Illinois conceived and foaled pacers took center stage on a very strong Saturday night card as a field of six three-year-olds lined up to do battle in the in the $13,600 Bye Bye Byrd Stake.
Emerging with the victory after a hard fought battle was Jack & Peggy Hood, Leland Mathias and Ervin Miller’s King’s Legend who prevailed by three-quarters of a length in a career best of 1:52.1.
Given a confident steer by driver Marcus Miller the son of-Fox Valley Amelia sat near the back of the pack as a headstrong Ice Scraper (Ridge Warren) rattled off splits of 27.1, 56.2 & 1:24.1.
Ranging up second over with the cover being provided by Uncle Smoothie (Brian Carpenter) Balmoral’s leading reinsman tipped the Erv Miller trained gelding to the far outside with an eighth of a mile to go. Racing three across the track with Ice Scraper on the inside and Uncle Smoothie between horses King’s Legend finally pulled clear in the closing strides to notch his fifth win this season.
Ice Scraper was a hard fought second while Uncle Smoothie was third.
Unraced as a two-year-old King’s Legend has had a busy second season and is making up for lost time with five wins, six seconds and three thirds in 27 starts with earnings of $68,968.
The third choice in the wagering King’s Legend returned $7.60, $3.00 & $2.20.
by Tom KELLEY