A pair of “firsts” were honored on Saturday night (December 31) at Balmoral Park as driver Mike Oosting and trainer Darcy Pletcher each received their first ever leading driver and trainer awards at the Crete plant.
The 43-year-old Oosting, who also posted his 2000th career victory in 2005, enjoyed a double-digit winning margin over Andy Miller in the fall-winter driver standings. Tim Tetrick, Dave Magee and Tony Morgan rounded out the top five.
On the training side of the docket the 45-year-old Pletcher, who enjoyed the best season of his 31-year career in 2005 with a U.T.R.S. of over .300, easily outdistanced second place finisher Ken Rucker to take home the title. Homer Hochstetler, Erv Miller and Seldon Ledford completed the top five among Balmoral Park conditioners during the fall-winter meeting.
In other action on the track Brian Loman, Brian Kaiser & Dale Richeson’s Fox Valley Appeal continued to impress as he paced home with an easy three-length victory in the $12,000Series Final for both two and three-year-old pacing colts.
Fresh off a romping 6 ¾ length victory in the two-year-old final of this series the Richard Schrock trainee flew home in 26.2 as he stopped the clock in 1:56.1 for driver Andy Miller. The win was the fifth in nine career starts for this gelded son ofwho also has three seconds and a third to his credit.
Luckability (Dale Hiteman), who carved out splits of 31.1, 101.1 & 1:29.2, held on to get the place money while Incredible Amos (Sam Widger) wound up third, eight lengths behind the winner.