Sometime Saturday night harness racing trainer Erv Miller will very likely become the trainer with the most Super Night champions. The only question is: By how many? Erv goes into the 2010 edition of Illinois most lucrative and popular evening of racing Saturday as the conditioner of 13 past Super Night Final winners, the same amount as Joe Anderson.
However the 43-year-old native of Arthur, IL will likely have the favorite in three of the major championships Saturday evening and he has contenders in two others.
Erv’s late-arriving Dutch Richman surprised a lot of us with his 1:51.2 winning mile in the final Orange and Blue colt elimination last weekend. It came in only the freshman’s third lifetime start and in the same race where the pre-stake favorite He’s So Hot finished fourth and was eliminated from the $264,000 Final.
Erv also will send out the public choices in both of tomorrow’s three-year-old championships. His elimination winners Power Of A Moment and Ima Bonsera will square off in the $173,000 Pete Langley Memorial for males, and Mystical Victress, Rolldownthehiway and Cotton Candy—currently the top three fillies in the ICF sophomore division—vie against each other in the $172,000 Grandma Ann for distaffers.
“Mystical Victress was super again,” said driver Marcus Miller after her 1:51.2 elimination victory. “She was as good as I hoped she would be. She likes to be used some out there. She can take air and she does her work which is usually very good.”
Mystical Victress earlier had a six-race win streak that included stake victories in a Hanover, the Ann Vonian and the Springfield Final, snapped by her stable-mate Rolldownthehiway with a career best 1:51.1 mile in the Time Dancer at Du Quoin.
Then Rolldownthehiway overtook her stable-mate Cotton Candy (Dave Magee), the $100,000 Maywood Filly Pace victor, in the late going last Saturday and posted a half-length victory in her Grandma Ann elimination in 1:53 flat.
“I’ve been able to work out nice trips with her and Rolldownthehiway has responded each time,” said her driver Brandon Simpson. “She’s a handy filly. And I think they’ve got her peaking at the right time. If you take a look at her lines you can see that she’s always working out here.”
“Rolldownthehiway has speed and Cotton Candy is a lot like Mystical Victress,” added Marcus. “It’ll be interesting competing against them. Maybe the draw and the trip will make the difference.”
Power Of A Moment got the best of Iam Bonsera in the Springfield Championship however he and his driver Dave Magee turned the table on last season’s Illinois Freshman Colt of the Year and Marcus at Du Quoin with a 1:49.4 winning mile.
Both Of the Miller-trained Langley hopefuls captured their respective elimination last weekend in comfortable fashion. Power Of A Moment using an early move and then drawing off by almost three lengths in 1:51.1, and Iam Bonsera by flying down the late with a :26.2 last panel and proving best by three and one-half lengths in 1:50 flat.
Erv also has the lightly raced freshman Juxa Sister in the Orange and Blue Filly Final after her 1:55 elimination victory came in only her fifth career start. The filly was sired byand she’s out of the broodmare Royal Rulah, making her a full sister to the late 1990s Illinois champion Juxtaposition ($708, 809).
“Juxa Sister started late in the year because she’s a big filly and dad (trainer Erv Miller) waited a little longer with her,” said Marcus after the filly’s win. “She does have a lot of speed. I liked her early-on. She won her first start at Balmoral and I was very pleased with her after that race. She didn’t do as well at Springfield but I think the way she goes she’s better off on the limestone (track) here at Balmoral.”
Marcus will also be guiding the stable’s He’s Redhot in the $115,000 Tony Maurello (formerly the Dan Patch) for older Illinois bred pacing colts and geldings.
By Mike PARADISE for the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association