The overwhelming 1-5 favorite Fox Valley Cherish got it done in Wednesday night’s $21,000 Illinois Owners and Breeders Association Super Sale stake at Maywood Park but not with a lot of room to spare.
The freshman filly had to battle both a tough pacesetting foe and a very strong headwind to gain a head decision in the fifth race feature
Little Sweetheart (Sam Widger) took advantage of the pole position and out sprinted Fox Valley Cherish from her two-slot, dictating all the fractions before she was passed late in the open stretch of the 2:01.4 mile by Fox Valley Cherish. Jaci Honey (Tim Tetrick) rallied for third, two-plus lengths off the Rick Schrock trained winner.
“The raced worked out O.K. but I sure would have liked to have gotten out sooner and challenged Sammy’s (Widger) filly,” said winning driver Andy Miller after guiding his second of five consecutive winners on the card.
The 4-1 second public’s choice Little Sweetheart took the six-horse field to a :29 first quarter, followed by a :31.3 second panel mostly into a strong headwind. The Jim Rowdy filly then got another :30.4 third quarter breather before she gave way in deep stretch to Fox Valley Cherish ($2.40), who won for the seventh time in 14 starts for Illinois owners Brian Kaiser (Champaign), Dale Richeson (Tuscola) and Brian Loman (Broadlands).
“It wasn’t a very big mile (2:01.4) but with those slow fractions and tonight’s strong wind (gusts of 25 miles per hour), it was a very good effort by her,” said Miller. “She’s a nice filly with a lot of ‘go.’
“This strong wind really messes with a horse finishing,” continued the 37-year-old Mattoon, IL native. “When they have to go into a headwind like tonight, and you pull them off another horse’s back, it’s tough to get them to pass. A saw a lot of horses out there tonight who were pulled into this headwind and they just didn’t want to go anywhere.”
Wednesday night’s ISOBA stake was Fox Valley Cherish’s first pari-mutuel race at Maywood Park and very possibility her final one.
“It’s her last start for these owners,” said Andy. “She’s selling in the Harrisburg Sale.”
After winning four times this summer on the Illinois Fair Circuit, the daughter ofwill head for Pennsylvania with back-to-back Chicago circuit stake triumphs, Fox Valley Cherish won Balmoral Park’s $12,500 Thrifty Way for state-bred first season pacing fillies on September 25. She then qualified at Maywood Park in 1:57.2 on October 31 tuning up for the ISOBA.
Fox Valley Cherish is out of the dam Ideal Fresh, making her a half-sister to the two-time Maywood Park Pacing Series champion Fox Valley Devious (1:50, $400,642). She has finished third or better in 13 of her first 14 career starts, earning $39,202.
Mike Paradise, director of publicity