Just as she did in her first leg of the Fox Valley Redhot Series, Heather Jean Ann led every step of the way with driver Jason Dillander in Friday (January 27) night’s $10,000 final at Maywood Park.
Taking advantage of the pole position, Heather Jean Ann ($12.20) won the crucial early battle for the lead in the third race feature and when the 1-2 favorite Jay Bee’s Muffie made a momentarily break in the first turn, the five-year-old daughter ofwas in great shape to make every pole a winning one while parking out the public’s choice through a good portion of the 1:56.3 mile for state-bred fillies and mares.
“This mare can get out of the gate pretty quick and she prefers the front end,” driver Jason Dillander noted. “The first time I drove her she was a little short but she’s progressed a ton since then. She gets stronger and stronger with each start. She doesn’t like to get doubled up behind another horse and that’s what happened to her last week at Balmoral. She made up for that tonight, however.”
Heather Jean Ann zipped to a :28 flat first quarter with Jay Bee’s Muffie first up, some two and three-quarters off the pacesetter. The Bret Ballinger trained winner kept up the quick fractions with a :28.3 second quarter. Dillander was able to back her off with a :30.4 third panel and by that time Jay Bee’s Muffie was dropping back in a hurry.
The danger was Cyber Comet (Tim Tetrick), who enjoyed a pocket trip throughout the mile. The Mike Schulfer trained mare had dead aim in the lane on Heather Jean Ann but came up a neck short at the wire. Red Head Track (Brent Holland) rallied to grab the show spot, beaten two and three-quarter lengths.
“I bought this horse for South Of The Tracks Racing from Rick Prather down in southern Illinois late last fall,” said trainer Brett Ballinger said. “I had seen her race at the fairs and knew she could get around a half mile track real well, and Rick doesn’t like to ship, so she’s seemed perfect for us. I thought she’d do well up here.”
Brett was correct.
Heather Jean Ann is now 2-for-4 in the early season, earning $9,380 this month for her Brimfield, Illinois owners, with both tallies coming on Maywood Park’s half-miler.
Mike Paradise, director of publicity