Day At The Track

Quality trumps quantity

06:59 AM 22 Mar 2015 NZDT
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Marketing Director Ken Churilla is shown in this Tamara Fischer Photo surprising 13-year-old Lily Pavlik Fort Silky
Marketing Director Ken Churilla is shown in this Tamara Fischer Photo surprising 13-year-old Lily Pavlik, a 10 year cancer fighter/survivor, in the winner’s circle with gifts. Lily was diagnosed at age 3 with a rare Desmoid tumor.
Fort Silky

Almost every time Quality will trump Quantity. It certainly does in harness racing and Saturday’s Balmoral Park card is no exception.

Far and away the best and most anticipated race of the night is the fifth race “Winner’s Over” with just five starters. However, it’s a very evenly matched field of  solid pacers and you could find a reason, or reasons, why any one of them will come out as the winner tonight.

The 9-5 morning line favorite is the sharp veteran Firstclassallthway (pp 4, John De Long) who saw his two-race “Winner’s Over” streak snapped last week when he got out and rolling a little too late.

Firstclassalltheway was beaten only a half-length and motored home the last quarter of a mile with De Long in a quick 26.1 seconds. His $20,000-plus season earnings for Dandy Farms of Glenview, Illinois, is tops in the fifth race headliner.

The two-time Super Night champion Iam Bonasera (p.p. 5) raced first up last week when he dropped a head decision to Fort Silky. The now 8-year-old ICF pacer loves Balmoral with its long stretch.

Mike Oosting takes over the lines on Iam Bonasera this week for trainer Nelson Willis. Oosting drove the gelding twice in 2013 and had a win and a third with him.

The son of Cole Muffler won the Langley as a 3-year-old and the Maurello on Super Night 2012. He was also the runner-up in Super Night championships as a freshman and last year.  

The third choice in the morning line at 7-2 is the venerable Fort Silky who came up with one of his “refuse to lose” front-end triumphs a week ago. Twice it looked like the Terry Leonard trainee was going to be passed in the lane but each time he dug in and repelled his foe. 

“Fort Silky likes it when another horse looks him in the eye,” said his driver Casey Leonard. “He’s the toughest horse I’ve ever been behind as far as fighting another horse off. “

The ultra-consistent Best Man Hanover opens at 9-2 for regular river Todd Warren. With his gate speed and the pole position, the Perry Smith trainee could be ahead or right behind Fort Silky, making her a serious threat to nail down his 18th career victory for Sawgrass Farms of Lockport, Illinois.

Making his season debut as a 5-year-old is Tripoli Stable’s Kanaris (6-1,) from the two-slot. Travis Seekman got off Iam Bonasera to drive the talented pacer for his father Joe, who trains the horse. The 24-year-old Seekman was 3-for-3 behind Kanaris last year including an Open Pace win at Northfield Park.

In 2014 Kanaris paced a 4-year-old gelding track record 1:48.3mile at Scioto Downs, a five-eighths mile track, for his Norridge, Illinois owners.

Well Done Marketing: A tip of the cap goes to Balmoral Park Marketing Department and the many, many patrons who generously helped raise $20,000 last Saturday night to fight childhood cancer at the racetrack’s annual St. Baldrick event.

Balmoral Park Marketing Director Ken Churilla is shown in the attached photoTamara Fischer surprising 13-year-old Lily Pavlik, a 10 year cancer fighter/survivor, in the winner’s circle with gifts. Lily was diagnosed at age 3 with a rare Desmoid tumor.

A crowded Grandstand of patrons played raffles, bought green horseshoes, volunteered to get their heads shaved, and donated their way to produce $20,000 to be used to support life-saving childhood cancer research.

The annual St. Baldrick popular event drew the largest on-track crowd in several months and they played a major role in the first $1 million-plus mutuel handle of the year on the Chicago circuit.

By Mike Paradise

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