’s So Hot still had to brace for the late move of the pocket sitting Fox Valley Mercury as the field headed by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.3.

Quickly kicking it into another gear as the field sped around the final bend Hiteman began to pull away from Fox Valley Mercury opening up a 1 ½ length advantage on his nearest rival. On cruise control the rest of the way He’s So Hot had no trouble fending off Fox Valley Mercury as he paced under the wire with his seventh win in 10 career starts. Fox Valley Mercury was forced to settle for the runner-up role while Dixie Brush (Robert Smolin) turned a ground saving journey into a third place check.

Sent off as the overwhelming 2-5 choice of the betting public He’s So Hot returned $2.80, $2.20 & $2.10 while running his career bankroll up to $108,616 for the partnership of De Long, Miller & De Long.

The Violet Stake figured to be a rematch of the Filly Orange & Blue Final and it proved to be just that but this time it was Richard Balog’s Pardon who got the better of Fox Valley Touche taking an exciting stretch duel by a neck in 1:54.4.

Leaving from post position seven driver Dave Magee found himself three wide with Pardon as longshot Kissed By The Sun (Gary Rath) and Fox Valley Touche (Dale Hiteman) also went storming away from the gate.

“I had to be a little patient there in the first turn because I wasn’t sure what Dale was going to do with that other horse,” explained Magee. “Once he let her go I knew he was going to head right back out and re-take on her.”

Neatly tucking in third while Fox Valley Touche scooted out of the two-hole to grab command Magee had the daughter of Richess Hanover-Rose Dawson underway as the field zipped by the opening quarter in 27.3.

“I figured I’d take my run at Dale’s filly at that point because I knew he had used her pretty hard twice already and I figured he probably wouldn’t want to use her again, “said Magee.

Taking command midway around the turn Pardon led the field through a half-mile in 57.1 but she was already feeling pressure from a first over Little Miss Henry (Casey Leonard) who was moving up first over to challenge the leader.

Battling tooth and nail with Little Miss Henry the two fillies were separated by only a head as they passed the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:25.4. A locked and loaded Fox Valley Touche was still looming boldly in the pocket as well with the field moving around the final turn.

Heading into the stretch Pardon finally put away the challenge of Little Miss Henry but was now forced to brace for the onslaught of Fox Valley Touche who was challenging in the passing lane. With the two fillies only heads apart the Dirk Simpson trained Pardon held on gamely for the victory over a hard trying Fox Valley Touche. Mystical MJ (Marcus Miller) rallied three around the final turn to finish a fast closing third.

After the thrilling victory Magee had nothing but praise for his charge.

“It certainly wasn’t easy out there tonight,” said Magee. “We were forced to battle horses almost the entire way and then I knew Dale was sitting right on my helmet when we turned for home. But once his horses didn’t blow right by me I became pretty confident because my horse just dug right in and held her off all on her own.”

Now boasting 11 wins in 12 career starts Pardon has put a lock on divisional honors with her bankroll of $159,916. The even-money choice in the wagering returned $4.00, $3.40 & $2.20.

Tom KELLEY

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