Starting spots in the year's richest trotting event for Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old trotting fillies, the $118,000 Lady Lincoln Land Stake, were on the line Wednesday night (September 26) as a total of 16 diagonally gaited youngsters battled in a pair of $15,000 harness racing eliminations at Balmoral Park.
The top five finishers in each elimination will return next Wednesday for the rich final.
In the opener Robert & Donnie Taylor's Little Ms Chrissy had no trouble dispatching of seven rivals as she cruised to a four-length victory in 1:59.3 for driver-trainer Robert Taylor.
Patiently working her way to the front from post position six the daughter of-Fox Valley Shiraz grabbed command after an opening quarter in 30.1.
Hitting the brakes shortly after gaining control Taylor and Little Ms Chrissy proceeded to stroll through middle splits of 1:00.3 & 1:30.4.
"There were a couple in there that I knew I didn't want to get stuck behind so I just let her do her own thing and head to the front," said Taylor. "Since I added the trotting hopples she's much handier getting away from the gate which has helped as well."
With plenty in reserve the bay filly then rattled off a 28.4 final quarter to notch her third win in seven starts. Powerful Goddess (Mike Cox) followed the winner's every move while finishing second while Fox Valley Marsala (Tom T. Tetrick) was third. Also gaining spots in the final were Divination and Kelsey's Star.
Little Ms Chrissy returned $2.40, $2.10 & $2.10 while upping her career bankroll to $43,900.
In the nightcap division leader Trot Fudge Sundae racked up her eighth consecutive victory as she rolled to an easy 3 ¾ length victory in 1:58.3 with driver Dave Magee in tow.
Using the same tactics as the first elimination winner Magee eased the daughter of Allmerican Native-What A Joy away from post position five keeping her parked through an opening quarter in 30.2.
Finally making her way to the top as the field moved towards the half-mile mark the Dirk Simpson trained miss then proceeded to put up splits of 1:00 & 1:30.0.
"She was much more relaxed than she was last week when she won the American National," said Magee. "I wasn't too concerned when Ryan's horse (Just For Fun) came up alongside of us on the far turn because she still felt good and as long as she's 100% I knew she would put her away."
Rolling home in 28.3 the issue was never really in doubt through the lane as Trot Fudge Sundae appeared to be well within herself while running her record to eight wins and one second in nine career starts with earnings of $117,500. Just For Fun (Ryan Anderson) was second while Fox Valley Natasha (Ronnie Gillespie) finished third. The last two spots in the final went to Elegant Rosie and Close Call Emotion.
Bet as though defeat was out of the question Trot Fudge Sundae returned $2.20, $2.10 & $2.10.
Little Ms Chrissy and driver-trainer Robert Taylor cruised to an easy win in the first of two Lady Lincoln Lane Stake eliminations.
Dave Magee teamed up with Trot Fudge Sundae for the fillies eighth consecutive victory in the second Lady Lincoln Land Stake elimination.
by Tom KELLEY