Day At The Track

Fox Valley Qatar arriving later

07:36 AM 28 Mar 2015 NZDT
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
Fox Valley Qatar
Fox Valley Qatar

Looking out my window earlier this week and watching about 4 to 5 inches of depressing wet heavy snow come down in the Chicago Northwest suburbs it seemed like the harness racing stake season for Illinois bred pacers and trotters was a long way off.

Nevertheless, my calendar said differently.

The initial ICF stake of 2015 was scheduled for this Saturday evening at Balmoral. However the Taurus Bomber for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings didn’t fill with its modest $8,000 purse. A quick once-over of the circuit’s stake schedule let me know that the first stake for ICF sophomore trotters—the $8,000 Speedy Rodney—is only two more weeks away.

What came next was a phone call to Herman Wheeler, the owner and trotter of Fox Valley Qatar, the 2014 Illinois 2-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year.

The 45-year-old Wheeler was still at his farm in Monroe, Louisiana.  And while the weather was much warmer in Louisiana, it was just as wet, maybe wetter, than it was in the Chicagoland area.

“I won’t be back to Illinois with Qatar for that first trotting stake,” said Herman. “It seems like it’s been raining every day down here so I’m a little behind with my horse. I’m pointing for the Cardinal with him later in May.

“I’d like to qualify him at Balmoral and maybe get in one start before the eliminations (Saturday, May 23).

Fox Valley Qatar was nearly perfect for Wheel and the trotter’s driver Todd Warren.    

After a winning debut in early June in Springfield with Randy Crisler, Warren guided the son of Pizzazzed to seven more consecutive victories that included the $48,000 Plesac (by 4 lengths), the $30,000 Springfield crown (by 3-plus lengths, a $17,000 division of Du7 Quoin’s Darn Safe (by 7-plus lengths) and his Lincoln Land elimination (by 3 ½ lengths) in a first season fastest time of 1:57.

Fox Valley Qatar winning streak came to an abrupt half in the $97,000 Lincoln Land Championship in early October when he was second best to Robert Taylor’s RT Habanero. It was “Qatar’s” last start as a freshman.

An $8,000 yearling buy at the 2013 Fox Valley Standardbred Sale, Fox Valley Qatar took home over $84,000 for his owner-trainer in the gelding’s initial campaign.

Did the pride of Wheeler’s stable grow much over the winter?

“He got a little taller,” Herman replied. “It’s hard to tell how much he filled out because I see him every day but I had to let his harness out so he must have put on some weight, He’s coming along fine and I’m looking forward to coming up to Illinois for those 3-year-olds stakes.”

Maybe when Wheeler arrives here at the end of April it’ll really feel like spring in Chicago and my snow shovel will have been put away, this time for good.

By Mike Paradise

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: