Balmoral Park presented the second of seven doubleheader Saturday’s with action in the Big Dog Series and the Ideal Society Series sharing top billing on the day-night twin bill.
First round action in the Ideal Society Series kicked off on Saturday afternoon with a field of five state-bred pacers battling for a purse of $7,000.
After benefiting from a perfect two-hole trip Gail George’s Brown Bottle Flu wore down the pace setting Spicy Sport (Ross Leonard) to win by a length in a career best of 1:54.3.
Tucking into the pocket spot early in the first turn driver Mike Oosting was quite content to keep his charge covered up as Spicy Sport paced through splits of 27.4, 57.3 & 1:26.4.
With Spicy Sport finally starting to get leg weary in the final sixteenth of a mile, Oosting gunned the Gerald Hansen charge trough an opening along the inside and the altered four-year-old responded beautifully as he paced home in a quick 27.2 to open his 2006 account. Spicy Sport held on for second while Buddy Brown (Tim Tetrick) was a distant third 5 ¼ lengths behind the winner.
Second round action got underway in the Big Dog Series on Saturday afternoon as a total of 17 colts and geldings squared off in a pair of $5,500 divisions.
In the opener Sandbur Farms and Valarie Sutton’s Fox Valley Bigshot made it two in a row in this series as he flew by his rivals in the late going to win by 3 ¼ lengths in a career best of 1:54.1.
Confidently handled once again by driver Dale Hiteman, the son ofmoved up first over as the field neared the half mile. Despite spotting Grouchy Old Man (Darcy Pletcher) a six-length advantage as the field turned for home Hiteman never panicked as he continued to reel in the tiring leader and he went right by with a rush at the sixteenth-pole. Despite being on cruise control from that point on The Doug Hamilton trainee still drew away from his rivals with the greatest of ease. Triggerfish (Shawn Christner) shook loose late to finish second while Grouchy Old Man held on for third.
In the second division Clark & Marlene Fairley’s Odds On Donald kept his 2006 record spotless as he rolled to a 1 ¾ length victory in a lifetime best of 1:55.4.
After getting bothered by a breaking horse in the first turn driver Tim Tetrick did a masterful job of getting his charged settled back down as the field raced through an opening quarter in 29.0.
Tetrick then decided he’d seen enough of the tepid pace moving Odds On Donald to the outside and gunning to the front where he led the field through a half in 57.3.
Maintaining his advantage up front the Clark Fairley trainee was able to catch a breather as the field headed around the far turn hitting the three-quarter-mile station in 1:27.3.
Keeping his rivals at bay through the stretch drive the gelded son of Kingston reeled off a 28.1 final quarter to get the victory. Third Day (Dale Hiteman), the 8-5 favorite of the betting public was a close up second while Shadow Of Lightning overcame his outside starting spot to get the show dough.
The night card featured one division in each of the Ideal Society and the Big Dog Series.
Another compact field of six went postward in the Ideal Society Series and when the smoke cleared from this battle it was Stephen McMackin, Siegried Lechner & Eugene Shick’s The Long Goodbye who prevailed by a hard fought length in 1:54.0.
After getting away third through an opening quarter in 27.4 Magee continued to save ground as Incredible Journey (Dale Hiteman) showed the way past the half-mile mark in 56.2.
As the field moved around the final turn Magee maneuvered his charge to the outside where he quickly engaged the pacesetter. These two battled head and head for the lead as they rolled by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:25.3.
Disposing of the early pacesetter in easy fashion The Long Goodbye quickly drew off to a 3 ¼ length advantage by the mid-stretch call. The John Butenschoen trainee was wrapped up heading for the wire as he reported home with his first win since his two-year-old season in 2004. Incredible Amos (Art Gregory Jr) unleashed a furious rally to finish in the runner-up role while I Know Your Lookin (Tim Tetrick) had to overcome traffic problems to finish third.
In the nighttime division of the Big Dog Series Chic-Del Stable’s Average Joe romped home with a 6 ½ length verdict in a lifetime best of 1:53.2.
Coming off a third place finish in last week’s action the Darcy Pletcher trainee was much the best in this field of nine. After leaving alertly and finding a nice spot in fourth driver Dave Magee was able to save ground through the opening half-mile while Wake Up Mike (Homer Hochstetler) and Costly Sport (Mike Oosting) slugged it out through splits of 27.0 & 55.1.
After grabbing cover as the field moved around the far turn Magee tipped his charge three wide at the top of the stretch and the son offlew right by his rivals in just a matter of a few strides. Drawing clear of his foes with long flowing strides the altered four-year-old appeared to be well within himself as he cruised under the wire with his second career victory. Luckability (Dale Hiteman), who posted a big come from behind win in the opening leg of this series, rallied late to grab the second spot while Costly Sport held on for third.
The win was the fourth of the day-night doubleheader for conditioner Darcy Pletcher who won the 2005 training title here at Balmoral Park.