Day At The Track

Ice stakes action in full force at Balmoral

07:49 AM 12 Jul 2010 NZST
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My Miss Caroline Delco Willobee
My Miss Caroline - Romped to a five-length victory
Delco Willobee - Captured the second of two $7,000 Hothead Stake splits

It was another busy weekend of harness racing stakes action at Balmoral Park as two and three-year-old state-bred pacers and trotters competed in a quartet of stakes on Saturday, July 10th and Sunday, July 11th.

Sophomore pacing colts opened up the action on Saturday night as Indescribable and Delco Willobee each returned to their winning ways with impressive scores in a pair of $7,000 Hothead Stake splits.

In the opening division Indescribable took advantage of a leg weary Ice Man Comet'h to post a half-length victory in a career best of 1:52.3.

After grabbing early command driver Marcus Miller then elected to let a few rivals go and the John Butenschoen trained son of Cole Muffler-Glorious Future was then able to save ground as JHS (Mike Oosting) and Ice Man Comet'h (Brian Carpenter) battled for control.

At the top of the stretch a first over Ice Man Comet'h grabbed command from a determined JHS. Unfortunately, the tough first over grind wound up getting the best of Ice Man Comet'h in the stretch as he bore out badly in the final sixteenth of a mile allowing a fresh Indescribable to come charging through the inside to get up in time for the victory. Ice Man Comet'h held on for second while JHS was third.

In the second division the Jesse De Long owned and trained Delco Willobee flashed the form that turned heads throughout the early part of this season as he posted a well measured one-length victory in a lifetime best of 1:50.3.

Using his patented grinding style, the gelded son of Ft. Apache Hanover-Kgbrina Willowbee pulled from third as the field neared the half- mile mark. Making a steady advance towards the pace setting Voomerang (Mike Oosting), Delco Willobee edged by the leader with a sixteenth of a mile to go and was well in hand as he cruised home in 26.2 to notch his fifth win in seven starts this season. Voomerang was a hard fought second while Fox Valley Emelio (Todd Warren) was third.

Freshman trotting fillies kicked off the action on Sunday night with a total of 13 Prairie State bred youngsters battling in a pair of $4,000 Vaporize Stake splits.

The first division turned out to be a stroll in the park for the Robert Taylor trained My Miss Caroline as she cruised to a five-length romp in a brisk 1:58.3 to open her account.

The daughter of Psychic Spirit-Miss Clara T rolled up first over as the field turned for home and then left her rivals in the dust as she trotted home in 29.0 to win at first asking for the ownership group of La Bella Vita Stables, Robert Taylor and Kevin Dixon. Search For Reality (Mike Oosting) finished second while The Speed Of White (Rick Finn) was a distant third, 12-lengths behind the winner.

The second division provided a much closer finish as the Thomas Grummel owned and trained Bonnie's Star rallied in the final strides to win by a half-length in 2:01.3 for driver Mike Brink.

Kept just off the pace, which was being set by the 2-5 favorite Powerful Connection (Todd Warren), the daughter of Harrys Star Ranger-Speedy Bonnie B ranged up first over on the far turn before wearing down the pace setter to win for the third time in five career starts. Fox Valley Helena (JD Lewis) turned a pocket sitting trip into a second place check while Powerful Connection held on for third.

Sophomore pacing fillies were next on the docket as an overflow field of 11 three-year-old distaffers squared off in the $9,000 Ohyouprettything Stake. Taking advantage of some much needed post relief, Mystical Marker Farms & Peggy Hood's Mystical Victress returned to her winning ways as she reported home with a three-quarter-length triumph in a career best of 1:51.3 for driver Marcus Miller.

The good looking daughter of Sportsmaster-Sneakheravalentine swept into command on the backstretch and the issue was never really in doubt from that point on as the Ervin Miller trained miss kept her rivals at bay with a 27.4 final quarter while posting her ninth win in 16 career starts. Dee Dee Sage (Mike Oosting) rallied from sixth at the top of the stretch to be the bridesmaid while Rolldownthehiway (Travis Seekman) came on late to finish third.

It was back to the trot for the final stake race of the weekend as a field of nine three-year-old colt and gelding trotters met in the $9,000 Brandenburg Stake.

As is often the case in these trotting events, fans saw a mild upset as Rose Between 2 Thorns 9-1 shot Big Bucks came flying down the stretch to win by 1 ¾ lengths for driver Marcus Miller.

Reserved in the early going, the gelded son of American Native-Blank Check worked out a third over journey as Wolf Creek Pass (Brian Carpenter) and Muscatine (Dale Hiteman) battled through the opening three-quarters of a mile.

With the leg weary pace setters beginning to give way in the lane, Miller swung the Homer Hochstetler trained gelding to the far outside where he proceeded to trot right by the embattled leaders in route to his third win in 11 starts this season. Run And Tell Pap (Mike Cox), last year's champ who had struggled through his first four starts of the season, came up with an improved effort to finish second while MA Cody (Mike Oosting) finished third.

Stakes action continues on Wednesday night at Balmoral Park as the 2010 Hanover Stakes season gets underway with a pair of $19,700 divisions of the three-year-old filly trot sharing top billing. Post time for Wednesday's 11-race card is 7:10 p.m. (central).

Tom Kelley


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