The harness racing action was fast and furious on Saturday, July 14th as Balmoral Park played host to eight divisions of Hanover Stake action for two and three-year-old pacers. There was plenty of action off the track as well with giveaways, food and drink specials and hay rides among the many things Balmoral Park patrons were treated to as the USTA and Balmoral celebrated Back To The Track 2012.
Kicking offthe Hanover action were two-year-old filly pacers as an overflow field of 11 freshmen pacing fillies battled for a purse of $53,900 to kick off the festivities.
Fresh off a victory in her debut in an Indiana Sire Stake at Hoosier Park,William C. De Long, William P. De Long and Katey Mc Clymont's Always About Katey stepped it up to another level as she zipped right by her rivals en route to a 5 ½ length victory in a speedy 1:53.4.
The $17,000 yearling purchase by-Topville Cyberwave patiently sat at the back of the pack for driver Todd Warren before working her way into a live outer flow. With splits of 27.4, 56.4 & 1:25.1 being put up by Our Miss Lily (Ridge Warren) things set up perfectly for the Roger Welch trainee as she tipped three deep off her cover at the top of the stretch and quickly reeled in the tiring leaders with a wicked 27.2 final quarter to score for the second time in as many chances. Our Miss Lily held on for second while Thank You Doc(Dean Magee) shook loose late to finish third.
The winner returned $10.60, $4.00 & $4.20 while pushing her career earnings up to $31,950.
Next up were sophomore pacing fillies as a total of 13 ladies were split into a pair of $22,850 battles.
The first division provided a bit of an upset as Illinois bred star Sleazy Does It nosed out 1-9 favorite Podges Lady in 1:51.4 for driver Marcus Miller.
Dispatched at odds of 7-1 from the outside post the Nelson Willis trained daughter of-Da Sleazy One sat at the back of the pack as Podges Lady (MikeOosting), No Respect (Todd Warren) & Financial Effort all led at different points in the race with the fillies moving through splits of 27.1, 54.4,1:23.3.
In the stretch a tiring Financial Effort began to drift just a bit but the pocket sitting No Respect could not take advantage of that as she began to get leg weary as well. That in turn pushed back Podges Lady while Miller had Sleazy Does It circling up around horses while three wide. Quickly shooting to the front Sleazy Does It was all out as Podges Lady finally secured racing room and came charging through on the inside of horses. With those two engaged in a tooth and nail battle for the final hundred yards a game Sleazy Does It managed to keep her nose in front as she scored for the seventh time in 22 lifetime starts. Podges Lady was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while Financial Effort held on for third.
Returning a very nice mutuel of $16.40, $3.20 & $2.40 the win pushed Sleazy Does It's career earnings up to $191,354 for the Engel Stable Of Illinois LLC.
In the second division Miller's Stable Inc.'s Princess Cruiser returned to the local scene and just as she did in her freshman campaign the Jim Mullinix trainee proved victorious as she recorded a neck decision in 1:53.1 for driver Dave Magee.
Perfectly handled by the Hall of Famer, this good looking daughter of-Princess Justice settled into the pocket as T B Beach Girl (Todd Warren) showed the way through splits of 27.3, 56.1 & 1:25.0.
Through the stretch T B Beach Girl continued to show the way as a patient Magee waited for room in the passing lane. A first over Kendyl (Mike Oosting) was starting to show the effects of a rugged journey as she tried to battle on while Moment Of Magic (Casey Leonard) was in high gear from the back of the back.
Finding room with a little less than a sixteenth of a mile to go Magee maneuvered his filly into the passing lane where she responded beautifully, pacing home in 28.0 to post her third win in eight starts this year. Moment Of Magic rallied sharply to just miss while T B Beach Girl turned in a solid effort to hang on for third.
The 2-1 co-favorite in the race returned $6.40, $3.40 & $2.60 while upping her career stats to 6-1-3 in 18 starts with earnings of $125,297. Mullinix also sent out Meadowlands Pace winner A Rocknroll Dance at the Big M on Saturday night and local fans may get the chance to see that great colt later this year since he is eligible to the American National here at Balmoral Park and to the Windy City Pace at Maywood Park.
A total of 26 two-year-old colt and gelding pacers were dropped into the box for their respective Hanover necessitating a split into three $28,300 divisions.
In the first tussle Desyllas Racing, William Beck & Carol Rieken's Our Dragon Kingmade it two straight victories as he trounced eight rivals by 6 ¼ lengths in acareer best of 1:53.1 for driver Brian Carpenter.
Zipped away from post position eight the gelded son of-Fox Valley Monika led the way through an opening quarter in 28.2. Electing to let a hard charging Greg And Flex (Mike Oosting) go after hitting the brakes on the backside Carpenter had Our Dragon King perfectly positioned as Greg And Flex showed the way through middle splits of 57.0 & 1:25.2.
