Jubilation quickly turned to heartbreak in a pair of trotting events at Balmoral Park on Wednesday, July 9th as a pair of diamond gaiters looked to be home free only to have late miscues cost them what looked to be sure victories in these state-bred stake events.
In what looked like it was going to a replay of their last two encounters Macie Rae () carved out splits of 28.0, 58.1 & 1:27.3 and appeared to be holding firm to the wire before going off stride with less than a sixteenth of a mile to go. That allowed the pocket sitting Bailey's Wish and driver to capitalize on their good fortune as they zipped right on by for the victory in the $10,000 Fox Valley Diva Stake for state-bred three-year-old trotting fillies. Macie Rae settled for the place spot while Lora Lee Breeze ( ) was a distant third.
The three-quarter-length triumph in a career best of 1:56.1 pushed the daughter of--Jen's career record to 7-6-3 in 22 starts for owners James Bafia and Eugene White. The good looking brown filly has also banked a hefty $151,983 while under the guidance of conditioner who is zeroing in on the 1,000 victory plateau.
In the first of two $5,000 divisions of theStake for ICF two-year-old trotting colts Southrncomfortzone ( ) looked to be home free after a pocket sitting journey behind Captain Greedy and driver-trainer J.D. Finn. That's when disaster struck for that colt as he "jumped it off" allowing Captain Greedy, who had put up splits of 29.3, 1:00.2 & 1:31.2 to reclaim the lead and cruise to a six-length triumph in 1:59.4. Cardinal Yankee ( ) rallied to be second while Pizzalicious ( ) was moved from fourth to third because of the disqualification of Southrncomfortzone.
The win was the third in four starts for the son of Yankee Valor--Tropical Trixie who now has $6,692 in career earnings.
The second division of theproved to be far less dramatic as the Herman Wheeler owned and trained Fox Valley Qatar made it three in a row to open his career posting an impressive 2 ¾ length victory in a career best of 1:58.3.
After saving ground while Allpowernoemotion () put up splits of 30.1, 1:00 & 1:29.2, driver Todd Warren eased Fox Valley Qatar through the passing lane and the gelded son of Pizzazzed--Armbro Bahrain responded beautifully as he charged right by the tiring pace setter for an easy score. Allpowernoemotion held on for second while RT Habenero ( ) rallied to be third.
Fox Valley Qatar now sports career earnings of $5,625 and looks like he'll be the one to beat heading into the State Fair Stakes at Springfield in August.
by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park