Day At The Track

Party Hangover seeks second "Super Night" crown

02:36 AM 08 Sep 2014 NZST
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Party Hangover, harness racing
Party Hangover in prior win
Photo by David Baum

With one major Super Night championship on her résumé the year-old ICF mare Party Hangover is looking to add another next Saturday on Illinois’ most anticipated evening of racing at Balmoral Park.

Party Hangover, the 2012 Grandma Ann champion for trainer Jesse De Long, had won her first six first pari-mutuel starts after owner-trainer Ken Rucker sent Party Hangover back to Illinois under the care of his wife Catrina and driver Todd Warren before her second place finish last night in her Propes elimination.

Dune In Red (1:51.2), given a pocket trip by Dave Magee, overtook Party Hangover in the lane to win the second elimination while defending Propes champion Let’s Go Higher breezed in 1:52 flat in the first split.

I asked Catrina to fill me in about Party Hangover.

“We bought Party Hangover privately near the end of last year and sent her out East to race,” said Catrina. “She did very well there this year making almost $28,000. But she’s been ever better since she’s been back in Illinois.”

In her seven starts ion the Chicago circuit this year Party Hangover has raked in almost $40,000 for the Rucker family.

What has made the mare so good in her home state?

“In Pennsylvania there was no consistency with drivers,” replied Catrina. “You would get a different driver every week. A couple of times our mare got locked-in with a ton of pace but nowhere to go. You look at those lines it would appear she wasn’t racing well but she was racing great.

“Here in Illinois it’s a different type of racing on a different type of track. Party Hangover is a mare that you can race any way you want, on the front or out of a hole.

“Todd (Warren) has been great with the mare and he likes her a lot, too. He told us she’s done everything he’s asked her.

“We scratched her out her Springfield race when the day of race got moved because of the rain they had down there. We wanted her fit and ready for the Parklane Powerful and she was, coming up with her second new lifetime mark (1:51.2).

“We put her in a qualifier last Wednesday to keep her sharp because there wasn’t a race for her last Saturday and we didn’t want to go three weeks in between starts.

“Party Hangover is kind of like the barn star right now and she likes being pampered.

“A baby can jog her but once you turn her she’s all business on a racetrack. If you train her with another horse she won’t let that horse get past her. She’s just a monster on the track.”

As a 3-year-old Party Hangover was an eight-time winner for the De Long stable and put over $161,000 on her card with the bulk of that money coming with consecutive wins in the Springfield and Du Quoin State Fair championships, and triumphs in both her Grandma Ann elimination and its final.

Nailing Down Another: Al’s Hammered (Bobby Smolin) uncorked a season fastest 1:49.1 mile last night in his Maurello elimination victory, avenging his recent loss to Fort Silky in the Egyptian stake at Maywood.

The win was No. 13 of the season for Al’s Hammered, owned and trained by Bob Phillips, and likely sewed up his role as the morning line favorite for Saturday’s $120,000 Championship.

by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

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