The Illinois-bred won yet again this year, thereby moving him into a multiple horse tie for third in most seasonal wins.
Leg two action of the Florin Pacing Series was the main attraction on Thursday night (December 8) at Cal-Expo Raceway, with a bulky field of eleven going for a purse of $5,500. Fox Valley Talent made it two for two in the series with a wire-to-wire score.
Starting from post position seven, Fox Valley Talent got the lead just past the middle of the first turn. Perhaps easier than most thought, given the size of the field.
"I wasn't sure how tough the lead would be," said trainer/driver Rocky Stidham. “He can cross over very quickly. I was kind of waiting to see what everyone else was doing."
Pacing the opening quarter in what appeared to be an effortless 27.4 seconds, Stidham had mixed feelings on the opening quarter.
"He felt okay getting the lead, but I would have preferred 28.2."
If looks could kill, then Fox Valley Talent would have scared his 10 opponents to death in the second quarter, as he paced the panel with authority, while under a good hold.
“He was very strong in the second quarter. I was just trying to save him as much as I could."
Reaching the half-mile pole in 56.2s, Stidham wasn't sure what lay ahead.
"He felt good at the half, but I wasn't sure of my chances, given that Michael's Western was in the race, and he used to be the all-age track record holder at Maywood Park."
Michael's Western or not, Fox Valley Talent started to edge away with 5-16s to go. With the lead expanding even more to the three-quarters, Stidham popped the earplugs of the gelding.
"When I popped the plugs, I just wanted to keep him straight, keep him alert, and keep his attention. When we hit the three-quarters in 1:24.4, I knew that was within the range of what he likes."
Fox Valley Talent turned for home with a three length lead, and it was all over but the shouting, with Stidham only resorting to a few reminder taps late in the stretch.
"I'm very happy with his win. I don't want to say his win was easy, but he could have had a tougher trip. We're real happy with him. Now with the $20,000 final coming up next Thursday, hopefully he'll stay healthy and draw well."
Winning by a length and a half in 1:53.3, which was the nights fastest mile by one and three-fifths seconds, the Michael Brown owned 7-Year-Old pushed his career earning just over the $100,000 mark.
Iwannawinbetts (Todd Ratchford) was second, and Top Prize (Rich Wojcio) was another length and a half back in third.
Thursday night’s card saw driver Rick Plano record five wins.
Cal-Expo offers live harness racing every Wednesday through Saturday at 5.35 pm (PDT), with free admission on Wednesdays. On Friday night, fans can enjoy Happy Hour from 5.00 pm-7.00 pm, in which fans can enjoy $1 dollar beer and $2 dollar wine.
Guaranteed Late Pick 4 Pool Every Friday/Saturday
Sacramento Harness Association at Cal-Expo continues to offer a $20,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 pool every Friday and Saturday, on races nine through twelve.
Courtesy Of Scott Ehrlich, Publicity Director, Sacramento Harness Association at Cal-Expo.