Popping out of the pocket as the field hit the top of the stretch Our Dragon King stormed right by Greg And Flex and then proceeded to widen the margin through the lane as he scored for the second time in three starts while under the tutelage of conditioner Dirk Simpson. Fox Valley Action (Todd Warren) staged a nice late rally to get the place money while Greg And Flex held on for third.
Our Dragon King returned $8.60, $5.60 & $2.40 while notching his biggest payday todate.
The second division provided another mild upset as Connell Willis, Brandy Pinske Stable, John Esposito and Doug Riccolo's Talented Shooter picked a nice time to grab his first career victory, scoring by a length in 1:54.4 for Todd Warren.
The $25,000 yearling purchase was sent up first over on the backside as Beyond Lucky (Kyle Husted) cruised through splits of 28.0 & 57.3.
Drawing to within a length of the pace setter as the youngsters hit the three-quarter-milemark in 1:26.3 the Indiana bred gelded son of Sand Shooter-Ms Clairol then setsail for the money.
Quickly blowing right by the pacesetter the Nelson Willis trainee rattled off a 28.0 final quarter to score for the first time in three appearances. Darth Quaider (Marcus Miller) lacked racing room for most of the mile but still managed to shake loose late while finishing second and Agood Time To Rock (Ridge Warren) wound up third.
Sent off at odds of 8-1 Sand Shooter returned $19.20, $4.80 & $4.00 while adding the winner's share of $14,150 to his bankroll.
In the final division for two-year-old colts Ronald & Delores Phillips & John Carver's homebred Blue's Rocket Man blasted off the wings of the gate and never looked back as he cruised to a three-length victory in 1:54.1.
Using the inside starting spot to perfection driver-trainer Ronnie Gillespie sent the son of-Incredible Blue right to the top where he proceeded to carve out fractions of 29.0, 57.4 & 1:25.4.
After putting away a prolonged first over bid from heavily favored Drunk On You (Dave Magee) with an eighth of a mile to go, Blue's Rocket Man stepped away from the rest of field as he cruised to his second win in as many starts. Drunk On You held on for second while Fox Valley Norman (Mike Oosting) rallied to be third.
Blue's Rocket Man returned $12.00, $3.60 & $2.20 while pushing his career earnings up to $16,400.
Sophomore pacing colts were also on the card Saturday night with a total of 18 three-year-olds knocking heads in a pair of $31,100 battles.
In the first division Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino andSmith's Urawomanizer parlayed a perfect two-hole trip into a hard fought half-length victory in 1:51.4 with John Roberts at the controls.
Taking full advantage of their inside starting spot the gelded son of-FoxValley Ivy allowed a hard leaving NJ's Big Deal (Ronnie Gillespie) to take control of the proceedings in the first turn.
That speedball then proceeded to rip through splits of 26.2, 54.1 & 1:22.2 while battlinga first over King's Legend from the 5/8th's mile mark. In the meantime Roberts was sitting patiently in the pocket waiting for racing room.
Squeezing up the inside the Kathy Millman trained Urawomanizer secured room late and then gamely held off King's Legend and NJ's Big Deal for his second win of the season.
Dispatched as the second choice in the wagering Urawomanizer returned $6.80, $4.80 &$4.00 while upping his career bankroll to $54,951.
The final Hanover of the night looked to be one the most contentious of the evening and it definitely lived up to the advance billing as Brian Carpenter picked up his second Hanover of the night, guiding Sawgrass Farms Uncle Smoothie to a half-length victory in 1:51.0.
With the field three across heading into the far turn Carpenter was intent on putting Uncle Smoothie on the front end where he led the sophomores through an opening quarter in 26.3.
The action continued on the backside as Dale Hiteman sent Rollnlikeabigshot (Dale Hiteman)gunning to the top where he led the field through a half in 54.3.
That lead did not last long though as Al's Hammered (Robert Smolin) came calling on the outside of horses, putting a head in front as they hit the three-quarter-mile station in 1:23.3.
Through the stretch a game Rollnlikeabigshot fought back to reclaim the lead with Al's Hammered right alongside of the leader. At that point Carpenter made what would turn out to be the winning move, swinging Uncle Smoothie to the outside of horses where he quickly charged by the top pair with a 27.1 final quarter to post his fifth win in 10 starts this season. Rollnlikeabigshot held on for second while Al's Hammered was third.
Fresh off back to back wins in the Betzotic and Hot Head Stakes here at Balmoral Park Uncle Smoothie returned $5.40, $2.60 & $2.10 while pushing his career bankroll up to $153,903.
With all the upsets in the Hanover action Saturday's Pick 5 was not hit, thus there will be a carryover of $6,207 into Sunday's pool. The USTA and Balmoral Park will now be guaranteeing a $25,000 pool for Sunday's 50 cent Pick 5 wager. The Pick 5 is on races 2-6 meaning it should kick off around 7:30 p.m. (central) on Sunday. As is always the case on Sunday's, there will also be a $30,000 guaranteed pool on the Pick 4 which is on races 7-10. The Pick 4 always has a low takeout of 15%.